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AXPONA 2022 Show Report By Enjoy the Music.com

AXPONA 2022 Show Report
Second Floor Spectacular At Audio Expo North America 2022 Show Report
Show Report By Rick Becker



  The supporting cast wasn't too shabby, either. With 92.5dB/W/m sensitivity, 4 Ohm impedance, and recommended amp power rated at 10-250 Watts the SRC-2 will not need huge amounts of power in normal size rooms. The tall VAC Statement 452 monoblocks ($150k/pr.) at 450 Watts each were predictably sufficient. They were stationed on granite amp stands also from Acora. A VAC Statement Phono stage ($80k) took the signal from the TW Acoustic Black Knight turntable ($45k) equipped with two TW Acoustic Raven 12" tonearms ($6k ea.) fitted with a Dynavector DRT XV-1t cartridge ($9450) and Charisma Audio Signature 1 cartridge ($3800).



Jeff Catalano of High Water Sound loaned this analog gear and performed the setup. I noticed a Massif Audio Design record weight was used here, too. A VAC Statement Line stage ($80k) tied the sources together which included a United Home Audio Superdeck ($90k), an Aurender N30SA ($24k), and the new LamipizatOr Horizon DAC ($49k).



The LampizatOr Horizon was probably the newest introduction in this room and no doubt contributed to the excellent presentation. I spotted a Takasuki 274B rectifier and a quartet of KT170 tubes in the mix, though this can be a tube rollers delight. The readouts on the front show the input selected and the volume, which is controlled by a remote as well as the buttons on the front. All of the cabling, both signal and power cables, was from Cardas. And the racks, with adjustable pillars and black granite shelves, are set to be available sometime this year from Acora.



So that was the A-Team in the Acora room at Axpona this year and I should mention that Valerio Cora does a good job of mixing up the equipment from a variety of top-shelf manufacturers at shows every year. This keeps it interesting for me as a reviewer and makes it more informative for show-goers and readers. Much of it was supplied by The Audio Company of Marietta, GA, whose room further down the line we will come to.



At close to $600k (plus the cost of cables) this was one of the most expensive rooms at the show, and easily one of the Best Rooms. But don't be disheartened here. Scale back on the number of sources, shorten the cables for your smaller room and scale down a level on most everything else and the possibilities open up for a lot more audiophiles with virtually no loss of enjoyment of music.



Tucked back in the corner at the top of the stairs coming up from the 1st Floor is the much smaller Serenity Room, home of Next Level HiFi, a By-Appointment-Only retailer in Wayne, IL, about 13 miles SW of Schaumberg, or 40 miles W of downtown Chicago. Against a bright photographic background of a riverfront at sunset, once again they displayed a system from Audio Group Denmark. Borresen Acoustic speakers, along with Aavik electronics and Ansuz cables, are three companies founded by Lars Kristensen and Michael Børresen. Their products are synergistic and this year's room, featuring stand-mounted Borresen 01 monitors with the same wing shape as the floorstanders seen in 2019, sounded pretty much the same — as best I can remember over the course of Covid. This is to say clean with very high resolution and a precise, detailed soundscape.



The bass goes surprisingly deep. Overall, the sound is very neutral and somewhat dry in comparison with some of the fine tube-powered systems heard at the show. The Aavik electronics are unique with their large red read-outs, easily visible from across a decent-sized room. I notice special attention was given to the footer design of these components.



On a table to the side was a stack of Ansuz Sortz Signature, little plug-in devices with Tesla coils that are plugged into an open input or output to reduce the noise in a component. They come with RCA, BNC, and presumably XLR fittings. They are said to lower the noise floor. Unfortunately, one did not fall into my briefcase for review.



Next door in the Prosperity room, another moderately sized room, was a very popular room with an all-Luxman rig driving Magico M6 speakers, everything connected with AudioQuest cables. With modest-sized components on modestly sized racks and amp stands from Massif Audio Design, the large M6 speakers ($185k) delivered the music to a nearly full house that seemed reluctant to leave their seats. New at this show were the Luxman M-10x Mono/Stereo amps ($20k ea.) that put out 150 Wpc in stereo mode @ 8 Ohms, and 600 Watts @ 8 Ohms when used as monoblocks as they were here. On top of the left rack was the D-10X SACD player with MQA and USB DSD ($17k).

On top of the right rack was the new PD-151 Mk II Reference belt-drive turntable ($ TBD) with the new LMC-5 cartridge ($2695), a moving coil design with a Shibata stylus. A Melco music server ($5499) was on the lower left. At around $90-$95k for the electronic components, plus the cost of cables, the Magico speakers were the heavy end of the stick. The Luxman gear served it well and like many others, I felt this was one of the Best Rooms at the show.




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