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AXPONA 2022 Show Report By Enjoy the Music.com

AXPONA 2022 Show Report
Final Update Featuring The First Floor
Audio Expo North America 2022 Show Report
Show Report By Rick Becker



  Out in the large hallway Quintessence had a nice rig with another Sonus Faber speaker, the IL Cremonese, driven by an all-McIntosh rig. And like 2019, it was a disappointment with all the conversations going on and the ambient noise of the uncontained space.



The rig featured the MS500 Music Streamer on top, MCD350 SACD / CD Player, C12000 Controller, C12000 Preamplifier (tube), and MPC1500 Power Controller. On either side of the stand was an MC1.25KW Quad Balanced Power Amplifier driving the IL Cremonese speaker. I suspect pairing McIntosh with the Sonus Faber electronics is an excellent match. They are, after all, both part of the McIntosh Group.



Most intriguing here was the equipment rack with shelves covered in black leather with light blue stitching. Very rich looking, but with an edge at the same time.



Moving over to the Imagination room, Audio Video Interiors of Chicago had another all-McIntosh rig driving Bowers & Wilkins 802 D4 speakers ($26k) supplemented with a pair of JL Audio Fathom F113 v2 subwoofers ($6k each), assisted with the external JL CR1 Crossover ($3500) for the subs. McIntosh MC611 Quad Balanced monoblocks ($16k/pr.) were driving the B&W, which like other B&W speakers within the new D4 series sound much more open and airier than the previous series.



The front end was an Aurender A20 server ($14k) feeding a McIntosh C1100 preamp ($14k) and an MPC1500 Power Controller (conditioner) was also in use. AudioQuest Firebird XLR interconnects (1m $6900/pr) and Thunderbird Zero/Bass speaker cables ($7400/pr) were used, along with Hurricane power cords ($2m $2500 ea.).The music here was rich with a full lower midrange and bass that undoubtedly had a strong appeal to B&W and Mac fans. I'd call this another of the Best Rooms at the show, particularly since it seems to be such an improvement over the previous generation of B&W speakers.




Elsewhere in the room, as I recall, was this handsome Bowers & Wilkins speaker in a light oak finish. In surfing their website it seems to be the 606 S2 Anniversary Edition, now the seventh generation of their 600 Series stand-mount speaker.



The Innovation room, which at previous shows was the home of another very high-end system, was taken over by Saturday Audio Exchange and staged as a clearance center for their demo (used) equipment. As it was late morning on the third day of the show, the selection looked both slim and closer to entry-level, so I guess the good stuff flew out the door earlier in the show. Nice of them to pick this first-floor room not far from the side entrance to the hotel, in case people forgot to bring a dolly or a skateboard to move the heavy stuff.



Moving down the hall toward the Schaumburg Ballroom with four big rooms on either side, I passed a bunch of tables covered with small items and nearly missed the Inspiration room behind them. Saturday Audio Exchange had two modest rigs set up with higher-end Parasound electronics driving the GoldenEar Triton Reference ($11k) speakers and a Parasound integrated amp driving the GoldenEar stand-mounted BRX monitors ($1598) supplemented with a pair of GoldenEar SubX subwoofers ($1500 each). The cabling was by AudioQuest.

The biggest pitch I can make here is that I've heard the Triton Reference speakers sounding exceptionally good driven by electronics that were far above its price league. I listened briefly to both systems in this room and I preferred the GoldenEar speakers driven by the Parasound solid-state gear to the PrimaLuna tube gear I heard back in 2019, before the PrimaLuna Evo series, I believe.



On the corner of the Schaumburg West ballroom, analogmagic had set up a display explaining their new all-in-one cartridge setup software & test LPs v2. It is a scientific and repeatable approach to calibrating more aspects of turntable setup than I knew existed. Reed Taylor, who was sporting a Burmester badge, was on hand to explain and do a bit of demonstrating. He also had on display a USB Phono Plus converter from Triangle Art (?) that I think converts your phono signal to a digital readout on your computer. Reed was busy with a customer so I didn't cut in for an authoritative explanation, but you can certainly check it out online.




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