The AXPONA 2023 Chronicles: Part
It's now very late I the afternoon on Saturday....
YG Acoustics And Bel Canto
I heard more deep bass and the reason is that YG Acoustics added their Descent active subwoofer with DSP filter ($7800), which made its debut at this show. It features an 11" BilletCore driver, a 3" voice coil with titanium former, and a 1000-Watt amplifier with a 124dB S/N ratio. It weighs in at 110 pounds so this is a pretty serious sub. The addition of a subwoofer (or two) often adds more than just deep bass to the music by fleshing out the midrange and enhancing soundstage presentation. It may also have been that the Bel Canto gear was simply a better match with the YG Acoustics speaker. I'm not sure, but those look a lot like Soundeck round footers below the disks that receive the spikes.
Bel Canto introduced their new Black DAC ($40k) along with their Black EX dual-mono power amplifier ($10.5k). The Black DAC is a dual chassis design. One part is the ASC2 Asynchronous Mulit-input Processor/Controller fed from a linear power supply, and this is connected to the second chassis, the Black Dual Mono DAC via their proprietary ST fiber-optic interface which provides galvanic isolation between the two chassis.
It is said to have a 130dB signal-to-noise ratio which is far below the capability of human hearing. And it can feed an amplifier directly from its analog outputs, as was done here. It may be available by the time you read this. The Black EX dual mono amp puts out 350 Wpc into 8 Ohms and twice that into 4 Ohms. The first stage is discrete Class A and the output stage is the latest generation Class D.
I also thought the rack shown here was very attractive in combination with the Bel Canto gear. There seems to be some kind of vibration-absorbing insert on each shelf, as well as those thin round disks beneath the standard footers. Bel Canto gear was also found in room 464 on the opposite side of the Atrium from this room, which I'll mention further below.
AVM Audio Video Manufaktur
Bluebird Music is the importer of AVM and had a display that included a pair of gorgeous AVM monoblocks in Room 434, a few doors down. A flyer from Bluebird touted the new AVM CS 5.3 All-in-One Network Streamer which may have been the unit on the top left. Priced at $12k, it is the middle model between the entry-level CS 2.3 and the flagship CS 8.3 version. It includes a MM/MC phono stage and a tube line stage. While it is not inexpensive, it is far less than buying individual components for all the functions which it performs, and you can discount further for all the interconnects you won't have to buy.
The component below the turntable was the new PH 8.3 Reference Phono Stage ($14k) with RCA and XLR moving coil inputs and an RCA moving magnet input. There is a remote control that allows you to change gain and cartridge loading. It also includes a dual triode 803T tube that can only enhance the analog sound.
The CB 2.3 speaker ($3500) was a new item (to me) from AVM which was distinguished by its oversized front baffle, inset drivers with no visible screws, and the waveform for the tweeter machined into the baffle. I thought this sounded exceptionally good for a small two-way monitor. I noted how nicely the speaker cables were tucked under the AVM stands and simply disappeared.
The blue light under the turntable platter and the polished plinth of the turntable made this stand out from the crowd at Axpona, as well as matching the polished faceplates of the components on the left. This is an extra cost, special order finish they call the Cellini finish and it elevates the components for people who are particular about their décor. The weird stuff on the middle shelf seems to have been a tube-powered phono stage that could have been housed within the turntable plinth or perhaps was the phono stage in the CS 5.3.
For those who want to keep it simple or are looking for a toe-hold in the high end, there was this small CS30.3 all-in-one unit on display that even has a headphone amp.