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AXPONA 2023 Luxury Premium Audio And Hi-Fi Stereo Audiophile Show Report By Enjoy the Music.com

AXPONA 2023 Was Bigger, Better, And Bolder
Taking it from the top with the uppermost floors Part 1.
Audio Expo North America 2023 Show Coverage By Greg Weaver



1627  GTT Audio
Bill Parish of GTT Audio, from Long Valley, NJ, who has a long history of delivering killer performances in this room at this show, brought us something really special this year. Take a look at the system setup.

Steamer Grimm MU1 Roon Core - $12,500
MolaMola Tambaqui DAC - $13,500
Kronos Sparta Turntable - $26,000
Kronos SSCPS Power Supply - $9,500
Kronos Kronoscope RS Tone arm - $14,000
My Sonic Lab Signature Platinum Cartridge - $11,000
MolaMola Lupe Phono stage - $9,850 - World Premiere
Audionet Stern Line stage - $48,950
Audionet Heisenberg Monoblocks - $105,000 Pair
Vivid Audio Giya G1 Spirit Speakers - $95,000 Pair
Kubala SosnaXpander Power Distribution - $5,400
Dejitterit Switch X Ethernet Switch - $3,500 - World Premiere
Kubala Sosna Cable Loom
Kubala Sosna Realization Interconnects - $11,000 1m/$2,000 per additional meter
Kubala Sosna Realization Speaker Cable - $11,000 1m/$2,000 per additional meter
Kubala Sosna Realization Power Cable - $3,000 1m/$600 per additional meter
Kubala Sosna Elation! AES/EBU Cable - $2,700 1m/$400 per additional meter



The larger outer room of this suite simply ROCKED! Bass authority, extension, and impact were nothing shy of world-class. The system offered superb midrange clarity and definition, delicately detailed yet fully expressed upper-frequency extension and air and a soundstage so clearly delineated you felt you could step up and walk around in! This was simply another superb room, easily landing it a spot in my Top Five Rooms at this event.



Aster Suite 1632  AXISS
I've had the pleasure of knowing Arturo Manzano, founder of AXISS Audio, for some time now, but this was my first opportunity to meet TJ Goldsby, their new Vice President of Sales and Dealer Relations. And this was my first time experiencing an AXISS room post their recent (just the week before this show) acquisition by Cliff Duffey. And to top it off, I got to say hello to Cyrill Hammer, one of Soulution's managing directors, who decided to come to the US for this heroic show. Here is the system they mounted in the Aster suite, 1632.



Yukiseimitsu Audio Yuki AP-01 turntable (prototype) - $49,975 production model
Airtight Opus One Phono Cartridge - $17,500
Soulution 725 Preamplifier w/phono stage -  $65,000
Soulution 760 w/LEEDH DAC - $76,000
Soulution 511 Amplifiers, used in monoblock mode - $83,500/pair
Gauder Akustik DARC 200 Speakers - $149,00/pair
Gauder Akustik Clearwater Speaker Cables - $5,750/pair
No other cabling info shared
Beaudioful RACK Walnut (Four Shelves, Double Width) - $14,400



This was the first time I've heard the Gauder's, manufactured in Renninge, Germany, presented in the US. And it was also the first time I'd heard them driven with Soulution electronics. But rest assured, this room sounded as good as it looked, with lush, rich tonality, brisk dynamic involvement, and a spacious and well-defined soundscape.



1643  Bob Carver Company
Having had the honor and pleasure of writing the history and biography of Bob Carver for inclusion in the 2016 release of The Absolute Sound's Illustrated History of High-End Audio, Volume 2: Electronics – a copy of which they had on display in the room, opened to that page! – I had to pop in to see how the newly released products were sounding... and this was my first chance to meet Jim Clark, the Director of Operations. Here is the system as set up in 1643.



ELAC Discovery Streamer - $1000
Audio Lab M-DAC - $1200
Carver RPM V12 reference preamp - $4995
Carver RAM 285 reference amplifier - $4995
ELAC Adante loudspeakers - $5000
ELAC Adante Sub - $$2500
ArgentPur pure silver - $10,000 all



I must say I was very taken with this remarkably affordable system. It was very detailed, with no hint of etch or edginess, offering remarkable bloom, and a dimensionally full and replete soundstage. This just goes to show that well-executed tube gear, Bob Carver style, can get the job done.


Going down... one floor, please.



1505  Audio Ultra
This room was hosted by Edward DeVito, principal of Seattle's Audio Ultra, whom I first met at last July's inaugural Pacific Audio Fest 2022. Ed likes to have fun with his demos, and this showing was no exception. In fact, the room was too full to get into, listen to, and visit with on Friday. When I went back Sunday the room was more open and I finally got to hear this system.



Aurender N20 - $12,500
CH Precision C1.2 DAC - $36,000
CH Precision D1.5 w/optional $2000.00 CH Link HD - $43,000
CH Precision X1 Dual Power Supply - $20,500
SOtM Switch (Loaded): sNH-1 OG with CLK-EX - $1,910
SOtM Power Supply (Loaded): sPS-500 - $920
SOtM Master Clock (Loaded): sCLK-OCX10 - $3,620
CH Precision L 1 - Line Stage - $34,500
CH Precision A 1.5 - Stereo mode - $39,500
Magico A1 - two-way stand mount monitors - Silver Finish - $9,400
Sound Anchor A1 Stand - $1,139
StromTank Quantum MKII Power Conditioning - $27,500
Audio-Ultra Ultra Series 3000 - $6,500
Cabling and Support:
Audioquest Dragon Mythical Creatures XLR 1 M - $11,900
Audioquest Thunderbird Mythical Creatures XLR 2.5M - $6,300
Audioquest Dragon Variable H/C (Amp) P/C - $9,900
Audioquest Dragon Constant (Source) P/C 2M - $7,900
Audioquest Firebird Constant (Source) P/C 2M - $4,900
Audioquest Hurricane Constant (Source) PIC 2M - $1,995
Audioquest WEL Signature AES 1 M - $5,400
Critical Mass Systems Ultra Q Rack with Diamond Shelf - $23,960
Critical Mass Systems Ultra Q Amp Stand with Diamond Shelf - $5,290
Magico QPod Footers (three) - $1,450
Stillpoints Apertures (Cherry with Black front) - $960
Stillpoints Stands for Aperturtes - $716
Stillpoints  Stand side kit - $190



Look, everyone knows I'm not a monitor guy... even Alon Wolf. But I have to hand it to Ed, putting so much exceptional gear in front of a sub-$10,000 set of monitors, even a set from Magico, took some cajónes! But damn if he didn't get away with it, and with style!

I was floored by how much texture and pitch definition was revealed with upright bass, which was recreated in a strikingly authentic manner. Staging was a bit limited, especially front to back, like most of these smaller rooms. But the degree of resolution and resultant transparency to the source was monstrous.




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