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AXPONA 2013 Show Report
AXPONA 2013 Show Report -- Audio Expo North America


   So this morning i woke up to a 103F fever, sweats, cold chills and a really horrible pounding headache, as though there is a jackhammer in my head. So if my notes today and a bit scarce, please be kind.

Last night i ordered a nice Chicago deep dish pizza. Due to my illness.... too bad it didn't stay down. Apologies if that may have sounded a bit ewww. Am just tellin' it like it is. Sorry :( 

Purity Audio Design had great relaxed, yet lighting fast sound from their first showing of the new PSE-300B Ultra monoblocks ($27,000) The PSE300B features a Pure Class A parallel single ended output stage with zero feedback. A separate choke filtered power supply and polypropylene filter banks, plus of course the analog stage, was selected after years of listening.


Herron Audio was here at AXPONA 2013 Chicago as they showcased their great vacuum tube amplification products including the VTSP-3A (r02) preamplifier and VTPH-2 phonostage ($6550 and $3650 respectively). They also gave us a sneak peek at their prototype DAC.


audioengine's upcoming new A2+ self-powered speakers builds on the success of their A2 by adding a USB port with 16-bit/48kHz DAC plus the normal analog input.


Peachtree Audio model Nova 125 ($1500) with Pro-ject Experience turntable and Mac Pro computer.


Thorens room.


Benchmark has the DAC2 HGC ($1995). HGC means Hybrid Gain Control system. The DAC2 HGC combines active analog gain control, passive low-impedance attenuators, a 32-bit digital gain control, and a servo-driven volume control. Digital inputs are precisely controlled in the 32-bit DSP system.


Studio Electric T5 speaker uses a custom woofer and 1" compression driver tweeter. The new hybrid amp EA5 uses 6922 tube driving a solid-state amplifier section ($5100 and $2495 respectively).


Longtime friend and good guy Brian Walsh who owns Essential Audio is here at AXPONA with a great display of goodies. Brian is showcasing the Dr. Feickert Analogue Firebird turntable with the Reed 3P tonearm and Lyra Kleos cartridge. The phonostage is the Vendetta Research SCP-2T and the hot new iFi Micro iPhono. Digital front end is the Abbingdon Music Research CD-77.1 compact disc processor with Abbingdon Music Research DP-777 DAC. Atma-Sphere MP-1 pre with Atma-Sphere MA-1 OTL drove the Transmission Audio M1i Reference monitors.


Icon Audio Stereo 40 MKIIIm ($2500) has "Easy Bias" meter. Valve rectifier 274B WE, choke regulated power supply and Tertiary transformers have an extra (third) winding that reduces distortion. The Stereo 40 can work with a wide range of tubes including EL34, KT88, KT66, KT77, 6CA7 and 6550.


Audio Note UK had their CDT3 transport hooked to the DAC 3.1x / II Balanced and Oto SE Signature ($12,000, $10,000 and $5,500 respectively). My notes say smooth, very natural sounding. Ease. has been upgraded and has an improved power supply with valve regulation ECL82 and more simplified digital circuits via better PCB layout. The output transformer has a 33:1 step down ratio for improving frequency response whilst copper wired output transformers use the IHiB core material. Digital inputs include S/PDIF and AES/EBU and analog output is via RCA or balanced XLR.


Marantz brought to AXPONA 2013 their all-singing, all-dancing NA1151 network audio player ($3500).


50TNT amplifier ($47,500) by Audio Power Labs.


SOTA turntable and sme tonearm.


Convergent Audio Technology SL1 tubed preamplifier ($8000 without phonostage, $10,000 with).


Colleen Cardas room.


KT Audio Imports room.


Triangle Art Reference gold tone turntable ($20,000) and chrome Signature ($12,500).

NAT Magma tube amp ($44,000).



Lowther America made a great showing here at AXPONA 2013. These speakers are made especially for the DIY community as it employs a Lowther PM5A main driver, Rythmic subwoofer and SLS ribbon tweeter ($4500 for only the parts or $12,000 fully assembled). The reel-to-reel is a Technics 1500 modded by Bottlehead.


Huge thanks to my friend at Scaena who was so very kind and got me some medicine. And yes it did indeed help. Thanks!!!


Blue Circle BC307LC ($12,000).






Tyler Acoustic speakers Highland H3 ($8500) looked gorgeous and even with my illness i could tell these speakers were something very special! Note to self, stop by there tomorrow as this could be an award earning system.


ModWright room.


jpaul cool circle display.



Alas, no Best Of award today as the jackhammer in my head means nothing sounded good today. In fact the louder the music within a room, the more painful any music 'sounded'. Of course i could lie, or fib, and award someone with an award yet as you know that is not how i am. Tomorrow is a new day.


Click here for Sunday's report.













































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