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2011 AXPONA Coverage III

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The second annual AXPONA, Audio Expo of North America, was held in Atlanta this year. The Atlanta Downtown Sheraton provided a substantially larger, upgraded, and more ambitious venue for this show when compared to the AXPONA Show held in Jacksonville, Florida a year ago.

As was the case last year, the show attracted distributors, builders/manufacturers, and local dealerships alike, to participate in exhibits and demonstrations April 15 through 17.

This year, it was clear that the focus for many exhibitors was the state of the economy. Yes, there were still a good number of stratospherically priced equipment, but many also were showing value-priced high bang-for-the-buck gear. Thanks to the magic of trickle-down technology, these lower priced offerings also did not fail to impress, even in absolute terms. In no special order, here are the rooms where I spent quite a bit of time.

Once again, King Sound was showing with VAC Audio. Kevin Hayes of VAC was in attendance as was Roger DuNaier of Performance Devices (marketer of the Chinese King Sound). King Sound had two systems in the room.

The updated King Sound King II’s were playing in a system with VAC Signature preamp and amp, Accuphase digital player, and VPI Classic turntable. To my ears, the refinements made to the King design were immediately apparent. Last year, I rated the original Kings one of the Best in Show, I would say that this year once again, they were clearly one of the best sounding systems.

King Sound was showing a second system in their large room that was anchored by their lower priced full range electrostatic speaker, the Prince II. These were sounding quite good through the upgraded customer power supply designed and engineered by Kevin Hayes of VAC specifically for the Prince II. Amplification was supplied by VAC, turntable was a VPI Classic, and CD Player by Marantz.

Cabling throughout the King Sound Room was by Cardas.

Adam Audio was a new name to me. Roger Fortier, VP of the company, had two adjacent sound rooms. In one room their active speakers, the Tensor Beta System, was sounding quite impressive accompanied by Accuphase amplification and front-end. These speakers sport Adam Audio’s proprietary update of the Heil Air Motion Transformer driver design that was originally designed by Oskar Heil. Adam Audio calls it The X-ART (eXtended Accelerating Ribbon Technology).

In the adjacent room, Adam Audio was showing a value priced line of active speakers connected to a computer. These active mini’s, the Epsilon and Delta also did not fail to impress.

Alan Eichenbaum of Scaena once again was wowing the crowds in a large room showing the entry level Scaena System 3. Accompanied by BAT tube amplification, Kubala-Sosna cabling, Critical Mass stands, and fed by a DCS digital front-end, the Scaena’s never fail to impress with their astonishing imaging and transparency no matter what the venue. This particular pair was sporting a customer Oyster Shell-type finish.

Custom turntable designer and marketer of custom European phono cartridges and phono stages, Hart Huschens of Audio Advancements, had an excellent sounding system with co-exhibitor Dave Belles of Belles Power Modules fame. Legacy Audio provided the speakers in the room. The superbly balanced Focus HD’s were an excellent match-up to this fine analog system. I visited this room three times. It was the perfect, relaxing musical respite when I was in dire need. You will definitely be reading much more about Dave Belles’ electronics on these pages in the coming months. The VT-01 preamplifier and 350A version 2 power amplifier from this very room will be paying a visit to chez Ray very soon!

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