[A]xpona 2013 in Chicago was BIG! Well over a 100 rooms+booths to visit and listen to. We did our best to cover as much as we could while actually obtaining some valuable listening time. Not to mention, time to talk about new gear, time to meet with long seen friends, time to eat and sleep. To us it seemed the show went very well. The overall vibe was up beat and positive. Friday and Sunday attendance appeared to be pretty mellow but Saturday was only slightly less packed than a sardine can. We even had a visit from the local fire dept. in the middle of Saturday when the fire alarm was pulled. Exciting!
There were a few themes that revealed themselves over the weekend. First, if you have $10,000 or less there are many great options out there for you. With some smart purchases one could put together a shockingly good system. Second, software room correction seems to be the new thing for room treatment. While exhibitors were given use of two semi-trucks full of ATS room treatment, it appeared to be less liberally used as we have seen at other shows.
ADL by Furutech
ADL X1 USB DAC and H118 headphones – Very comfortable and smooth sounding. Initial 5 minutes demo of the sound compared to , says, the Adeze LCD3 in the next booth or the K701 at home, the H118 offer a fuller, more concrete body in the upper mid-range, but less air, sense of space. More listening must be required. Look for a review on Dagogo.
Audioengine A2+ speaker with D2 24-bit wireless DAC
Audioengine 5+ and A2+ powered desktop speaker. The new A2+ speakers use a low frequency cut off to stop them from clipping when over driven. This will help those large classical moments on soundtracks or repeated loud explosions in movies to sound better.
Aaudio Imports and Hartvig Signature Turntables Base: composite material (MDF and acrylic). Platter: aluminium (T6 series) and acrylic. Bearing: hardened steel shaft with an aluminium-base. Precision honed bronze (best quality) shell with a ceramic ball and teflon at the top of the bearing. Motor: brushless electronically regulated DC-charged motor. Feet: three-point with two adjustable legs for perfect adjustment and an elastic core for perfect absorption. Armboard: acrylic with an eccentric adjustable aluminium base.
That is pearl white paint job. The tonearm mount rotates to allow for different length tonearms to be installed.
Classic Audio Loudspeakers
Classic Audio Hartsfield with Field Coil Drivers $59,950 & T-3.4 with Field Coil Front Woofer and Midrange Drivers $44,990 – Atma-Sphere MP-1MK3.2 Preamp with phono $12,100 & MA-1.5 Novacrom Power Amplifier $12,000/pr. – Tri-Planar Ultimate 12 with Technics SP10 MKII Mounted on Porter Plinth with Tri-Planar Ultimate 12 & Van Den Hul III Gold Cartridge or Koetsu Jade Cartridge $9.800 – MKVII UII $6,200 – Stahl~Tek Ariaa DAC $12,900 – Audio Note Ankoru II 211 monoblock $46,000 – Purist Audio Design Genesis ICs and speaker cables and Vesta & Musaeus Power cables Ultimate USB cables and Aquila Digital AC power cable total $7,500.
The sound from this room was as sweet as you would expect from the Atma-Sphere and Audio Note 211 amps. Instrument size was realistic but vocals a little larger than life, at least on the Stevie Ray Von track we were entreated to. But the sound, while not perfect, could have sucked us in for the whole weekend.