Publisher Profile

Axpona 2014 Noteworthy Rooms for Doug Schroeder

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Salk Speaker and Audio by Van Alstine

Salk Speaker and Audio by Van Alstine at Axpona 2014

A most pleasant surprise awaited me in the Salk Speaker and Audio by Van Alstine room, where the combination of pre/amplification and the new Exotica III speaker in an eye catching holden finish; sumptuous sound and appearance! A show favorite for me, especially at the MSRP.

Audio Research and Sonus Faber

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I was pleasantly surprised at the combination of the Audio Research DS450 mono amps (two pair used in a vertical biamp configuration) and the Sonus Faber Aida Loudspeakers. This is the best I have heard Audio Research – ever! The system was muscular but not at all edgy or fatigue inducing. A high dollar rig, but with very refined presentation I felt superior to what I have heard at the past few shows from YG Acoustics and Magico.

Doshi Audio

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In the Paragon Sight and Sound room Doshi Audio showed its 3.0 line; Preamp, Phono, Tape preamp, and Jhor Monoblocks. With the Wilson Audio Sasha 2 speakers fronted by dCS Puccini player and Transparent cables, once again this component maker impressed upon me that it belongs in an elite class of sound.

Essential Audio

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Local dealer Essential Audio brought in the big guns in clouding AMR, Bricasti Design, Atmasphere and Sound Lab speakers. A system which produces such scale to the music is exceptional, and it sounded completely relaxed without a hint of strain. Aurender music server, Bricasti M1 DAC, AMR Cd77.1 player, Kuzma TBD table and TDB cartridge, Atma-Sphere MP-1 preamp with MA-2 amps, Sound Lab Majestic 845 speakers, with Teo Audio Cable and Clarity Cable.

Endeavor Audio Engineering

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Endeavor Audio Engineering made a good showing with its E-3 Loudspeaker, which was made much easier by partnering with Constellation Virgo/Centaur combination and the Your Final System HD Ref-3 Music Server and EMM Labs DAC2X. The E-3 is one of a new crop of speakers which are performing exceptionally well.

Bricasti Design

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Not to be bested, a highly streamlined Bricasti Design DAC and M28 Monoblock amplifier scheme downstream what appeared to be an Oppo blu-ray player. These were played through Tidal Piano Diacera speakers. The combination of Bricasti electronics and Tidal speakers proved to be a standout, one of my top sounds.

Silnote Audio

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It is my pleasure to conclude with perhaps my largest surprise in terms of sound at the show, the Silnote Audio room. Silnote makes cables; they were hooked up to an Oppo 105 player, NAD M51 DAC, Balanced Audio Technology VK-32 Preamp, and driven by a pair of McCormack DNA-750 Monos. I have never heard B&W speakers sound remotely as well as they did in this room. The cost to performance ratio was exceptional, and I conclude the cables play a big part. I will be reviewing them.

2 Responses to Axpona 2014 Noteworthy Rooms for Doug Schroeder


  1. Rob Bertrando says:

    Hi Doug,

    Last fall I bought a pair of Acoustic Zen Crescendos to grace my listening room!

    I’ll look for you at THE Show later this month, although given the travel distance I won’t be surprised if you don’t make it.

  2. walter rudge says:

    Hi Doug, It’s always good to read someone who’s reviews you’ve always enjoyed and influenced a purchase of Pthos Integrateds agree with your own thoughts on the show. Really enjoyed the products especially the Audio Research and Sonus Faber room and the Merrill room. Hope to attend next year. Regards, walter rudge

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