Publisher Profile

2008 RMAF Coverage 4

Ayon/Escalante/MaxxHorn, Acapella/Einstein/Isoclean/Symposium

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This portion of Dagogo’s 2008 RMAF Coverage by Constantine Soo


▼Ayon electronics and Escalante speakers

Ayon Audio and Escalante Designs are the hosts of this large Hyatt Grand Mesa C Exhibit.

Escalante is now the enclosure builder for MaxxHorn speakers, and this Exhibit showcased the beautiful cabinetries of MaxxHorn speakers in two separate systems, with both of the company’s Immersion ($19,500/pair) and Lumination ($28,500/pair) loudspeaker systems on active display. Dagogo has had the privilege of reviewing both MaxxHorn’s, and for the first time, attendees had the chance of seeing and hearing them side-by-side. I arrived in the morning hours and the system was not yet ready for playing; but with two reviews in Dagogo’s Archive, I hope they will serve to quench the curiosities of readers to a degree in finding out what the MaxxHorn’s can deliver.

Ayon Audio was also featuring their vacuum tube amplification products. Besides the CD-1 and Spirit integrated amplifier that Dagogo Senior Reviewer Doug Schroeder reviewed, there were also the rarely seen, higher models Typhon monoblocks and Polaris 2-chassis preamplifier.

In addition to the Ayon Audio products, Charlie Harrison, the U.S. importer, also displayed the Lector line of products which is imported by him as well.

Judging from the reviews of Charlie’s Ayon line of products conducted by Dagogo reviewers Phillip Holmes and Doug Schroeder, it is highly probable that Charlie’s products, though medium-priced, are formidable contenders in the realm of high-end audio.

◄ Escalante Fremont

▲The MaxxHorn Lumination in Spaulted Tiger maple front baffle.

Amplification on display with the MaxxHorn:
▼Ayon Crossfire SET integrated amplifier.
– 30Wpc, 2 x AA62B output tubes, 5Hz ~90kHz !
– 4 x 6H30 signal & driver tubes
– MSRP $9,995
Ayon Spark SET integrated amplifier.▼
– 20Wpc, 2 x 6C33 output tubes
– 2 x 6H30 driver tubes, 2 x 12AU7 pre tubes
-MSRP $4,999

▼The MaxxHorn Immersion on the right

▼(top shelf, left) Lector Audio CDP7T tube CD player, pure class A, with separate power supply – available in Cherry Wood panels or Black panels. MSRP $5365.00

▲(lower shelf, right) Lector Audio CDP06 tube CD player, pure class A – available in Cherry Wood panels or Black panels. MSRP $2695.00

▼MaxxHorn Immersion
Ayon CD-1 ($4,299)▼

Ayon CD-3 ($6,999)▼

▼(top shelf) Ayon Typhon “High Current” triode monoblocks ($12,799/pair), Polaris II 2-chasis preamplifier ($16,799)
(bottom shelf) Ayon CD-3 (left), CD-1 (right)

▼(center) Ayon Triton integrated ($8,499), 8 ~ 70kHz ! 8 x KT88 or KT90, 6 x 12AU7, 125Wpc Pentode mode, 80Wpc Triode.


Acapella’s $195,000/pair Triolon Excalibur never ceases to deliver the most superlative music experience, despite my having written about them on three occasions. This time, I reacquainted myself with its colossal dynamic finesse. Whether it was a Sting classic or a Bruckner symphony, the TE was most adept in reproducing the energy of the recordings.

What woofer system is large and can move in sync with the fastest of transients? Acapella TE’s woofer tower. Still, a hotel room is never quiet enough for the most insightful observation to unfold, and the Acapella conference room, while large enough to contain the TE’s dynamics, was inundated with intrusive, show-going noises nevertheless. (See Dagogo Spotlight articles on the Acapella)

▼Golden Acoustics Sonic Equalizing Panel, with 4 Einstein
The Final Cut MK60″ OTL monoblocks ($32,700 total) on floor. The rack is a Symposium ($6,500) of aircraft aluminum frame.
(top to bottom) Einstein “The Source” tube CD player ($16,900)▼
Einstein “The Tube MKII” balanced tube preamp ($17,400)
Isoclean PT-3030G III power transformers ($3,500 each)

▼Brian Ackerman (in gray short sleeves) of Aaudio Imports, enjoying a conversation with an attendee. Note the infamous Acapella ion tweeter module on the display table in the background.

Bowers & Wilkins

B&W Signature Diamond with Classe Electronics

The Bowers & Wilkins Exhibit this year resembled the one from the previous one closely, in that two systems were situated next to each other on the long wall of a long listening room. In such an arrangement, the left B&W Signature Diamond had an open space to its left. Yet, there was pristine vocal delicacy when playing some of my vocal tracks, with very intricately balanced spectral behavior, imparting the impression that the B&W was meant for much more powerful music experience. Perhaps the loudspeakers could use the most powerful of the Classe amplification. Retrospectively, the open space to the left of the speaker might have hampered its acoustical integrity; but surprisingly, imaging and instrument dimensionality did not seem to suffer.

▼B&W Signature Diamond retailed for $19,000 the pair, and per
David Becker of B&W at the show, only 11 pairs were left in the limited production run of 500 pairs worldwide.
All Classe electronics. Classe is now part of the B&W group.▼ And as Classe products are no slouch, it is only natural to showcase each other’s strength in a system context.

▼Sculptured marble enclosure for the diamond tweeter

▼The infamous B&W golf-ball surface Flowport™ in a forward-firing arrangement.

This portion of Dagogo’s 2008 RMAF Coverage
by Constantine Soo

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