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Axpona 2018 (Read 3204 times)
Palomino
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Axpona 2018
04/05/18 at 12:13:17
 
It's at a new place this year.  A small convention center/hotel in the Chicago burbs.  El presidente and I will be in attendance.  I am hoping it is more conducive to good sound than the old hotel.

I haven't spent any time with the vendor list but will check out some of the usual suspects.  I think PS Audio will have a bigger presence.

I'll try to type up some notes on the stuff I think was interesting.
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Lonely Raven
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Re: Axpona 2018
Reply #1 - 04/06/18 at 17:08:27
 

I'm looking forward to going!  I also invited Aaron but haven't received solid  confirmation on him - it's really not far from his house!

I wouldn't mind meeting up and having lunch with other audiophiles or something.

I opened this hotel in 2006, and it's a beautiful hotel. I have no idea what the guest rooms look like since their last renovation though (typically done every 5 years).
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beowulf
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Re: Axpona 2018
Reply #2 - 04/06/18 at 22:58:06
 
Dudes ... please check out:

1. ESS Labs - Expo Hall - hopefully they will have their 98dB @ 6 ohms with a 12″ Woofer and the HEIL AMT1 Tweeter.  Been wanting to get feedback on these guys as they check off a lot of boxes for low watt tube guys!

2. Line Magnetic - Rm 630.

3. Linear Tube Audio - Room 606, 654, 696.

4. Pure Audio Project - Room 725, 729.  They may have their new Horn1  OB's (which I heard were a step up from the entry level Voxativ drivers), but also may be showing a pair of Voxativ Field Coil Drivers.

5. Tekton Design Room 730 - maybe they'll have on of his new designs such as the Double Impacts.

That's all I can think of for now ... would like to hear your impressions on these guys. Wink



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Palomino
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Re: Axpona 2018
Reply #3 - 04/06/18 at 23:10:43
 
Great suggestions.  A couple of those I planned on checking out already.  I'll do some research on the others.
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dank
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Re: Axpona 2018
Reply #4 - 04/07/18 at 14:11:14
 
Anyone attending might be interested in checking out room 622, Alta Audio (speakers).  Frank VanAlstine will be doing the electronics and will be debuting his new amp, the SET400, a 225 wpc mosfet design that is ZKit60's big brother.


Dan
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Lin
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Re: Axpona 2018
Reply #5 - 04/07/18 at 22:37:49
 
Dan, have you listened to the new amps? Thoughts?

Thanks,
Lin
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dank
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Re: Axpona 2018
Reply #6 - 04/08/18 at 00:38:41
 
Lin, they are great amps that sound REALLY nice.  The amp seems to offer a nice sound when you first hear it and then gets better and better the more you listen to it.  More than a few people have noticed this...very nice at first and then really spectacular after listening to it for a few weeks.

The only person we've run into so far that doesn't like it much is the guy who was doing a competing design...he lost.


Dan
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Palomino
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Re: Axpona 2018
Reply #7 - 04/12/18 at 15:14:24
 
I am happy to report that CDApS will have 100% of members in good standing in attendance at Axpona on Saturday.  I hope everyone can find parking.
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DB2
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Re: Axpona 2018
Reply #8 - 04/17/18 at 00:59:15
 
Well, how was it?
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Palomino
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Re: Axpona 2018
Reply #9 - 04/17/18 at 02:46:25
 
Sorry , I haven't had time to comment.  It's also that nothing really got me revved up this year.  I've been the last 4 years so maybe it's getting old.

No open baffle speakers that I saw so that was a bit of a bummer for me. Even Emerald Physics was show traditional speakers.  

I thought that the Tekton offered promise but it was hard to really evaluate given the small room.  

PS audio was demoing their Stellar line so I wasn't that interested.    

I always like what Vinnie Rossi has but he had the same amp/harbeth combo he had last year.

I thought the schitt room sounded good.  

There were several speakers with ceramic drivers that I thought sounded good.

One thing to note was well over half the rooms were powered by tube amps so I guess that secrets out.

The last room i visited I really liked the sound and the speakers seemed to overcome the bass boom that you get in the hotel rooms.  I asked the guy the price and he said $120,000 so those were ruled out.

Sorry to be kind of blah but it was kind of blah this year for me.  Maybe Eric or Aaron will weigh in but those are most of my thoughts.
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Lonely Raven
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Re: Axpona 2018
Reply #10 - 04/17/18 at 03:21:34
 
You summed up my thoughts pretty well. The stuff we figured we'd like, we did. And I was looking forward to hearing PS Audio's BHK amps and the like, but I didn't see that anywhere. There were some big speakers that I thought looked and sounded pretty amazing, but didn't even bother asking the price. It was nice meeting Glen from GIK Acoustics finally, and seeing my friend Jeff of JTR Speakers. I pretty much enjoyed all the home theater setups we saw, but then that's kind of my thing. I do hope to get up to JTRs warehouse in Wisconsin and borrow some of the those speakers he offered to let me try on the Zen amp.








We really liked these speakers - they had great speed/PRaT. I forgot to photograph the info page on them since it was really busy in that room.





I was pleased to see more diffusers used in the rooms - it's about friggen time!!



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Lonely Raven
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Re: Axpona 2018
Reply #11 - 04/17/18 at 03:26:24
 






I typically like more simple speakers because they typically have less time smearing between the drivers, but these speakers sounded pretty good, and the wood looked amazing.



Of course, it helps that it had a great source.


















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Lonely Raven
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Re: Axpona 2018
Reply #12 - 04/17/18 at 03:28:03
 

The rooms were holding back a few of the better sounding equipment. I kinda stopped taking photos after this as I was getting tired.


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Palomino
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Re: Axpona 2018
Reply #13 - 04/17/18 at 04:03:02
 
You reminded me that we did hear Pure Audio Project.  I thought they sounded flat with the horn.  The smaller version with the voxativ sounded shrill.  I have liked other versions of PAP but not what I heard at this show.

I did like the speakers we heard with the Lampi dac.  Overall I was impressed with that rig.  Nice job on the photos.  

I liked your friends home theater setup. I hope you do get some
Speakers to try out.
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HockessinKid
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Re: Axpona 2018
Reply #14 - 04/17/18 at 11:55:33
 
Eric,

Thanks for posting your pictures and impressions.  The beautiful wood multi-driver speakers are from Daedalus Audio (Lou Hinkley).  Lou's speakers are really nice, especially his new Apollo models - built from solid hardwoods, 96.5 dB efficiency, with extremely well designed crossovers. His speakers have great tone and produce an immersive 3D soundstage with the right sources.  Lou is a superb craftsman, a musician, and a super nice guy.  

Like you, I have a preference for single driver speakers.  That said, I think Lou's Apollo's paired with a ZMA would be a fantastic combination - musical heaven.  Lou often demonstrates his speakers with Modwright's (Dan Wright's) outstanding electronics at audio shows.  I know they'll be at the Captial Audio Fest in November this year for any East Coaster's interested in a listening session.

HK  
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Lonely Raven
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Re: Axpona 2018
Reply #15 - 04/17/18 at 15:40:24
 

Yes, you're right, Daedalus Audio! I could tell, that whole room was full of hand-picked, cream of the crop gear. If I were a bunch more deep pocketed, I could see me going down that path with the Lampi DAC, ZOTL Amps, and even the Skogrand cables. Hell, even the audio rack they used was beautiful to me. Definitely my favorite room, but of course, I didn't bother asking for the price on anything, as I'm sure it's all well out of my reach.

The only other speaker that really wow'd me was the one with white drivers (or grills, I didn't really get a good look). I think they had my attention in years past as well.  

I didn't see any Omega speakers anywhere, nor Zu Audio now that I think about it. Maybe I just missed them?
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Palomino
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Re: Axpona 2018
Reply #16 - 04/17/18 at 16:05:55
 
I did not see Omega and Zu and I stayed for two hours after you guys left.

I found one room I liked better than Deadalus later in the day.  I have to look at my schedule to recall the name.  Those were the $120K speakers.
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Lonely Raven
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Re: Axpona 2018
Reply #17 - 04/17/18 at 16:43:56
 

Yeah, don't touch me after touching your gross schedule though.  :P

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Palomino
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Re: Axpona 2018
Reply #18 - 04/17/18 at 16:45:17
 
I'm still deeply disappointed you didn't pick it up.

Hey, I sent you a text with a picture of your headrest.  Did you get it?
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Palomino
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Re: Axpona 2018
Reply #19 - 04/17/18 at 16:48:19
 
Also, GIK offers some good values in room treatments.  Their QRD7 and skylines are very reasonably priced.
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Lonely Raven
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Re: Axpona 2018
Reply #20 - 04/17/18 at 20:40:53
 

Yes on the headrest, I've just been a bit under the weather the past couple days and forgot to respond. I'm excited to try it out, thanks!  

Also, get into the 21st century and get Messenger so you can send full messages and stop texting like a savage.   Wink

Have you checked out what happened to the OTL Steve posted?? Our discussion at Axpona started a fire!  

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Palomino
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Re: Axpona 2018
Reply #21 - 04/17/18 at 20:44:26
 
Yes, he sent me something via Messenger.  He and I have been using it for a while.  I was just waiting for you to catch up.

So now that the OTL has landed, how soon till you blow it up?
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HockessinKid
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Re: Axpona 2018
Reply #22 - 04/17/18 at 21:31:06
 
Quote:
I found one room I liked better than Deadalus later in the day.  I have to look at my schedule to recall the name.  Those were the $120K speakers.


If memory serves me correctly, the Daedalus Apollo's and Apollo 11's (MTM configuration for mids and tweeters) run about $21K - $25K depending on configuration.  It's a lot to spend, but a lot less than $125,000. Grin Grin

HK
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beowulf
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Re: Axpona 2018
Reply #23 - 04/18/18 at 07:29:53
 
@ Palomino - thanks for the feedback much appreciated as always!  Sad to hear the Voxativ weren't doing it nor the Horn 1 for the PAP room ... the way Doug Schroeder of Dagogo went on about the Trio15 Horn1 I was thinking these were going to be something special.

@ LR - thanks for the great pictures and impressions as well!
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Palomino
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Re: Axpona 2018
Reply #24 - 04/18/18 at 12:00:07
 
Well I am just one opinion here.  I want there to be a holy grail of single drivers and I held out hope that Voxativ was it.  In hearing two different configurations over this year and last I have just not come away feeling that way.

PAP was in 2 rooms.  One had a voxativ, maybe 5" driver.  It could be that I am listening to a configuration now at home that is relatively warm but didn't like what I heard and thought it sounded shrill.  I think Eric shared the same opinion.

And the horn in the other room sounded too warm.

I did have an interesting conversation in the expo.  There was a guy from Vancouver with a booth that had some single drivers in some acrylic OBs.  He wasn't playing them.  I think it was more for display.

Anyway, I asked him about the drivers and he said that they were made by a company that split off from Voxativ.  He said the idea guys went to this company and the sound of their drivers was way better than Voxativ.  I think the sales and marketing focused guys kept going at Voxativ.  That's why you have heard of voxativ and not the split off company.  Anyway, I'll see if I can dig out his card.  Those drivers might be worth a listen.
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Lonely Raven
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Re: Axpona 2018
Reply #25 - 04/18/18 at 17:17:18
 
Quote:
Yes, he sent me something via Messenger.  He and I have been using it for a while.  I was just waiting for you to catch up.

So now that the OTL has landed, how soon till you blow it up?


Hey now! Thems fighting words!

And besides, I'm scared to touch it. I'll let BadWolf learn how to feed and water the thing, and he can figure out how to fire it up. You know it's going to have to go on a tour of all the CDApS greatest listening locations!!
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Re: Axpona 2018
Reply #26 - 04/18/18 at 17:25:49
 
Yeah, if you can post that info that'd be great.

I know that the original company that Voxativ based their drivers on was from AER who also make their drivers in house in Germany, they are also the drivers used in RL Acoustics LamHorn 1.8 which can supposedly do 20 - 20 with a single AER driver with specs of 16 ohms @ 102.5dB (got to hear these someday).

Image from AER
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Re: Axpona 2018
Reply #27 - 04/19/18 at 01:33:55
 

These shows make me so glad we don't have dealers!  God, it's so much work to drag that gear to the show and set it up.  The time and money is huge and it's not just one show, it's a never ending circuit of shows all throughout the year indefinitely.  If you have dealers, they are going to expect two things;  To see the manufactures products in magazine ads and reviews and to see the manufactures products at the shows. That way they can feel good about what they are selling, but also can sell it.  You're not going to sell anything that someone hasn't heard of.  The manufactures carry the burden of having to maintain a constant presence just to survive, it's not an option.

Without all of this constant distraction and the extra payroll for people to deal with it,  I can keep my prices low and my focus high Smiley

Steve
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Lonely Raven
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Re: Axpona 2018
Reply #28 - 04/19/18 at 16:56:37
 
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Palomino
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Re: Axpona 2018
Reply #29 - 04/21/18 at 03:36:38
 
One of the big reasons I got to Axpona is to source new music.  I shamed close to 45 songs.  When I got home I found all but one on TIDAL. Here are the ones that I liked the most.  A wide range of stuff.

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Lonely Raven
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Re: Axpona 2018
Reply #30 - 04/26/18 at 17:11:03
 

Thanks for the list!  I'll have to check those out when I get home tonight!


I got some time with the OTL and BadWolf last night - we chatted about everything from tube amps to metallurgy to quantum memory and how it all relates. I really enjoyed listening to the OTL again - We're definitely going to have to follow up with a CDApS meet soon!
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Palomino
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Re: Axpona 2018
Reply #31 - 04/26/18 at 17:23:09
 
Unfortunately, I can't post a TIDAL playlist from Audirvana.  I can from the TIDAL ap, but I don't run that at home.

Very interested in your impression of the OTL.  Would love to hear it with your DAC (or BW's) in my room.
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