Audio Expo North America (AXPONA) 2015 Show Report - Page 5 - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com

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post #41 of 61 Old 04-28-15, 08:11 PM
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Re: Audio Expo North America (AXPONA) 2015 Show Report

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AudiocRaver wrote: View Post
Mark pretty much summed up the show: "Because we can." What a great time to be alive!
So true, Wayne. You really hit the nail on the head with some of the comments you made earlier in the day. All of this tech is amazing.

Great show report...really have enjoyed looking through all of the hard work you and Dennis have laid-out here.
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post #42 of 61 Old 05-02-15, 02:23 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Audio Expo North America (AXPONA) 2015 Show Report

Our report is complete. A Table of Links to the Room Reports has been added in the first post.
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post #43 of 61 Old 05-02-15, 07:11 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Audio Expo North America (AXPONA) 2015 Show Report

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Another great show. I left thinking about the state of the art and the kinds of advancement we are able to see at a show like this. Audiophile advancements come in many forms.

Great sounding value systems. My favorite 2-channel value system was in the Odyssey room, with GIK treatments, where audiophile quality could be had at a very reasonable price. A preamp, two monoblocks, and a fine pair of speakers, all for under $7,000, is nothing to scoff at.

Bigger and badder flagships. The MartinLogan Neolith was outstanding in its delivery of open, relaxed, natural sound. It would have shown better in a bigger room, but the two big curved panels delivered impressively clear sound of the type one would expect from a leader like MartinLogan. For the two-channel listener who has everything, including a large dedicated room, the big new hybrid electrostatics, along with the blue glow of the all-Macintosh front end and amplification, would be both a statement and a listening delight.

Vapor Audio also premiered a flagship, their Perfect Storm. And perfect was the word that kept coming to mind as I listened to the percussion and complex cymbals with unified impact and realism seldom heard from loudspeakers.

Technology integration that sounds fantastic. Dynaudio's second generation of WIFI-distributed tower speakers, including per-driver digital amplification and phase correction, makes setting up a system a breeze. Fewer pieces of gear, fewer wires, more flexibility, and amazing sound... sure seems like progress to me.

Stretching the limits of audibility. Some will claim that the limits of audibility are already exceeded by technology. While I would never presume to one who might stretch those limits, I have little doubt that listeners will appear who will, perhaps in coming generations who grow up with high-resolution audio playing crib-side.

More is better. A 27,000 watt movie surround system might seem like overkill, especially with 16,000 of those watts dedicated to subwoofers, but if inspiring awe is your goal, the Seaton Sound cinema demonstration was right on the mark.

Bigger, smoother, tighter, faster, cheaper, more beautiful, more natural, in a smaller package, easier to install, in a form that overcomes previous setup challenges, examples of all of these forms of progress were in glorious evidence in rooms throughout the show. In some cases you almost know by the company name that you will love what you hear, in other cases you walk into a room at random and get your socks blown off by a product or innovation you never heard of before. What a delightful way to spend a weekend.

"Because we can," as Mark Seaton put it, summing up the size and power of his massive cinema system, a show like AXPONA is largely about showing what we can do. The state of the art in audio recording and reproduction continues to move ahead at a steady pace. Onward and upward!
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post #44 of 61 Old 05-02-15, 05:34 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Audio Expo North America (AXPONA) 2015 Show Report

This thread is now open for comments and discussion.

What were your favorite rooms?

Were there any disappointments?

What would you like to see next year?
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post #45 of 61 Old 05-02-15, 07:04 PM
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Re: Audio Expo North America (AXPONA) 2015 Show Report

Unfortunately I have 3 favorite rooms and it is hard to pick the very best. In the case of this system, the Sonus Faber "Stradivari", it had an incredible, soon to be discovered advantage. This system is not even close to the most expensive speaker, running at about $40,000. I thought I was hearing a little bit of heaven on earth. So beautiful, delicate yet powerful, invisible and as close to what I feel is real as I have ever heard at a show in the room pictured below. Yet what a treat I was in for when I was directed to the room next door which had the same equipment on display with one HUGE difference, namely room treatment. This treatment of absorbers and diffusers took a brilliant speaker to one that sits on the next level. I was ready to put my house up for collateral to obtain the whole system and room treatment. Brilliant I say.


Good Listening

Jack

"For those who believe no proof is needed for those who don't believe no proof is possible"

Last edited by Savjac; 05-02-15 at 10:01 PM.
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post #46 of 61 Old 05-02-15, 07:16 PM
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Re: Audio Expo North America (AXPONA) 2015 Show Report

I must admit, I have a strange belief that if a manufacturer is at the show, they should bring their "A" game. By that I mean, everything should be as good as can be from the recording right on down to the transducer. As such, I have never understood why some very capable groups will display their wares with less than the very best, especially when it comes to the source. I cannot remember how many demos started with MP3's or just plain less than top notch recordings. This seemed to happen in the Emotiva room and I cannot imagine why. The music was Hotel California from a known bad recording as such, the sound in the room was not as good as it could be. I own Emotiva stuff and I love it and do not wish to part with it, it just always works. The crew used Polk Audio speakers, their own equipment including the hottest new processor on the market. I still love them and will not be swayed by one show. The are upright folks making some stunning equipment that can and oft times do touch the highest end.






Good Listening

Jack

"For those who believe no proof is needed for those who don't believe no proof is possible"
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post #47 of 61 Old 05-02-15, 07:57 PM
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Re: Audio Expo North America (AXPONA) 2015 Show Report

I have always liked British Speakers, they get the mid range right, it seems imbedded in their genes. Thus my affinity for B&W and Quad speakers. And not to be outdone by those companies, one of the more reasonably priced speakers that do the mid range so ravishingly well while at the same time disappearing from the room, is Harbeth. What an excellent product. This would be my favorite almost real world speaker system.


Good Listening

Jack

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post #48 of 61 Old 05-02-15, 09:04 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Audio Expo North America (AXPONA) 2015 Show Report

Quote:
Savjac wrote: View Post
Unfortunately I have 3 favorite rooms and it is hard to pick the very best. In the case of this system, the Sonus Faber "Stradivari"has a show advantage. This is not even close to the most expensive speaker at $40,000, I thought I was hearing a little bit of heaven on earth. So beautiful, delicate yet powerful, invisible and as close to what I feel is real as I have ever heard at a show in the room pictured below. Yet was a treat I was in for when I was directed to the room next door which had the same equipment on display with one HUGE difference, namely room treatment that took a brilliant speaker to one that sits on the next level. I was ready to put my house up for collateral to obtain the whole system and room treatment. Brilliant I say.
Unfortunately I missed that room. I know Dennis liked it, too. It is already on my RMAF list to see in October.

Quote:
Savjac wrote: View Post
I must admit, I have a strange belief that if a manufacturer is at the show, they should bring their "A" game. By that I mean, everything should be as good as can be from the recording right on down to the transducer. As such, I have never understood why some very capable groups will display their wares with less than the very best, especially when it comes to the source. I cannot remember how many demos started with MP3's or just plain less than top notch recordings. This seemed to happen in the Emotiva room and I cannot imagine why. The music was Hotel California from a known bad recording as such, the sound in the room was not as good as it could be. I own Emotiva stuff and I love it and do not wish to part with it, it just always works. The crew used Polk Audio speakers, their own equipment including the hottest new processor on the market. I still love them and will not be swayed by one show. The are upright folks making some stunning equipment that can and oft times do touch the highest end.
"A" game, I could not agree more. My three areas of occasional disappointment were:
  • Poorly recorded source material. Tracks should be chosen that give something specific to listen for, good imaging, dynamic impact, inner detail, etc, not just some "old favorite" track.
  • Poor speaker setup. A number of rooms had me moving - forward, usually - to find the true sweet spot for soundstage and imaging. One room had been set up seemingly with no thought for them whatsoever. It took an effort to focus on other qualities, which were actually quite good.
  • Talking in the room. One pair of speakers I really wanted to hear was drowned out by talking in the room, so I left and never made it back. Once the rep himself asked if it was OK for him to continue his conversation. What was I to say?
Quote:
Savjac wrote: View Post
I have always liked British Speakers, they get the mid range right, it seems imbedded in their genes. Thus my affinity for B&W and Quad speakers. And not to be outdone by those companies, one of the more reasonably priced speakers that do the mid range so ravishingly well while at the same time disappearing from the room, is Harbeth. What an excellent product. This would be my favorite almost real world speaker system.
It looks like a speaker I saw a year ago, although I cannot find a writeup about it. I was totally surprised, too, by this humble little speaker, which appeared to be set up all wrong in the room and sounded GREAT!
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post #49 of 61 Old 05-02-15, 10:08 PM
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Re: Audio Expo North America (AXPONA) 2015 Show Report

To get off the best of show for a bit, I want to mention the Cabasse speakers, namely the system called "La Sphere" or as I seemed to think, a work of art to be sure. I did not ask the price but I knew I could not afford them. These speakers had a certain something that sounded quite good but in a limited frequency range. I did not hear much in the way of sound stage going on but maybe the players on the recorded media were afraid to get burned by all that equipment between the speakers. I need good sound staging so these speakers were not my cup of giant eyeballs.


Good Listening

Jack

"For those who believe no proof is needed for those who don't believe no proof is possible"
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post #50 of 61 Old 05-03-15, 07:49 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Audio Expo North America (AXPONA) 2015 Show Report

Quote:
Savjac wrote: View Post
To get off the best of show for a bit, I want to mention the Cabasse speakers, namely the system called "La Sphere" or as I seemed to think, a work of art to be sure. I did not ask the price but I knew I could not afford them. These speakers had a certain something that sounded quite good but in a limited frequency range. I did not hear much in the way of sound stage going on but maybe the players on the recorded media were afraid to get burned by all that equipment between the speakers. I need good sound staging so these speakers were not my cup of giant eyeballs.
I heard good imaging from the La Sphere, lots of detail in it. The voicing / tonal balance was a strange choice. The soundstage, as you mention, was pretty non-remarkable, but setup and room might make a world of difference. And the visual aesthetic speaks for itself (someone obviously liked it). The price was $180,000 per pair. Probably not how I would spend my next paycheck, heh heh. But I can see it having its adherents.
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