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

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post #1 of 61 Old 04-24-15, 02:01 AM Thread Starter
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Audio Expo North America (AXPONA) 2015 Show Report



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Reporting from the beautiful Westin O'Hare in Rosemont, Illinois for HomeTheaterShack.com, equipment reviewers Dennis Young (Tesseract) - right - and Wayne Myers (AudiocRaver) - left - are on the scene bringing you highlights from the show.


HTS Writer and Reviewer Todd Anderson joined us for the day Saturday and part of Sunday. Watch for news writeups of some of his impressions.


Links to room reports:
Final Thoughts
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post #2 of 61 Old 04-24-15, 10:07 AM
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Starting off the show by getting my ears in tune with Volti Audio Vittora loudspeakers, ELF cabinets and Border Patrol electronics.

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"I left in love, in laughter, and in truth and wherever truth, love and laughter abide, I am there in spirit." - Bill Hicks
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post #3 of 61 Old 04-24-15, 10:35 AM Thread Starter
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The Magico room, Radiohead on the big Magico MPro limited edition speakers, $130,000 per pair, only 50 pairs made, all of them already sold.

The 3-way design is massive and beautiful. Very impressive imaging, and definition is impecable, delicate. It seems like every sound has inner secrets being revealed by the MPros.


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post #4 of 61 Old 04-24-15, 11:07 AM Thread Starter
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HHR Exotic Speakers, the smaller TLS-5 at $6,500 per pair, and the big TLS-1 at $15,000 per pair, and both do an "erase the end of the room" trick, really opening up the space, completely invisible in the room. Imaging is broad but completely natural. You can walk anywhere in the room and get a great, natural soundstage.

Piano and sax have wonderful tonalities.

Designer Dale Harder and wife Yin are not afraid to get their hands dirty designing and producing these speakers. They look and sound wonderful. Great speakers for a room full of music lovers.


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Dale has been working on the driver design for over 40 years, going back to the original patents and having made over 60 design improvements upon it over the years.

Prototypes for the first Walsh-style subwoofer are in the works.
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post #5 of 61 Old 04-24-15, 11:18 AM
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The Emotiva room has many amplifiers on display, here is one of my favorites!


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A 7.2 Emotiva XMC-1/XPA-1/XPA-5 based system with Dirac room correction made the loudspeakers sound better than I have ever heard from Polk Audio.

The XMC-1 allows importation of REW filters!


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Wayne's Comments:

Lots to see in the Emotive room, including new headphone amp/DAC models. Loved the look and massive construction of the big monoblock!

I am also a fan of their Airmotiv pro powered monitor line.


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"I left in love, in laughter, and in truth and wherever truth, love and laughter abide, I am there in spirit." - Bill Hicks
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post #6 of 61 Old 04-24-15, 11:32 AM Thread Starter
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The Kaiser Classic speakers, from their Kawero line, start at $60,000 per pair. The pair I am listening to is priced at $70,000 for their finish.

The sound is very coherent, and very smooth with the RAAL tweeter. It is a three-way design. Piano and male vocals are presented with excellent imaging and clarity. Guitar definition and detail is superb, both electric and acoustic. Cymbals and female vocal details are delightful.


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The longer I listen, the more impressed I am by these speakers. Very nice. Their coherence and completely natural clarity really grab you, track after track.


Dennis' impressions:

Oh... boy! Probably the most natural presentation, yet. This system wants for nothing. I could own this and be done.
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post #7 of 61 Old 04-24-15, 01:09 PM Thread Starter
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My question to Gibson's director of Market Deveopment, Nils Karsten, was, "What would possess a guitar manufacturer to produce powered studio monitors?" The intent was to provide the artist, producer, and engineer a small, portable reference monitor that allows the tracking, mixing, and mastering environment to be translated to the audiophile listening experience.

Three two-way, class-D powered models all contain custom drivers with discrete amplification for each driver. Woofer sizes are 4, 6, and 8 inches. Tweeters are 1 inch diamond-like carbon-coated titanium designs, with HF extension to 47 kHz. Prices are $599, $799, and $999 each.

The woofers are a very rigid design. They put out an impressive amount ot tight, well-defined bass for their size. Highs are crisp, and can be tailored to user taste. The sound is accurate and clean.

Finishes are wood venier with 7-layer polyester overcoats for rigidity. They are beautiful like the Gibson Les Paul guitars they are named after. They are being introduced on the 100-year anniversary of Les Paul's birth.


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post #8 of 61 Old 04-24-15, 01:31 PM
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The Sound Classic display featured a pair of Altec Lansing 821A "Iconic" loudspeakers from Les Paul's studio!

Music played through a Pioneer reel to reel, Marantz Seven and McIntosh 225 sounded huge and warm. Vintage sound at it's finest!


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"I left in love, in laughter, and in truth and wherever truth, love and laughter abide, I am there in spirit." - Bill Hicks
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post #9 of 61 Old 04-24-15, 03:22 PM
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The Saturday Audio Exchange (Room 332) featured about $30k of McIntosh electronics, running J Rivers and feeding sweet, sweet sounds to the Golden Ear Triton One speakers. Strummed stringed instruments and female vocals were used with several songs to show off the uncanny realism of the Ones.

Percussion packed a wallop. The power reserves of the Mac amps seemed limitless, while the Ones just soaked that power up, returning startling SPL when called upon.

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Best room I've been to, thus far. Ending the audition with Steely Dan and The Alan Parsons Project, I sat listening, thinking to myself, "Yes, please!".

"I left in love, in laughter, and in truth and wherever truth, love and laughter abide, I am there in spirit." - Bill Hicks
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post #10 of 61 Old 04-24-15, 03:41 PM Thread Starter
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The Cabasse La Sphere is about as exotic in appearance as high-end speakers come. They are priced at $180,000 per pair, and the 4-way design comes with an active crossover unit

The La Sphere woofer is 22-inch, and all four drivers are concentric, so imaging is nothing short of amazing. I have noted with other speakers that tight, coherent imaging makes possible the recognition of separate sounds that are mashed together by other speakers. The La Sphere provides an image coherence that is so easy for the ears and psycho-acoustical brain to process that new layers and levels of detail suddenly are easily apparent, making you wonder where they have been hiding. Their voicing seems a little reserved, but with a few minutes of settle-in time I was comfortable with it.

I played all my test tracks through the system. Although they sound good from off-center, the benefit of finding the proper center listening spot is readily apparent. I moved the front-center chair two feet forward and found that the imaging became even more natural and the soundstage more convincingly real.

I especially enjoyed the cello and piano of Messaien's Quartet for the End of Time. They seemed chillingly real in the room.

The all-Esoteric front end and amplification driving the La Sphere pair is impressive as well.

Being able to experience a system like this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, one I am delighted to have partaken of.



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