AXPONA 2014 Official Show Report by Wayne Myers - Page 3 - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com

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post #21 of 40 Old 05-04-14, 06:48 PM
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Re: AXPONA 2014 Official Show Report by Wayne Myers

Thanks for all of your efforts and reports, Wayne. Those of us who cannot attend really appreciate it. Actually, even if I could attend I would really appreciate it. It would let us compare notes.




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post #22 of 40 Old 05-05-14, 11:48 AM Thread Starter
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Re: AXPONA 2014 Official Show Report by Wayne Myers

Endeavor Audio

  • E-3: $7,000 / pr

The Endeavor Audio E-3 got a brief listen and my impressions were that they sounded a little boxy and a bit peaky on the high end. Bass seemed fairly even and the mids and highs had nice clarity.
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post #23 of 40 Old 05-05-14, 11:52 AM Thread Starter
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Re: AXPONA 2014 Official Show Report by Wayne Myers

Leonard:

You are very welcome. I would have given anything to have your and Joe's ears there to compare observations with.
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post #24 of 40 Old 05-05-14, 12:08 PM Thread Starter
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Re: AXPONA 2014 Official Show Report by Wayne Myers

Daedalus Audio

  • Argos version.2: $13,000 / pr

The Argos had a gorgeous finish. Many of the speakers already mentioned did as well, but the Argos finish really stood out of the crowd.

Imaging and soundstage were very good. The bass was exceptionally deep and powerful, and the standup bass notes on Reasons Why were very even and well defined, not the least bit boomy.

I simply loved the high end, very crisp, smooth, and even, and very clean.

Sometimes it is difficult to describe just what it is about a speaker that grabs you. The Argos definitely grabbed me, and I noted that they were among the more engaging speakers at the show. I will definitely be watching for opportunities to hear more of them in the future. Very nice.
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post #25 of 40 Old 05-05-14, 12:34 PM Thread Starter
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Re: AXPONA 2014 Official Show Report by Wayne Myers

Vapor Audio

  • Derecho: $7,600 / pr

I am hereby proclaiming the "Vapor Audio Rule." The "Vapor Audio Rule" goes like this: Never, ever pass up a chance to listen to a pair of Vapor Audio speakers. We spent a lot of time in their room at RMAF last fall and I gave the Derecho speakers a good audition at AXPONA, plus I have heard two of their bookshelf models while in the review process by Dennis Young (Tesseract), and I have never heard one of their models yet that I did not like very much.

The Derecho first impressed me as having exceptionally smooth response throughout their range. The deep bass was smooth and quick, punchy with good definition. The RAAL tweeter provided a lovely high end, as smooth as... butter? water? light? honey? mercury? I gave up searching for the best descriptor. It was smoooooth. The overall sound was supremely well integrated, so together, exceptionally quick and responsive.

The design and finish were also standouts at the show, simply beautiful.

At this point of the show I had been favoring the $15k to $30k price range as containing my favorite models. The Vapor Derecho easily performed in the same league as those higher-priced favorites. To anyone thinking they needed to spend $10,000 or more for great speakers, I would have to say, "You gotta check out the Vapor Audio line first." I do not know how they do it, but they never fail to knock the sonic ball right out of the park. Go Derercho!
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post #26 of 40 Old 05-05-14, 01:34 PM Thread Starter
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Re: AXPONA 2014 Official Show Report by Wayne Myers

Madison Fielding


  • Flagstone PlanterSpeakers: $3,400 / pr

And a fun finish for day two, auditioning a pair of singing plant stands. No, it was not a scene from The Three Amigos (Steve Martin confronting a singing bush), it was actual planters with speakers built in. And they sounded GREAT! Certainly the best sounding plant stands I have ever heard! OK, the only ones so far, but still...

They were serious planters, with a drain and a removable dirt bag. And they sounded as good as some of the $5k and up serious speakers I had heard. The soundstage was fair, all coming from down at ankle level, and imaging was a little soft but was very stable. Fidelity and clarity were very impressive.

I put on my test tracks and imagined hearing Ain't It A Shame and Reasons Why out on the rear patio in the sunshine with cardinals and robins chirping and that squirrel chattering up in the big tree in the middle of the yard while grilling for friends (me, not the squirrel, although grilling the squirrel has come to mind - kidding!). The result was much better than I would have expected for outdoor sound: fun, accurate, lively, tight, responsive. We cranked up Porcupine Tree's Shallow and it simply rocked!

And they are built to last. The inventor has had his prototypes sitting outdoors for 10 years through Vermont winters and they have yet to exhibit any degradation in sound quality. The company recently received the second unit sold back for repair: a weed whacker cut a speaker cable.

A downward-firing woofer and side-mounted mid and tweeter drivers handle 150 W RMS. Construction is industrial grade poly resin. No back yard listening area should be without them.
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post #27 of 40 Old 05-06-14, 02:40 PM Thread Starter
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Re: AXPONA 2014 Official Show Report by Wayne Myers

Polymer Audio Research

  • MKS-X: $60,000 / pr
Speaker Disappearing Act #2

Polymer Audio Research specializes in "exploring the very edge of the art" of speaker design "at the limits of current technology" (from their web site). Their use of composite materials, optimized cone geometries, metal alloys for cabinets, shapes for diffraction control -- all are intended to minimize the various types of distortion that speakers can produce. And all this is done without regard for cost.

They did disappear nicely in the room, with a large, spacious soundstage and imaging that was pretty good, although not very precise. The high end was clean and provided lots of detail. Drums and xylophone had excellent impact, and a saxophone sounded quite natural.

But the on-axis frequency response was bothersome to me, with a hole in the upper-midrange and some rouighness higher up. Overall, they did not impress me the way they should have, given the price and the touted technology benefits.
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post #28 of 40 Old 05-06-14, 03:43 PM Thread Starter
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Re: AXPONA 2014 Official Show Report by Wayne Myers

Audio Note
  • J/D: $3,700 / pr
I almost walked right by the Audio Note room, but something drew me in, and I am glad it did. I lost track of the number of "rules of convention" that were broken in that room. Yet the sound was simply delightful.

The J/D speakers (sorry, I was so distracted I forgot to snap photos) were pushed clear into the corners of the room (where they were designed to go). Cabinet materials, rather than being heavily braced, were designed to resonate at frequencies to complement driver characteristics. Conventional design wisdom was flaunted at every turn.

The little two-way J/D's played an orchestral piece that contained deep bass that was smooth, powerful, and natural. The soundstage and imaging, to my surprise given the placement, were both very good. A deep soundstage with speakers that close to the wall seems almost an impossibility, yet there it was. Tonal balance was accurate and clarity and definition were excellent. I laughed out loud more than once at how well the J/D's performed. They were a wonderful surprise and are well worth a listen - but be ready to relax and break some rules to get them sounding their best.
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post #29 of 40 Old 05-08-14, 07:35 PM Thread Starter
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Re: AXPONA 2014 Official Show Report by Wayne Myers

SoundLAB


  • Majestic 945: $40,570 / pr

SoundLAB makes huge, full-range electrostatics. I expected to be highly impressed by the sound, but was not.

They allowed me to play my test tracks. I turned up Ain't It A Shame to a nice listening level, around 80 dB average SPL or so, and heard distortion. The exhibitor told me it was too loud, so I turned it back down. Perhaps the show setup was intended for lower volumes, perhaps the Majestic 945's were underpowered for what I wanted to hear. I will give the speakers the benefit of the doubt and let the perceived deficiency lay upon the exhibitors.

Imaging and soundstage were best about four rows back in the VERY large room. The imaging was pinpoint sharp, but the soundstage never became natural and relaxed for me.

They did put out some deep bass notes with no apparent strain. High frequencies were rough and overall quite subdued. There was a nice sense of detail and definition on mandolin, guitar, and banjo on Ode To A Butterfly.

The experience left me thinking - and hoping - the speakers were capable of so much more.
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post #30 of 40 Old 05-08-14, 11:05 PM Thread Starter
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Re: AXPONA 2014 Official Show Report by Wayne Myers

Mancave Metal


  • Raptor 1.0

I met Larry Pattie of Mancave Metal while setup was going on Thursday night. Larry clearly does what he loves and loves what he does - customizing hot rods and building high-end audio speakers. His 230 lb. (each) Raptor 1.0 speakers are bad-looking beasts that sound great!

Larry turned to Legacy Audio for drivers, crossover design, and cabinet tuning. How can you go wrong there? The result was the most unique product at the show, from my perspective. They sounded excellent, with smooth response across all ranges, powerful, well-defined bass, crisp highs, exactly what you would expect from a Legacy design. They might not fit with just ANY decor, but then again, the listener who buys a pair of Raptor 1.0 speakers will likely be someone who has their own way of decorating a listening room.
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