Home Theater Forum and Systems banner

1 - 20 of 61 Posts

·
Banned
Joined
·
4,838 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Audio Expo North America (AXPONA) 2015 Show Report



hometheatershackheaderlogo.jpg


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
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,697 Posts
Starting off the show by getting my ears in tune with Volti Audio Vittora loudspeakers, ELF cabinets and Border Patrol electronics.

IMG_3100.JPG

IMG_3102.JPG
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
4,838 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
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.


ForumRunner_20150424_103439.png



ForumRunner_20150424_103502.png
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
4,838 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
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.


ForumRunner_20150424_110650.png



ForumRunner_20150424_110709.png

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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,697 Posts
The Emotiva room has many amplifiers on display, here is one of my favorites!


IMG_3117.JPG


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!


IMG_3118.JPG
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.


IMG_3119.JPG
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
4,838 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
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.


ForumRunner_20150424_113154.png


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.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
4,838 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
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.


0424151229-600x800.jpg



ForumRunner_20150424_130914.png
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,697 Posts
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!


ForumRunner_20150424_132323.png

ForumRunner_20150424_132343.png

IMG_3137.JPG

IMG_3140.JPG
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,697 Posts
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.

IMG_3141.JPG

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!".
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
4,838 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
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.



ForumRunner_20150424_154025.png



ForumRunner_20150424_154044.png



ForumRunner_20150424_154101.png



.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,697 Posts
The Quad room, was pretty interesting, three different turntables, all with the same tonearms and cartridges. A mixture of MoFi analog and digital was played, but conversation in the room made the display little more than background music. As I occupied the main listening chair, a guy sat down next to me and started singing along with the song (a Hall & Oates number). The Quads were very seductive from what little I could hear, but I had to move on. Much to see and so little time.


IMG_3144.JPG

IMG_3147.JPG

IMG_3150.JPG
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,697 Posts
Does anything else for the money rock out as loud as a Soundfield Audio loudspeaker? Not that I am aware of. The D1 dipoles with active bass, tops powered by the Belles VT-01 valve pre amp and MB60 Class A monoblocs that were just loafing along at around 5 watts or so, Days of the New "Shelf in the Room" played at near concert level with no sense of strain.

Equally adept with small scale acoustic instruments and female vocals as they are with big band music, Gordon Goodwin's "Big Phat Band", the D1 pair delivered that signature "live" feel that Soundfield Audio is known for.



IMG_3151.JPG IMG_3153.JPG
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,697 Posts
I popped into the Underwood HiFi room just as a customer wanted to test the Emerald Physics CS2.3 MK2. Megadeth was the weapon chosen. Spacious, rich sound filled the room, the dipole speakers portraying a huge, lifelike soundstage. Loud, yet effortless I really enjoyed the presentation. Others cried "Uncle!" and the volume was reduced. I checked around the room, there were no serious injuries, heh.

Bass, massaged by the DSPeaker Anti-Mode 2.0 Dual Core, was as full and smooth as one could want, reminding me of my last encounter with EP at the 2014 RMAF. Different rooms, but the same sound, speaks to the value the Anti-Mode adds.


ForumRunner_20150424_181228.png

IMG_3155.JPG

IMG_3156.JPG

IMG_3157.JPG
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
4,838 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Klaus Bunge of Odyssey Audio will not try to tell you his speakers are perfect. He really does not say much at all, just lets you hear for yourself. His $6,900 package, including the Candela Preamplifier - normally $1600 - and a pair of Khartago Monos - $1995/pr - and his Kismet Beryllium Reference Loudspeakers - $4200/pair - all for $6,900 - is without a doubt the deal of AXPONA, sounding as good as, or better than, systems at 3x and 4x the price.

The Kismets are lively, engaging, fun, articulate, they image sharply, project a wonderful soundstage, are accurate, able to sock you with.deep, tight bass... They do so much so well at such a reasonable price point, you almost can not walk out of the room without thinking seriously about placing an order.

They are set up properly and accompanied by GIK room treatments which complement and protect their wonderful sound.

I often have reservations about hard dome tweeters, but the Kismet beryllium dome tweeters are well behaved, can soar when called upon and soothe the soul when the music demands it.

Definitely the value system of AXPONA 2015

ForumRunner_20150424_184212.png



ForumRunner_20150424_184237.png



ForumRunner_20150424_184259.png

.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,697 Posts
MBL room - Holographic sound with a deep soundstage, with great dynamic capability in the highs and midrange regions, anyway. Styx "Come Sail Away" a notoriously obnoxious song in the treble region, was played from reel to reel, the highs bsolutely strain-free. Mid bass was a little light, deep bass was almost completely absent. The amps are enormous and extremely capable, I wonder if the lower registers are limited by the speakers or personal choice?

Near perfect imaging within the spacious soundstage, performers spread out nicely with realistic amounts of air separating them, and recessed three feet or more behind the front plane of the $42k MBL 111 F loudspeakers.


IMG_3162.JPG

IMG_3160.JPG
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,697 Posts
In the Washington Room, Jolida, with more MBL, this time, the model116 F speaker.

A lesser speaker than the 111F, but to my ears, better integrated within the room. Lower frequencies were well represented, while still maintaining that same seductive, holographic omni-directional sound. I really liked this room a lot.

IMG_3163.JPG

IMG_3166.JPG

IMG_3164.JPG

IMG_3165.JPG

Wayne's Comments:

This room was one of my early visits. While some omnidirectional speaker designs have softer imaging, the MBL design puts out very tight imaging within a very engaging soundstage. The whole end of the room comes alive.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,697 Posts
Burton Room, Staccato Horn System by Sadurni Acoustics made the very familiar to almost everyone, Nirvana "Come As You Are", sound better than I have ever experienced. 108 dB sensitivity, but no hiss from the Merrill Audio Veritas amps.

The very broad band diffusers are also available from exhibitor, Blue Smoke Entertainment System, and certainly had much to do with the lively, yet smooth, sounds. Helmholtz resonators vacuumed modal room resonances away, leaving only first arrival sound from the loudspeakers.


IMG_3168.JPG

IMG_3169.JPG

IMG_3173.JPG


I don't think that tuning the system
with Room EQ Wizard hurt the sound one bit, either. ;)


ForumRunner_20150425_121446.png
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,697 Posts
Ducked into the Channel D exhibit for a quick listen. Systems like the Joseph Audio Pulsar w/Bag End 12" subwoofers are the reason why I am a huge mini monitor/subwoofer type of guy.


IMG_3180.JPG

IMG_3181.JPG
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
4,838 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
I am always - ALWAYS - impressed by Dynaudio's offerings. Here is the Focus 600 XD, priced at $13,500 per pair. We listened to 24/96 audio over the supplied wireless LAN, a closed network The 3-way design features DSP and a 150-watt digital amplifier for each driver. I liked the small LED level indicatoor on the corner of each cabinet.

The cabinets are venier matched by pair

I was impressed by the openness of the sound, the sheer emptiness between the sounds and notes.



ForumRunner_20150425_132333.png



ForumRunner_20150425_132354.png
 
1 - 20 of 61 Posts
Top