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AXPONA 2018

SIY

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#1
This will be short and not-so-sweet. There were a few cheap things there which seemed very interesting. the expensive stuff... not so much. There was a $395,000 pair of speakers which were huge, sounded huge, and sounded absolutely nothing like live music. I could pay for about 800 house concerts with that amount of coin. PS Audio also stood out for remarkably poor sound given the price and pretension. Speakers that ought to have sounded good were let down by poor room setup, ****** source material, and excessive bass. Sometimes crazy high volume as well (my ears were ringing after 5 minutes in the Kii room). If exhibitors paid half as much attention to the room setup as they did to ostentatiously displaying expensive power cords, they might have had a chance at good sound. One guy told me, "Yeah, I hate doing this (the power cords and "audiophile" outlets), but the people coming in expect it. When I didn't use them, they noticed and complained."

The most entertaining part was the lecture and demo by the guy running High Fidelity Cables, who had a van de Graaff generator as a visual aid and "explained" how electricity and magnetism work. I wondered a lot about whether he was that pig-ignorant or whether he knew he was scamming. I finally decided, "Both." In a world where the general public thinks that IFSL and Bill Nye are science educators, I guess I shouldn't have been surprised at how people were lapping it up. The AudioQuest guy was also holding forth to an adoring group, and he didn't even pretend to be anything other than a slick and shady used car salesman type.

One room featured an "audiophile" Ethernet switch. I asked, "What does it do differently than an ordinary switch?" "We use audiophile components." "Yes, but what does it DO differently?" Much confusion, much discussion among several people in Chinese, then the answer, "It removes noise from the Internet." "Oh, so it blocks the Everyday Feminism website?" Many confused and blank looks. I admit, that was rather cruel.

I also admit that I'm not a headphone guy, so maybe there was something great there. The few that I listened to sounded like, well, just another pair of headphones.
 

SIY

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#3
I'm still not sure about what this actually does rather than "remove energy" and "make direct drive turntables sound less cold." But it was amusing.
 

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restorer-john

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#6
What's with the piece of rail and the hammer? Go on, tell us, I feel like good laugh.

OMG, I found this on their website.

platterdrive.JPG


Gotta love the anvil
 

SIY

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#7
You basically got it- it's a second platter driven by the main platter. The anvil is there to keep the new tonearm board from rotating.
 

SIY

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#9
I'm guessing that speed stability is the origin of the "cold sound" that this is supposed to cure.

To be fair, the guy selling this did seem to be entirely sincere, unlike the magnetic cable guy, who absolutely radiated "scam artist."
 

cjfrbw

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#10
I have noticed that people who have a vested economic interest in superstition and who even make a good living at it tend to become quite sincere in believing as well as proomulgating their BS.
 

SIY

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#11
"You tell me whar a man gits his corn pone, en I'll tell you what his 'pinions is."

I'm probably a bit less generous- I get the huckster vibe from maybe 9 out of 10 of the guys selling fraud stuff and audio fashion gear. A non-scientific poll, of course. ;)
 

cjfrbw

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#12
Heh, Heh, I think the more they make, the more they "believe". They also have the bucks to start spinning more seductive mythologies and pay for shinier packaging.

When they can start arm twisting the critics' establishment with their marketing power, they have made the big time.
 

watchnerd

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#14
There were also these beauties at the show. IMO, this system sounded great.
But, what the hell do I know... o_O Waaaaay outta my league :(
They're certainly impressive, but they would quickly lose their appeal for me when I factor in the cost of probable divorce after purchase....
 

Frank Dernie

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#17
They look so steam punk....very HG Welles / Jules Verne.
Indeed, but they style is functional and the lowest colouration horn speaker I have heard, though I haven't heard those Trios. Admittedly most of the other horns I have heard cross over to a box "bass" unit at a frequency where a substantial proportion of all musical fundamentals is coming from the box not the horn.
 

SIY

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#18
There were also these beauties at the show. IMO, this system sounded great.
But, what the hell do I know... o_O Waaaaay outta my league :(
When I was in their room, they were only playing percussion tracks at high volume. No way to evaluate the tonal balance or imaging. When I asked for something else, I was brushed off (despite having my glamorous "Press" badge). :rolleyes:
 

TitaniumTroy

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#19
Okay better late than ever, I thought the 2018 AXPONA was the best show of all five I have been too. The Renaissance hotel/convention center was the difference, that place is made for large events. I don't think they will out grow this place, the bad part of such a huge venue is you need to bring your best walking shoes.

You also have to prioritize and plan out your plan of attack if you want to hear the all the rooms that interest you. Which can be a challenge given the limited information on what equipment is in which room. For me it's all about the speakers, so I try to hit the ones that are exotic or because I like the brand.

Gauder Akustik's was a new one for me, and one my top five speakers of the show. Despite being in a rather small room, imaging, tonality, bass response all were top notch. Those Avante Garde Trio's XD were incredible despite the fact you were sitting too close with a wall right behind your head.

YG Acoustics Sonja XD jr, was very impressive as was Magico's A3 they really had that room dialed in. Of course the Von Schweikert Audio's Ultra 11 were awesome if somewhat boomy in a really large room. Also in a similar sized room was Vandersteen's top of the line, however they sounded tiny in such a large room.

Headphone wise I tried to hear all the planer/electrostatic HP's I could, to see if I could find something to beat my HiFiMan HE 1000v2's. I found it, Mr. Speaker Voce electrostatic HP was just on another level compared to the other brands I listened to, including Sennheiser's uber expensive HE-1 Headphone System. They were just more open, detailed and accurate sounding.

Food at the hotel itself was hit and miss, Thursday nite I ate at their steak restaurant, and that was pretty good as was breakfast. Friday I went to Chicago Prime Italian, which was excellent even had live music. Saturday nite was Morton's steak house, and their Cajun steak I really liked a lot. Trying to grab a quick lunch between listening to speakers, was not even as good as last years. So I think the hotel really needs to upgrade in that dept. Also the restaurants could not keep up with crowds of people at nite. However Shaumburg IL has a lot of good quality restaurants nearby so that helps.

Maybe it was a great show because I did not have Amir, telling me I have ears of stone.That my taste in demo music is doody. Also having me drive him to weird middle eastern restaurants in strip malls. Of course we did drive to a pizza restaurant last year and after a long wait, we got some really mediocre pizza. So I can't blame Amir for everything, just most things.

I will be back next year, hopefully with Amir so I can goof on him some more.
 
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cjfrbw

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#20
Amir has some of the best show reports.

I will be going to California Audio Show this Saturday. I am a luddite, but I have given up taking vinyl records because getting vendors to play them is always a challenge.

I know that many rooms don't even have digital players any more for discs.

I have a question for the technical brains: what format is best to take to hear familiar music if they will let you play it? CD? FAT32 USB chips in FLAC? What form and formats? What are guys transporting their music on these days?
 

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