AXPONA 2018 Discussion Thread

Discussion in 'AV Expos and Get Togethers (GTG)' started by tesseract, Apr 13, 2018.

  1. tesseract

    tesseract Senior Admin
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  2. Tonto

    Tonto Senior Member

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    You guys make a great team, looking forward to reading about all the new tech!
     
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  3. tripplej

    tripplej AV Enthusiast

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    Yeah, I second Tonto. Can't wait for the updates. :)
     
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  4. AudiocRaver

    AudiocRaver Senior Admin
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    Go get 'em guys!
     
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  5. dc2bluelight

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    I saw Matt’s REW Master Class Friday, have to say, well done! That was a lot packed into a very short presentation, and judging from the post-class buzz, there should be a spike in REW downloads this weekend.

    I especially appreciated the realistic perspective of the application of EQ based on REW measurements, and Matt’s depth of knowledge in acoustics. It would be nice if that class could be produced into a nice YouTube video for ongoing benefit.

    One tangential eye opener was the median age of the attendees. We are a disturbingly older group!
     
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  6. dc2bluelight

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    Here were a few of my personal highlights/lowlights of Axpona 2018:

    "Best illuminated gear"...had to be Mcintosh. Everything lit up Mac blue except the turntable which had a more green color (my photo doesn't do it justice). If having your gear out on display rings your bells, this was the stuff to have. My gear is all out of sight, but I do appreciate the light show.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I usually spend time listening to headphones, but ran a bit short this year. I hit HiFiMan first and listened to their top of the line headphones, the Susvara and Shangri La ($6000 and $8000 respectively). Um...yeah...well....nice, but I hear color in there. Good thing too, 'cuz there's no seeing me owning $8K headphones.

    Wow everyone has these HUGE headphone amps! Really? How much do you need to drive a 32 ohm high sensitivity load?

    I did sit for a while with Atlanta-based Empire who makes a line of IEMs. Unfortunately, my tastes ran toward their particular champaign.. the Nemesis ($1599) and the Phantom ($1799). I favored the Nemesis with it's 5 drivers and "8-way crossover" (how do you even do that?)...they sounded almost as good as my daily listener IEMs, the Sennheiser CX300 II...just not quite. Guess I'll stick with my $35 IEMs.

    Many demo'd their headphones with headphone amps. I don't carry amps around in my pockets, so I compared all headphones by just plugging them into my iPhone 6. I never hear a difference with headphone amps vs the iPhone except when extra output voltage is required, like the Shure 1840.

    Speaking of Shure, the Shure SRH1540 not only was the winner on their table, but one of the better closed headphones at the show, and a favorite of mine now for several years. I might even own a pair at some point.

    This clam-bake is unquestionably a high-end show. I freely admit to not subscribing to much of that philosophy, so I skipped the exotic cable manufacturers and various other tweaks, and the local audio shop booths that cover their displays with $500+ power cords larger than garden hose in favor of more listening exposure. Having just one day, and not a full one at that, I couldn't spend much time in any listening room. Fortunately I'm blessed with the ability to make some very quick evaluations, though I admit that for some of these, anyone with even moderate hearing loss could have concluded much the same things.

    This year my usual Axpona buddy was busy, so I attended alone. I was able to keep my ears open for others comments on what to see. On gentleman said "You have to go hear Avant Garde Acoustics on the 16th floor. Best at the show, nothing comes close!" So on that recommendation I went up to 16 and found their room, and saw/heard these rather impressive looking speakers:
    [​IMG]
    That's just a stereo pair you see there, woofers in the big silver semi-cylenders, everything else is horns. In fact, those are their Trio XD speakers and Basshorn XD subwoofers. Efficiency, yup. Their specs say "109dB" with no reference power (duh!) but they could no doubt be pretty happy with the power equivalent of a night light. Unfortunately the sound pretty much how they look: horn-ish (I was thinking of another word...), blare-y, and very "in your face". Sorry Avant Garde...we parted ways in 30 seconds. (Not my fastest rejection, though, which was at a large listening room on the second floor, for sound so horrid I didn't even step through the door!)

    My pick for best industrial design goes to Dan D'Agostino..hands down. This stuff is flat out beautiful. And, the sub-category award for "best meter design" is his also. Just look at this thing of beauty!:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Several speaker picks:

    Emotiva Airmotiv (honestly, the room was dark, no idea exactly what was playing, but they were very, very good)

    Legacy Audio Expression - a remarkable speaker, but then, it should be. One of the few higher-end speakers I could sit with for an entire track

    For the more reasonable budget, the Parts-Express Solstice kit speakers - really turned out to be a favorite of the day, though I would probably tune out a little mid-low bass. But I did have to ask if the sub in the middle of the room was operating. It was not! These things win for the cost if you don't mind a little sweat equity. Wish they were a bit smaller and more a fit for matching LCRs.

    Couldn't go without mentioning Golden Ear. Sandy Gross was on hand, and the Triton 1 didn't fail to impress. If I had the space and the money, Golden Ear would be present in my personal system.

    And my ridiculously high end speaker pick would probably be the Wilson Alexandria XLF demonstrated by Paragon. It's not easy to pick a really high-end speaker, oddly, because for some reason they all seem to attempt some form of coloration or emphasis. Not sure why. But the XLFs were very neutral and pleasant. I won't be placing an order, though (I frankly like the Golden Ears better!).
    [​IMG]

    Subwoofer win goes to HSU, with unquestionably the biggest sub bang for the buck. Their 10" $400 VTF1 III is on sale at the show for $40 off. I've been a HSU fan for years, and yet they still astound me. The demo was a bit from the new Bladerunner. Nice sub demo track. There are better subs in the world, but not anywhere near this cost.

    LOTS of turntables! wow, they were so thick on the ground you'd trip over them. I find this a little disturbing for several reasons. And they showed up as demo sources a lot too. Now, I don't mind having a bit of vinyl around for demos, but when I walk into a high-end room and the first thing I hear is worn grooves and surface noise, well, I question what it is they are selling. Reel to reel tape was around too, for those with a quest for visually stimulating source gear and unlimited budgets. It's not a sonic win, though, unless you watch the reels rotate.

    And of course tons of vinyl...very expensive vinyl. And tape. And CDs. All at prices that made me want to whip open my Amazon app. Oh well, it's nice to walk out with something under your arm I guess.

    That's my somewhat less than one day at Axpona. Get there if you can, well worth it.
     
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  7. Peter Loeser

    Peter Loeser Moderator
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    Headed out this morning. Hope to run into you guys!
     
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  8. Matthew J Poes

    Matthew J Poes Staff Writer
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    See you soon!

    I think we will likely focus on the tower today and hit up more of the dedicated audio rooms.

    At least for me the highlights are what you might expect. Emotiva offers a really good value with an impressive amount of gear setup. JTR has his 215RT Towers setup in a 7 channel system. That's 14 high excursion 15" woofers doing sub duty fully surrounding you. Seaton is Seaton, with all the impressiveness you might expect in that room. While I haven't had a chance to critically evaluate the rooms, what I heard on day one impressed me.

    Also for the AV guys among us, those three rooms are running very cool projectors most of us could likely never afford. As in 4k laser wow! Projectors. The JVC especially impressed me.
     
  9. tesseract

    tesseract Senior Admin
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    I am gonna start at the top floor and work my way down. See you there!
     
  10. raynist

    raynist New Member

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    @dc2bluelight - you could judge the sound of a room/speakers without ever entering the room? You must have some speacial kind of ears.

    So what room was it?
     
  11. Todd Anderson

    Todd Anderson News Editor / Reviewer/ Senior Admin
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    Great pics in the show thread.

    How did those Gayle Sanders speakers sound, Dennis?
     
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  12. Matthew J Poes

    Matthew J Poes Staff Writer
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    I know you asked Dennis, but I actually had a lot of time with them as well. I just haven't posted those pics yet.

    My opinion is that they sounded really good, but I wouldn't want to judge their sound fully until I hear them setup properly in a dedicated space. The SS&I was spot on, great realism to instrument placement and scale. The dynamics were as effortless as I've ever heard for a speaker of this design. It was the bass that bothered me. While it was deep and extended, it was too full. I think they had some modal ringing in the room. The system uses a wavelet processor which can be used to address this problem, but I highly doubt what I heard had addressed room bass issues. As such, it was just too bass heavy for me and sounded a little muddy at times. I don't think this is a property of the speakers, hence why I want to hear them again.

    If I had to rank the overall sound of this system against others I heard, I would certainly put it in my top 5, out of probably 100 systems at the show. I'd still rather too much bass than not enough (a problem in many other system).
     
  13. tesseract

    tesseract Senior Admin
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    I liked them a lot, a very balanced system thanks to the design and built in DSP.
     
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  14. tesseract

    tesseract Senior Admin
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    Thank you. More to come! I am driving the rest of the way home after lunch and will get more up this evening. Matt and I will be adding a few posts a day.
     
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  15. mechman

    mechman Senior Admin
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    Great job you guys! Wish I could have stuck around and actually gone to the show!
     
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  16. tesseract

    tesseract Senior Admin
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    Thanks, man. Glad you made it home while the roads were still clear.
     
  17. Matthew J Poes

    Matthew J Poes Staff Writer
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    I was sad not to get to meet you, but totally understand the situation. It was a great show. I met a lot of great people. The number of industry icons I met and talked with was unreal.

    We don't have pics but we had dinner with Paul Barton. I admire him and his speaker business a great deal. It was great getting to talk with him and learn more about his life and business.
     
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  18. tesseract

    tesseract Senior Admin
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    We missed running into each other!
     
  19. Matthew J Poes

    Matthew J Poes Staff Writer
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    How could you miss him, he's like 10 feet tall! Holy Cow Peter!

    In any case, It was great meeting Peter in person and getting to know more about you and your past involvement with Home Theater Shack.
     
  20. Peter Loeser

    Peter Loeser Moderator
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    It was great chatting with Matthew for a bit (though I really would have liked to have made it to the REW talk). I was bummed to miss Dennis - I hoped our paths would cross but maybe next time. Great show overall and as Matthew said, very cool to interact with so many legends of the industry in one place. There were some very impressive systems on display. Too much to see in one day but it's a very well presented and organized show. Thanks to Matthew and Dennis for the extensive coverage here and for representing the forum at the expo.
     
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  21. Hugh

    Hugh New Member

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    It was good to see you again Dennis.
     
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