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AXPONA 2013 in Chicago - who's going?

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  • #31
    Re: AXPONA 2013 in Chicago - who's going?

    Wow Bryan, thanks for the pics!! I took some too but it seems I'm stuck in the Bermuda triangle of technology. For whatever reason I can't upload the pics on my phone to Picasa, and I can't view your album either from the mother in law's computer (still in Milwaukee).

    What a riot that show was!!! It was like going to a car show, only you get to ride in the Ferrrari !

    It was cool to finally meet a couple of you guys too, and I did actually have that beer w/ Bryan :D. Now I can't wait for InDIYana! It was also cool to meet Jim Salk, hear some of his speakers and see his veneer work.

    I think the biggest shocker for me at the show was how good the $27k Sony SSAR1 speakers sounded. Another favorite was the Kingsound King III Electrostatic speakers. They sounded fantastic; but would never work for me (if I ever even had $12k [each?] to spend on speakers) because you HAVE to be perfectly on axis to enjoy them. I also thought the Sonus Faber speaker's veneer work was superb but I don't remember if I liked how they sounded (I listened to sooooo many speakers :o). I'm going to try to find a virtual tour of the Sonus Faber factory to see how they do their veneer work. I was a little disappointed in the $70k Linn Audio speakers. Anyone else share those sentiments?

    I think the highlight for my son and I was the MBL room. No idea how those work, and they look fantastic and sound incredible! If I ever win the lotto I think a MBL system would be right up my alley ($270k for the one at the show).

    Like I said, tons of fun and it was cool to finally meet Bryan and Joe; plus good to meet up w/ the Meniscus guys and Marvin (sorry for ditching you btw Marvin, had to go find my son). I was a little disappointed that the music selection contained way too much jazz; if I heard one more mellow jazz tune I think was going to freak :eek:.
    "The ability of any system to produce exceptional sound will be limited mainly by the capability of the speakers" Jim Salk
    "Audio is surely a journey full of revelations as you go" JasonP

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    • #32
      Re: AXPONA 2013 in Chicago - who's going?

      My Audio Design UK - MAD




      The Duke on the left and The 1920 is on the right.

      These sounded pretty good, but I have no clue who makes them. Rear-firing tweet, OB mid and I believe the rear of the cabinet was loaded with PRs.
      EDIT: Just realized these are the Wilson Audio Sashas -- $26k !!






      Jim Salk: SalkSound





      I got to hear the Soundscape (the middle one). I gotta admit, I like the Raaaaaaaaaaal. I wasn't as impressed with the Accuton mid, but the finish on those speakers was amazing.....just amazing. I wish I had more time to sit in this room but it was jammed on Saturday.

      Sonic Hemisphere

      This is actually a Chicagoland firm with two speaker models - Fidelity One (3 way) and Fidelity Monitor (2 way). SB Acoustics woofer in the 3-way and then identical Seas drivers for the MT section in each design. $5750/pr for the big ones. The 3-way sounded pretty good. I like the sound of SB Acoustics bass and the overall integration of the drivers in the 3-way was well done. Full disclosure - I never met the guys before, so I'm not trying to plug my home town. ;)



      These looked promising but were a disappointment. That's all I remember and I forgot to note who the manufacturer is.



      JansZen zA2.1 - Sorry, but also a disappointment here. For $8k they should sound better. Something was definitely missing – no clue if it was the room, the music source, both, or just the speaker. It supposedly has a first order XO which is interesting, but apparently not working well??




      Transmission Audio M1i

      These were interesting. Nice sound stage and a good amount of bass from a relatively small midbass unit. I asked if it was a Mark Audio midbass driver and I got an evil stare and was told it was designed by Bo Bengtsson. What do I know? I still think it “looks” like a Mark Audio driver. Anyway, these had a nice silky, transparent sound. Me likes, but not for $4500/pr. :(





      The next few I don't have a lot of info on, so enjoy the pics.


      Soundfield Audio - I believe all these drivers were sourced from PE.



      More funky flat ribbon speaker cable:




      Audio Engine PC desktop system. They had some cute stuff, but I didn't listen to any of it.




      Cool looking speakers, but can't remember anything about them.






      These were placed at the entrance to the show:






      Legacy Audio - Whisper XD Interesting design, but they weren't being auditioned when I was in the room.





      Legacy Aeris







      These were impressive. I liked the CoAx driver and there was plenty of bass. They were only running the system in 2.1 mode, so the CC was switched off. Again, I forgot to note the manufacturer. These speakers were huge and boxy...the WAF is in negative territory for sure.

      EDIT: Seaton Sound -- Catalyst (powered mains) $4,000/ea. and SubMersive Sub $2,545
      I can't seem to find their main web site, but here's a link to their pricing on their forum site: SEATON SOUND FORUM

      Last edited by bkeane1259; 03-11-2013, 08:58 PM.
      Bryan K.

      Midwest Audio Club

      Speedster | Sub Attachť | The Wildeman | Sean's NLA Towers | CO‹GAR, COUGAR II and CO‹GAR JR | Triton | Lithium | J-Boom | Trym MLTL | Docere MLTL

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      • #33
        Re: AXPONA 2013 in Chicago - who's going?

        SCAENA Model 2.4 - 15 mid-ranges per side / 9 ribbon tweeters / 3 subs !!! :eek:

        This system had some serious oomph and the vendor showed it off...well sort of. They played a drum track that was unreal. It seriously sounded like the drums were in the room. The timpani drums were scary real. Good stuff there. The vocal tracks they payed didn't have the same impact for me. I just wasn't feeling the "Iso-linear array." But who am I to judge?? I noticed the sound was quite uniform as you walked around the room. I wanted them to play Tom Sawyer, but they didn't have it. I can't find the pricing on these and they don't even list a system with SIX subs as pictured at the show. I'm curious what this pictured system retails for. I know one of their smaller systems is $66k. Anyone know about this larger one??






        Bryan K.

        Midwest Audio Club

        Speedster | Sub Attachť | The Wildeman | Sean's NLA Towers | CO‹GAR, COUGAR II and CO‹GAR JR | Triton | Lithium | J-Boom | Trym MLTL | Docere MLTL

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        • #34
          Re: AXPONA 2013 in Chicago - who's going?

          Volti Audio Vittora

          104db sensitivity!! Holy crap. However, they sounded like horns. Sorry, I'm not a big horn lover unless I hear a horn system that doesn't have that characteristic honk and cutoff FR. These seemd to lack some deep bass and sparkly highs. However, you can have tons of fun with a 2-watt tube amp and these speakers. The vendor was using a 20-watt push-pull. The veneer on these was sweet.






          Volti Audio Alura

          These were a pleasant surprise. Definitely NOT honky and NOT sounding like a horn system. The high end was actually silky and the bass was nice and deep but not boomy. Not sure if the corner-loading had anything to do with the perceived FR, but it was nice to my ears. No WAF here though.




          Bryan K.

          Midwest Audio Club

          Speedster | Sub Attachť | The Wildeman | Sean's NLA Towers | CO‹GAR, COUGAR II and CO‹GAR JR | Triton | Lithium | J-Boom | Trym MLTL | Docere MLTL

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          • #35
            Re: AXPONA 2013 in Chicago - who's going?

            Who's ready for some glass speaker cabinets?

            The Waterfall Victoria Evo

            Honestly, these didn't sound as bad as I was expecting. However, when I saw unstuffed, unlined GLASS cabinets, I set the bar pretty low. They had a surprising amount of bass. I actually was looking for a sub, but they were not using one. There’s a PR on the bottom of the cabinet. They have something in the cups behind the drivers to control back waves, but I didn’t ask about it. What looks like vertical stripes in the glass on the front of the cabinet are actually the driver leads. I’ve seen these online for $6k.









            The CBT36 from Audio Artistry:

            This is another room that I would have liked to spend more time in but it was a popular place and you had to wait for a seat. On my first visit the 3-way Raal, Accuton, SB? speakers were playing and those didn’t do much for me to be honest. The room was crowded though and hot. I wanted to pop open a window. After lunch, the CBT36 was hooked up and it was nice. It’s too bad their room was a normal hotel room – I’d like to hear these in a much larger room. I moved around the room and sound was nice and balanced, they were using a sub to fill in the low end. I didn’t get a chance to hear the smaller ND105 version (in the back).



            Acoustic Zen - Crescendo

            This system was well done. It's a 3-way TL and I believe it's $12k. These had great bass response and are very detailed. They're definite "sweet spot" speakers though. Off axis doesn't do them justice. Vocals were very realistic. I was impressed.



            Echelon Audio - Amoroso

            As artsy as these look, they do not deliver anything close to high-end sound. I thought maybe the unique cabinet design would yield some interesting results, but there was nothing there and I can’t even be nice and make something up. They were BLAND. You’ll notice three sets of cables going from the bottom of the glass/metal pedestals to a covered box in between. That’s where the active filtering is done. I spoke briefly to the exhibitor and he said that these are actively filtered and EQ’d so perhaps they just weren’t setup correctly for the room.




            This was an interesting design. A modified Eminence woofer in a large slotted cabinet tuned down to 35Hz and a compression tweet in a custom shallow waveguide. The designer told me the overall system sensitivity was 90db. I asked why so low and he said that it was due to the modifications to the woofer and the box design so that bass response could be maximized, therefore giving up some sensitivity. The drivers were integrated very nicely and the overall response was smooth and bass was definitely present. I thought the wave guide was very cool. I know nothing about these things though. The price was $5,500/pr but I can't recall the designer's name.





            EDIT: Got the info on these- Studio Electric T5 speaker - Web Site: http://www.studio-electric.com/
            Last edited by bkeane1259; 03-11-2013, 08:51 PM.
            Bryan K.

            Midwest Audio Club

            Speedster | Sub Attachť | The Wildeman | Sean's NLA Towers | CO‹GAR, COUGAR II and CO‹GAR JR | Triton | Lithium | J-Boom | Trym MLTL | Docere MLTL

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            • #36
              Re: AXPONA 2013 in Chicago - who's going?

              The Music Hall Marimba

              AFAIK this was the most affordable speaker system I listened to at the show. $350/pr. I didn’t do any sort of extended listening. Anybody recognize those drivers?




              Some custom crossovers from Madisound:




              Bogdan Audio Creations

              I heard the Art Deco and the "built like a tank" Catalina.

              The Art Deco are the inner-most speakers, under the tube amps and the Catalina are the outter-most speakers.
              The Art Deco was a little warm for my taste but the bass response was surprising. You had to be in the sweet spot for the imaging to really pop. I was disappointed at the off-axis response. At these fricken shows it’s very hard to get the sweet spot chair. I liked the Catalina a lot more. The translam cabinet is impressive. The finish is sweet and the sound is as solid as the cabinet and yeah, it’s got a Raaaaaaaaal. The stand is part of the system. I wish I could have heard the Petra. That’s also a translam cabinet design. There’s some serious craftsmanship in these. I believe the Catalina is $22k and the Petra is $36k.





              Sony SS-AR1 speakers. These are all Scan Speak drivers, in a SONY-branded speaker. I just had to find out how much these cost because they sounded quite nice. However, the price tag made me puke a little in my mouth. $27,000/pr.



              Here's a look at the cabinet of a $27k Sony speaker system. There's a lot of tongue & groove work and ample bracing. Can’t say it’s done wrong.

              Bryan K.

              Midwest Audio Club

              Speedster | Sub Attachť | The Wildeman | Sean's NLA Towers | CO‹GAR, COUGAR II and CO‹GAR JR | Triton | Lithium | J-Boom | Trym MLTL | Docere MLTL

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              • #37
                Re: AXPONA 2013 in Chicago - who's going?

                Bryan,

                Great photos and discussion!

                The Transmission Audio aluminum cone speakers are via Ted Jordan's work as mentioned on their website if you read through the details. Likely, modified Jordan JX92S technology.

                Near field line arrays feature 3 dB sound fall-off vs. doubling of the distance within their near field. Hence, the sound falls off at half the rate of normal far field radiation. The volume seems virtually the same throughout the room.

                Bogdan entered his speakers in many of the past July MWAF in Dayton contests. His speakers have done well in past competitions.

                Jim
                Last edited by Jim Griffin; 03-10-2013, 10:02 PM. Reason: addition

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                • #38
                  Re: AXPONA 2013 in Chicago - who's going?

                  Venture Audio:

                  This made me chuckle a little. These Venture Encores were on "scratch & dent" sale. On the left speaker on top at the edge on the right side there is a 2" ding...a bad one. But their loss is your gain. That ding saves you $20k!!!



                  The finish on these is very impressive. You don't know what goes into these until you see it banged up -- unreal.





                  Venture Ultimate Reference

                  These buggers sounded as big as they appear. Huge sound stage and effortless music reproduction. Nice imaging and overall impressive sound. The finish on these is probably the best I saw at the show. $139,500/pr. Chump change. I’ll get a set for my HT surrounds.







                  Bryan K.

                  Midwest Audio Club

                  Speedster | Sub Attachť | The Wildeman | Sean's NLA Towers | CO‹GAR, COUGAR II and CO‹GAR JR | Triton | Lithium | J-Boom | Trym MLTL | Docere MLTL

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                  • #39
                    Re: AXPONA 2013 in Chicago - who's going?

                    Linkwitz Orion 4The Hartsfield Reference- this was originally produced in partnership with JBL in 1957. Somebody correct me if that's not right. I don't know if the ones at the show were originals, but they were huge and nicely finished and very retro-looking obviously. They sounded like horns though and I didn't like the imaging. These are specifically made for corner-loading and somehow I think that and the room just fudged up the imaging.





                    Nightingale - Italia - Concentus CTR 2

                    I liked these speakers. They had great imaging, a large sound stage and they sounded very well balanced and totally non-fatiguing. The radiation of the sound is unique. They're not planars. There are conventional drivers in that slim open-baffle cabinet. I should have taken pictures of the drivers -- they had some on the back table. I think these were $12k/pr. The same company has a large line of tube amps as well.








                    Focal Grande Utopia EM
                    Bryan K.

                    Midwest Audio Club

                    Speedster | Sub Attachť | The Wildeman | Sean's NLA Towers | CO‹GAR, COUGAR II and CO‹GAR JR | Triton | Lithium | J-Boom | Trym MLTL | Docere MLTL

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                    • #40
                      Re: AXPONA 2013 in Chicago - who's going?

                      Kingsound Electrostatic Speakers. I wasn't able to dig up any info on this particular model, but it was pretty impressive. I have no clue how they can reproduce bass frequencies, but these dug surprisingly low -- no sub in the room. You have to be seated to get the best experience, so these are definitely sweet spot speakers. I asked about load and sensitivity and IIRC, they are nominal 6-ohm and 84db.







                      TAD Reference One

                      The TAD Reference One was outstanding….another favorite of the show for me. I guess I got a thing for CoAx drivers?? These were amazing. No sub needed – perfect driver integration – smooth as silk – very dynamic. The cabinets are fine pieces of furniture. I think they are $80,000/pr. Glad to meet you TAD, too bad we’ll never do business together.



                      Sonus Faber: Not sure of the exact model, but these had grills that are like a series of taut strings and they vibrate and pulsate with the music and it was driving me nuts. My OCD was flaring up so I had to leave.




                      In other news, here are a couple turntables.......





                      Here's an amplifier with a toroid the size of an ATV tire. The manufacturer escapes me, but Ryan (Vapor Audio) also had one of these in his room. In addition to the massive power supply, this amp does not have huge caps, rather it has many rows of smaller caps. Interesting design and superb craftsmanship. I actually was expecting them to cost more than $8k.



                      Newform Research - No Hold Barred Coaxial Ribbon LineSource

                      I thought these were pretty cool. Sounded great, but they required a DEQX system. The exhibitor was able to control every aspect of the speaker from a laptop, which is impressive, but not for me. Still, the end result was a fantastic sound. Hard for me to describe, but it sort of sounded like a very tall Triton to me if that makes sense – must have something to do with perfect phase alignment…who knows?? I don’t.



                      Bryan K.

                      Midwest Audio Club

                      Speedster | Sub Attachť | The Wildeman | Sean's NLA Towers | CO‹GAR, COUGAR II and CO‹GAR JR | Triton | Lithium | J-Boom | Trym MLTL | Docere MLTL

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                      • #41
                        Re: AXPONA 2013 in Chicago - who's going?

                        Vapor Audio
                        Bryan K.

                        Midwest Audio Club

                        Speedster | Sub Attachť | The Wildeman | Sean's NLA Towers | CO‹GAR, COUGAR II and CO‹GAR JR | Triton | Lithium | J-Boom | Trym MLTL | Docere MLTL

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                        • #42
                          Re: AXPONA 2013 in Chicago - who's going?

                          excellent job Bryan. thanks.
                          " To me, the soundstage presentation is more about phase and distortion and less about size. However, when you talk about bass extension, there's no replacement for displacement". Tyger23. 4.2015

                          Quote Originally Posted by hongrn. Oct 2014
                          Do you realize that being an American is like winning the biggest jackpot ever??

                          http://www.midwestaudioclub.com/spot...owell-simpson/
                          http://s413.photobucket.com/albums/pp216/arlis/

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                          • #43
                            Re: AXPONA 2013 in Chicago - who's going?

                            I have a 6.5 in a .5-ish qtc box, and the sub still doesn't do much, those woofers are undoubtedly more beefy than my $10 buyouts, so it's likely you won't need a sub for most music.

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                            • #44
                              Re: AXPONA 2013 in Chicago - who's going?

                              Originally posted by bkeane1259 View Post
                              My Audio Design UK - MAD


                              These were impressive. I liked the CoAx driver and there was plenty of bass. They were only running the system in 2.1 mode, so the CC was switched off. Again, I forgot to note the manufacturer. These speakers were huge and boxy...the WAF is in negative territory for sure.


                              Those are Seaton Sound--they were at SE Wisconsin GTG last April. Looks like they are based near Morton Grove, IL. Their website is down for improvement.

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                              • #45
                                Re: AXPONA 2013 in Chicago - who's going?

                                MBL

                                I saved the MBL stuff for last because I’ve been thinking a lot about the Radialstrahler technology and I’m having a hard time coming up with something overall positive to say about it. Don’t get me wrong – the omnidirectional sound reproduction does work, but in the room with the Radialstrahler mbl 101E Mk.II, I was baffled (pun intended) at why the omni speakers were placed so close to the rear wall. Perhaps they just wanted to make as much room as possible for all the potential buyers (sarcasm intended). That room was one of the most crowded ones on Saturday (no joke).





                                The speakers are horribly insensitive, so MBL have these MASSIVE and EXPENSIVE amps driving them to decent levels. Even with $50k of amplification, the bass sounded muddy at times and some midbass was missing. However, the off-axis midrange and high end response was great. I could not walk all the way around the speakers because of their placement, however. When I walked up to one and placed my hand against the side panel to feel for vibrations, I was screamed at by the gentleman in the room whose name I won’t mention because it’s embarrassing (for him). Sorry I touched your $70k speakers, bra. I’m not worthy, I know. There WAS some panel vibration.

                                The top-o-the-line Radialstrahler mbl 101 X-treme wasn’t at the show, AFAIK. I would have loved to see what $271,000 gets you these days.



                                Here’s the rub. I actually thought the lower-priced Radialstrahler mbl 120 sounded better. $21k/pr.



                                MBL also had the Radialstrahler mbl 116F on an open reel system. I didn’t like the program material and I didn’t stick around for something better to hit the tape. I thought that system sounded a bit bland. But there wasn’t anything on the tape that was challenging the speakers.



                                I’m really disappointed at some of the music programming in these rooms. If you’re going to show off speakers that cost more than cars, then you damn well better have some good material playing on them at all times. Then again, MBL are not just a speaker company. They have a full line of good looking and uber-expensive components. This is definitely where the multi-millionaires that want speakers and equipment that make an “art statement” will be shopping.

                                If anyone else could comment about these speakers, I'd be interested in hearing your views. It's an interesting technology. I'll check these out again to see if perhaps the rooms were causing problems with the Radialstrahler mbl 101E Mk.IIs, because honestly, I expect a lot more for $70k. Just my humble opinion of course. YMMV.
                                Bryan K.

                                Midwest Audio Club

                                Speedster | Sub Attachť | The Wildeman | Sean's NLA Towers | CO‹GAR, COUGAR II and CO‹GAR JR | Triton | Lithium | J-Boom | Trym MLTL | Docere MLTL

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