Home | High-End Audio Reviews | Audiophile Shows | Partner Mags | News | Search       


  High-End Audiophile Review Magazine & Audio Equipment Reviews

  High-End Audiophile Equipment Reviews
  Gear Reviews, News, Show Reports, And More!

  Celebrating 29 Years Of Service To Music Lovers



AXPONA 2016 Show Report By Enjoy the Music.com
AXPONA 2016 Show Report -- Audio Expo North America
AXPONA 2016 Ear Gear Expo Show Report

Report By Dave Hanson


   It's been an interesting year in the world of personal audio, and we're seeing the market trends continuing to play out here with the hot products at the 2016 AXPONA Ear Gear Expo.  The push for "end-game level" audio in the portable category is at an all-time high. As such, this was a huge year for portable digital audio players, portable amplifiers and in-ear monitors. Plus, we're seeing the rising emergence of a new trending category, transportable amplifiers. Let's take a look at those first.


Transportable Amplification
This new group of devices is bringing uncompromising desktop sound to a compact package that can easily be moved from location to location. In many ways, Cavalli Audio spearheaded this trend last March, with the debut of their Liquid Carbon amplifier. Now preparing for its second and final production run, Cavalli is offering an upgraded power supply for the new Carbon, which will result in a quieter single-ended output. This is a wonderful little amplifier with a warm, clean sound, and it represents an outstanding value at its $799 price point.



Woo Audio has also entered into the transportable amplification category with their all-tube WA-8 Eclipse amp/DAC combo ($1799). Boasting a glorious low end, the WA-8 had me at "hello", as soon as the sweet sound of the upright bass came in. What's more it offers an onboard battery and includes a protective carrying case for additional transportable convenience.



In-Ear Monitors
The technical achievements just keep coming in this ultra-competitive category, and AXPONA 2016 had some of the finest IEMs ever created on display.



Campfire Audio/ALO impressed with a diverse array of stellar in-ears. Campfire's new flagship IEM, the Andromeda ($1,099), captured my attention with its full-bodied bass, ultra-extended treble, fine detail and transparency.  Featuring five balanced armature drivers, the Andromeda comes with a specially designed tubeless resonator box, which increases treble extension significantly, unveiling loads of ambient detail. Paired with their excellent ALO Continental V5 portable tube amplifier ($695), this is a serious contender for an end-game portable setup.




Noble Audio made an appearance at AXPONA 2016, showcasing a wide range of IEMs including their venerable Kaiser 10 Universal IEM ($1650). Paired with Cavalli Audio's upcoming Liquid Spark portable amplifier, the K10U gave me unparalleled detail with an undeniable fun factor that had me dancing in my seat. I truly believe the Kaiser 10 is the IEM to beat on the market today, and the bar by which many of these new flagships will be judged.




And speaking of flagships, Empire Ears was showcasing the world's first 14-driver IEM, the Zeus ($2099) at the Ear Gear Expo as seen above. This technical marvel features two bass drivers, six midrange drivers and six treble drivers. These balanced armatures are controlled by a passive seven-point crossover network. The new flagship Zeus also features a quadruple bore design. I must say, I've never seen anything quite like it. The sound itself was quite lovely, musical and controlled, as you might imagine. I look forward to hearing more of this ambitious flagship product.


Portable Digital Audio Players (DAPs)
The accessibility of the Android platform has been a boon to the portable DAP market, and we are seeing a rise in the popularity of high-end audio devices in this category.



Astell & Kern was at the Ear Gear Expo, showcasing their striking line-up of digital players. Their new AK320 ($1799) offers the fabulous sound and interface of the flagship AK380 ($3999 in copper), only sacrificing a few features such as native DSD decoding. If you've always wanted an AK player, and you are not a DSD user, I'd highly recommend giving it a test drive.




Questyle Audio Engineering is also making waves in the portable DAP market, with their popular QP1R ($899). This DAP was clearly one of the stars of the show at AXPONA 2016, as you could hardly go ten feet without seeing a QP1R. Equipped with Questyle's excellent current mode amplification technology, this player offers precise driver control and uncompromising sound for just about any headphone on the market.


---> Next page of our AXPONA 2016 Ear Gear Expo show report.









































Quick Links

Audiophile Review Magazine
High-End Audio Equipment Reviews


Equipment Review Archives
Turntables, Cartridges, Etc
Digital Source
Do It Yourself (DIY)
Cables, Wires, Etc
Loudspeakers/ Monitors
Headphones, IEMs, Tweaks, Etc
Superior Audio Gear Reviews


Enjoy the Music.TV


Viewpoint By Roger Skoff
Viewpoint By Steven R. Rochlin
Various Think Pieces
Manufacturer Articles
10 Questions For Manufacturers

Show Reports
Florida Intl. Audio Expo 2024
Capital Audiofest 2023 Report
Toronto Audiofest 2023 Report
UK Audio Show 2023 Report
Pacific Audio Fest 2023 Report
T.H.E. Show 2023 Report
HIGH END Munich 2023
Australian Hi-Fi Show 2023 Report
AXPONA 2023 Show Report
Salon Audio Montréal Audiofest 2023
CanJam Singapore 2023 Report
...More Show Reports


Cool Free Stuff For You
Tweaks For Your System
Vinyl Logos For LP Lovers
Lust Pages Visual Beauty


Resources & Information
Music Definitions
Hi-Fi Definitions


Industry & Music News

High-End Premium Audio & Music News


Partner Print Magazines
Australian Hi-Fi Magazine
hi-fi+ Magazine
Sound Practices
VALVE Magazine


For The Press & Industry
About Us
Press Releases
Official Site Graphics


Our Mailing List

Join our free eNewsletter for monthly updates.




Home   |   News   |   Equipment Reviews   |   Press Releases   |   About Us   |   Contact Us


All contents copyright©  1995 - 2024  Enjoy the Music.com®
May not be copied or reproduced without permission.  All rights reserved.