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AXPONA 2019 Show Report By Enjoy the Music.com

AXPONA 2019 Show Report -- Audio Expo North America
AXPONA 2019 Coverage By Rick Becker -- Part 2

 

 

 

Magico and Classé teamed up to good effect in 1425. I like the new look of the Classé gear a lot.

 

 

 

At the Nokturne Audio room in 1422 I was expecting to surprise owner Tom O'keefe, who is also the Linn LP12 expert at Overture Audio in Ann Arbor, MI, but found he was out scouting the competition. In stead I had the adventure of meeting Fredrik Lejonklou of Sweden, the man behind (and apparently in front, too) of Lejonklou HiFi. I've heard his gear before at Overture where it drove a Vandersteen Quatro Wood CT speaker to perfection. Here, Tom brought his vintage Quad 1958 speakers on aftermarket stands, probably from his NOKTable line. That's a NOKTable stand supporting his loaded LP12 with a custom WoodSong Audio plinth and Linn Kandid cartridge.

I talked with Fredrik at length and he shared his enthusiasm for his obsessive perfectionism, repeating a story I had heard from Tom how, out of a batch of 1000 resistors, only 12 pieces measured to his exacting standard. New at the show was his stereo MC phono stage, housed in a chassis machined from billet copper. You see two blocks on the shelf to the left in the photo because each channel is in a separate chassis, a practice that is gaining favor among the elite manufacturers in Europe. As you would expect, with such extreme perfection comes extreme prices, $42,700 in this case — a price that is based on actual cost of production and normal markups. His other components are an order of magnitude less expensive. With sleek Scandinavian styling, Lejonklou gear is all about perfect design, perfect manufacturing and perfect sound. It will fit right in with minimalist styling. With the vintage Quad speakers, fine as they sounded, it was not as good as what I heard with the Vandersteen back in Ann Arbor. Trust me on that, and let's hope Tom and Fredrik were able to arrange some reviews.

 

 

Gayle Sanders' new Eikon speaker measured up to the hype I've heard about it, seen here placed up against the wall in difficult lighting, but sounding very, very good in Room 1421.

 

 

 

Alberto Guerra of AGD Productions has followed his dream and developed a class D amplifier with the power stage enveloped within a KT88 vacuum tube called the GaNTube. The key factor here is the use of Gallium Nitride power MOSFETS that allow much faster switching than even the best silicone based MOSFETS. It also allows for easy swapping to more powerful "tubes" in the future. Each monoblock puts out 100 Watts @ 8 Ohms, 200 Watts @ 4 Ohms and is stable all the way down to almost 0 Ohms. Current is limited to 31A. 

 

 

Four monoblocks were seen here with both transparent and opaque tops, bi-amp'ing the speakers. Price is $15,000/pr. They were warm, but not hot to the touch. Music through the Ocean Way Audio horn loaded Monterey speakers ($34,000) created by multiple Grammy Award winner Allen Sides was dynamic, transparent and very well focused producing a "you are there" experience. This was certainly one of the most interesting and probably one of the Best Rooms at the show, but my mind was becoming numb from all the high-quality presentations I've experienced so far on Friday.

 

 

Room 1415 was like walking into another neighborhood. Here I found very decent sound coming from Ryan stand mounted monitors powered by Vincent electronics, connected with Cardas wire on an inexpensive Pangea cross-braced stand that seemed reasonably sturdy — all at prices anyone with enough courage to come to this show could afford. I felt like I could actually take my hand off my wallet in this room. I hope the people that were really looking for gear in this price range were not scared off by the much-higher-end gear on this floor.

 

 

Skipping down to the Audiothesis room in 1410 I heard clean, clear music from Rosso Fiorentino stand mounted speakers that upheld the reputation of that brand from my experience at the Montreal show where they used to appear regularly. Excellent physical and stylistic quality at prices deemed quite reasonable within this quality range. They are, after all, from Italy. The sleek contemporary electronics here included a Lumin server and Norma Audio, a 20-year-old company from Cremona, Italy, that I have not seen often, if ever. I'd say they deserve more exposure. Cabling here was from WireWorld.

 

 

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