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AXPONA 2022 Show Report By Enjoy the Music.com

 

Rick Becker's AXPONA 2022 Chronicles
Fantastic Luxury Hi-Fi On The 5th Floor At AXPONA 2022.
AXPONA 2022 Show Report By Rick Becker

 

 

  And speaking of a streamer/DAC/preamp, this iFi Audio Pro iDSD Signature filled the bill with style and a compact design that fit very nicely with the Rethm or other active speakers. It features both RCA and XLR outputs, plus wireless Bluetooth with an MSRP of $3249.

 

 

 

Parts Express and Dayton Audio shared a room full of drivers and crossovers for the DIY crowd, though their DIY umbrella covers a lot more than just speakers.

 

 

 

Cambridge Audio has gone further upstream in recent years with their Edge series, while still maintaining a strong foothold in the entry-level price range. This was the first I have seen of their Alva TT v2 direct drive turntable ($2k). It also features Bluetooth with aptX and has a built-in phono stage/preamp for direct connection to a power amp. I believe the phono stage etc. can be bypassed if you decide to upgrade. A high-output MC cartridge comes pre-installed and there is a removable headshell to facilitate switching among a variety of cartridges in your collection. The tonearm looked quite sturdy. The loudspeaker seen above was very attractive but unfortunately, I didn't get any info on it. Cambridge also has a belt drive turntable coming out at the $1000 price point.

 

 

 

Moving across to the long wall on the opposite side of the atrium, I entered the Computer Audio Design (CAD) Room that I found so outstanding in 2019 with Verity Audio speakers. Scott Berry, the engineering wizard, and his wife and business partner, Isabel, were showing off their new CAT (CAD Audio Transport, $17.5k) that integrates CD ripping and SSD music storage with streaming and playback. Also on the rack was their 1543 MKII DAC, a resistor ladder NOS USB design ($12k) connected with their new CAD USB IIR cable ($1500, R for Reference) with their patented filter and enhanced with some Ground Control technology. They have dropped their entry-level USB cable in favor of offering a plug-in filter for $750 that can be used on the B end of your current USB cable. This was launched at High End in Munich and sounds like an excellent marketing strategy to connect with people who already own a high-quality USB cable.

 

 

Amplification was an Aesthetix Audio Mimas integrated amp ($7.5k) driving a pair of Piega Premium 701 speakers ($8k)from Switzerland.  The cables by Bibacord were from Sweden. The rig also featured CAD Ground Controls, their passive EMI / RFI absorption devices that are considerably more complex and expensive than the green plastic bucket seen in a room higher up in the show. A basic GC1 starts at $2250, though a new improved GC1.1 was also launched in Munich; the GC3 is $5500. The large grey box on the floor seen above is the GCR that accommodates multiple components and sells for $29,500.

The equipment rack was a Townshend Audio Seismic Vibration Isolation stand. R&D takes place in the Pacific Northwest between forest fires, while the products themselves are made in Great Britain where the climate is a bit more predictable. While the rig here totaled around $82k, I'd venture to say that the CAD gear deserves to be in more expensive rigs, given what I heard in 2019, and the very positive reviews they have received.

 

 

 

I've seen Atohm speakers from France over the years but I don't recall any of them looking as nice as these at AXPONA. The base of the speakers suggests there might be a vent down there. Atohm makes its own drivers to ensure quality control. I believe the white monitor shown here was the GT1 ($4499). The smaller floorstander was the GT2 ($7500) and the large floorstander was the GT3 ($13k).

 

 

The electronics were from Atoll, also from France, and featured new styling since I have last seen them, too. The lower unit shown here is the SDA200 Signature "All-in-One" integrated streamer/DAC/amplifier ($4300). Above it is the Streamer ST300 Signature streamer/preamp/reference DAC ($5k) that drove the AM300 power amp further below in the rack. The music was boppin' here with tight control of the drivers, but they were playing electronica at the time, so I couldn't draw any conclusions. Definitely worth checking out at their price point.

 

 

 

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