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AXPONA 2022 Show Report By Enjoy the Music.com

AXPONA 2022 Show Report
The Fabulous 4th Floor At The Audio Expo North America 2022 Show.
Show Report By Rick Becker



  I kept doubling back to the TigerFox room, but access was very limited. Finally, I convinced them to let me in just to take a photo. The picture explains why access was so limited. Word is the listening experience of this near-field cocoon is pretty effective in isolating sound coming in or going out. Obviously, this is for people with a problem sharing space with others or having different sleep schedules. It's not terribly expensive and it's very high value if it brings peace to the household or apartment building. But it does beg the question "Why not just use headphones?"




Fidelis Audio had a pair of rooms, side by side. Seen above were the Audio Analogue Puccini (20th) Anniversary integrated amp ($5850) and the Donizetti Anniversary power amp with the wild heat sinks ($13,850). The thick faceplates were wide enough to engrave their name on the top edge. While not widely known, this moderately priced line from Italy has always sounded very good to me over the years. Likewise with the Neat Acoustics Orkestra speakers ($8495) with a rich-looking Ebony Macassar special order veneer ($9595, as shown).



This is a 2.5-way speaker with a sealed ribbon tweeter and 170mm woofer in a sealed compartment on top and a pair of downward-firing 170mm drivers in an iso-baric configuration in the ported lower compartment. The frequency range is said to be 20Hz to 40kHz with an impedance of 8 Ohms and sensitivity of 88dB/W/m, making this an attractive, relatively compact all-around speaker.




The other Fidelis Distribution room was kind of wild. On top of the right-hand rack was an Avid HiFi Volvere suspended turntable ($8k) with their TA-3 tonearm, a mere $650? If so, this might be a great arm for DIYers modding older turntables. And the cartridge was a Grado Opus3 ($275).



The electronics in this Fidelis room were from Lab 12 in Athens, Greece. Seen above is the Mighty power amp with 10 Wpc in class A from an EL34 tube ($2190). I have an Eddy Wong integrated amp with an EL34 in each channel that does an amazing job with only 6 Watts. I expect this Lab 12 Mighty so do as least as well with 10 Wpc. It is an underrated tube. Below the Mighty on the rack was the pre1 Class A preamp ($2190) and the silver-faced dac1 reference ($3290). And on the bottom shelf in the silver face was the Gordian power distributor / conditioner ($2390) with a readout showing voltage (119V), frequency (59.992Hz), amperage (1.91A), and Wattage (183.4W). How cool is that?



On the amp stand in the photo further above was the Lab 12 Suara power amp putting out 50 Wpc in Class A from a quartet of KT150 tubes ($4490).

The speakers in this room were from The Heretic Loudspeaker Company out of Montreal, Canada making their North American debut. (Why did I not see them during th recent Montreal show?) They have two models of high-sensitivity speakers, the A612, shown here in a premium finish, and the A614, a smaller version of the A612 that was not on display. Preliminary pricing is in the $6500 to $10,000 range. They feature a coaxial compression driver. All in all, this was a room full of mostly new and certainly interesting products that deserve further attention.




Vinni Rossi had a very nice-looking rig featuring his new Brama integrated amp ($39k) with a couple of large dials to attract your curiosity. Below that was the Innuos digital source, a Statement Music Server ($15.1k), and Phoenix NET ($3500). Further down was a Merason DAC1 ($6k)  and Gigawatt PC-4 Evo+ power conditioner ($14.5k), all resting on an SGR Audio Statement rack ($12k). Cables were from Swiss Cables Diamond series: 3m speaker ($7150, XLR 1.5m interconnect $3450 and 1.5m power cord $2800.



The music came out of a QLN Signature 5 speaker ($18k) whose design I really liked. Every component in this rig was very nicely designed. The system totaled more than $135k. The music playing here at the time precluded establishing an opinion of the sound and I suspect from the speaker position that the sweet spot was critical for optimal listening, though I'm not that familiar with QLN speakers.



After finishing up the 4th floor it was time to skip down to the hotel restaurant to meet up with other members of the Enjoy the Music.com team. At previous shows, I've lost track of time and just worked morning to evening and missed out. It was an hour well spent getting to know Professor/Dr. Michael Bump (left), Greg Weaver (center), and Chuck Bruce. It was an hour well spent as I promised not to reveal anything about their lurid pasts, and myself taking the pic.

Note to self: Never order anything seafood in the Midwest. Wait until Capital AudioFest.



The AXPONA Chronicles will continue on the 3rd Floor in a few days.





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