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AXPONA 2022 Show Report By Enjoy the Music.com

AXPONA 2022: Back To Business
Audio Expo North America 2022 Show Report
Show Report By Greg Weaver

 

Systems Of Merit
It is no secret that MoFi distribution has really stepped up their game over the past half-decade or so, developing and showing some very respectable sounding, well-balanced systems. Suite 330 was a perfect example.

A Dr. Feickert Blackbird Turntable ($7,495), with a Schick 10.5-inch tonearm ($3,200), fitted with an EMT HSD06 cartridge ($1,795), making its debut appearance, handing off to the new Whest Two.2 Discrete phono preamplifier ($3,495) handled analog, while the new HiFi Rose RS250 Wireless Network Streamer ($2,495), also making its show debut, served up ones and zeros. Also making its debut was the new Mastersound Compact845 Integrated amplifier ($10,495), which was driving the Manger P2 floor standing speakers ($21,995/pr.) to remarkable effect.

 

 

The new IsoTek Aquarius V5 Power Conditioner ($2,995) cleaned up the hotel AC, and all cabling was from IsoTek, including Syncro C19 ($2,795), Optimum C15 ($1,195), and Elite C15 ($795) AC Cables, Clear Reflection speaker cables ($3,350/3M pr.), XLRs ($1550/1.5M pr.), and RCAs ($1550/1.5M pr.). All gear rested on the Finite Elemente HD12 Padoge Edition Mk II rack ($16,500).

 

 

This beautiful system presented with a very natural, relaxed sound, almost overflowing with full, rich tone color, compelling texture, and a convincing sense of the space of recordings. I was quite taken with its compelling regeneration of the drive of performances, and of its overall musical, not analytical, emphasis. Very nice.

Moving to Suite 334 proved to continue the trend from MoFi. This room was also using the HiFi Rose RS250 Wireless Network Streamer ($2,495) as a source to drive their new HiFi Rose RA180 Integrated Amplifier ($7,495) – which, drum roll please, was ALSO making its debut appearance. Speakers here were the incredible Swiss Piega COAX 711 ($24,995/pr.)

 

 

This system has the same IsoTek Power Conditioning and cabling as Suite 330, but here, the gear all rested on the lower profile Finite ElementeCarboFibre Base ($1,700).

 

 

Yet again I was quite taken with this relatively modest system. It too offered a very relaxed, smooth, and natural presentation, while remaining rife with detail and dynamic expression. Well done, MoFi!

Oh, and while we are in the MoFi universe, they were able to make a rather impressive announcement over the weekend. One of the most accomplished and successful speaker designers over the past five decades, having worked at KEF, Infinity, Pioneer, TAD, and most recently, ELAC, Andrew Jones has joined the team of designers at MoFi Electronics. I've had the pleasure of knowing Andrew since the 1990s, and I am totally stoked to see what he has planned for the MoFi product lineup. We talked at the show, and he even made time to do an interview with me for my YouTube channel. He shared that he expects to be able to reveal new products wearing the MoFi livery before year-end. This is going to be interesting!

 

 

The Club Lounge on the fifteenth floor really utilized the extra open space. Elliot Goldman of Bending Wave, USA was on hand to treat visitors with their massive system. The source while I was in the room was the Wadax Reference Server with their Optical interface and cable ($76,500), handing off to the staggeringly priced, über cool looking Wadax Atlantis Reference DAC ($145,000). Electronics were the impressive CH Precision L 10 Stereo Preamplifier ($76,000), and M 10 Stereo Amplifier ($104,000), feeding the Göbel High End Divin Marquis loudspeakers ($90,000).

 

 

The room was set up with a lot of open space behind the Divin Marquis speakers, and the gear was all off to the right side of the room. As you may expect, the room had exceptional dynamics, both large and small scale, with nicely nuanced and refined shading in the micro areas.

 

 

That vibrant sparkle that a piano exhibits live, in the room, was recreated dead on, and the resolving capabilities, especially through the midrange and lower treble regions, were extremely well refined, offering an exceptional look into the recordings, and a sophisticated and excellent degree of transparency. Horns were especially well-rendered, combining a nice blend of their bronzy bite and resolution. My only real complaint was that the system seemed a bit spatially restricted, especially with front-to-back depth.

Just down the hall on the fifteenth floor, in room 1526, I ran into my old friend and colleague, Philip O'Hanlon, of On a Higher Note. While he ALWAYS has some amazing and interesting new music to share with show-goers, he has recently been smitten by a new series of speakers from the UK, by Graham Audio.

 

 

LPs were transcribed by a Bergmann Audio "Modi" air-bearing turntable, with its  "Modi" Air-bearing, linear tracking tonearm ($17,000), which was fitted with the Hana ML moving coil cartridge ($1,200). Amplification was managed by the MoonRiver 404 Reference integrated amplifier ($4,995) with its optional internal MM/MC phono stage (additional $550). The speakers were the very engaging Graham Audio LS8/1 speakers ($9,700/pr. - including stands/spikes).

All cabling was Cardas Audio "Clear" series throughout, loudspeaker cables, interconnects and power cords, and everything rested on the beautiful Spanish Artesania Audio "Exoteryc" three-level rack ($7,300) with its optional "KRION" turntable platform ($4,850).

 

 

Philip is quick to acknowledge that the "British Sound" is typically associated with a predominant midrange. He is just as eager to point out that he finds that Graham Audio has been able to push the typical UK midrange magic across the full frequency range, yielding an elevated level of performance. By advancing on the implementation of the BBC "thin wall" cabinet thinking (thinner walls lined with a bituminous layer to improve damping), and using their bespoke hand-made drive units, they claim results in levels of transparency and realism that are hard to find elsewhere today.

 

 

I must admit, the synergy was undeniable and exhilaratingly musical. With surprisingly good extension at both extremes, this system could deliver an excellent sense of weight while maintaining a finely presented and natural overall balance. The system was well-voiced, neither favoring nor slighting any particular bandwidth, with wonderful dynamic expression. The sound was open, had an indisputable immediacy, and was remarkably emotionally expressive. Very well done, Philip.

 

 

 

---> Next Page Of AXPONA 2022 Show Coverage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
 

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