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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




  Just down the hall in 1527, I ran into my good friend, Keyboard Area Coordinator and Piano Performance professor at DePaul University, traveling, teaching, and recording pianist, George Vatchnadze. George also happens to own Kyomi audio, named after his wife, and recently opened a brick-and-mortar store in Chicago! Walking into the room, Jeremy Bryan of MBL North America greeted me.

The room was loaded for bear, with some of the best gear MBL has to offer. The MBL 1621 A CD Transport ($31,500) – using a modified Philips DCM Pro laser mechanism – handed off to the MBL 1611 F DAC ($32,250). The MBL 6010 D Stereo Preamplifier ($30,000), sent audio to a pair of the massive MBY 9011 Mono Amplifiers ($120,000/pr.), which were driving the full-range MBL 101 E MkII Loudspeakers ($84,500/pr.). Cabling was WireWorld Eclipse, Series 8, throughout.

What a system! If you've not heard the unique German MBL Radialstrahler omnidirectional loudspeakers, not to mention its equally superb line of electronics, you really should go out of your way to have the experience. While I get that it is not for everyone, it is still one of the most amazing sounds you will ever likely hear, and one that is not likely to be like anything else you've ever heard.

What is a Radialstrahler you may ask? It is a free-standing – unenclosed - spherical driver, using a membrane made of bent segments that are fixed on one side, and connected to a voice coil on the other. Being omnidirectional radiators, they truly sound nothing like most conventional dynamic speaker systems, and have the ability to, when set up just right, completely vanish from the equation and leave only the apparent performance in the space in front of you.



It can be a tricky thing to pull off, but DAMN, this year, in this room, we were all witness to the best MBL system performance I've heard at a show in recent memory! This system completely vanished leaving nothing but the music. EVERYONE in the room both times I stopped in was smiling and rocking out as Jeremy cued up cut after cut that really showed off this system's strengths.

Germany's T+A was highlighting their elegant and most affordable 200-Series electronics in Schaumburg C. Using the MP 200 Multi-Source Streamer and CD Player ($4,900) to feed the DAC 200 D to A converter ($6,900) which features a discreet Class A pre-amplifier section as well as double mono "State of the Art" output stage, amplification was provided by the A 200 Stereo Power Amplifier ($4,900), their newest "little" amp with 125 Wpc, selectable A & B speaker outputs. Not only does it have some retro-looking gorgeous round meters on the front panel, but it may also be switched to run as a Monoblock.



The 200-Series electronics were paired very synergistically with their TALIS S 300 three-way floor-standing speakers ($17,500). This German company has garnered my attention time and time again with its consistently resolving, transparent, and detailed musical presentations. As much as I value those abilities, a system must also be musical and deliver good tonal color, texture, and space.



This entry lever T+A system delivered on every count. I was really impressed with its especially natural tonality, and its ability to deliver finely resolved microdynamics. It also served up tunes with an engaging sense of speed, yielding accurately demarcated pitch definition. Nice... very nice.

Just next door, one of the more attractive loudspeaker designs from Estelon was on display in Schaumburg D. Using the Innous Statement Mk 3 Server ($15,100) as source, the MSB Reference DAC ($50,000) sent its output to the Krell Illusion preamplifier ($22,000). Krell was very proud to be showing the world premiere of their new Krell KSA i400 40th Anniversary Reference Stereo Power Amplifier ($35,000), saying that this gorgeous heavyweight is expected to start shipping by Q3 of this year.



It was used to drive the unique-looking Estelon Forzo loudspeakers, ($163,000/pr.), a much-awaited addition to the Estelon flagship series. Based in Tallinn, Estonia, the enclosures are manufactured on the island of Saaremaa in the Baltic Sea. Standing at nearly five feet, seven inches tall, the elegant and sleek design is composed of a single cabinet fashioned from a marble-based composite. While this system offered notable resolution, transparency, and speed, I found it to be a tad on the lean and analytical side of natural.

Heading south down the second floor of the east hotel corridor one come upon some of the bigger available rooms for this particular show. Popping into Utopia D found me running into Michael Manousselis, President of Dynaudio North America, centered just about twenty-five miles northeast of Schaumburg, in Northbrook, IL.



Using a Brinkmann Audio (of Achberg, Germany) Balance Turntable ($25,990), powered by a third generation Rönt 3 Tube Power Supply ($6,990), using the Brinkmann 12.1 Tonearm ($6,490), and fitted with an EMT JSD Novel Titan cartridge ($7,760), the system used the Octave Phono Module ($5,600) from Germany. The digital source was the MOON by Simaudio 780D v2 Streaming DAC ($18,000), with its 820S Power Supply ($8,500).



Electronics all came from Octave and included the Jubilee Preamp ($32,000) with its stepped attenuator, and a pair of the Jubilee Mono SE amplifiers ($80,000 per pair). The speakers were the all-new Dynaudio Confidence 60 ($50,000/pr.), the flagship of the new Confidence family. System conditioning was managed by a Torus RM 20 ($3,999), and all cabling was from Matthew Bond Audio.

This was an exceptionally good performing system, overall, very precise, fast, and full of detail. Yet it also had the ability to present an accurate and visceral sense of body and space, regenerating music with an impressive sense of bloom and body. It delivered blistering bass speed and impact, as well as serving up a well-developed and refined measure of definition.




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
















































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