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AXPONA 2023 Luxury Premium Audio And Hi-Fi Stereo Audiophile Show Report By Enjoy the Music.com

The AXPONA 2023 Chronicles: Introduction
A mix of both younger and older attendees... plus a Chicago riot.
Audio Expo North America 2023 Show Report By Rick Becker



  I had a nice chat with Lukas Eriksen of Vitus, seen here with one of the amps. The first 25 Watts are Class A and then it runs up to about 500 Watts per channel in Class AB. It will double down to 1000 Watts per channel into 4 Ohms. But since these amps were configured in mono, the output was much higher. There was no evidence of clipping and only minor evidence of bass distortion due to the room shape. Having woofers both high and low on the speaker minimized standing wave bass nodes. The amps were sitting on an HRS platform which was itself sitting on four HRS unattached footers.



The rig also included an MP-L201 Masterpiece Series Line stage, an MP-D201 Masterpiece Series DAC, and an SP-103 Signature Series Phono stage. We heard only music that was streamed, so the Acoustic Signature turntable was idle. A Stromtank battery power source and conditioner powered the front ends and preamp, while the power amps were run off the house AC. And the equipment racks were from the SXR series from HRS (Harmonic Resolution Systems) that were seen in many fine rooms at the show.



I heard people talking about a million-dollar room at the show and this was the one. The speakers alone were $269k. I didn't talk price at this demonstration, but this system is obviously in the Bugatti Veyron territory, both aesthetically and performance-wise. The room was a very large cube which is normally unfavorable to bass, but they had done a very fine job of setting it up. The music here was highly resolved, emotionally inviting, and very close to convincing me that I was in the actual space of the recorded venue.

The good news for most folks is this was a room full of flagship products and the companies shown here all have less expensive series in their portfolios. I won't be naming the Best Rooms at the show until the end of my chronicles, weeks away, but clearly, this room is in the hunt.



As I left Schaumburg D I passed several other rooms where it was obvious that the final set-up was going to continue into the early morning hours on Friday.



The show hosted a marvelous audio industry welcome mixer for industry members and press to network. As I was running late, I was grateful that they had not run out of beer. Food, on the other hand, seemed to be running thin — until a gentleman appeared at the carving station with a two-foot-long slab of rare beef that had been cooked to perfection. A couple of sliced rolls defined a pair of delicious roast beef sandwiches.



A second beer was a strong temptation as I waited for the second private listening session for the press presented by Next Level HiFi in the Serenity room, who graciously offered a variety of cheese hors d'oeuvres. The room featured a rig from Audio Group Denmark which has been the umbrella company for Ansuz, Aavik, Børresen, and Axxess since 2020. These four brands, founded by Lars Kristensen and Michael Børresen, have shown together for many years, perfecting a very consistent house sound, encased in highly refined Danish design.



The blue silk sheet was pulled away to reveal the new Borresen M3 and the music and lecture began.



Lars Kristensen explained several of the extreme technologies incorporated in the new speaker. I could feel his passion for exploring new technology and manufacturing possibilities in the tone of his presentation, as well as his need as a creative engineer to control the entire process. In the photo above he was holding an ultra-light membrane of the tweeter which he pass around to his audience. 




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