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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: Part 1
Sensational sound on the 16th floor.
Audio Expo North America 2023 Show Report By Rick Becker



Next Level HiFi
The Next Level room was like revisiting the presentation Thursday evening in the Serenity room on the 2nd Floor. Only at a smaller, more affordable scale. Audio Group Denmark has a distinctive, high-quality house sound. The price trickles down along with the technology. Next Level HiFi is a retailer in Wayne, IL, just west of Chicago, that works by appointment and features very fine lines.

Morten Thyrrestrup was one of the guys present Thursday evening. It is surprising how much great music flows through such a small speaker. This may have been their $100k monitor, but keep breathing. The air is less rarified in their next room.



In an aluminum flight case was their tweak kit. The Sortz items in the upper half are designed to remove noise from the ground plane of printed circuit boards. Several levels and a variety of connectors account for the large number. I'm not sure about the doobies in the lower half (Editor's Note: Surely it's for medicinal purposes to enhance one's enjoyment of music.)



Next Level HiFi
While the electronics shrink into the more affordable Axxess series from Audio Group Denmark, you will only notice in direct comparison with their more expensive Aavik line.



There is a whole tier of Borresen speakers below the level shown in Room 1608 and the Serenity Room. They are scaled down in technology and their form factor is less expensive, but judging from what I heard here, you are still getting excellent sound quality at more reasonable prices.



Von Schweikert Audio And Scott Walker Audio
Scott Walker Audio out of Southern California and Texas teamed up with Von Schweikert Audio to present a very high-level room in a relatively small space that was more appropriately sized than the huge room I heard Von Schweikert speakers in at Capital Audiofest. Yet it could certainly perform in a larger room than here.



The LampizatOr Horizon DAC, at $49k, is superb, while the reel-to-reel deck is only relevant to folks who can play in this price range.



The Von Schweikert Audio Ultra 7's in Diamond Graphite finish at $180k hardly needed the VS Shockwave V-12XS subwoofers ($16,500 ea.) which I didn't even notice. The Aurender W20SE server ($23k) and MC20 master clock ($30k) were befitting of the aforementioned LampizatOr DAC. I'll mention the Sonorus Audio ATR10 Mk II tape deck ($32,500) only because this was the first time I've seen it. Cabling was ultra-expensive Masterbuilt, which is the house brand of Von Schweikert and is an obvious choice if you can play in this price league. While the sound here was outstanding, Von Schweikert hosted another room on the 15th Floor with a more affordable rig that I will come to in Part 2 of this report.



GTT Audio And Grimm Audio
While Bill Parish's GTT Audio room was listed with Grimm Audio, the speakers here were Vivid Giyas.



Driven by Audionet monoblocks the Giya sounded excellent, as always. While the design was radical when first introduced, it is bridging into an iconic look, much like that famous B&W Nautilus speaker of yore.



The pearlescent finish is superb and the hexagonal patterned grills blend in well and provide a relaxing sense of security without eliminating the view of the drivers.



The Kronos Sparta turntable is one I've reviewed and it offers a healthy dose of their flagship in a more affordable form factor. Having built the full Sparta record player up from the entry-level Sparta 0.5 model, I can attest to the contribution of the counter-rotating platter nestled below. I also found it ergonomically very easy to use.



Bill Parish pointed out a new product from Mola Mola from the Netherlands, but I forgot to note what it was. The two pieces here look like the Kula integrated amp but are not the same. Perhaps it is a phono stage for the Sparta turntable above. Give Bill a call.



In an adjacent room of the suite was this gorgeous Vivid Kaya speaker in a stunning blue finish. This was one of my favorite designs of the entire show.



I've heard other models in the Kaya series — the ones that appear bottom-heavy. While they sounded good, I couldn't get comfortable with the bottom-heavy form factor. The Kaya 25 seems more uplifting, though suited for smaller rooms than the 90 and 45. Again, the hexagonal grills protect the drivers without limiting the sound.




---> Next Page.








































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