The AXPONA 2023 Chronicles: Part 2
Fine premium audio gear on the 15th floor.
Audio Expo North America 2023 Show Report By Rick Becker
Magico hardly needs an introduction. The S3 model in blue
shown here was certainly eye-catching, and driven by a pair of CAT (Convergent
Audio Technology) monoblocks the music was completely controlled and musical. It
was the larger S5 that I heard on Thursday evening before the show began that
sounded so good on the 2nd Floor in a much larger room. Being a tube
fan, I'd have to say this combination works incredibly well with an inviting
sound that makes it easy to emotionally connect with the music. This makes me
wonder why they faced the amps together to conceal the faceplates.
There was a second room sponsored by Magico, but I'm not
sure what was different between them. There was not a lot of literature or
component lists at the show overall. Kudos to those who went to the effort.
Audio Ultra delivered a delightful system with a pair of white
Magico A1 monitors ($9400) driven by a CH Precision system with an Aurender and
SOtM front end that was powered by a large Stromtank battery power supply. This
room was deceptively modest-looking with the Magico monitors but topped out at
While the CH Precision separates and Audioquest Dragon cables
combined to make this a formidable presentation, overall, the room suggests that
you can do quite well with a small monitor in a small room. Or dare I suggest
even with small monitors combined with subwoofers in a larger room than this
one? The Magico A1, which is sourced from China, shares the same high resolution
and transparency as its larger siblings. The more dynamics at high volume you
require, the more amplifier power you will need, naturally.
I've seen several systems with the German Stromtank now and
they've all had exceptionally clean sound, even if the power amps are still
connected to the grid. The S 2500 Quantum MkII model used here lists at $27,500.
Serhan Swift, Boulder Amplifiers, Finley Audio,
This next room was a better example of a great small-room rig.
Serhan Swift monitors from Sydney, Australia were new to me, but are said to be
well-known down under. Yes, that's a Scan-speak Revelator ring radiator
tweeter. They sounded very nice driven by a Boulder integrated amp. They also
have an active version of the mu2 Mk II with DSP. That's a Solidsteel speaker
stand with some very tweaky footers under the spikes.
Small Green Computer and
Sonore were also involved in the front end. Cables were by Finley Audio whom I
covered more extensively at Capital Audiofest with their unique, re-configurable
cable lifters that are something special.
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