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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 2
Fine premium audio gear on the 15th floor.
Audio Expo North America 2023 Show Report By Rick Becker



Von Schweikert Audio, Lampizator, Westminster Lab, And Small Green Computer
Damon Von Schweikert fulfilled my wish of showing a smaller speaker in a smaller room at Capital Audiofest last year, and he did the same here with some changes in amplification, teaming up with Hear This, the North American distributor for Westminster Lab from Hong Kong. I thought the speaker at Capital was the less expensive version of the Endeavor 3 SE ($20k versus $30k for the higher-end version) but other writers have been pricing this speaker near $30k with the upgraded footers.

With all the big ticket items in this rig, it is comforting to know the front end consisted of a Small Green Computer i9 with optical connection ($3499) and a Sonore Ultra Rendu ($5499)... well, plus the DAC.



I prefer the look of the Critical Mass footers ($650 each) shown here to the wooden butterfly base originally offered, though even these are kind of nondescript. Hopefully, they make a significant contribution.



Westminster Labs is another new name for me and their Class A monoblocks ($32,900) were perched upon a very substantial amp stand from FalkenOhr ($6k) that was also new to me. The amp is a nice substitute for tube amps with Russian tubes, given the geopolitical earthquake we've been experiencing this past year, though I'm concerned for friends in Hong Kong, too.



$50k is a lot of money for a DAC, but the LampizatOr Horizon is one of the very best available, which is why it was shown multiple times at this and other shows since it was first introduced. I've been lucky to review their entry-level Amber 4 DAC and found it to be very acceptable at a much more modest price, though its price will vary depending on how it is configured with inputs and outputs. And personally, I find the LCD screen on the Amber 4 to be more useful than the volume readout on the Horizon. But for someone who appreciates the breathable air sound of tube gear, the Horizon is top dog.



Once again, Damon has used subwoofers at the back of the room, wired out of phase with his speakers, to quell bass boom in a small room. It does the job as the bass from the Endeavor 3SE was clean and tight all the way down to the limit of the room. As a consumer, if your room is this small, you might better consider a less potent speaker than have to resort to counteractive subwoofers.



Speaking of less potent speakers, Mytek went with a pair of JM Lab (Focal) monitors with a D'Appolito configuration, supplemented with a pair of JM Lab subwoofers making this one of the more affordable systems at the show.



The system sounded fine, but there was apparent concern about why the tube on one monoblock was shining red while the other was shining green. Maybe it's a nautical theme. No amount of tube wiggling or chassis banging could solve the discrepancy. That was an Audioquest power conditioner on the bottom shelf.




Off on a dresser at the side of the room were even smaller scale components for a desktop headphone or speaker-oriented system, showing you don't have to be wealthy to enjoy good-sounding music.




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