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

The AXPONA Chronicles 2023: Part 5
Gold Pass suites and more on the 11th floor.
Audio Expo North America 2023 Show Report By Rick Becker



Fine Sounds Americas
Fine Sounds Americas is an importer and distributor of high-end lines located just northwest of Minneapolis. They put together a fine-sounding room with one of my favorite speaker companies.

Sonus Faber's woodwork in the upper end of their line is superb, and not a secret. The speaker here was driven by a Michi preamp and stereo power amp. Michi is the upscale brand from Rotel, which they also handle.



They also carry Project turntables and the RPM 10 Carbon ($5,499, $6,499 with Sumiko cartridge) was the nicest Project I've ever seen, part of their Carbon series. This one features a magnetic suspension.



I also noted the fine construction and fluid lines of the Bassocontinuo rack from Italy.



Cardas Audio
The Cardas Audio room was a real trip. What looked like JBL L82 speakers were on stands. A vintage-looking turntable on a wood side table. T-shirts hanging on the wall. A giant backdrop with a forest scene, and this guy playing an Eddie Van Halen striped series electric guitar. Oh, and a little sign on the left speaker proclaiming Cables by Cardas Audio.



I could see it was going to take too much time to sort this room out, so I moved on.



JansZen Audio
David Janszen introduced this speaker at Capital Audiofest driven by the same AGD Audion monoblocks using GaNfet transistors encased in what looks like a vacuum tube. I use these same amps as my solid-state reference amps, not just because they are very cool looking, run cool, and are easy to move around, but because they are so fast and have the transparency and resolution that I love. They also create a soundstage that compares with my tube amplifiers — more so than any solid-state amp I've come across (and can afford). That said, I was duly unimpressed with them at that earlier show as they were set up on the long wall with seating too close and the front wall behind them too close as well.



Set up on the short wall as they did here at AXPONA 2023, with more room to work with and a more distant seating distance, they sounded much better, but I still think they need a larger room with more space around the speaker and a greater seating distance.



Martin Logan And Precision Audio Video
Across the hall, the Martin Logan Renaissance ESL 15A speakers fared better than the JansZens. Being narrower they had a little more space to work with.



I was able to slide behind the sweet spot so I was somewhat in line with it, as that is so often critical with electrostatics.



This Luxman L-5072 integrated amp seemed to be the active driving force for the speakers. There was a Luxman CD player next to it and an Aurender beyond that, but there were not a lot of fact sheets on the 11th floor. In fact, none.



Kimber Kable
At the Montreal show a few weeks earlier I had a personal run-down on the Kimber Kable Carbon series where it was used in the PS Audio room.



There seemed to be a similar lecture going on when I came into the Kimber room here. Those were very strange speakers, possibly twin pairs on either side set up for quick A/B comparisons of speaker cables from what I could see looped on the floor, but my time was precious, so I moved on. I've heard this kind of cable comparison before and they are usually quite convincing. I highly recommend you experience at least one to help you gauge the cost-effectiveness of cable upgrades. A cable (or fuse) upgrade might be more beneficial than spending much larger sums on a component upgrade. More expensive cables tend to sound better, much as it may hurt your retirement fund. The cable companies figured that out a long time ago.



Gold Pass Suite
The Gold Pass Suite was an exclusive lounge for VIP Gold Pass holders so I parachuted down to the 7th Floor where the show resumed.



Coming Soon!
Part 6, covering the 7th Floor will come along in a few more days. Keep dropping by as there is much more to come in the coming weeks.




---> Onward to the next part of Rick Becker's extensive AXPONA 2023 show coverage.



---> Back to main AXPONA 2023 show report page.








































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