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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 6
Premium audio sound systems on the 7th floor.
Audio Expo North America 2023 Show Report By Rick Becker


The AXPONA Chronicles 2023: Part 6 Premium audio sound systems on the 7th floor. Audio Expo North America 2023 Show Report By Rick Becker


  With the drop in altitude, the air was easier to breathe on the 7th Floor. Nonetheless, it must have been difficult for the guys in the first room that normally reside at sea level.


House of Stereo
This was listed in the program as "Wolf Systems" but it was actually (or co-) sponsored by the House of Stereo that came all the way up from Jacksonville, FL, with a very special rig. TAD has only recently returned to the USA and it was one of only a couple of brands sold by House of Stereo that were not seen elsewhere at the AXPONA 2023 show.



Shown here were the CE1TX-WN speakers ($32.5k) on STWT-K stands ($2.5k) with a tasteful mix of finishes.



Above is the DA1000TX-S DAC ($15,900) with a very fresh design.



The middle component on the rack was a Wolf server and below that was the TAD M1000-K/S power amp ($19,500). Cabling was by Wireworld including the Platinum Eclipse 8 XLR interconnects ($3.6k), Silver Eclipse 8 speaker cable ($4,450), Platinum Electra power cords ($5k each), and Platinum Starlight 8 USB cable ($800). A Synergistic Research PowerCell 8 and power cord ($3500, bundled) handled the power distribution and filtering. The little black box in front of the rack was a Synergistic Research Black Box ($2k) that is said to eliminate bass nodes. The music was highly resolved with plenty of air and deep tuneful bass.



Arion Audio, Analysis Audio, Aric Audio, Aurender, Blue Smoke Entertainment Systems, Chang Lightspeed Audio, JPS Labs, Soundsmith, Trinnov, And Western Electric
At the Capitol Audiofest show the past two years I have been less than enthusiastic about the Arion rooms which were comparatively large. Perhaps it was the positioning of this open baffle speaker in such a large room that let the back wave and reflections run wild or maybe the Trinnov room correction was not properly set up. Here, in this much smaller room with the speakers much closer to the front wall the music was highly resolved, transparent, and as inviting as a good tube-powered system is expected to be.



The Arion Audio Apollo 9 Speaker System included the open baffle towers and the two bass units, each with two large woofers with sound emanating from the vertical slots on the front and back of the cubes. A Trinnov Amethyst crossover ($12k, the black box in the rack) is also included in the Apollo system at the $49,900 price. The doobie at the top of the black mic stand to the left of the rack looks like a device to catch mosquitoes, but it is a microphone used to dial in the Trinnov Amethyst's room correction system.

Trinnov is a French company that is more prominent in home theater, cinema, and Pro audio circles. The Amethyst is their flagship high-end stereo product that serves as a preamp with built-in active crossovers, high-quality 24-bit/192kHz DACs, a network renderer, and advanced speaker/room correction. That they do not make amplifiers and other stereo components probably hurts the amount of attention they receive at dealers, but from what I heard in the Arion room, that should not be the case.

Below the Trinnov in the rack was a Chang Lightspeed power conditioner ($4.5k) from a company that was among the first to offer power conditioners back in the 1990s.



On top of the rack was a VPI HW-40 direct drive turntable ($22k) fitted with a Soundsmith Sussurro phono cartridge ($5k) Soundsmith has just introduced a new series of cartridges to be shown at Munich's HIGH END 2023 show.



Above the Trinnov was an Aurender N20 music server ($20k) that was playing at the time I visited the room.



The component that immediately caught my attention when I entered was the Aric Audio Super 300B SET amp ($7k) equipped with Western Electric 300B tubes ($1500/pair). Aric Kimball is a one-man micro-manufacturer of fine tube gear in the USA. The excellence of this room suggests he is top-tier.



The Aric amp puts out 8 Watts per channel, which is more than enough for the Arion towers with 103dB/W/m efficiency. What surprised me when I got up close was the external tube-powered power supply tucked behind the rack. The speaker cables with the light blue ends were JPS Labs Superconductor 3. The red interconnect and power cables with woven gold, grey and clear conductors were also from JPS Labs.




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