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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

 

 

Nordost Demo Room
The Nordost room was running cable comparisons for show-goers on a posted schedule. I was running off-schedule, so I passed it by. I heard a Nordost demo some years ago and as I said earlier, it is well worth the time to experience one or two to get an understanding of how important cables are and their value in relation to spending large on new components. So often, better cables have revealed to me more sound quality in my components than I thought was available.

 

Holm Audio
Holm Audio presented the Sonner Legato Duo in wood veneer, though it is also available in matte black or white ($9.5k).

 

 

The Sonner was driven by Ayre VX-5 Twenty series amp ($10.9k) and KX-8 preamp ($6.4k). A Small Green Computer Sonic Transporter I5 ($1,300) and Sonore Ultra Rendu with linear power supply ($1100) was the front end, feeding an Ayre QX5 DAC ($11.9k). The cabling, as you see by the ribbon speaker cable, was by Nordost.

 

 

The analog front end was an Acoustic Signature Hurricane turntable ($11.5k) with a TA2000 arm ($4k) fitted with an Ortofon MC Verismo cartridge ($7k), which, like a lot of turntables at the show, was not in use. Qobuz, however, was seemingly, everywhere.

 

 

Source Systems Ltd.,  Lumin, And DeVore
Being a non-streaming audiophile, I have not paid much attention to Lumin so I was surprised to see they put out a full complement of components.

 

 

Atop the rack was the Lumin P1 preamp/streamer/DAC ($10k) which also has an analog input. The U2 streamer transport was $5k and on the bottom shelf was a Fi-Data 2TB server/ripper ($1600). Beside the rack was a Lumin stereo Class AB amp ($14k) that puts out 160 Wpc into 8 Ohms and doubles that into 4 Ohms. Matthew Bond cables were used throughout the rig and a Puritan 156 power conditioner ($2300) was employed. I've seen Lateral racks many times at all shows I attend, but rarely are they priced. The LAS 4-tier model shown here was $4k.

 

 

The DeVore Fidelity speakers were my first opportunity to hear the O/Baby model from John DeVore, priced at $6700 with the stands (which were not by Lateral as the sign in the photo suggests). With 90dB/W/m sensitivity and 8 Ohm impedance, they certainly did not need all the power of the Lumin amp. I expect they would be very suitable for 300B tube amps at a reasonable volume. The music was quite lovely and easy to listen to here. speaker.

 

 

Source Systems Ltd. Lumin, And Mathew Bond Audio
Source Systems Ltd in San Clemente, CA, is the importer and distributor for Lumin and hosted two rooms at AXPONA 2023.

 

 

In their second room, they substituted a Magico A3 speaker for the DeVore O/Baby speaker, again using Matthew Bond cables and Puritan Audio Laboratories power conditioner.

 

 

AGD Productions
Alberto Guerra was back in true form using Allan Sides' Eureka monitors from Ocean Way Audio in Burbank, CA, on the long wall of his room. This is an outstanding monitor from a company that largely addresses the Pro audio world, yet here with the AGD amplifiers it competes with the very best of high-end brands.

 

 

Most of the AGD line was on display and lit up with the GaNFET 'tubes' glowing. Both matte silver and the extra-cost polished aluminum finishes were on display. Starting in the center of the front row was the Andante Preamp / DAC / Streamer / Phono stage with remote ($13k), then The Audion SE Mk II monoblocks ($8,400 as shown, $7,500 in matte) which I use as my solid state reference, and finally the Gran Vivace SE monoblocks ($20k).

On the higher shelf was the compact Alto preamp with line and phono stage ($5k) that mates very well with the Tempo di GaN stereo amp ($5,500) (which is derived from the Audion monoblocks and offered in black)  Even The Audion monoblocks combine with the Alto preamp to create a rig with a small footprint. I've reviewed many of the AGD products over the years and I speak very highly of them.

 

 

The polished cases of these amps instill great pride of ownership, but they are also available in a matte finish at a lower cost.

 

 

The entire Class D circuit is encased in the tube which glows with a warm orange to warm winter nights. They also run very coolly to lower your air conditioning needs in the summer. While I've been primarily a tube guy for most of my audiophile life, the AGD amps have broadened my horizon and allowed me to review a wider variety of loudspeakers.

The Synergistic Research PowerCell SX ($9k) with its blue illuminated meter did not escape my eye, nor did the MiG SX footers used under some of the components.

 

 

 

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