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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 9
Fantastic fun on the fourth floor.
Audio Expo North America 2023 Show Report By Rick Becker



Bluebird Music
Jay Rein of Bluebird Music imports AVM, as I mentioned above, as well as Canton speakers from Germany and SME turntables from Great Britain. The new Model 60 turntable ($72k) is available in silver, as shown, as well as black or blue as I saw in a recent print advertisement. It features a new polymer resin tonearm.



The speakers were the Canton Reference 3K ($14k), also available in gloss black.



The AVM monoblocks were simply stunning with the AVM etched into the glass top plates revealing their lighted interior. Revealing the interior of components began as a strategy for displays at shows, but is being adapted as a design element for products more frequently in recent years.



It was now well past 6 pm, the closing time for the rooms and I had only visited a third of the rooms on this floor. I retired to my room, checked my email, downloaded photos, and went out for dinner at the nearby Buffalo Wild Wings. For an extra buck, I got a side dish of wings which I took back to the room and stashed in the fridge. They ended up being dinner before I headed out of town on Sunday night.

At the furniture shows in High Point, NC, that I used to attend, I could walk the halls and peruse products in open spaces until I bonked at about 8 pm. The showrooms there also opened at 8 am allowing me to work a full 12-hour day. That doesn't happen at audio shows.

The short story here is that I forgot to return to the 4th Floor to finish up the remaining rooms. I'll list them below and make a few comments, as well as offer them a huge apology for not visiting this time around.



Odyssey offered a miniature version of what I experienced at Capital Audiofest last November where they showed Symphonic Line components in a large, darkened room illuminated with their faux candles. The large space there allowed a very holographic experience of the music that is rarely heard at audio shows. Klaus Bunge had done a masterful job of setting up the room. I don't know whether he showed Symphonic Line gear or his own Odyssey line which is based on Symphonic Line designs, or whether he was able to pull off the same experience in a much smaller room. I suspect not, yet I'm sure it was still very respectable and likely put many high-priced rooms to shame.



MA Recordings And Woo Audio
Jack Woo prefers to present their excellent headphone amps in a private room rather than compete in the bullpen of the Ear Gear Experience or the corresponding head-fi clusters at other shows. He always has a handful of primo headphones for visitors to sample with his amps. And he always draws a crowd.

Jack seems to have teamed up with Todd Garfinkle who produces very fine minimalist recordings which he sells in CD and sometimes in LP format as well. I missed grabbing a unique mug shot of him this time. I hope this partnership worked out well for both of them.



Artisan Fidelity
This is a room I really would have loved to see. They build and restore classic high-end turntables to the nth degree. They also are a Tidal dealer, which tells you to bring lots of money. Christopher Thornton is the main man there.



Bel Canto, Audio Vector, And Cardas Audio
I mentioned this room earlier, too, when I covered Room 402 above. The Black DAC was said to have been on static display while their E1X DAC ($6800) and E1X stereo amp played music through Audiovector QR7 speakers ($6500). Cardas cables were used here, as well, and Harmonic Resolution Systems (HRS) provided a rack. This should have been a very good room, too, as Audiovector has received a lot of good press in the past couple of years.



MSB Technology
MSB is top-shelf gear; what else can I say? It's expensive?



Creative Sound Solutions
This is another new company for me and they are a resource for speaker kits for the DIY enthusiast based in Plymouth, MI 48170, roughly halfway between Ann Arbor and Detroit.



Infigo Audio And Alta Audio
This is a familiar combination of electronics and speaker manufacturers which I expect worked very well together.



Loud Speaker Project Pad
Here again, another newbie to me, which is "a place to post your speaker build projects, helpful tips, thoughts about speaker building and design and engage with others that are just as passionate as you are! We won't be focusing on audiophile BS but real principles of speaker design that bring to life the music we listen to." This could have been an interesting room to visit.



Fidelis Distribution And ArgentPur Cables
ArgentPur offers three tiers of interconnect in both single-ended and balanced configurations. A 1m pair with RCAs run $1350, $2000, and $2800 to give you an idea of the spread. XLRs are a chunk more, as you would expect. Speaker cables are offered in five gauges and they offer a chart to help you figure out what gauge and length you need for the efficiency of your speakers and the length you need. 2m pairs run from $2500 to $6000. Likewise, their 1.5m power cords made of twisted pairs of solid silver are offered in three gauges: PC15 ($1500), PC12 ($2500, and PC 10 ($3500). Their cables are hand-crafted in Boston and this appears to be a no-nonsense line that will appeal to many, though offering silver cables, they don't get down into an affordable or entry-level price range.



Fidelis Distribution And ArgentPur Cables
A second room, with an alternative rig? A quote from their website says:

"Our reference 40.3 XD loudspeakers coupled to outstanding electronics from JMF and Ideon provided our listeners with an immersive experience. In the Geoff Poor room the Compact 7 and Monitor 30s proved again that the BBC studio monitors have evolved with the times thanks to the care of Alan Shaw."

Having heard the JMF gear drive Acora speakers at Capitol Audiofest last year, I expect the rig here sounded very good, too, with the Harbeth 40.3 XD. This would have been an expensive room, but either room would have been a delightful stop.



Vanatoo is my favorite small speaker. They have changed only infrequently over the years so it is likely there was nothing new here. I'd be delighted if there was. Their Transparent One model is an active design with a built-in DAC, analog input, digital inputs, and Bluetooth receiver, as well as tone controls. Their frequency response measures extremely flat, though you may want to add a subwoofer if you love deep bass. They sell factory-direct to keep the price down to $649.



Next Up Is Part 10
Within Part 10 I'll be focusing on the 3rd Floor. I hit the ground running on Sunday morning at the opening bell. The 3rd Floor is the last of the small hotel rooms. Squeeze some music into your week until I get it done. As always... enjoy the music.




---> 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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