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Russ G.
user 13947780
Sarasota, FL
Post #: 141
AXPONA 2016
FRIDAY

*(PICS) are below.

This year AXPONA started off with both fortuitous and unfortunate circumstances. One of our SAS members, John Santamaria, had to cancel at the last minute and he graciously allowed me to assume his VIP status entry – a boon that I was soon to put to good use. On the other hand, I was forced to miss most of the first day on Friday because of some family problems in Chicago. I spent most of the day in the hospital with my Mom for a minor, but unexpected, surgery. She’s fine, but she’s also 97!

Anyway, on with the show! With my limited time on Friday, I decided to sit down and map out a logical, if severely foreshortened, strategy for what remained of the first day.
I started with the Manufacturers Showcase on the Main Lobby Floor. This was also one of the perks of the VIP attendee admission – an exclusive sneak-peek inside this room before it was opened to everyone else on Saturday. What a colossal waste of time. All of the displays were roped off with signs reminding you not to touch the equipment and there was no one there to talk to about…well, whatever it was I was supposed to be awed by. It was like being in a museum. There are plenty of those in downtown Chicago, I don’t need or want that at a High End audio show.

Before heading upstairs, I made the first of many stops at The Marketplace to pick out some music before it disappeared. I missed out on some records in years’ past by waiting until the last day to pick up some toys – not this year! I selected a copy of the last recording by David Bowie, “Blackstar.” The Album cover and design and the inserts comprise just an incredible piece of art. Should we expect anything less for this last effort by Ziggy? I mean, I have the record in my hand and I had to go on the internet to figure out what the name was?! The printing and graphics are mostly black on black, making it a though go for liner note readers, but the overall effect is quite stunning visually. Oh, the music was good too, if a bit “out there” in some areas, but this is Bowie and he knew he was dying, so…there’s that. I also picked up two ORG 180 gram, 45rpm reissues: Taj Mahal’s 1972 recording, “Recycling the Blues and Other Stuff” and “Fast Livin’ Blues” by Jon Hendricks, a 1962 recording.

ProAc speakers were paired with VTL electronics in the Senneca Room on the lower floor. Among others that I’ll mention later, ProAc’s have always been high on my list of speakers, especially the Super Tablets. Here in Chicago we were treated to a new floorstander (Response D48R, $11K) in a d'appolito speaker array with a ribbon tweeter. Very impressive sound with the VTL’s (TL5.5 pre, $10.5K and S200 amp, $12.5K). I had hoped to return for another listen. I never did, oh well.(PIC 7&8)

Bluesound, a company founded (and funded?) by NAD and PSB, was demonstrating their new, and reasonable ($499), Node 2 streaming music player with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth in room 348. Using a NAD amp and pre-amp and the PSB Imagine T2 Tower 5-Way speaker (naturally), a memory stick pre-loaded with the newest streaming/download MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) Files was providing the music. These high res files are supposed to be available through more outlets soon, but for now, and at AXPONA, this was the only place to hear them. I’m no expert on music file quality, but this system and music sounded very good. MQA was invented by MQA Ltd. a Bob Stuart (Meridian) company. A lot of people had their fingers in this pie in this demo room! (PIC9)

TIDAL Audio (complete system) in room 342 was next up. Last year they were showing the bigger system in a very large room. You can read my thoughts about that elsewhere on this thread (http://www.meetup.com...­. Even though the room was a bit too small for this still-large system this year, I liked what I heard more this time around. Sure, the image was smooshed a bit due to the room constraints, but what I was hearing was more involving than last year. Maybe not as definitive, and layered as last year, but definitely more enjoyable with some depth to the image.(PIC14)

VPI had their Avenger Reference Turntable on display and spinning vinyl in the Rosemont 3 room on the third floor. What a magnificent piece of kit as the Brits say. Of course I’m a biased VPI owner. The VPI and a Mytek processor were handling the music sources for some BAT electronics feeding the signal to a pair of Vandersteen TRIO CT speakers. Maybe it was the size of the room and my partiality toward VPI, but I don’t think I have ever heard the Vandy’s sound so good. Jason, our tour guide for this equipment review, was quite the showman and very entertaining. What a pleasant stop. (PIC15)

I caught up with some of the boys downstairs in one of the big rooms where they made arrangements for a demo of the Stromtank Meletzky S 5000 battery power supply. “Tank” is in the name and what a tank it is (note the figure on the right for scale in the pic) with a bank of Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries rated at 48 / 50 Vdc and putting out 900 VA (continuous, 6 hours), 1,400 VA (30 minutes) and 2,800 VA (instantaneous, 3 seconds) and weighs a prodigious 253 pounds . It should have no trouble running most complete systems for the rated 6 hours off the AC grid, although it will also power the equipment while drawing a charge from the wall. In theory, using DC power with an inverter makes a lot of sense since any noise and interference moving through your home’s AC lines is removed at the charging circuit. But the price for the cleaning is steep with this behemoth - $30,000. “I’ll take two please!” Uh, probably not.(PIC16)


SATURDAY

First stop was back to The Marketplace to buy a turntable speed strobe kit. Elusive Disc had two to sell and I didn’t want to miss out. I also wanted to take another look at the impressive Expressimo Audio turntable and tone arm I had spied on Friday. The tone arm is the real star here: a free standing affair with a motorized and remote controlled height adjustment for adjusting VTA and SRA infinitely, and on the fly. There is a precise analogue round gauge to precisely dial in the height. This is a really useful tool for any analogue lover, but like a lot of things at this show the entry price is high - $20K for the arm and $30K for the TT if memory serves. (PIC 19)

Sonus Faber was playing the IL Cremonese coupled with Audio Research electronics in the O’Hare 2 room on the 12th floor. The sound featured fabulous vocals with pleasant high end sparkle, fast and punchy bottom end and articulate low-mid slam. The speakers had a rather severe tow-in (for me, anyway) so while the image was deep, it was not as wide as I like. Still, it’s hard to find fault with these Sonus Faber speakers. (PIC23)

Russ G.
user 13947780
Sarasota, FL
Post #: 144
SATURDAY continued...

Pass labs big Xs 300 Mono Amps were featured in the large Ambassador room with a pair of Focal Sopra No 2 speakers. The first words that come to mind are effortless and dynamic, with Pass providing the former while the Focal’s much of the latter. The first recording was more speaker directional than I expected for the room size and speaker placement, i.e. my attention was aware of the speakers’ presence in the room rather than the central image expected. Maybe this system is recording specific? This was borne out somewhat with a Mark Knopfler tune that followed which was much more holographic, but the speakers never fully disappeared. (PIC27)

There were a few of these AMG turntables (PIC below) at the show among the VPI’s and others. In fact, more vinyl this year than last with maybe 75% of the rooms sporting the spinning black discs as well as plenty of static displays (for sale) in The Marketplace. Very few CD players as every room had some sort of streaming/computer/handheld music server device. (PIC35)


Breedlove Guitars in room 630 offered a break from the normal routine at the show. I am a misbehavin’ player; my guitars have been in their stands – untouched – for a year now. Still, I appreciate seeing new and shiny product as they were displayed in this room. And a bonus! A blues player, Grammy Winner Larry Mitchell, was on hand to play for the appreciative attendees. An enjoyable mini concert. (PIC36)

Magico speakers (the S5) were sharing space in room 642 with CAT The Statement mono amps. Handling the vinyl feed was the $28,000 limited edition (this one was number 85 of 250) KRONOS turntable; this of the counter-rotating sub-platter said to reduce vibration and cancel spurious noise. The first word I wrote in my notes was "Fabulous." The high frequencies produced a delicate quality to the sound with no trace of hardness that Magico's can sometimes exhibit with other electronics. The midrange was airy and spacious and the image was rock solid. (PICS39)

MSB Technology had their cylindrical, Class A, zero feedback M203 mono blocks driving a pair of YG Sonia 1.2 speakers. I heard very pleasing bass extension - not overdone and a very clean top-end, but with a bit of softness. Absolutely no hard edges or etching, but maybe this is due to softness? Maybe also leading to a little loss of detail? Regardless, the properly imaged vocals sounded very good. (PICS46)

SweetVinyl Never heard of it? Neither had I. Their new product, Sugarcube, is new for 2016 and allows you to record vinyl straight from your system to your computer music files in hi-res digital. It also effectively removes all surface noise from the recording and even has a monitor switch to hear the noise being removed to make sure it contains no musical content.

Joseph Audio has always made great sounding speakers. In room 532, shared with Jeff Rowland, the small, two-way, stand mounted Prism ($3700) was matching up quite well with the Rowland Capri S2 pre ($4000) and 625 S2 power amp ($16,000). First of all, Joseph Audio has always made speakers that are imaging champs and these Prisms are no exception. This is one amazing small speaker. The in-room bass response was incredible for such a small driver - 5.5 inches. The rest of the spectrum is equally worthy of praise. The music last selection I heard included a vibraphone. I think I can still hear the sustain! The Rowland amp, by the way, puts out a generous 325 WPS and, of course, the equipment is visually gorgeous, as usual. (PICS51)

SALK Same as last year with these speakers - STUNNING cabinet work and fit and finish. A true match, visually speaking, with Rowland equipment (not in this room). First rate sound and excellent value for the money. They were using Audio by Van Alstine electronics. (PIC60)




Russ G.
user 13947780
Sarasota, FL
Post #: 146
Saturday cont.

SALK speakers also had a set-up in an adjacent room and with the Wells Innamorata Signature amplifier, $15,000. The SALK model Sounscape 8 was in use here and had excellent dynamics with a wide, deep stage. (PIC)

It was back to The Marketplace for some more browsing before the end of the day. I bought two 24 bit 100kHz, K2 HD CD’s: Remember Cat Stevens, The Ultimate Collection and Carman-Fantasie with the Vienna Philharmonic and guest violinist, Anne-Sophie Mutter.

This proved to be a very long day at the hotel. I stayed for dinner and then went to one of the auditoriums for a free, two hour concert at 8:00 PM with another SASer, Ernie Kautzmann. More about the concert later.

Sunday

I started the day early with two appointments with two different manufacturers an hour before the show opened. This is one of the perks afforded with the VIP entry and is well worth the price. It gives you near exclusive time alone with these representatives to ask questions and hear the system one-on-one, so to speak. I say near exclusive, because others may have signed up for the same time slot for your choices. However, this was not the case with my two half-hour sessions. I chose Ryan speakers and Bryston for my early morning meetings. I will express my reasons for choosing these two manufacturers and my impressions of the sound and review the Saturday night concert at the end of this show review.

I met some of our SAS members at 9:00 AM to check-out the Channel D analogue to digital transfer system. I saw this last year and it appears to be a very interesting bit of hardware and software for transferring musical content. However, it seems to be android and Microsoft averse. Both John C and Bart A have more information on Channel D, so I’ll let them fill us in at a future meeting.

Sonist Audio was demoing their $6495/pr Concerto 4 with a Triode TVR-A300SER tubed (300B) integrated amp., 8 watts/channel. This very efficient speaker with a ribbon tweeter and a pair of mid/bass drivers had some very nice sibilance on vocal with a rich, if a bit over-ripe, bloom in the low mid and bass. I would further classify the sound as warm with a pleasing tone and smooth treble. Analogue music was supplied by a Pear Audio Blue Turntable (plinths are made with pear wood, hence the name) and the excellent Ortofon Cadenza Black phono cartridge. This room also had a pretty cool Fab-Four table top decoration I wouldn’t mind snagging, but the rep was keeping a close eye on it. Darn. (PICS)

Sanders Sound Systems certainly has a name that fits, since they always show their speakers – the Model 11, in this case – with their proprietary digital electronic crossover and in-house amps. In fact, the “system” offers good value since their prices range from $12,000 to $15,000 complete for all three pieces. This Planar electrostatic hybrid (with what sounds like a seamless transition to the exceptional cone bass driver) displays a very realistic sound with shimmery, beautiful highs and exceptional in-room low bass (said to be 20hz capable) while vocals are holographic. Some slight “beaming” is apparent and the off-center image can move around a bit depending on where you sit. I would like to hear this system again with the ability to move the speakers tow-in position to see if the beaming and image drift can be tamed. Otherwise, this is a great example of planar technology married to a cone bass driver. (PICS114)

Sony Big, meaty and bouncy – they were the first words that came to mind while listening to the always excellent SSAR1 speakers. Mated with a Hegal amp, the sound had an incredibly smooth top end with lots of detail floating in a deep sound stage. (PICS120)

GamuT is a Danish company that prides itself on design. In room 438 they had their speakers and amp providing the back end to yet another Pear audio TT and Ortofon Cadenza Black. The musical result had a lot of presence with a forward stage. Highs were bright and clear, JUST this side of edginess, and the bass was snappy and quick. One of the recordings, a choral piece, exhibited a big hall effect and left you, the listener, center/near/orchestra. (PICS123)

Bricasti Design amps, pre-amps and digital processors were used with TIDAL Diacera speakers in this rare, analogue free room. In this small room the sound had a big presentation with these “moderate” speakers. Some of the musical selections were just gorgeous – silky highs supported by a solid, yet almost plummy midrange. Some sharp, staccato jazz selection were rendered with smooth edges. (PICS136)

Kronos Sparta TT pic coming soon (PICS143)


Russ G.
user 13947780
Sarasota, FL
Post #: 148
SUNDAY cont.
Questyle Audio (amps, pre-amp and wireless audio) was sharing room 412 with ENIGMAcoustics, maker of the Spranino, an electrostatic, stand-alone super tweeter that I first heard at CES in 2013. Back then, coupled with the MAGICO S5, I heard the system produce immediate and obvious differences with the ST in the system; creating more space in a suddenly bigger performance hall. For AXPONA 2016, Enigma had their newly developed Mythology mini-monitor on display and playing through a pair of Questyle R200 mono amps (200wps), hooked up wirelessly to their streaming music system. This speaker was developed specifically to work with the Sopraninos – as it was here – although it can be used as a normal 2-way mini monitor ($15K for both, $3.7K for the ST). $3700 is a lot to spend on an add-on speaker, but if you can swing the freight, it does some amazing things to the sound and shape of the image reproduced in your system – or at least the ones I heard here and CES. (PICS132)

Budget system manufacturer, Cambridge Audio, was demoing an excellent value system: $2.5K amp, 1.7K pre and 1.4K speakers. Obviously, there are sonic compromises with these systems, but still. Even the cheaper system ($700 speakers) did very good service to the music, if with just a bit of edginess to Lightning Hopkins voice. (PIC137)

Focal SOPRA speakers in room 340 did not sound as good as their counterparts in the room with Pass Labs (above). The music selection (Rolling Stones – which initially drew me into the room) was flat and fizzy. Interesting color, though. (PIC140)

Harbeth speakers have always been well-regarded and certainly have a place of merit in quality sound reproduction. However, I’m generally not a fan of the typical “British” sound and room 336 with a pair of SUPER HL5 plus speakers with Vinnie Rossi LIO electronics (Directly heated, tubed linestage and, I assume, the Mosfet High Current Amp, 25wps @ 8 ohms) wasn’t doing it for me. The sound was congested and a little shouty, like the amp was laboring with too little power. Plus, all of the sound was coming from the speakers with little center-fill to speak of. Now, this is a little strange since this same set-up last year seemed like a very good match with much better imaging and a more immersive listening experience. Room problems? Poor music selection this time around? Maybe both? Oh well, a hit in 2015 and a miss in 2016. (PICS141)

The LampizatOr Lite 7 DAC with a pair of exotic looking Psvane 101D tubes (triade, used in a single-ended mode) in room 322 looked interesting, but… The Vapor Audio speakers paired in this room drove me out with a brittle high end to the sound. Too bad, since I really liked what I heard from Vapor with other equipment in the past.

Acoustic Transducer Company (ATC) had an interesting line of passive ($1750 to $7K) and active ($10K and $13K) speakers. I liked the look, fit and finish and price range, but didn’t get a chance for a good listen.

Creek Audio featured their electronics using Epos speakers and a Music Hall MMF 5.3 TT with an Ortofon 2M Bronze phono cartridge. I heard a very nice presentation with excellent voice sibilance and subtle staging elements. Creek and Music Hall have always offered very good “budget” sound. You get a lot of quality music reproduction for a reasonable price. (PIC)

Peachtree Audio Or should I say Peachtree Audio 2.0, which is what they are calling themselves these days. In room 538 they were showing their new NOVA 150 integrated ($1495), the first of this new generation for the company. The 150 includes the previous ICE amplifier technology (150 wps), Sabre DAC’s and – new for this series – a MM phono input! Plus multiple hook-up capability, home theater by-pass and head-phone amp. A pair of ELAC B6, budget bookshelf speakers ($279) were providing the sound waves. Great bass response from this 6.5” woven, aramid fiber main driver. Based on the price of this system (<$1800), sans front end, this represents excellent sound value for the dollar.

Spatial Audio had their M4 Turbo S and M3 Turbo S speakers, $1995 and $2595 respectively, playing with a Red Dragon S 500 Stereo Amp and a LampizatOr DAC (this time, sounding much better). Fellow SAS member Ernie and I heard these speakers last year at AXPONA 2015 and we both really liked the open and airy image and excellent bass from these relatively small speakers (36” height for the M4 with 12” drivers). What we heard this year just reinforced our earlier opinion. Ernie was obviously more enamored than me; he bought a pair at the show! As a refresher, these are the speakers that are open baffle, using a rectangular board to mount a pair of identical 12” (M4) or 15” drivers (M3). The Turbo S designation upgrades the bass model(s) by including an M 25 compression driver in the top mounted driver. Excellent sound! And we all get to hear a pair at Ernie’s house in June!

YG Acoustics had active displays in a few rooms at the show. The smaller pair in room 418 were too edgy, silvery and bright for me. The bigger pair, and way expensive, in the Ambassador room on the 12th floor had a much better balance across the audio spectrum. Since YG was using basically the same partners in these two rooms, albeit at various price scales, I would attribute the differences I heard to either the speaker, the room or both. Still, all the YG’s portrayed a very solid Holo image, with just a touch of speaker “space” intrusion into the sonic portrayal. Impressive looking Kronus T-Tables in all these rooms. A third room, mentioned above (MSB), had the YG,s singing!

I ended Sunday with one last trip to The Marketplace for one last look-around and to pick up an Analogue Productions CD recording by Noah Wortherspoon, “Buzz Me.” Who is Mr. Wortherspoon, and why did I buy a copy? See below.
Russ G.
user 13947780
Sarasota, FL
Post #: 149
EPILOGUE

Saturday Concert
Out of all the concerts provided by the AXPONA organizers, and there were more than just a few (10! Well done AXPONA!), Ernie and I both picked the “Chicago Blues Night.” I mean, this is Chicago, right? Seems like a no brainer. As I said earlier, it made for a rather long day on Saturday, since the concert ran over by 25 minutes. I was walking to my car at 10:30PM! But it was well worth the effort. In fact, I would say this was the highlight of AXPONA 2016 for me. Lurrie Bell, a long-time player in the Chicago Blues tradition, was the headliner for the evening. Mr. Bell and his backing band were first rate and, if you’re a fan of the Blues, the concert was excellent. What I wasn’t prepared for and what bowled me over was the opening act – The Noah Wortherspoon Band.

I have always regretted not making a trip to Austin, Texas years ago, not only to check out the very active live music scene, but to hear Stevie Ray Vaughan perform live – before he left us for good in August, 1990. Those who were fortunate enough to see him say it was an unforgettable experience. Well. Some of my disappointment has been quelled a bit by the performance of Noah Wortherspoon. Maybe not the second coming of SRV, but pretty damn close for my money. What the hell? Why haven’t I heard this guy before? Why hadn’t I even heard OF him? He’s that good. Ernie and I just kind of looked at each other in amazement between songs. Even Lurrie Bell was taken aback. When he took the stage to open his segment, he sauntered up to the mic and said to no one in particular, “I don’t know how I feel following young Mr. Noah tonight. Why don’t ya’ll give him another big hand?” That about sums it up.

His newest release on CD was being sold during and after the concert so, of course, I picked up a copy of Noah Wortherspoon Band, “Mystic Mud.” (http://www.noahwother...­)

Sunday VIP Meetings

Ryan Speakers
I have been watching these speakers for a few years now at AXPONA and have been interested in learning about the speakers and the company for some time. I had a half hour meeting with Richard Colburn, VP North American Sales, to discuss these and a few other topics and listen to the model R630 floorstander, 4-driver 3-way driven by Mod Wright electronics. The company was created by the Ryan brothers in the early 90’s and failed to make it into the new millennium. A few years later, and with some outside help, the brothers were able to resurrect the company with the excellent product that has been in production for a few years now – the R610 stand mount 2-way ($2000), R620 floor 2.5-way ($3500) and the R630 ($5000). New for 2016, they have released their “Statement” speaker, the Tempus III, $16,000, which was not present for review. I first heard the 610 and 630 two years ago and was very impressed with the sound with vocal renderings especially noteworthy. At AXPONA this year, and with the VIP pass, I was able to hear a varied array of musical selections via the 630. Here is what I heard:
Blues and vocals – A beautifully centered image with a deep a spacious stage providing lots of air around the performers.
Rock – A much wider stage encompassing all of the space beyond the speakers as well as between. Pace, rhythm and speed with defined leading edges to the notes. A more forward presentation.
Symphonic/orchestral – Wow! Now the stage is even more impressively deep and wide with natural decay receding into the apparent space. Deep, natural bass; not overdone or bloaty.

All of the while, through all of the musical selections the speakers simply disappeared – it was the only speaker to do so consistently at this show. Maybe a nod should also go to Mod Wright since, like Pass Labs, their amps and pre-amps have been consistent performers when coupled with other manufacturer’s wares. As I alluded to earlier, I have a high regard for several speaker manufacturers. Year in and year out, they seem to create, build and market spectacular products for us to enjoy, even if it’s only vicariously through these shows. Joseph Audio, Pro Ac, and Sonus Faber come to mind. You can add Ryan to my list. (PICS)

Bryston
We all have home systems that we love. Or we should, since we spent a good deal of money on them over the years. But as we replace the odd piece now and then due to failure, obsolescence or, let’s face it – audio lust, we sometimes get to the point where we have convinced ourselves that one particular component just isn’t holding its weight anymore; it’s the weakest link in the system. It’s working just fine, its doing its job and really, it still sounds good, but…we feel we can do better. For some time now, I have been trying to replace my Bryston 3B ST amp. It’s my weak link, or at least I think it is. It’s out of warranty (which is saying something for a Bryston product) and it’s been superseded three times in the product line! Time to go, right? Well, here’s the thing. I’ve brought in several newer amps for comparison (whose brands shall remain nameless) in recent years and the Bryston just keeps chugging along, either holding its own or, more often than not, bettering the intruder in a direct A/B comparison. So maybe it’s time to replace the Bryston with a Bryston, or at least research what’s been going on up in Peterborough, Ontario for the last 20 years.

I had a lot of questions for Gary Dayton, Product Specialist and Representative for Bryston Ltd., at my second VIP Sunday meeting. The 4B series has long been their flagship amp at Bryston and has been at the $4995 price point for what seems like forever, representing probably the best bargain in the High End audio market. Especially when you compare it with the 3B which started life in the $1200 - $1500 range. Then in recent years had climbed to $2000+ and recently, with the introduction of the 3B SST², rising to $3650! While the 4B model still in production was holding its original price! What gives? Well, a lot, actually. Bryston has just released the “cubed” series – as in 3B ³, 4B ³, etc., with long overdue price increases to match: The 3B now slots in at the old 4B price of $5000, the 4b is $7000 and the 7B monos are somewhere north of $10,000. A new model, the 2.5B ³ is priced at $3500. As Gary explained it, with the exception of the 3B, Bryston held their price points level for years, even in the face of rising costs over the past 15 years or so. Given the prices of competing High End products, it’s not surprising to see Bryston finally move to cover the increases in manufacturing costs. Frankly, I’m surprised it took this long.

I got to listen to an all Bryston system with the new 7B ³ Monos and Mini T stand mounted 3-way speakers and, like my visit with Ryan, I was treated to a variety of musical selections. As the first song started I was thinking, “well, this is really pleasant,” and then, “WOW,” the dynamic range extremes kicked in! The image was deep and centered and the midrange was a velvety morass of musical imagery. And I use the term morass in a good way! With the Jazz piece that followed, all of the musicians occupied a definitive position in the space portrayed with realistic clarity. I was even able to doodle each musician’s position on my note page!

Russ G.
user 13947780
Sarasota, FL
Post #: 150
I should pause here to define what I mean by “staging” and “image.” I define Staging as the disappearance of the speakers and the ability of the system to create a sense of space, both in depth and breadth. I see Image as something the system helps to create which places performers in a specific, fairly identifiable arrangement which may include the speakers as part of the image, i.e., they may not “disappear.” It’s a subtle difference, I know, but it’s how I think when I’m listening and they represent one (or two) of the things I look for in an audio system. For Bryston, I’m mainly hearing the latter.

For the last selection, Gary played my copy of Lightnin’ Hopkins, “Going Away,” one of my go-to Blues recordings. I’m pretty familiar with this record and while the sound was very similar to what I’m used to there was a bit more depth and a great “live” feel to the recording during my time with this Bryston system. (PICS)

I had several goals in mind with my two VIP interviews with Ryan Speakers and Bryston Ltd. Obviously, I had some fun and took advantage of a great opportunity. And I obtained a lot of useful information about two product lines that I like. But I was also trying to develop a relationship with the manufacturing reps, one that will create a possible product review for our members in the coming months. I will be contacting both Richard and Gary soon to see if we can arrange for product to be sent to the Tampa Bay area for our review during an SAS meeting. They both seemed amenable to the idea. We’ll see.

****************************************­****************************************­******
That wraps up another year at AXPONA. I think I counted about 10 people from our SAS group, including some from our Sarasota contingent. I don’t know how the other organizers plan their shows, but it seems that the folks behind AXPONA really try to make our experience a good one. From my conversations and communications with Liz Miller, the Event Director for AXPONA 2016, I know that she uses several avenues to obtain feedback on what’s good, what’s bad, what needs to change, new ideas and so forth. And I know for a fact that she makes good use of the questionnaire that you may have received via email. If you already have one and it’s still in you in-box, fill it out. Your views will be read, I assure you. It makes her job easier and gives all of the attendees a better experience next year and hopefully for years to come.

The VIP pass is worth your consideration for next year. The private one-on-one interviews are worth the price of admission, but you also get use of the hospitality suite with free snacks, drinks and coffee all day long.

Lastly, a mea culpa. It took me way longer to finish this show report this year. I had two home projects that ate up a considerable amount of time when I got home from Chicago.

Remember the AXPONA dates for next year: April 21 – 23, 2017. Same location.
Russ G.
user 13947780
Sarasota, FL
Post #: 151
PICS will be posted this weekend.

Well, the pictures made each of the message board entries too big. And I'm not about to re-do this entire article to make them fit. So, I'm loading the photos here and you'll have to refer back to the text. Sorry.

Pics from section 1.

The ProAcs...


The PSBs with MQA...


TIDAL...


VPI...


Stromtank...


Tonearm...


Sonus Faber...


Pics from section 2.

Pass Labs/Focal...


AMG...


Breedlove...


MAGICO/CAT/KRONUS...


MSB/YG...


Joseph Audio...


Salk...




Philip R.
inline_phil
Brooksville, FL
Post #: 277



I’ve actually been trying to figure out how to get in touch with the Suncoast Audio Society. The meet up page doesn’t offer contact info.

Can this be addressed on our home page so that it is easier for folks to contact us? Maybe an "email for more information" link?
Ernie K.
user 5581993
Sun City Center, FL
Post #: 42
Excellent descriptions Russ. Thanks for all the effort on these. We need to make you the official reviewer of the club. Yes an unassuming little guy like Noah Wotherspoon made the show much larger for me. Outside of Lindsey Buckingham this was the best guitar performance I have experienced.
Russ G.
user 13947780
Sarasota, FL
Post #: 152
Pics from section 3.

SALK...


Sonist Audio...



Sanders...


Sony...


GamuT...



Bricasti...


Kronos...

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Tampa, FL

Founded Feb 3, 2011

Organizers:

Alan N, Bart Andeer, Ernie Kautzmann, francis endryck, Gary Eickmeier, Richard Setera
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