AXPONA 2018

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John Atkinson  |  Apr 13, 2018  |  1 comments
A half-hour after the show opened (held today, tomorrow, and Sunday at the Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel, 1551 Thoreau Drive North, Schaumburg, IL), this was the scene in front of the seminar center, where a presentation on Room EQ Wizard was about to start. With well over 160 exhibit and listening rooms and another 80 booths, and what must be every dealer in Illinois participating, this is the biggest consumer audio show to be held in the US in quite a while.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 20, 2018  |  7 comments
The remarkably relaxed, smiling faces of AXPONA Tradeshow Coordinator Jordan Brereton (left) and VP/Event Director Liz Miller (right) say it all. Photographed after show's close, Jordan and Liz were poised to announce that under the leadership of JD Events Founder and CEO Joel Davis, their team of 8 had sold 8134 tickets—up 21% from 2017—and welcomed 5718 unique visitors to the largest consumer audio show in the United States. The number of tickets sold to students ages 15-25 increased by 27%. This to a show with 165 active exhibit rooms and an over-15,000 square foot exhibit hall that hosted booths from 96 companies, half of which were part of the Ear Gear Expo.
Herb Reichert  |  Apr 17, 2018  |  0 comments
Who doesn't like and admire Elac's chief loudspeaker designer (formally of KEF, TAD, and Pioneer) Andrew Jones? I surely do: but not only for his abilities to create high-value, low-cost, audiophile-quality speakers: I admire him for how he makes me feel when he stands in front of a packed audio-show room and tells stories plays songs…and smiles that wicked British smile he uses to suck us all in.
Jana Dagdagan  |  Apr 20, 2018  |  2 comments
In the first of the videos we shot at AXPONA 2018, Herb Reichert takes you along with him in a brief exploration of the Expo Hall, featuring Gayle Sanders' Lamborghini, Todd Garfinkle of M•A Recordings, a crowd of headphone wearers, and a mysterious abundance of lab coats.
Jana Dagdagan  |  Apr 23, 2018  |  5 comments
After visiting the Expo Hall with Herb Reichert, we move on to the Schaumburg Renaissance Hotel's upper levels to visit a few rooms, capturing binaural sound so, on headphones, you can hear what Herb heard.
Herb Reichert  |  Apr 15, 2018  |  68 comments
Most readers don't know this, but I am measurer. I own oscilloscopes and distortion analyzers and have been measuring amps and speakers for nigh on 30 years. But when I hear some audiophiles say that all cables—and especially AC power cords—sound the same, it makes me reach for the Tequila and pistols. Folks, ya gotta relax, breath air, and listen—the effects are not subtle. And that's what I did in the MoFi Distribution room, where Jonathan Derda (the nicest guy in audio) was demonstrating two power conditioners from IsoTek, the $995 Corvus and the $4995 Titan, and one IsoTek AC cord, the $995 Sequel C15 Link.
Herb Reichert  |  Apr 18, 2018  |  5 comments
I remember the sound character of early (1990s) Audio Physic loudspeakers. They were the first radically slender floor-standers. They generated humongous soundstages, and precise imaging was their raison d'être. Users would position the speakers extremely far apart, usually on the long wall. They used plenty of toe-in, crossing the speaker's direct waves in front of them. Finally, the listener would sit closer to the speakers than the distance between the speakers. Their side-firing woofers made tight-ish bass, but, if memory serves, their midrange, though quite clear, was less rich and dense than I prefer.
Herb Reichert  |  Apr 14, 2018  |  4 comments
Even though the weather in Chicago is cold and wet, all these acres of glass seems to double the light…
John Atkinson  |  Apr 15, 2018  |  3 comments
"What are you doing here?" MartinLogan founder Gayle Sanders has been long gone from the audio industry but there he was in the corridor of the Schaumburg Renaissance hotel's 7th floor. "I love the industry and I wanted to come back and play," Gayle laughed as he introduced me to his Eikon Image1 digital active loudspeaker ($24,500/system).
John Atkinson  |  Apr 18, 2018  |  2 comments
I started my second day at the Chicago show in the Dynaudio room, where the Danish loudspeaker company's Special 40 stand-mounts ($3000/pair) were being driven by an Octave 80SE integrated amplifier ($10,500) with its Super Black Box external power supply ($3000) . . . this dem illustrated how matching a relatively small speaker to a smallish room can produce optimal and excellent sound quality.
John Atkinson  |  Apr 20, 2018  |  3 comments
Lunch? A quick donut and a Tall Café Mocha at the Renaissance Hotel's Starbucks and I was ready to hit the remaining floors on the 16th floor. "These are not your father's Ohms!" read the poster in the HHR Exotic Speakers room. Looked like 'em to me, but I was quickly enlightened.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 15, 2018  |  6 comments
Most of my audio show experiences have been mixed, with strings of fine-sounding rooms punctuated by others that have sounded mediocre or worse. On the worst of days, the pattern has been reversed, with room after room sounding so dismal that I occasionally began to wonder if I was suffering from a temporary case of sonic indigestion. But on the Renaissance Schaumberg's 4th floor, despite room layouts that seemed to have been designed by the Son of the Set-up Demon himself, room after room delivered fine sound.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 17, 2018  |  7 comments
With very few exceptions, the 4th floor of the Renaissance Schaumberg was filled with fine to extraordinary sounding rooms. The sound was so good that Jana Dagdagan and I returned to the floor on Day Two to shoot video in three of the rooms. You'll see what fun we had (in very cramped quarters) when the video appears down the road…
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 19, 2018  |  11 comments
The final room I visited on the 15th floor turned out to be one of the best. Thanks in no small part to Jeff Joseph and Lucien Pichette's joint set-up acumen, plus a little help from what Jeff calls the "audio gods," a recording of the great Ella singing, on tape, Johnny Mercer and Richard Whiting's "Too Marvelous for Words" was a total delight.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 14, 2018  |  5 comments
If AXPONA seemed to get off to a slow start on the 4th floor of the Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel & Convention Center, it was only because, the second the clock struck 10am, huge numbers of people made a mad dash for the first level Marketplace. It was only after they had sated themselves with all the rare LPs and other paraphernalia they could find that they ventured forth into the great unknown.

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