Axpona 2019 show report - Bringing Hi-Fi Dreams to Reality

Clipdat
Clipdat Posts: 10,943
I'm excited to share my first article published on The Audio Beatnik website! It's about the top rooms that I experienced at Axpona this year: https://theaudiobeatnik.com/axpona-2019-bringing-hi-fi-dreams-to-reality/

Give it a read and let me know what you think!

Comments

  • BlueFox
    BlueFox Posts: 15,233
    Congratulations. Good job. I bet it was a lot of fun. Not sure if I like those red Von Schweikert speakers, but if they sound great I guess looks don’t matter. :)
    Lumin X1 file player, Westminster Labs interconnect cable
    Sony XA-5400ES SACD; Pass XP-22 pre; X600.5 amps
    Magico S5 MKII Mcast Rose speakers; SPOD spikes

    Shunyata Triton v3/Typhon QR on source, Denali 2000 (2) on amps
    Shunyata Sigma XLR analog ICs, Sigma speaker cables
    Shunyata Sigma HC (2), Sigma Analog, Sigma Digital, Z Anaconda (3) power cables

    Mapleshade Samson V.3 four shelf solid maple rack, Micropoint brass footers
    Three 20 amp circuits.
  • displayname
    displayname Posts: 1,022
    I like the categories. Reality rooms and Dream rooms makes things much more digestible.
    Analog: MoFi MasterTracker > MoFi UltraDeck > Sutherland 20/20
    Digital: Cambridge CXC / Streaming > Cambridge CXN v2
    MastersounD Dueventi > Rosso Fiorentino Certaldo or Arcam rHead > Hifiman HE4XX
    Discogs
  • joecoulson
    joecoulson Posts: 4,944
    Great writing Drew. Congrats on your first publication!!
  • pglbook
    pglbook Posts: 1,997
    edited June 2019
    Great job, Drew. I really liked how you objectively described the sound of a particular piece and also combined that with some personal impressions.

    Just one caveat (with regard to the Volti room): how can a $31k amp/$10k preamp/$16k speaker system be in the Reality Room? It may be someone's reality but that is not MY reality, ha.

    Congrats. Very nice writing.
  • vcwatkins
    vcwatkins Posts: 1,993
    Well done, Clipdat!
    Beach Study: ProJect Stream Box Ultra & Pre Box S2 * Pass ACA * DH Labs SS Q10 * Brines Folded ML-TQWT 40-1354
    Town Study: Elekit TU-8600S * Zu Omen DW * Shunyata Hydra 2 * MIT S3
    Audio: Schiit Yggy * Belles 20a * Pass Aleph 30 * Polk SRS 2.3tl * PSAudio PP3 * MIT S3
    Beach Den: Dayens Menuetto * KEF LS50 / Dynaudio Audience 30 / Usher V-601 * SVS SB1000Pro
    Town Den: PS Audio DSJr * Joule-Electra LA-100mkiii * Schiit Aegir / Pass F5 Clone * Polk SRS 1.2 * PSA Dectet * MIT S3
  • Clipdat
    Clipdat Posts: 10,943
    edited June 2019
    pglbook wrote: »
    Great job, Drew. I really liked how you objectively described the sound of a particular piece and also combined that with some personal impressions.

    Just one caveat (with regard to the Volti room): how can a $31k amp/$10k preamp/$16k speaker system be in the Reality Room? It may be someone's reality but that is not MY reality, ha.

    Congrats. Very nice writing.

    Thank you for the positive feedback, and commentary on the inclusion of the Volti room in the reality category. As I mentioned in the article, I also hesitated to include it due to the high priced components. However, I ultimately decided to, as it was still a reality room in the context of the other rooms at the show. There were lots and lots of other rooms that were actually much higher priced and didn't sound as good, so in that regard I feel it still qualified.

    But on a personal level, I tend to agree with your sentiment. $30k for an amplifier is quite a lot.

    That said, it sure looks good!

    ucpeq0ifnf7u.jpg
  • kharp1
    kharp1 Posts: 3,453
    I, too, understand the "that's out of my reach" when it comes to some of these systems. However, having a job that pays me fairly well, and being single, I've found that price points I once thought excessive or out of reach seem now seem possible. Partly because I made that first jump off the "that's too expensive" cliff and found it was money well spent. You can help offset costs by buying smart and selling your hopefully well taken care of current gear.

    This is a hobby and they cost money. They also give back to us in ways that sometimes can't be described. It's my therapy. That few minutes I get at the start of the day, to myself, where I shut everything else out and get myself in the proper frame of mind to face the world. What's that worth? That's something we each have to decide.

    I know I like a good horn speaker with good tube amplification and Volti is one of the better horns I've heard. His cabinetry is also very nice. I've been looking on the pre-owned market, but, they just don't come up for sale. The Rival might be an option especially since size is critical in my space. I can bypass the electronics he uses and still get great sound, I've heard them sound great with lesser front end.

    Heck, that's less than a new Harley (I know, bad example) or used convertible. When I put it in that context it didn't seem so out of reach.
  • displayname
    displayname Posts: 1,022
    kharp1 wrote: »
    Heck, that's less than a new Harley (I know, bad example) or used convertible. When I put it in that context it didn't seem so out of reach.
    This is the exact type of example I tell to friends that drive luxury cars and say "I could never afford a stereo like that"
    Analog: MoFi MasterTracker > MoFi UltraDeck > Sutherland 20/20
    Digital: Cambridge CXC / Streaming > Cambridge CXN v2
    MastersounD Dueventi > Rosso Fiorentino Certaldo or Arcam rHead > Hifiman HE4XX
    Discogs
  • maxward
    maxward Posts: 1,151
    I’ll be subscribing.
  • joecoulson
    joecoulson Posts: 4,944
    Any gear we own (us regs here on the forum) in possible future reviews?
    Would love to see some PS gear get some love..
  • nooshinjohn
    nooshinjohn Posts: 23,497
    I would like to see a budget audiophile article or two discussing the ins and outs of building a top-notch setup through going with used gear....
    The Gear... Carver "Statement" Mono-blocks, Arcam AVR21, Oppo UDP-203 4K Blu-ray player, Sony XBR70x850B 4k, Polk Audio Legend L800 with height modules, L400 Center Channel Polk audio AB800 "in-wall" surrounds. Marantz MM7025 stereo amp. Yamaha CD-S2100 SACD Player.

    In retirement...TriangleArt Reference SE with Walker Precision Motor Drive,

    “Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book has been rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered…History has stopped. Nothing exists except the endless present in which the party is always right” — George Orwell

    “If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”
  • joecoulson
    joecoulson Posts: 4,944
    That is a good idea ^
  • Clipdat
    Clipdat Posts: 10,943
    joecoulson wrote: »
    Any gear we own (us regs here on the forum) in possible future reviews?
    Would love to see some PS gear get some love..

    I've been thinking all last week about different possibilities for the first gear review on the site. While Jack did mention me potentially reviewing a piece that's in my system currently, ultimately I think I will be unable to do that for various reasons.

    Regarding the PS Audio Stellar gear, I've been using it now since February. Since it's been a part of my system for so long, it would be difficult to write an objective review simply because I haven't used any other amplifier for a long period of time. I have posted some thoughts on it here I believe, so I think it's generally known what I think of the performance of the Stellar Pre and S300.

    I was also thinking about potentially writing about the Ruby or my new phono pre, but again faced similar hurdles. Since these things are already a part of my system, and have been for some time now, it's difficult to discern what characteristics they each contribute individually. They were purchased by me in order to elevate my system to a certain level. I believe now that I'm at that level, I have a reference and can now review new pieces that are sent to me by manufacturers.

    In terms of reviewing in general, in my opinion, it has to be relevant to my own experiences thus far. As much as I would like to review the $9,000 Luxman L-590AxII, I feel that doing so would not be relevant. Putting something that expensive into my system would likely create an overly excited and arguably flawed review. Simply because it's priced so much higher than my current $2,800 pre & amp combo.

    Of course I'd like to eventually get to the point of reviewing the higher end pieces, but I feel like I have to get there incrementally. Doing so gradually will allow me to fully appreciate and comprehend the more expensive product's performance once I do experience them.
  • kharp1
    kharp1 Posts: 3,453
    edited June 2019
    I see no issues with reviewing pieces you currently own so long as you put another piece in its place and then contrast and compare. Basically what I did with the Odyssey. I'd been so use to the Butler it had just become something I ws taking for granted. Putting the Odyssey in allowed me to fully appreciate the Butler anew.

    Perhaps you can do what most reviewers do and ask if you can get a piece in to review. I'll loan you the Odyssey :)

  • Clipdat
    Clipdat Posts: 10,943
    edited June 2019
    I understand what you mean, but there's still some additional logistical considerations.

    In the example you describe of how you compared the Odyssey to your Butler, it's more of a head to head or "vs." piece. Those would work, as long as the manufacturers involved agree to it ahead of time, and realize the gear will be put head to head against another component.

    If a manufacturer provides me with a power amplifier for review and I do so, and then write another review later of my S300 "reference" amp and compare it favorably against the manufacturer's product, that would not go over well. Unless, like I said, they were aware ahead of time that their product was going to be pitted directly against another comparably priced product in a "shootout" type review.

    There's just some additional things to consider now for articles that will be published outside of our forum.
  • Clipdat
    Clipdat Posts: 10,943
    kharp1 wrote: »
    Perhaps you can do what most reviewers do and ask if you can get a piece in to review. I'll loan you the Odyssey :)

    Appreciate the generous offer, and agree with your idea of a comparison to the S300 on a personal level. However, because it would be published on a reputable review website, it's possible that Odyssey or PS Audio might not want me putting "used" pieces in a review article.

    For example, they don't know the exact history/condition of the unit being reviewed, so if it is actually defective in some way that would reflect poorly on their product and show in the listening experience. They could offer to ship a new unit for review, but then it goes back to some of the logistical concerns I described above.
  • Clipdat
    Clipdat Posts: 10,943
    edited June 2019
    I thought a head to head review of these similarly priced ($478.99 vs $499) speakers could be an interesting first review:

    KLH Albany

    Albany-grille-off.jpg

    vs

    Wharfdale Denton 80

    Denton-80-Rosewood5bc9045568cd4.jpg
  • maxward
    maxward Posts: 1,151
    Good idea for a first review.
  • verb
    verb Posts: 10,021
    edited June 2019
    I would like to see a budget audiophile article or two discussing the ins and outs of building a top-notch setup through going with used gear....

    I like that idea, as I am living it right now. Most of my gear is pre-owned, as I love a bargain, and have a hard time shelling out full retail for new gear.

    Yeah it's a risk, you win some and lose some when it comes to used gear, but for me that's reality. Heck even my McIntosh is technically used, but NOS! :smile:

    Is there a VAC, Electrocompaniet, Burmester, another EAR, you name it, in my future - sure! I keep looking for em in the used market!

    Drew I like your approach on the reality aspect. I can dream, as others do, but then reality sits in. Lot's of possibilities out there, incrementally, on a budget!

    Very nice to see (I again am living that dream) that excellent sounding systems can be put together and not break the bank or have the Mrs kick you out of the house! :smile:

    Keep it going Drew! You're off to a great start!
    Basement: Polk SDA SRS 1.2tl's, Cary SLP-05 Pre with ultimate upgrade,McIntosh MCD301 CD/SACD player, Northstar Designs Excelsio DAC, Cambridge 851N streamer, McIntosh MC300 Amp, Silnote Morpheus Ref2, Series2 Digital Cables, Silnote Morpheus Ref2 Series2 XLR's, Furman 15PFi Power Conditioner, Pangea Power Cables, MIT Shotgun S3 IC's, MIT Shotgun S1 Bi-Wire speaker cables
    Office: PC, EAR Acute CD Player, EAR 834L Pre, Northstar Designs Intenso DAC, Antique Sound Labs AV8 Monoblocks, Denon UDR-F10 Cassette, Acoustic Technologies Classic FR Speakers, SVS SB12 Plus sub, MIT AVt2 speaker cables, IFI Purifier2, AQ Cinnamon USB cable, Groneberg Quatro Reference IC's
    Spare Room: Dayens Ampino Integrated Amp, Tjoeb 99 tube CD player (modified Marantz CD-38), Analysis Plus Oval 9's, Zu Jumpers, AudioEngine B1 Streamer, Klipsch RB-61 v2, SVS PB1000 sub, Blue Jeans RCA IC's, Shunyata Hydra 8 Power Conditioner
    Living Room: Peachtree Nova Integrated, Cambridge CXN v2 Streamer, Rotel RCD-1072 CD player, Furman 15PFi Power Conditioner, Polk RT265 In Wall Speakers, Polk DSW Pro 660wi sub
    Garage #1: Cambridge Audio 640A Integrated Amp, Project Box-E BT Streamer, Polk Tsi200 Bookies, Douglas Speaker Cables, Shunyata Power Conditioner
    Garage #2: Cambridge Audio EVO150 Integrated Amplifier, Polk L200's, Analysis Plus Silver Oval 2 Speaker Cables, IC's TBD.
  • verb
    verb Posts: 10,021
    Only one objection, and I may lodge a protest to Beatnik, is that they used the wrong picture for the #1 Dream System! Should've use this one! :smile:
    oekot4zwlw8v.png
    Basement: Polk SDA SRS 1.2tl's, Cary SLP-05 Pre with ultimate upgrade,McIntosh MCD301 CD/SACD player, Northstar Designs Excelsio DAC, Cambridge 851N streamer, McIntosh MC300 Amp, Silnote Morpheus Ref2, Series2 Digital Cables, Silnote Morpheus Ref2 Series2 XLR's, Furman 15PFi Power Conditioner, Pangea Power Cables, MIT Shotgun S3 IC's, MIT Shotgun S1 Bi-Wire speaker cables
    Office: PC, EAR Acute CD Player, EAR 834L Pre, Northstar Designs Intenso DAC, Antique Sound Labs AV8 Monoblocks, Denon UDR-F10 Cassette, Acoustic Technologies Classic FR Speakers, SVS SB12 Plus sub, MIT AVt2 speaker cables, IFI Purifier2, AQ Cinnamon USB cable, Groneberg Quatro Reference IC's
    Spare Room: Dayens Ampino Integrated Amp, Tjoeb 99 tube CD player (modified Marantz CD-38), Analysis Plus Oval 9's, Zu Jumpers, AudioEngine B1 Streamer, Klipsch RB-61 v2, SVS PB1000 sub, Blue Jeans RCA IC's, Shunyata Hydra 8 Power Conditioner
    Living Room: Peachtree Nova Integrated, Cambridge CXN v2 Streamer, Rotel RCD-1072 CD player, Furman 15PFi Power Conditioner, Polk RT265 In Wall Speakers, Polk DSW Pro 660wi sub
    Garage #1: Cambridge Audio 640A Integrated Amp, Project Box-E BT Streamer, Polk Tsi200 Bookies, Douglas Speaker Cables, Shunyata Power Conditioner
    Garage #2: Cambridge Audio EVO150 Integrated Amplifier, Polk L200's, Analysis Plus Silver Oval 2 Speaker Cables, IC's TBD.
  • VR3
    VR3 Posts: 25,596
    Is there money in reviewing used gear professionally? Just curious

    Great recap of the show
    - Not Tom

    "No, that's silly talk. Dude, you can't possibly be this audio dumb so quit the act." - Doro
  • kharp1
    kharp1 Posts: 3,453
    I'm sorry, I didn't mean to infer reviewing used gear, however, most reviews I've ever read did have a reference system that was, well, referred to. That reference system was used at that point. Maybe that's why I'm "tired" of the traditional review media...they are still prostrate before the industry. I've long since left those outlets behind preferring to gather info from other areas that don't have to be concerned where their funding is coming from.
  • VR3
    VR3 Posts: 25,596
    Got it, I'm no wordsmith, applaud anyone who can do it!

    - Not Tom

    "No, that's silly talk. Dude, you can't possibly be this audio dumb so quit the act." - Doro
  • voltz
    voltz Posts: 5,384
    verb wrote: »
    Only one objection, and I may lodge a protest to Beatnik, is that they used the wrong picture for the #1 Dream System! Should've use this one! :smile:
    oekot4zwlw8v.png

    Agree, what a cool pic! Rock On DREW!!! And good speed and the best of luck and or times!
    2 ch- Polk CRS+ * Vincent SA-31MK Preamp * Vincent Sp-331 Amp * Marantz SA8005 SACD * Project Xperience Classic TT * Sumiko Blue Point #2 MC cartridge

    HT - Polk 703's * NAD T-758 * Adcom 5503 * Oppo 103 * Samsung 60" series 8 LCD