Welcome back to Headphone.Guru’s coverage of AXPONA 2023 thanks to the generous sponsorship provided by our good friends at xsa-labs and Vera-Fi Audio LLC.
Introducing XSA-Labs and Vera-Fi Audio LLC
Simply put, at XSA-Labs, we offer unique, innovative, and leading edge products for the very best in SOUND QUALITY and VALUE using state of the art design and manufacturing technologies. Beginning Pre Orders May 1, 2023, for the Vera-Fi Audio Series One A40 Class A Amp
40 watts per channel REAL CLASS A. Introductory Price of $1599.
XSA is the home of the acclaimed and Award Winning Vanguard Loudspeaker and Vera-Fi Electronics that represent Our Forward Thinking Design Ethos and VALUE at every turn. XSA-Labs can be found at www.xsa-labs.com – firstname.lastname@example.org
As well, our Vera-Fi Audio LLC site is the Home of the Puron Plug In AC Line Conditioner and the Swiss Digital FUSE BOX.
Innovative Design and Value to the extreme.
Puron is sweeping the category of Plug-In AC Line Conditioners and FUSE BOX re-writes all of the rules regarding upgraded FUSE applications Vera-Fi Audio LLC can be found at www.verafiaudiollc.com – email@example.com
Holm Audio / DALI / NAD / SOTA / Rega / ADD-Powr / Sutherland / Torus Power / Sony / Gold Note / Nordost / Triangle
Holm Audio had a couple of rooms that caught my attention, the first thing I noticed was a beautiful SOTA Escape Turntable with a Rega 220 Tonearm and Ortofon 2M Cartridge ($2,139 complete) fronting a budget audiophile system consisting of a Sutherland 20/20 MK2 Dual Mono Phono Stage with a Sutherland LPS Linear Power Supply ($2,650 as a bundle) fed into a NAD C658 BluOS Streaming DAC/Preamp ($1,999) controlling a NAD 298 Stereo Power Amplifier ($2,399) driving a pair of DALI OPTICON 8 MK2 Loudspeakers ($4999/pr) with a Sony HAP-Z1ES Hi-Res Music Player ($1,999) on standby and a Torus Power RM 15 ($2,800) providing AC with Nordost Cables throughout. The second system began with a SOTA Sapphire VI Turntable ($4,550) with a full stack of Gold Note electronics including a Gold Note PH1000 Phono Stage ($11,999), Gold Note PSU-1250 ($6,599), Gold Note DS-10 Plus DAC, Gold Note PSU-10 ($1,199), Gold Note P-1000 MKII Deluxe Preamplifier ($8,999), and a Gold Note PA-1175 Power Amplifier ($8,199) driving a pair of Triangle Quatuor Magellan 40th Loudspeakers ($20,000/pr).
Gershman Acoustics / VAC / exaSound Audio Design / Cardas
Three of my favorite manufacturers came together to produce quite pleasant sound, Cardas, VAC, and Gershman Acoustics (who I discovered at FLAX) with a system composed of an exaSound s82 Mark II Streaming DAC and Roon Server ($7,599), exaSound s88 Mark II 8-Channel Streaming DAC and Roon Server ($7,599), a VAC Master preamplifier ($38,000), a VAC Master 300 amplifier ($42,000), Gershman Acoustics 30th Anniversary Grand Avant Garde Loudspeakers ($17,000) and of course Cardas cables.
Orchestalls / KMD Engineering / Vincent
One of the more unique looking and fantastic sounding speakers was the Orchestalls KMD 700R ($49,000) which they had paired up with a Vincent SV-237MKII Class-A Hybrid Integrated Amplifier ($2,999.95) and a humble Yamaha BD-S681 Blu-Ray Player. Visitors were completely entranced by this speaker’s ability to reproduce and orchestra.
LUMIN / Matthew Bond Audio / DeVore Fidelity / Puritan Audio Laboratories / Magico
I’ll admit that what drew me into the LUMIN room was the name Matthew Bond on the door, who I had met back in the 1980s when I worked with the first distributor to import his TARA Labs cable. They had two systems running in two rooms. One matching up a host of their Network Music Players and Network Music Players with the LUMIN AMP ($13,990) and Magico A3 Loudspeakers ($15,400), the other employing DeVore Fidelity Orangutan O/baby Loudspeakers ($5,700) and of course, both systems used Matthew Bond Audio Cables and Puritan Audio Power Treatments. Highlighted products were the new LUMIN U2 Network Music Transport ($5000), the new LUMIN U2 MINI Network Music Transport ($2,400), the new LUMIN T3 Streamer/DAC ($4990), the LUMIN U1X Network Music Transport ($9,200), and the LUMIN P1 Preamp/DAC/Streamer ($10,000).
Alex Sound Technology / Blumenhofer Acoustics / Sforzato / Takatsuki / Fidata / Pachanko Labs / Plixir / True Power Lab / ATL Power / LeGO
Alex Sound Technology was showing their full representation of their products including Blumenhofer Acoustics Genuin FS 2 Mk 2 Loudspeakers in a beautiful Makassar premium finish ($22,850/pr), a Sforzato DST-050EX Hi-End Network Transport ($4,800), a Sforzato DCS-030EX Zero Link DAC ($9,990), a Sforzato PMC-015EX Master Clock ($4,990), a Takatsuki TA-S01 Tube Amplifier, a Fidata HFAS1-XS20U Network Audio Server ($7,995), a Pachanko Labs Constellation Mini-SE Music Server ($3,600), a Plixir BDC Linear Power Supply, a Plixir BAC-400 Balanced Power Conditioner, and True Power Lab Cables throughout. There was also a static display of ATL Power and LeGO connectors.
Von Schweikert / WestminsterLab / LampizatOr / Small Green Computer
Von Schweikert Audio and LampizatOr drew me into the room, though I was by now familiar with WestminsterLab. The system comprised of Von Schweikert Audio Endeavor SE Loudspeakers ($27,000/pr), Critical Mass Systems Footers ($5,200), a LampizatOr Horizon DAC ($50,000) with a Small Green Computer i9 ($3,499), and Sonore Ultra Rendu reclocker ($5,499), WestminsterLab Quest Balanced Preamplifier ($25,100), and WestminsterLab Rei Monoblocks ($32,900/pr).
Alta Audio / Acoustic Signature / Esoteric Audio / Plinius
Plinius treated us to an Acoustic Signature Typhoon Turntable ($17,995) with an Acoustic Signature TA 500 Tonearm ($7895), and a Grado Aeon 3 Phono Cartridge ($6000) playing through Alta Audio Adam Loudspeakers ($18,000/pr) powered by Plinius RA 150 Class-A Monoblocks ($29,990/pr), via a Plinius RM 10 Preamplifier ($19,250), and Plinius Koru phono stage ($4,620) and an Esoteric Audio K-01XD CD Player ($24,000) provided a digital source. Puritan Audio PSM 156 Studio Master Mains Purifier ($2,300) and Puritan Audio PSM 136 Studio Master Mains Purifier ($1,800) were employed as well as IKIGAI Audio Cables.
AXISS / Air Tight / Franco Serblin / Reed
AXISS Audio demonstrated some very unique looking loudspeakers along with some tasty tube amps and a turntable with an unusual tonearm. The Reed Muse 1C turntable ($15,500) was fitted with a Reed 5T Laser Tracking Tonearm ($21,500) sporting an Air-Tight Opus One MC Cartridge ($17,500) which was connected to an Air-Tight ATE-3011 Phonostage ($35,300) running through the new Air-Tight ATC-7 Line control Preamp ($34,800) driving the new Air-Tight ATM-2211 SET Monoblocks ($42,100/pr) which fed Franco Serblin Ktema loudspeakers ($40,000/pair). Also on display were a pair of Air-Tight ATM-3211 SET Monoblocks ($80,000), an Accuphase PS-1250 Clean Power Supply, and an Accuphase E-280 Integrated Amplifier.
VANA Distribution / Kyomi Audio / Grimm Audio / Atlas Cables / EAT / Ferrum / Jadis / Marten / Rekkord
The VANA Distribution room was quite spectacular with an EAT Fortissimo S turntable with an EAT F-Note tonearm fitted with an EAT Jo No. 8 MC cartridge ($13,799 w/o cartridge), an EAT E-Glo phono stage ($8,999), a Grimm MU1 Streamer ($12,500, Roon Core and Roon End Point integrated), a Ferrum Audio Wandla DAC ($2,795) with Ferrum Audio Hypsos Universal Power Supply ($1,195), a dual-chassis Jadis JPS2 line preamplifier ($17,700) into a pair of 160Wpc Jadis J200 M ii monoblocks ($41,900/pr) driving a pair of Marten Mingus Quintet 2 loudspeakers($74,995/pr). On static display were a Rekkord F300 Turntable ($599), a Rekkord M500 Turntable ($1,299), and an EAT C-DUR Turntable ($3,799).
Nagra / Stenheim / De Baer
My last stop was Nagra who was showing off a De Baer Saphir Turntable ($57,000) and their Nagra CLASSIC TUBE DAC with a Nagra CLASSIC PSU ($48,500 DAC+PSU) running through their Nagra CLASSIC PHONO ($21,500) into a Nagra CLASSIC INT Integrated Amplifier ($22,500) to a pair of STENHEIM Alumine 3SE special edition Loudspeakers ($44,700/pr).
That concludes my coverage of AXPONA 2023, it was a wonderful show and I only wish I had more time to experience more of it. While I covered the rooms that impressed me most as I entered them, I learned after the show that there were rooms I missed completely that had products right up my alley, so I look forward to next year when I can give it another go. I would like to once again thank our sponsors xsa-labs and Vera-Fi Audio LLC for making this possible.
Want to join discussion?
Feel free to contribute!