AXPONA 2024

My "favorite" was some Indian music with so much reverb & echo it sounded like it was recorded underwater.
I would like to have heard those speakers but no way I was going to endure that.
There's some interesting Indian music around - that wasn't it.

My buddy told me it was the speaker designer/ owner running the room.
Other selections were likely much more musical.

(Best in Show is one of our favorite movies - what a stitch!)
 
I don’t have much room to talk. I used to drag around a copy of Jesus & Mary Chain’s Psychocandy when auditioning speakers. And the stores would be all “this won’t sound good on these” and I’d be “well it has to or I don’t want them. That’s one of my favorite albums”.
The more you spend on your equipment the smaller your music collection gets. That's the way of the "audiophile".
 
Agree, but compared to most pop/ rock recordings, they sound awfully good.
The Fagan album (Nightfly) is nicely done too.

Put on an early Springsteen album the other day & it was almost comical.
Some members of the band were front & center, Some sounded like they were in the back of the recording studio somewhere & Springsteen sounded like he was singing thru a blanket. I have an unopened copy, maybe that one would play better.
Regardless, I took the LP off the TT & put on something else. Life is too short for poor recordings (ya, 1st world problems, I get it).
Good points, there. The Nightfly, for a time, was in constant rotation at the audio stores for years after it first came out. And at least Steely Dan did strive to make recordings better than a lot of what was being released at the time. If I recall, they had that goal with the recording of Katy Lied, yet they made the sound too audiophile (I believe they may have even mixed the album through Magnepan speakers?), and they couldn't master a playable LP from it due to the transients they had captured. That's why I'm very curious to see how the UHQR turns out.

I'm not much of a fan of Santana, but one of my favorite records is the 45 RPM MoFi cut of Santana's first album (self-titled). The whole vibe of that record feels like they were told to bring their equipment to the studio, set up a few mics, and jam their way through the songs they knew. Sure there's leakage and what not, but it feels like a performance, and the relative lack of "production" seems to translate to instruments that sound like themselves (especially the Latin percussion). It's always fun to listen to. It's a far cry from Santana IV, which was a reunion of the original Santana lineup--it's heavily produced, not as coherent (I'm guessing a lot of overdubs), and sounds very digital. (It had a few good songs on it regardless. But IMHO the modern studio technology is a detriment.)

Sometimes the best recordings are the ones with the least amount of fuss and production.
 
I don’t have much room to talk. I used to drag around a copy of Jesus & Mary Chain’s Psychocandy when auditioning speakers. And the stores would be all “this won’t sound good on these” and I’d be “well it has to or I don’t want them. That’s one of my favorite albums”.
Therein lies the rub. Speakers have to sound right with our music, not their music.

I'm lucky that my favorite local salon, Absolute Sound, always told me to come back and bring some of my favorite music to listen to. At least today, we don't have to drag our collection around with us--most stores of any notoriety will have Qobuz and streaming on hand. But back in the 70s and 80s, I was taking a handful of records and later on, a few favorite CDs when I wanted to hear something.

I read a good opinion from an exhibitor this year. He says their playlist was a couple hundred tracks, but as a rule they didn't take requests. Reason being, is that given some of our different tastes, the last thing he'd want to have happen is someone requesting music that clears out the room. And that makes sense. That and there would be more requesting of tracks than actual auditioning, along with some showgoers getting upset because their request wasn't played. I could see it being a friction point for some rooms.

My only counterargument would be that playlists can include a mix of tracks that sound good, along with tracks many of us are familiar with. And rotate through both sides regularly.
 
Therein lies the rub. Speakers have to sound right with our music, not their music.

I'm lucky that my favorite local salon, Absolute Sound, always told me to come back and bring some of my favorite music to listen to. At least today, we don't have to drag our collection around with us--most stores of any notoriety will have Qobuz and streaming on hand. But back in the 70s and 80s, I was taking a handful of records and later on, a few favorite CDs when I wanted to hear something.

I read a good opinion from an exhibitor this year. He says their playlist was a couple hundred tracks, but as a rule they didn't take requests. Reason being, is that given some of our different tastes, the last thing he'd want to have happen is someone requesting music that clears out the room. And that makes sense. That and there would be more requesting of tracks than actual auditioning, along with some showgoers getting upset because their request wasn't played. I could see it being a friction point for some rooms.

My only counterargument would be that playlists can include a mix of tracks that sound good, along with tracks many of us are familiar with. And rotate through both sides regularly.
I took my wife to Axpona in 2014 and besides the unending making fun of me and my hobby that continues to this day, it was fun. She walked up to a high end audio dealer with a $50,000 turntable and $80,000 speakers and pulled out this copy of of the first Nine Inch Nails album that she bought and said "can you play this on this stereo?" and their eyes lit up. "Absolutely!"... I think even they were tired of the standard tunes. And then as Head Like a Hole was playing, suddenly three young people came over with big smiles.

I will say, the playlist this year was MUCH better than 10 years ago. More variety, more out-there stuff that was different but not room-emptying. More 'real' music. If you can't tell by my continued commenting on it, I have more fun than I thought I would.
 
Actually, now that I think of it, that dealer is not far from where we moved, I can use that experience to my favor. "I"m going to Quintessence" "where?' "They played that nine inch nails album for you" " Oh they're cool have fun spend money"
 
Actually, now that I think of it, that dealer is not far from where we moved, I can use that experience to my favor. "I"m going to Quintessence" "where?' "They played that nine inch nails album for you" " Oh they're cool have fun spend money"
She's a keeper! 😁

And yes, it's a lot of fun when some rooms cheer up if you want to hear something beyond their tired demo tunes.

I will say, the playlist this year was MUCH better than 10 years ago. More variety, more out-there stuff that was different but not room-emptying. More 'real' music.
It was 2016, I think, and the one song I first heard at the show, nearly instantly disliked, and then heard at seemingly every other room at the show, was some song called (I think), "No Sanctuary." I think my internal nickname for that song was, "The thing that would not die." 🤣

If you can't tell by my continued commenting on it, I have more fun than I thought I would.
And maybe if I don't have a communications snafu again, we can actually meet up next time! That is, if you can be convinced out of hibernation to show up for 2025. 😉

I had mixed feelings. Seeing friends and acquaintances? That's always a plus. The after-hours events are often fun also. Seeing a few of the rooms was a treat. Yet I couldn't help but think that 1) I'm at the show to do a job, and 2) since I don't plan on buying a single thing I'm listening to, why do I even bother? But I go back to the plusses and there I am, back at the show for another year.
 
She's a keeper! 😁

And yes, it's a lot of fun when some rooms cheer up if you want to hear something beyond their tired demo tunes.


It was 2016, I think, and the one song I first heard at the show, nearly instantly disliked, and then heard at seemingly every other room at the show, was some song called (I think), "No Sanctuary." I think my internal nickname for that song was, "The thing that would not die." 🤣


And maybe if I don't have a communications snafu again, we can actually meet up next time! That is, if you can be convinced out of hibernation to show up for 2025. 😉

I had mixed feelings. Seeing friends and acquaintances? That's always a plus. The after-hours events are often fun also. Seeing a few of the rooms was a treat. Yet I couldn't help but think that 1) I'm at the show to do a job, and 2) since I don't plan on buying a single thing I'm listening to, why do I even bother? But I go back to the plusses and there I am, back at the show for another year.
I'm actually quite a social being. Well, I'm not but my wife is. She's sort of a local underground celebrity and socialite and as such I'm always being dragged here and there to meet with this or that person or show up at this or that thing. When left to my devices I sit at home with my dog and listen to records. But I don't mind being social. Sorry that we didn't cross paths.... the sandwich that i had around the time I could meet was really good, though. I'll probably go next year.

I had a different experience- I wasn't at the show to do a job, then somehow got roped into being at the show to do a job. That's what happens with friends in the industry I guess.

There are songs played at audio shows where I just don't know where the music comes from. Like, who is listening to this stuff who isn't at an audio show? While I listen to some obscure stuff, there's a sort of community around a lot of it. Some of the audiophile music is just so random.
 
Sorry that we didn't cross paths.... the sandwich that i had around the time I could meet was really good, though. I'll probably go next year.
The irony is that we were probably just a couple dozen yards from each other. I looked at my photos at Butcher Block Acoustics, and those were 12:34pm in the Exhibit Hall, pretty much my last stop before I headed back to "home base" to bid farewell and left around 1:30.

And I did stop in the Krell room, but that was early on, maybe within a half hour of when the show opened.
I was chasing a few others around the show. And also, trying to avoid a couple others, but fortunately those are few and far between. I'm a bit bummed that I only briefly chatted with some pals of mine from Chicago, and a couple others who flew in to hang out with them, but I'd already had dinner RSVPed for both nights.

I had a different experience- I wasn't at the show to do a job, then somehow got roped into being at the show to do a job. That's what happens with friends in the industry I guess.
It's not work work, but when I've done the same thing for several years and offer to help out, and get an accommodation to do so, then I want to do as much as I can so I don't feel like I'm wasting anyone's time, including my own. If they'd asked ahead of time, I'd have been able to arrange extra time to help with tear-down or setup.
 
Saw the green stripe walking by but didn't stop to look closely.
I thought it was just reflective material.
V cool that its actually lit.
It's an older technology (goes back decades) but is updated using modern components. It uses LED lighting and sensors, and a tiny mirror that interrupts the beam of light to create the signal read from the stylus tip. That goes to their custom phono preamp for processing.

I would get one, except they're an order of magnitude more than I would pay... 😮
 
It's an older technology (goes back decades) but is updated using modern components. It uses LED lighting and sensors, and a tiny mirror that interrupts the beam of light to create the signal read from the stylus tip. That goes to their custom phono preamp for processing.

I would get one, except they're an order of magnitude more than I would pay... 😮
I don't think I heard that setup. I did see the beautiful Tannoy/Clearaudio setup near the lower lobby but it was only playing once when I walked by, and rather quietly.
 
I don't think I heard that setup. I did see the beautiful Tannoy/Clearaudio setup near the lower lobby but it was only playing once when I walked by, and rather quietly.
They seemed to have a Verve LP with Ella and Louis Armstrong playing continuously. I'm thinking that was the same system, as it had two Clearaudio turntables (an Innovation on the left, and a Concept on the right, the Concept runnign the DS Audio cart), and some fancy but dated looking speakers I couldn't identify. (I didn't bother to check who made them, but they probably were Tannoys.) I kind of collapsed there late Saturday after my last trip down the flights of stairs from the top. I don't think they changed that record the entire time! If you took the "up" escalator and looked down to the right, there it was.
 
They seemed to have a Verve LP with Ella and Louis Armstrong playing continuously. I'm thinking that was the same system, as it had two Clearaudio turntables (an Innovation on the left, and a Concept on the right, the Concept runnign the DS Audio cart), and some fancy but dated looking speakers I couldn't identify. (I didn't bother to check who made them, but they probably were Tannoys.) I kind of collapsed there late Saturday after my last trip down the flights of stairs from the top. I don't think they changed that record the entire time! If you took the "up" escalator and looked down to the right, there it was.
Yeah, that's the setup now that I think about it. I forgot about the Concept. I remember the speakers sounding more up to date than they looked but otherwise being more impressed with how the system looked, as I thought the speakers were very pretty. The other system around the corner with McIntosh and ....Sonus Faber? I think?... wasn't sounding good when I walked in. It was the first system I experienced.
 
The other system around the corner with McIntosh and ....Sonus Faber? I think?... wasn't sounding good when I walked in. It was the first system I experienced.
There was a stack of McIntosh in that vestibule, and you're probably right about the speakers. Not a good setup in its location, but it seems like it was there more as eye candy. In fact, coming back late at night, we wondered how boring a job it must be to work security at the show, sitting there all night watching over these systems. It also foiled plans to print out our own Clearaudio badges, act liked we belonged there, and "borrow" the Innovation turntable for a very long term "servicing"... 😁

I don't mean to offend fans of modern McIntosh but to be honest, I've never heard a setup with their electronics at these shows that I've liked. There's something "off" about the sound that I can't quite put a finger on. Yet you rarely see their current tube amps used for demos. They need to change that.
 
There was a stack of McIntosh in that vestibule, and you're probably right about the speakers. Not a good setup in its location, but it seems like it was there more as eye candy. In fact, coming back late at night, we wondered how boring a job it must be to work security at the show, sitting there all night watching over these systems. It also foiled plans to print out our own Clearaudio badges, act liked we belonged there, and "borrow" the Innovation turntable for a very long term "servicing"... 😁

I don't mean to offend fans of modern McIntosh but to be honest, I've never heard a setup with their electronics at these shows that I've liked. There's something "off" about the sound that I can't quite put a finger on. Yet you rarely see their current tube amps used for demos. They need to change that.
I've heard a few McIntosh setups at Saturday Audio Exchange that I've liked but it's usually the exception. I don't even think it's all that pretty, to be honest, though I did help a friend purchase one of their new amps last year as it's what he really wanted. I kind of view modern Mac like I see my boss's Rolex. It's a very nice watch and I know he spent some money on it. But, as a watch fan, I'm only mildly curious about it.
 
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