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Article: Searching For Good Sound at AXPONA Chicago 2014


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High end audio should be on the cutting edge of sound quality, convenience, and customer service. The prices are certainly on the cutting edge, but not in a good way. Enough of the excuses about being "analog guys" who don't understand all this "new" digital stuff. It's time to adapt or die.

 

Very well said indeed!

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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The Aria was obviously done by someone with a flair for industrial design. Speaking of industrial design - whose are those speakers that look like something out of Alien or The Nightmare Before Christmas (one says "Raptor" on the front in one of your photos)? Very cool! Re not playing your USB stick - either they don't know how, or they're afraid there could be a virus (not a likely thing unless the OS is Windows, and even then if they have an AV installed it should be a matter of moments to scan). Either way, as you say, long past time folks became routinely familiar with playing files. I want to know someone I'm about to spend a fair amount of money with knows his/her stuff.

One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> optical to EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> ISO Regen -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC -> Spectral DMC-12 & DMA-150 -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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The Aria was obviously done by someone with a flair for industrial design. Speaking of industrial design - whose are those speakers that look like something out of Alien or The Nightmare Before Christmas (one says "Raptor" on the front in one of your photos)? Very cool! Re not playing your USB stick - either they don't know how, or they're afraid there could be a virus (not a likely thing unless the OS is Windows, and even then if they have an AV installed it should be a matter of moments to scan). Either way, as you say, long past time folks became routinely familiar with playing files. I want to know someone I'm about to spend a fair amount of money with knows his/her stuff.

I didn't catch the name of the steampunk type speakers. They were really neat looking.

Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

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I know four different people that went to the show and they all commented that every room was just way too loud and the music was way too esoteric. It's odd, it's like the audiophile manufacturers didn't get the memo; make this stuff more palatable to the mainstream. The high end audio community is losing focus in a big way and it looks like it will be the mainstream companies that will lead the way to more folks being exposed to decent sound moving forward because a whole bunch of the "high end" just ain't gettin it.

David

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So how did the Benchmark AMP & Speakers sound???

HQ Player (#1) & Audrivana (#2) (wow! love the Apple w/music!!) .. these two software make my system "Amazing!", Purist USB- Benchmark DAC2 HGC (love it!), Purist Audio XLR , ATC SCM25A's (To Die For!) & Focal sub6 . Triode Power Cables with Uber Buss (Yes!) Also enjoy Audeze LCD3 w/"fat pipe cardas."

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I enjoy the Benchmark ... I have their DAC and find it very decent with my Audeze LCD3 and Focal speakers... TU Chris

HQ Player (#1) & Audrivana (#2) (wow! love the Apple w/music!!) .. these two software make my system "Amazing!", Purist USB- Benchmark DAC2 HGC (love it!), Purist Audio XLR , ATC SCM25A's (To Die For!) & Focal sub6 . Triode Power Cables with Uber Buss (Yes!) Also enjoy Audeze LCD3 w/"fat pipe cardas."

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I attended all three days as well, and although I cautioned others (on another forum thread) to beware of trying to evaluate product sonics at show conditions...we all do it. And yes, I fully agree with Chris (and yes he is my pseudo-boss :) ) that this show in particular had a bad combination of poor sonics often played way too loud (one presenter pointed out that the rooms were more square than other hotel shows and thus the damn midbass humps were even more prevalent).

 

But I did enjoy the show immensely. Why? Cuz it hit all of my goals: touch and feel some new devices I was interested in, catch up with several manufacturers/friends on next steps (Dan Wright, Paul McGowan, Wang Xuanqian, George Klissarov, etc) and re-kindle great friendships made at these forums (often even meeting a few face to face for the first time).

 

What about this idea: develop a show where the entire room setup needs to be less than $x (say $5k) or multiples ($5k on floor 29-30, $10k on floor 34, etc) so the dealers or mfg'ers are forced to "get real". There is nothing more pathetic than going into a suite of $300-500k worth of gear, hear the same audiophile cuts at 108db, overpowering the room something fierce, and walking (or running) away with the feeling that this is hedonism at its worst.

 

I will continue to attend these shows, but mainly for my aforementioned goals. If I hear a room that even portends greatness it is almost by accident.

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I attended all three days as well, and although I cautioned others (on another forum thread) to beware of trying to evaluate product sonics at show conditions...we all do it. And yes, I fully agree with Chris (and yes he is my pseudo-boss :) ) that this show in particular had a bad combination of poor sonics often played way too loud (one presenter pointed out that the rooms were more square than other hotel shows and thus the damn midbass humps were even more prevalent).

 

But I did enjoy the show immensely. Why? Cuz it hit all of my goals: touch and feel some new devices I was interested in, catch up with several manufacturers/friends on next steps (Dan Wright, Paul McGowan, Wang Xuanqian, George Klissarov, etc) and re-kindle great friendships made at these forums (often even meeting a few face to face for the first time).

 

What about this idea: develop a show where the entire room setup needs to be less than $x (say $5k) or multiples ($5k on floor 29-30, $10k on floor 34, etc) so the dealers or mfg'ers are forced to "get real". There is nothing more pathetic than going into a suite of $300-500k worth of gear, hear the same audiophile cuts at 108db, overpowering the room something fierce, and walking (or running) away with the feeling that this is hedonism at its worst.

 

I will continue to attend these shows, but mainly for my aforementioned goals. If I hear a room that even portends greatness it is almost by accident.

Well said Ted. I enjoy seeing old and new friends shows and having fun listening to good music when possible.

 

I also think these shows are perfect places for room correction and room treatment manufacturers to really shine. Yet, they rarely show up. Nobody has a perfect room at home. Show conditions are great for demonstrating how a bad room can be worked with.

Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

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Chris, could you describe the sound in the Dynaudio / Simaudio room in a bit more detail? The Evidence Platinum is Dynaudio´s newest creation - and an expensive one - and I would be interested how it stacks up against Magico and the like in a similar price category.

It would be a disservice to go into further detail.

Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

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I attended all three days as well, and although I cautioned others (on another forum thread) to beware of trying to evaluate product sonics at show conditions...we all do it. And yes, I fully agree with Chris (and yes he is my pseudo-boss :) ) that this show in particular had a bad combination of poor sonics often played way too loud (one presenter pointed out that the rooms were more square than other hotel shows and thus the damn midbass humps were even more prevalent).

 

But I did enjoy the show immensely. Why? Cuz it hit all of my goals: touch and feel some new devices I was interested in, catch up with several manufacturers/friends on next steps (Dan Wright, Paul McGowan, Wang Xuanqian, George Klissarov, etc) and re-kindle great friendships made at these forums (often even meeting a few face to face for the first time).

 

What about this idea: develop a show where the entire room setup needs to be less than $x (say $5k) or multiples ($5k on floor 29-30, $10k on floor 34, etc) so the dealers or mfg'ers are forced to "get real". There is nothing more pathetic than going into a suite of $300-500k worth of gear, hear the same audiophile cuts at 108db, overpowering the room something fierce, and walking (or running) away with the feeling that this is hedonism at its worst.

 

I will continue to attend these shows, but mainly for my aforementioned goals. If I hear a room that even portends greatness it is almost by accident.

 

 

What about this idea: develop a show where the entire room setup needs to be less than $x (say $5k) or multiples ($5k on floor 29-30, $10k on floor 34, etc) so the dealers or mfg'ers are forced to "get real". There is nothing more pathetic than going into a suite of $300-500k worth of gear, hear the same audiophile cuts at 108db, overpowering the room something fierce, and walking (or running) away with the feeling that this is hedonism at its worst.
A great idea if someone would attempt to pull it off. Shame they couldn't do this at this years RMAF in Denver.

The Truth Is Out There

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Well said Ted. I enjoy seeing old and new friends shows and having fun listening to good music when possible.

 

I also think these shows are perfect places for room correction and room treatment manufacturers to really shine. Yet, they rarely show up. Nobody has a perfect room at home. Show conditions are great for demonstrating how a bad room can be worked with.

 

Yep. A few years ago I even offered (for free) to bring my measuring equipment to RMAF and help anyone. Zero asked. I also offered to go to people's houses within 2 hrs of my house for the same thing and zero took it. Nothing surprises me anymore when it comes to this stuff.

 

I go for fun now. See some people and very specific equipment. Certainly not to listen to great rooms although there are always a few.

W10 NUC i7 (Gen 10) > Roon (Audiolense FIR) > Motu UltraLite mk5 > (4) Hypex NCore NC502MP > JBL M2 Master Reference +4 subs

 

Watch my Podcast https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXMw_bZWBMtRWNJQfTJ38kA/videos

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Chris/Jason,

A few of us chatted about room correction for that same reason. One room that boasted of using it (McIntosh/Martin Logan 5.1 surround room) couldn't even demo turning it on and off (said they didn't know the software well enough..or maybe cuz the a/b was not proof enough). ?? Seriously, and they were the dealer? Not buying from them, sorry. It would have been a tremendous opportunity to push McIntosh's RoomPerfect...since these rooms are likely much worse starting off than most audio lovers' home listening room conditions.

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There is nothing more pathetic than going into a suite of $300-500k worth of gear, hear the same audiophile cuts at 108db, overpowering the room something fierce, and walking (or running) away with the feeling that this is hedonism at its worst.

 

Myself and an industry veteran visited the AIX Records / German Physiks room around 12 Noon Saturday and were so underwhelmed we couldn't believe it. For the price of that system ($400,000+) I should have been able to close my eyes and feel like I was in attendance at a concert. I don't doubt the recordings and the equipment are capable of great things, but I also don't doubt people with an extra $400,000+ would rather spend it elsewhere after that presentation.

 

P.S. I ran into someone in the elevator who loved the sound of the room :~)

Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

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Did you listen to the Scaena speakers? They were my personal favorite of the whole show, and were simply breathtaking. They may have instantly become "King of the Audio Hill" in my little fantasy listening room configuration. I'd need to hear them again -- gladly -- to decide for sure.

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Did you listen to the Scaena speakers? They were my personal favorite of the whole show, and were simply breathtaking. They may have instantly become "King of the Audio Hill" in my little fantasy listening room configuration. I'd need to hear them again -- gladly -- to decide for sure.

I walked into that room while they were playing a Reference Recordings track. I'd never heard that track sound so off before. Maybe it was just me, but the Scaena room didn't impress.

Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

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