AXPONA 2013

SY

diyAudio Moderator Emeritus
2002-10-24 10:19 pm
Chicagoland
www.SYclotron.com
Anyone else been there?

I spent yesterday doing a quick tour through and was, frankly, appalled by the sound in most rooms. Really obvious problems for the most part. Much of it MAY have been the demo material, which had an almost generic "high end audio" sound- boomy bottom, cutting upper midrange, hissy sibilants. Best sound I've heard so far was at MBL (but heard them sound much, much better in the past), McIntosh (well and truly spoiled by an interminable marketing presentation), and Janszen (though you wouldn't know it from the awful demo material- I got them to deign to play about 1 minute of one of Scott Wurcer's recordings and found that the speakers were actually pretty good, or at least not obviously bad).

I would say to look for the old, fat, bearded guy and say hi to me, but that describes 80% of the attendees.

After the show yesterday, I visited with a couple of friends- one of them has a set of Fulton Js in his basement driven by an old Harman Kardon receiver. It sounded stunningly better than anything I heard at the show.
 

scott wurcer

Disabled Account
2004-01-26 3:03 pm
Belmont MA
Anyone else been there?

I spent yesterday doing a quick tour through and was, frankly, appalled by the sound in most rooms. Really obvious problems for the most part. Much of it MAY have been the demo material, which had an almost generic "high end audio" sound- boomy bottom, cutting upper midrange, hissy sibilants. Best sound I've heard so far was at MBL (but heard them sound much, much better in the past), McIntosh (well and truly spoiled by an interminable marketing presentation), and Janszen (though you wouldn't know it from the awful demo material- I got them to deign to play about 1 minute of one of Scott Wurcer's recordings and found that the speakers were actually pretty good, or at least not obviously bad).

I would say to look for the old, fat, bearded guy and say hi to me, but that describes 80% of the attendees.

After the show yesterday, I visited with a couple of friends- one of them has a set of Fulton Js in his basement driven by an old Harman Kardon receiver. It sounded stunningly better than anything I heard at the show.

Did you cross paths with the Earl of no fun?
 

SY

diyAudio Moderator Emeritus
2002-10-24 10:19 pm
Chicagoland
www.SYclotron.com
No name tags so I don't know. I *think* that we literally crossed paths a few times (a fellow who looked like his photo) but since we never had met face to face before...

I spent some time this morning walking around and doing brief listening. A depressing experience- everything being played was highly processed studio stuff, a lot of audiophile demo material, one minute bits with no time to really listen. At one exhibit, I sat behind the editor of a more-or-less major fashion hifi publication. The guys exhibiting were properly obsequious to him (that's their livelihood), but everything he handed them to play was more of the same, boom-de-boom, tizzle-tizzle. This explains much. A couple of exhibits showed better than yesterday (when I could convince them to play some unprocessed acoustic music), but nothing that grabbed me.

It was great fun to listen to the pitches- sales guys are absolutely dominant, hardly anyone technical at all. One guy was selling wire with a cylinder of donut-shaped magnets around the outside. He explained to a couple of fascinated audiophiles that without this special treatment, the delicate musical signal rattles and bounces around inside the wire. With these magnets, the signal goes through straighter and faster. The $9000 power strip was also fun- it's really dynamic, it'll make your system punch. It was carefully designed so that all wires to each of the outlets was the same length to increase coherence.

Another guy had expensive molded rubber balls for isolation. I asked him if I could drop one on the table and he was nice enough to assent. Bounced like a spaldeen. Okey doke.

My one bit of relief was a fellow who had a super-expensive (by my standards- low five figures) phono stage for sale. The sales guy introduced me to the designer, who walked me through the circuitry- it was actually quite rationally designed.

There was an amusing presentation on (supposedly) how to attract younger people to high end audio. One of the Stereophile editors managed to pack ten mentions of his sexual preference into a five minute oration about music. This was about ten more times than necessary, but the self-indulgence seems to run deep. He also managed to inject his own cartoonish politics into it. One fellow in the audience yelled at John Atkinson for not reviewing Magnaplanars- he described himself as "a Magnepan guy," in the same way teenagers used to be "Ford guys" or "Chevy guys." Afterward, I did talk to one of the audience folks who had asked a question during the presentation- it turned out that we used to hang out at the same jazz clubs during the '70s. That was fun, real music talk.

Turned into a total zoo by 1pm, so I bugged out.
 
Sorry to hear. We have a small relaxed show in Dallas, the Lone Star Audio Fest. It's pretty laid back. Most of the exhibitors are small one guy operations with a few of the high dollar commercial companies thrown in. My favorite last year was just a guy from Houston who brought his system and a cooler of beer and welcomed you to just hang out and listen to music with him. Nice guy. I'm thinking of doing that myself this year. Maybe I'd promote diyaudio.com a bit. I'm planning on checking with Jason to make sure that was ok first though.
 
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There were two rooms at LSAF last year that did that- Dave Slagle's and Pete Millett/mine. I brought a pony of one of the Live Oak beers from Austin (where I lived), Dave had a selection of brews from a place called Black Man. We had quite a blast going back and forth- Dave is a terrific fellow. lots of fun.

SY, I'll bet our paths crossed somewhere and I must have been in your room. I didn't know of you or Pete at that time, although I do now.

I was really glad to meet Dave Slagle as he built the autoformers for my volume control. I hung out there for several hours and we had a good time spinning vinyl. The guy from Houston I mentioned was named Brad. He was not in the audio business at all, just a music listener.

Is Pete in Texas, would he possibly be going this year? I assume you wouldn't make the trip for it.
 

scott wurcer

Disabled Account
2004-01-26 3:03 pm
Belmont MA
"high end audio" sound- boomy bottom, cutting upper midrange, hissy sibilants.

So nothing has changed in the last 20-30yr.? Everyone tries to tell me that I don't get how much better things are now but the Harry Pearson inspired Infinity/Conrad-Johnson/Goldmund/Koetsu system that I heard some 30yr. ago just sang on those old RCA's. Fun.
 
Pete's in Dallas, so he's very likely to be there. I left Austin, so probably not. We had the room with a rack of super-expensive headphones and a small pair of Jordan speakers- as well as the beer.:D

Hmmh, don't remember a headphone room. Getting old you know. I just bought my first pair recently. Went with the audeze Lcd-2's. Driving them with an f4 clone currently. No troubles there but I'll be starting a tube amp for them as soon as antek gets restocked. I'll watch for Pete this year. I bought his sound card interface board a while back but haven't started it yet.

cheers
 
Gone backwards, perhaps. The 1980-vintage Fulton system with the cheap receiver was head and shoulders better (in the sense of reproducing the tonal and dynamic qualities of acoustic music) than anything I heard at the show.

That's really sad to hear. I feel I've achieved fantastic and very real sounding tone and dynamics of acoustic music with my diy amps. And as you know they could be produced for much less money than the really high priced commercial equipment. But, I am using commercial speakers and I think they sound great. Martin Logan ESL's, their bottom of the line electrostatic's but it's their only esl's with a non-amplified woofer. In addition to saving money I wanted class a amplification even on the bottom end, not class d. Whether that's the best choice or not I think it sounds great. So, my point is I think there is good commercial equipment out there, but too bad it wasn't brought to your audio show. My phono stage is commercial too but it's a small company, Artemis Labs.
 

SY

diyAudio Moderator Emeritus
2002-10-24 10:19 pm
Chicagoland
www.SYclotron.com
There was an M-L in at least one of the rooms. I've heard them sound a lot better...

One of the rooms apparently had an air handler right above it so there was a continual 80dB background rumble. I felt really sorry for those guys, the room couldn't have been cheap and their ability to demo was sorely compromised. Speakers seemed promising, but tough to tell.

OK, After Show Party tonight at my place. Much wine, much ale, much pizza. And music, with songs being played all the way through, god help us.
 
There was an M-L in at least one of the rooms. I've heard them sound a lot better...

One of the rooms apparently had an air handler right above it so there was a continual 80dB background rumble. I felt really sorry for those guys, the room couldn't have been cheap and their ability to demo was sorely compromised. Speakers seemed promising, but tough to tell.

OK, so I think I've been missing part of the point you are making which is that there 'may' have been good equipment there but for a variety of reasons you couldn't tell. Playing the wrong recordings, hacking the right ones, bad acoustic issues, etc. Seems like the exhibitors were not true music lovers and were instead just hired to promote stuff. Or, they didn't think the audience was sofisticated enough to recognize their lack of good presentation. Pity. I would be much more swayed to some manufactures equipment if I was convinced they were only it for the love of listening to music. Heck, I might even buy inferior equipment from them just because they seemed to love listening to music.
 

ds21

Member
2002-02-11 6:51 am
WI
I found it was mostly the rooms that caused the majority of the problems(small and for the most part square) so it what can be expected, in fact the hotel went around and offered some room treatment to the exhibitors, mcintosh decided to opt out and instead used their room correction at first I thought it didn't sound good' but than I sat in the sweet spot... Plus most of them would ask what you wanted to listen to... At least they asked my... Suppose it depended on how busy they were.
 
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SY

diyAudio Moderator Emeritus
2002-10-24 10:19 pm
Chicagoland
www.SYclotron.com
That's absolutely true, and something I tried to acknowledge. But a small room is no excuse for spitty upper midrange (a very common flaw). As well, a lot of the speakers seemed to have polar pattern issues, classic "horns" off-axis at the tweeter cut in, which is certainly exacerbated by having walls nearby. But... many/most of us listen in rooms that are that small. The basement where I was listening to the Fultons wasn't any wider than most of the hotel rooms and only a bit longer. Agreed, from the middle seat, the Mac stuff sounded very good, if I could only get their marketing guy to shut up for a minute.

If one of the attendees can help me out here: I did hear a nice pair of speakers in one of the small rooms, but my early-onset Alzheimers' has caused me to forget what they were called. They were white, line-source-ish looking things, a bit more than a meter high, maybe 18 cm wide, and shallow enough that they could be panels. The guys demo-ing were quite nice and accommodating as well, and I'd love to give them a public thumbs-up if I could only remember who they were...

First time listening to Don Keele's arrays- I would LOVE to try them in a better environment.

Nice time at my house afterward. Some of the older forum tube guys may remember the name Brian Beck, a very sharp designer who hung out here until he found it too addictive. His friend Tom as well, who was one of Bob Fulton's close associates. My boss and his wife (this is the start of a plot from a sit-com), who had spent a couple days wandering the show as well. Lots of music, and even a pizza margherita made with my wife's home-made cheese (no Borat jokes, please).
 
I spent Saturday wandering the show and thought that all in all, wasn't too bad a way to burn a crappy spring day. Didn't spent a ton of time listening - I was disappointed with the source material - mostly mediocre sounding CD systems. Probably not the optimal way to flog 70K speaker systems. The first floor vendors helped me put a decent dent in my credit card with some new vinyl. Having a chance to listen to Peter Lederman and his gear (Soundsmith) was worthwhile too.

Hopefully the show was seen as a success and just gets bigger and moves to a better venue.

Jim
 
Anyone else been there?

I spent yesterday doing a quick tour through and was, frankly, appalled by the sound in most rooms. Really obvious problems for the most part. Much of it MAY have been the demo material, which had an almost generic "high end audio" sound- boomy bottom, cutting upper midrange, hissy sibilants. Best sound I've heard so far was at MBL (but heard them sound much, much better in the past), McIntosh (well and truly spoiled by an interminable marketing presentation), and Janszen (though you wouldn't know it from the awful demo material- I got them to deign to play about 1 minute of one of Scott Wurcer's recordings and found that the speakers were actually pretty good, or at least not obviously bad).

I would say to look for the old, fat, bearded guy and say hi to me, but that describes 80% of the attendees.

After the show yesterday, I visited with a couple of friends- one of them has a set of Fulton Js in his basement driven by an old Harman Kardon receiver. It sounded stunningly better than anything I heard at the show.

Ahh ha , Sy at an audio show .....:)