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AXPONA 2018: The Expo Hall (Part One)

By | May 23rd, 2018|Categories: Part-Time Audiofile|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |


Bigger and better
than ever, this years Expo Hall at AXPONA was alone worth the cost of admission. Vendors were pulling all the stops with their displays and demo exhibits. Traffic was consistent throughout the weekend, and I imagine the Expo Hall will be a popular destination for both attendee and exhibitor next year.
On with the show!


AXPONA 2018 Coverage brought to you by Zesto Audio

Wynn Audio had six displays featuring ThalesTurntable, KalistaDigital Playback System, Karan AcousticsAmplifier, EntreqGroundbox (recently reviewed by Rafe), PenaudioSpeakers, and ZenSatiCables.Read the full article

AXPONA 2018: Holm Audio, NAD, Dali, Nordost and the Foundation of Great Sound

By | May 22nd, 2018|Categories: Nordost, Part-Time Audiofile|Tags: , , , , , , |


The role of silence in the music is more important than most casual listeners understand. Silence eliminates the world around you, allowing the music to stand distinctly from all else. Silence in music is how we mentally keep time, otherwise it’s just unmemorable noise. I think of pauses in the music as auditory bookmarks.

Nordost’s QRT range of products have been created to tackle and wrangle poor quality AC power, to effectively get it all in line. Think of them as the drill sergeants, tasked to tame and discipline the electricity dancing around all unruly-like in your stereo (or home theater) system.Read the full article

The Millennial Audiophile: “I Hear An Epiphany”

By | May 21st, 2018|Categories: Part-Time Audiofile|Tags: , , , , , , , |


One afternoon while collecting Krispy Kreme donuts with my friend Vivian, she began a discussion concerning her vinyl collection. Vivian wanted me to photograph her record wall. One half of Vivian’s apartment living room is decorated with album sleeves from her record collection. Vivian is an enthusiastic vinyl collector. Her launching point was an inherited record collection, one that belonged to her father. As her father had moved away from vinyl records back in the early “convenience era” of cassette tape and CDs, the family’s record collection found itself relegated to the metaphoric attic.Read the full article

AXPONA 2018: Benchmark stays smooth with Martin Logan

By | May 21st, 2018|Categories: Part-Time Audiofile|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |


Audiophiles like smoothness. Audiophiles don’t like rough edges, bumps or dips in frequency response, falloff in off-axis listening, hot treble, or exaggerated bass. Linear playback without attention being drawn to any particular part of the bandwidth is the hallmark of well-designed components, and a well-curated sound system, one that works well together as far as I am concerned.


The… well, errr… Benchmark.

That’s what Benchmark Media had put together in Chicago for AXPONA this year in room 670 at the Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel: a smooth, curated system.… Read the full article

AXPONA 2018: High Fidelity Services, Verity Audio, and Trilogy Audio Systems prove that size doesn’t matter (again)

By | May 20th, 2018|Categories: Part-Time Audiofile|Tags: , , , , , , , , , |


An emotional journey into political contemplation and social suffering wasn’t what I expected to leave the Verity Audio room with. The delivery medium however; compelling, infectious, and memorable. Stand out moments in my listening experiences are rare, but when they do happen, I commit fully.

Verity Audio’s Otello debuted in Munich last year, and sadly I wasn’t able to be there for it’s premier performance. Finally having the chance to audition them here at Axpona made up for my absence in spades.Read the full article

Review: Linear Tube Audio ZOTL 10 Mk.II Amplifier

By | May 20th, 2018|Categories: Part-Time Audiofile|Tags: , , , , , , , |

Concurrent with my receipt of the amplifier up for review here, Linear Tube Audio’s (LTA) ZOTL 10 Mk.II, came another welcome piece of news: the well-regarded German jazz/classical label ECM had decided to release its entire catalog for streaming via Tidal and other services. Most audiophile types are well aware of this label, especially for its collection of albums by interesting European and American jazz artists, all rendered in superbly recorded sound. It’s one of my favorite jazz labels, going back to my time as a teenager when my brothers and I would collect all of the early Pat Metheny ECM vinyl we could find.… Read the full article

Review: Brian Eno “Music For Installations” 9 LP box set

By | May 20th, 2018|Categories: Part-Time Audiofile|Tags: , , |

by Paul Ashby

After the piece had been running for about a week, I decided to do a bit of customer research and I went to the park with a translator and asked the old guys how they liked it. One of them said it was possibly a bit too loud. That’s my kind of listener. I turned the [ten CD] players down a little. Another said “I want this to be here all the time.”
— Brian Eno

Eno has been exhibiting immersive video, light, and sound installations since the mid-80s.… Read the full article

AXPONA 2018: High Fidelity Services, Neat Acoustics prove that size doesn’t matter

By | May 19th, 2018|Categories: Part-Time Audiofile|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |


Paul Manos of High Fidelity Services in Hingham, Massachusetts is a perennial show favourite. Their exhibit at this year’s Axpona was no different. Paul was pulling double-duty between two rooms showcasing his curated stable of brands, along with his experience as a successful distributor.


Diminutive looks, with room dominating space and dynamics. To sit before Neat Acoustics’ new half-sized four-driver boxes, The Iota XPLORER, is to unknowingly step in the ring with a welterweight boxer and get your own bits handed to you.Read the full article

Encountering Dar Williams

By | May 19th, 2018|Categories: Part-Time Audiofile|Tags: , , , |

by Angel Haggar

It is Spring 2015. I’m in my ninth year of being knee-deep in babies and diapers. It’s the life I always wanted. Well, I cry more than I thought I would, but I’m happy, mostly. I’m too exhausted to remember the life I had imagined before I had a husband, children, a dog, a mortgage, more to do than time to do it, and more month than money. I’m clipping coupons and often failing to keep within my household budget; my husband travels all the time for his job.… Read the full article

AXPONA 2018: New Hotel, Same Party

By | May 18th, 2018|Categories: Part-Time Audiofile|Tags: , , |

Everything I love about audio shows seldom has to do with audio. Axpona in Chicago proves to be one of the more lovable hi-fi events in America, as it pulls the largest crowds of industry and hobbyist folk from around the world. From sunrise to sunset, and those dark hours in between, this festival is equal part high-end audio and community. Invigorating and inspiring, it is the people of the show circuit that keep me going.

AXPONA 2018 Coverage brought to you by Zesto Audio

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