Audio shows are more than new gear releases and demonstrations to me. They are a chance to connect with the strange personalities that embody what it means to be an eccentric. Sometimes our interests can be socially unfortunate, but it’s during these few moments of the year at audio shows where we audiophiles can feel normal in our priorities, lusts, and musical tastes.
There have been a growing number of monitor/bookshelf designs that I’ve encountered recently which impress me more than towers from other manufacturers. Segregating speakers firstly by whether they are bookshelf monitors or floor-standing doesn’t make as much sense as it used to.
I currently have the Studio Electric M4 Monitors in for review, and comparing the looks of the updated models on show at Axpona to the ones I have at home, it seems they have hit maturity. The formerly rudimentary looks in the M4 review samples, have now grown up to include rich maple veneers, and a new aluminum grill worthy of its own photoshoot and review.… Read the full article
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” — Helen Keller
Spatial Audio, Linear Tube Audio, and Fern & Roby each arrive at a new reference this weekend at Axpona, and I’m glad I was able to hear it.
Cone drivers bolted into wooden boxes are a dime a dozen. On the tip of my tongue I’m lucky if questioned to name more than a handful of open-baffle speaker companies that are more than a garage business.… Read the full article
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!
Wynn Audio had six displays featuring ThalesTurntable, KalistaDigital Playback System, Karan AcousticsAmplifier, EntreqGroundbox (recently reviewed by Rafe), PenaudioSpeakers, and ZenSatiCables.… Read the full article
Christopher Hildebrand of bespoke high-fidelity manufacturer Fern & Roby showed off some impressive pieces of kit at AXPONA a few weeks ago, and when I spoke with him there he related his excitement at attending his first High End in Munich this weekend. He came to Chicago loaded for bear with the company’s new 89dB/4-Ohm/Two-way The Tower loudspeakers, new phono stage designs, tonearm designs, and updates for his existing combinations of Montrose deck guises. Hildebrand has also been rolling his sleeves up on cable design/construction for tonearms, and interconnects, and was showing off several preamplifier/amplifier chassis redesigns that he had collaborated on with Linear Tube Audio and their main man Mark Schneider.… Read the full article
Fern and Roby are slightly different from most other audio companies. Their work offers up a heightened emphasis on texture, not just within the details of fidelity, but also on the surface of their hand crafted, delicately machined works of audio art. The industrial design shines as much as the gleam off off the finish does. Christopher Hildebrand’s handiwork is at the helm of the company and his high-level design sensibilities can be found everywhere in room 606 at AXPONA 2018.… Read the full article
Fern & Roby doesn’t really fit in with the current audiophile culture. I also don’t think they want to. That’s not to say they aren’t focused on creating the best sound they can. Given the chance to meet and listen to Christopher Hildebrand you will hear his soft spoken effusing of long hours in the shop refining and experimenting with materials and implementations of speaker components. On display is a full gambit of turntables and electronics crafted from high quality but rustic looking materials.… Read the full article
Some rooms at hifi-audio shows are infused with synergy. Every component in the set-up works flawlessly with every other component in the signal path. Some call this a curated system – one that is built from time, research, and experience with many manufacturers. Knowing what amplifier works perfectly with what speaker, which tonearm with which turntable, understanding the properties of tubes or cables, and being able to choose those that can add a touch of warmth, timbral accuracy or transparency borders on the religious in its orthodoxy.… Read the full article
RMAF 2017: Mile-high in Denver with PS Audio, Fern & Roby, Nagra, Tidal, Zu, DeVore Fidelity, and Tone Imports
We first reported on the new Power Plant in September when PS made their initial announcement, but this was the first chance to see the P20 up close, and personal. First off, it’s massive, dwarfing the previous flagship P10 Power Plant by a significant margin, and outpacing the P10 in every department.… Read the full article