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PostSubject: AXPONA 2016   Thu Apr 14, 2016 7:28 pm




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PostSubject: Re: AXPONA 2016   Thu Apr 14, 2016 11:31 pm


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PostSubject: Re: AXPONA 2016   Fri Apr 15, 2016 11:16 pm




























































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PostSubject: Re: AXPONA 2016   Sat Apr 16, 2016 6:32 am










































































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PostSubject: Re: AXPONA 2016   Sat Apr 16, 2016 9:20 pm




















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PostSubject: Re: AXPONA 2016   Sat Apr 16, 2016 10:46 pm



I had to smile a little today thinking about being called the "pro dude" on the Stereophile forum, as if it were a negative (MG rolls his eyes). I realize it's just insecure people who do this, but it does drive a good point home. That point being the need for high end audio to become the next chapter. Is that new chapter on it's way or even here?

The hobby is in the process of stepping outside of itself and as this change takes place, designers like minded to myself, have big smiles on our faces. The next chapter of high end audio is on display long-side the traditional and as the two can and will coexist, those walking around the show rooms see something that is quite different from years past. You may not notice the subtle message off the bat, but look closer and the future is written all over the place. First take a look at 95% of the rooms doing lap, pad, streaming or phone sourcing. Second, take notice that the hobby is heading toward "all in one" units (or close to it).

I talked about this needing to be where we would end up as far back as 1997. Even wrote about this on Home Toys and other magazines and interviews. Of course I had to endure the attitudes of the stuck. This eventually is what led me to moving on to other tuning venues as my main source of fun. In 2003 I started the audio forum TuneLand and began preaching the gospel of low mass and tuning, again saying we are heading toward 2 simple paths. One being the truly discrete system where the hobby would have to treat the trilogy of audio (electrical, mechanical, acoustical) as equals, and the lifestyle side that would go back to the era of (receivers). I guess the 20 year wait wasn't all that long but seemed like a lifetime ago.

For me what was so obvious, once I explored how systems work, was something that had to be. Mentioning this to the hardcore boat anchor believer though was like digging my own grave for the mindset wall that wanted nothing to do with "small & light". There was no way I nor anyone was going to sell simplicity and common sense to this end of the hobby. The mountain had already been made out of the mole hill and the dug-in were not going to budge until the tide started to turn on it's own. Slowly and somewhat torturously the digital age began to "chip" away at the old, bringing in the now. The day power supplies made the upgrade it was only a matter of time before the back straining daze were numbered. The words "being built like tanks" no longer has use in a world of monster heatsinks and less than a pound power supplies. The big chassis that bolted down these huge heavy delicate parts are no longer needed. There's not much of a narrative need any more. Yes, the stories of these massive man cave monsters will hold on in legend & folklore as we think of them fondly and perhaps keep a few of these around, but the march at this point will not suddenly throw itself in reverse and we all know it.

Nope this AXPONA is showing the new age of audio and marketing that new design. I for one am excited as a little kid at Christmas! Nice as they were, we're not going to drive around in "41" mercs forever Smile Note: I will always keep a couple in my garage to take out for a spin, but innovation will not be stopped, thank God!

Refining the art of audio is a learning curve as with any industry. Musical instruments evolve and age. They don't reinvent themselves every month, and more importantly they are creatures of form & function. In 1982 a major shift took place that changed the hobby of playback forever. Not only did we gain another format, but we took a step closer to modern times. The CD did more than make music convenient. The language used allowed us to jump into a more practical technology. A technology that would unite us with our information hub. Defining the language was one thing, building a system for that language was another.

To illustrate let me choose a well known mid fi brand NAD.



Some what shocking I know, but after a little time and taking a good look at your equipment closet, both you and I can see the progression.

part two


my pleasure

Hi Allen & Members

Was a show that for us was truly inspirational. I'm sure Stereophile is thinking of the many angles to share. If a person wasn't familiar with the high end audio part of this hobby and visited a show for the first time, they would certainly be impressed by the levels of product and lifestyles. It's a high end audio that the industry can be proud of.

What impresses us MGA/RoomTune the most is, walking through the show (in my case following the tunees walk through)you can see the wheels turning. Companies that two years ago were the stratosphere only are re-doing their lines to fit today's needs and wants, and doing it with sound at the top of their list not just function. There's many new areas to the hobby and the entry level is finally presented in a way that is part of the community. As far as the entry level style goes, companies like Peachtree take the hobby into a place of class, style and value. They're not alone but since their acceptance (along with others) the dollar/performance/function has given an audiophile choice that is part of the high end and not shoved into a Mid-fi type of category. I've always thought the simple stereo receivers(not the heavy ones with 300 inputs)have been overlooked when they actually played a very important role and many sound fantastic, but never got a fair shake. The new entry level does away with this concept and allows the typical highender to wear his colors proudly.

The economics of the hobby is also better than it has been in years and growing at a fast pace. The last 3 years has been about getting over some design and style humps. The hobby has always had a few stable lines in the lower to mid price ranges, however the shape of many of these products may fit the rack but somewhat limiting for the new age of décor. With TV's going slim and computers becoming the main component of the home, stereos have had a hard time fitting in. How many times have we heard the WAF being a factor in listening to music? The audiophile now has their dream come true, a high end system that fits in with every day family life. Flat screens, computer, simple design and practical size, bookshelf speakers and subs. Take the system the next level with a basic RoomTune and you've got a great little package that is easier to deal with. This isn't the only path of course but it is an option that does away with guys trying to make their high end fit into a situation that never quite gets there, or looks and feels out of place.

This AXPONA more than anything kept the door open for the new with dignity, while maintaining the all out crazy extreme dudes. The pathway of acceptance has been widened in other words. This is good for the end user, but is great for the reviewers. The high end audio field has become or is close to becoming a playground of balance.

You've got to take your hats off to the innovation happening right before your ears and eyes. I'm happy for the designers, happy for the reviewers and most of all happy for you the listener Smile

balance is a beautiful thing

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PostSubject: Re: AXPONA 2016   Sun Apr 17, 2016 4:53 pm












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PostSubject: Re: AXPONA 2016   Wed Apr 20, 2016 9:27 pm



After returning from AXPONA on Monday and having a day to relax, I felt compelled to write my impressions from the show. Enjoyed making the rounds with our new gorgeous Tune Girl Jackie (from the Chicago area), saw many old friends from the industry and some customers, and made some new friends!



All in all a very successful show for Michael Green Audio/RoomTune!  We had products in 3 rooms, 2 of which were major rooms on the lower level.  With our friends at Pro Musica in Chicago and Mike at Dynaudio we were in the Dynaudio/Naim room (Streeter Room) and the ProAc/VTL/Naim room (Seneca Room), plus the April Music/Dynaudio Room (Room 320).

 

An Absolute Sound reviewer named Andy (did not catch his last name) spent about an hour in the Seneca Room and proclaimed it his “best sounding room at the show!” Can’t wait to see his TAS show report to see if the Seneca actually scores a “best!”  IMHO it did sound exceptionally good – very well balanced top to bottom, great wide soundstage, and sounded good on all types of music.

MG linked to TAS http://www.theabsolutesound.com/articles/axpona-2016/ " I stayed way too long listening to cut after cut" AQ the absolute sound

Unfortunately, didn’t get to do lots of listening due to too much ground to cover in too little time!  Most rooms were producing the standard audiophile sound with everything locked between the speakers. Others ranged from bright to muddy, and some were just BAD!

Attendance was up again this year – probably approaching 10,000 over all days – I’ll be interested to see the final numbers.  This is a consumer show unlike CES, so dealers looking to sell product to the real end user ran most of the rooms.  That gives the whole show a different, more inviting vibe.  There were a few manufacturers that had rooms as well.  

Trends I saw and liked – “all in one systems”.  Many rooms (up from last year) were showing products that had an integrated amp, DAC (often hard wired AND streaming capable), some even with integrated tuners and CD players, and some with speakers right in the box!
 
I took advantage of a show special on one such “all in a box” product – the Riva Turbo X – a small Bluetooth connected powerhouse including speakers.  The ultimate in carry around music!  Not a critical listening unit for sure, but it sounds incredible and you can carry it wherever you go.  It’s even water resistant and comes with plugs for all the orifices so it’s ready for the beach!  It received the TAS 2016 editor’s choice!  Check it out at http://rivaaudio.com/riva-turbo-x/.

Another very impressive company was Peachtree Audio, whose room was managed by an old friend of Michael’s, David Solomon.  



These guys make sub $2000 all in one systems that do it all, sound great, and are SEXY!  Check them out at http://www.peachtreeaudio.com/.
April Music’s Aura Note V2 even adds an FM tuner and CD player and is beautiful, again for under $2000.  It made the cover of the Stereophile recommended components issue and was making great music with a pair of Dynaudio speakers.  Check it out at http://www.aprilmusic.com/page_KADu35.

Even Naim has gotten into the act with their under $2000 Mu-so and Mu-so Qb.  These have speakers in the box and also have licensed the use of Apple’s proprietary AirPlay, which unlike Bluetooth provides lossless compression for wireless transmission.  Check them out at https://www.naimaudio.com/mu-so.

BIG surprise – Audio Note UK (always known to be somewhat of a curmudgeon about the “old way is the only way”) was showing a prototype $3500 retail Audio Note “all in one” unit (the Cobra) with 25W push-pull EL34’s and a hardwired USB input 24 bit DAC!  Also, remote volume control.  To be released in September along with several other reasonably priced products  - stay tuned on this one!  Sure to make an AXPONA show report!

Another prevalent trend – ALL rooms were streaming digital music from a server, or storage connected laptop, using everything from basic iTunes to the Naim proprietary software on the Naim gear.  The number of turntables and CD players I personally saw I could count almost on one hand, and they were only there to appease certain requests by the listeners.  We’re there baby!

Also attended the Channel D seminar on using Pure Vinyl to rip LP’s.  Very interesting!  Sounded great, easy to use, very inexpensive to setup compared to some of those one box ADC’s made for that purpose that I saw.  Don’t have it yet, but can’t wait to get set up and try it.  I’m lovin’ their Pure Music on my laptop!

One of the cool things about AXPONA is they have a Musician’s expo (a couple rooms this year) that cater to musicians.  This year I enjoyed the live music of Larry Mitchell in the Morrow Audio room featuring their new guitar cable.  Larry had his full electric and acoustic guitar stage setup on hand, of course using the Morrow guitar cable and some amplified PA speakers.  Larry’s a super nice guy, an awesome guitar player, and very interested in sharing his story as a traveling musician trying to make a living.  From the looks of his videos on his website he’s doing OK!  I REALLY like his music – basically jazz/rock fusion, with influences from some of my favorite guitar giants:  Prince, Stevie Ray, Jimi, with (to my ears) a little Steve Vai digital voicing and a bit of the super picking Al DiMeola all rolled into one!  He’s a very versatile and tasteful guitarist on electric and acoustic.  Check him out at http://larrymitchell.com/index.html.  Check out the video on the home page promoting his new CD “The Traveler” which shows him first appearing at the Kimo Theater in Albuquerque (my home for 24 years!).  In fact, he’s in Albuquerque this week dong some gigs during the New Mexico film festival.  Also look at his news page http://larrymitchell.com/news.html where you can hear little snippets of the CD I bought from him “Rhythm of Life”.  Enjoy!

below Naim Audio


Well that’s my most memorable comments to share with you.  Feel free to message me for any questions or more information on anything I have (or haven’t) mentioned.  

Cheers!

Coop
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PostSubject: Re: AXPONA 2016   Mon May 23, 2016 9:13 am

BILL333's AXPONA SHOW REPORT

I spent Friday and Saturday at the AXPONA 2016 audio show.  I believe I managed to listen to every room at least briefly.  I really look forward to these shows, but an hour into Friday morning I was reminded that if you're looking for great sound at an audio show, you're in the wrong place.  In general, the sound ranged from inexecrable to merely unpleasant, with a few rising to the level of ok, not bad, and in one case, good.

Still, I always enjoy these events.  It's nice to get to meet the people behind the equipment in this hobby.   Smile

One thing that was remarkable is the extent to which computer files have penetrated the high end audio market.  There were very few rooms that could play a CD for me.  In fact, there were more rooms that could put on a vinyl record than could play a CD.  That's kind of new.  Shocked  Almost every room had a file server connected to a DAC through some means or another.  Unfortunately, it's often a tricky operation to get a file server which is focused on its music database to read and play files through plug in media.  Which means it isn't easy to hear your own music, even if you brought it on a USB flash drive.

I've been hearing about Roon, the new computer file browsing software, for almost two years now but have never had a chance to try it.  Down in the headphones room, I finally got my chance.  I spent the better part of an hour using Roon on a large tablet computer while listening to a small but eclectic music library through headphones.  Let me tell you, ROON IS A VERY BIG DEAL.  

Roon is a sophisticated and intuitive user interface for a digitized music library, but what really sets it apart is that the Roon company keeps an enormous online database of information about practically every band, artist, musician and song that has ever been published.  When you use the application, you access the database which connects you in multiple ways to other music and musicians.  For instance, if you're listening to 'Light My Fire' by the Doors, you'll be looking at a historical summary of who the Doors were.  But you'll also be looking at a list of the band's influences, their members, and all of their published music.  As well as similar artists in the same genre.  Any one of these is a link which can then be followed to a similar page full of information about that artist.  So if Jim Morrison's musical influences are listed as Elvis Presley, William Blake and Arthur Rimbaud, you can follow the link to Elvis Presley's page.  You're on your own for Blake and Rimbaud.  Laughing    And once you're on Presley's page, you can explore every song he ever published and every musician who worked on each song.  If you want, you can pick a musician who worked on 'Hound Dog' and follow their musical career.  As a tool for exploring music, it has no equal.

As if that weren't enough, Roon is fully integrated with the Tidal streaming service.  What this means is that instead of being limited to your own music library, you can explore your way through the 25 million songs in Tidal's library, listening and learning as you go.  Roon integrates your own music library with Tidal and plays your local copy when you have one, and goes to the streaming service when you don't.  For music lovers, this application is as revolutionary as the invention of the internet.

Interesting folks I met at the show includes Peter Madnick of the new Audio Alchemy.  Back in the day, Audio Alchemy made a very nice sounding DAC, reclocker and CD transport which I owned and happily used for many years.  Unfortunately, the DAC broke during a period when the company had gone out of business and there was no one to repair it.  It was the only DAC I ever owned which had a remote controllable phase switch.  At the time, my system wasn't revealing enough to show me the difference between in and out-of-phase, but I sure know it now!  Shocked  Many are the days I have longed for that phase switch.

So I was curious when I saw the Audio Alchemy sign on the door.  They have a completely newly designed line-up of DAC and digital server hardware and the sound was quite listenable.  But getting to meet the people behind the equipment is what really makes audio shows a great experience.  With his bushy, snow white hair, Peter Madnick is the perfect picture of the mad scientist.  What I didn't expect was that he was one of the most friendly and personable people you could possibly meet.  He's also a great music collector.  We were chatting about the difficulties of accessing large music databases when he mentioned that his own digitized music collection was 14TB.  I said, "14 terabytes??".  That's something like forty thousand CDs!  Far more than can fit on a single drive, you would have to have a six drive Network Attached Storage unit (NAS) to even think about being able to hold all that in one place.  I asked him how he came to have that much music and he said it came from trading music collections with other music lovers.  Advantages of the digital age.

On the other side of the personable spectrum is Ted Denney at Synergistic Research.  I'm a great admirer of Denney's out-of-the-box thinking and innovative products, but the man just doesn't seem to like me.  I'd been looking into his very unique power conditioners, and I had read with interest that he developed the device on a plywood platform and then had fits trying to find casework for the finished product because all the usual chassis materials ruined the sound.  So I asked him what would happen if I bought one and took it out of the case.  He told me nothing, except that the case was the product of a lot of R&D, and that I could "kiss my warranty goodbye".  I told him that experimenting with the effects of materials on sound was a hobby for me, too, but that didn't seem to earn me any points.  Oh well, what can you do.   Rolling Eyes

I mentioned at the beginning of this post that there was one room at the show with genuinely good sound.  That room belongs to Odyssey Audio, and Klaus Bunge is the person responsible for the sound.  It's the only room in the show that played 'Sun King' from Abbey Road not just well, but spectacularly well.  Crickets going in a perfect arc from one side of the room to the other, good tonality and rich tone.  I just couldn't believe I was hearing this quality of playback in a hotel room.  The equipment was good, but what really set the room apart was the setup.  Klaus Bunge is the master of audio show setup (at least when Michael's out of town Basketball  ).  What's interesting about Klaus is that he is the spitting image of Michael.  Seriously, you could do one of those 'separated at birth' picture comparisons.

If you have a chance to attend one of the audio shows, I highly recommend it.  I'm already looking forward to next year. Very Happy
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