Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, AXPONA 2020 was rescheduled to 2021, or was it? In lieu of a show at a conventional venue where only the privileged few could attend (that could not be held anyway), AXPONA 2020 decided to hold a Worldwide Audio Fest on Instagram on June 18th and 19th and open it up to everyone. Each of the scheduled Manufacturers held a 15-minute live mini-virtual show on their respective Instagram pages. A quick rundown of the exhibitors is as follows:
June 18, 2020
Time CDT Brand
10:50 AM Intro/AXPONA @axpona
11:00 AM Nordost @nordostcables
11:15 AM VPI Industries @vpiindustries
11:30 AM Gryphon Audio Designs @gryphonaudiodesigns
11:45 AM WallyTools Analog Setup Tools @wally_tools
12:00 PM Stein Music @steinmusic_de
12:15 PM NAD @nadelectronics
12:30 PM BlueSound @bluesoundhifi
12:45 PM Goya Acoustics @goya_acoustics
1:00 PM AGD Productions @agd_audio_design
1:15 PM Clarus @claruscable
1:30 PM Janszen Loudspeaker @davidjanszen
1:45 PM Pro-Ject USA @project.usa
2:00 PM Classé Audio @Classeofficial
2:15 PM AudioQuest @_audioquest_
2:30 PM Goldenear Technology @goldeneartech
2:45 PM Direct Audio @directaudio1
3:00 PM Acora Acoustics @acora.acoustics
3:15 PM Black Ice Audio @blackice_audio
3:30 PM IsoAcoustics @isoacoustics
3:45 PM Verdant Audio @verdant_audio
4:00 PM Danville Signal @danvillesignal
4:15 PM Zesto Audio @zestoaudio
4:30 PM VK Music @vkmusic821
5:00 PM Delmark Records @delmarkrecords
5:30 PM Technics @technics_global
5:45 PM Mikodam @acousticwallpanelsbymikodam
June 19, 2020
Time CDT Brand
10:50 AM Intro/AXPONA @axpona
11:00 AM Zavalinka Records @zavanlinkarecords
11:15 AM Meze Audio @mezeaudio
11:30 AM Puritan Audio Labs @puritanaudiolabs
11:45 AM Dan D’Agostino @dagostinoamps
12:00 PM Aretai @aretailoudspeakers
12:15 PM Eikon Audio @eikonaudio
12:30 PM Ayon Audio @usatubeaudio
12:45 PM Gobel High End/Bending Wave USA @bending_wave_usa
1:00 PM VANA @vanasound
1:15 PM Gryphon Audio Designs @gryphonaudiodesigns
1:30 PM Cambridge Audio @cambridgeaudiousa
1:45 PM Klipsch @klipschaudio
2:00 PM Jerry Harvey Audio @JHAudio
2:15 PM Glenn Poor’s Audio Video @glennpoors_audiovideo
2:30 PM Fidelice by Rupert Neve Designs @fidelice.audio
2:45 PM Alta Audio @alta.audio
3:00 PM HIFIMAN Electronics @hifimanelectronics
3:15 PM Pangea Audio Distributing @pangeaaudio
3:30 PM Legacy Audio @legacyaudio
3:45 PM Qobuz @qobuzusa
4:00 PM Arion Audio @arionaudio
4:15 PM Andover Audio @andoveraudio
4:30 PM Audio-Technica @audiotechnicausa
4:45 PM The Sound Organisation @tsobryce
5:00 PM Parasound @parasoundsf
5:15 PM Haniwa @haniwaaudio
5:30 PM Black Ice Audio @blackice_audio
One of the highlights for me was Nordost where Dennis Bonotto talked about QPOINT Resonance Synchronizer and QSOURCE fanless Linear Power Supply. The QPOINT is an active field generator designed to synchronize the electromagnetic fields inside your electronics. It has two settings, one designed to lower noise floor and one to increase dynamics depending on the preference of the user. As implied, the QSOURCE is a linear power supply to run multiple QPOINTs and also replace the switching power supply that is provided with a lot of audio components, again with the goal of lowering your noise floor.
Mat Weisfeld showed around his listening room featuring Nordost cable, Raidho speakers, and Sim Moon electronics. The focus for the presentation was the VPI Avenger turntable for which they are having a Father’s Day sale. An exciting upcoming addition to the VPI line that he pointed out was the VPI Sheila Cartridge, custom manufactured by Audio Technica, as well as a new VPI reference tonearm cable called the Weisline made by Nordost. He also had Harry Weisfeld demonstrate a new 14” tonearm with no offset and no skating force that he is working on, showing that the ground never warms beneath his feet.
NAD’s Marshall Currier espoused on their “Just Add Speakers” theme products including their amazing D3045 Integrated Amplifier which offers aptX Bluetooth, as well as, HDMI and USB inputs and a Phono stage, putting out a hearty 60Watts per channel in a small desktop-friendly size package. Of note was the C 388-BluOS which offers 160Watt dual mono amplifiers and NAD’s epic BluOS streaming. And on the coming-soon rack was the Master Series M33 Integrated Amplifier with the world’s first purify amps and a whopping 200Watts per channel. In addition to built-in DIRAC Automatic Room Correction featuring the ESS Sabre MQA DAC, BluOS streaming, Bluetooth, HDMI, AirPlay2, the M33 offers XLR balanced inputs.
Talking about BluOS, Marshall followed his NAD presentation with BlueSound. New to BlueSound is that they have added HDMI and BluOS 3.5 to the PowerNode 2i Wireless Multi-Room Music Streaming Amplifier for Dolby Audio and surround sound with Pulse Flex 2i speakers for the rear.
Jeff Coates talked about Pro-Ject Audio’s wonderful Phono stages, including their Phono Box Ultra 500. What I found of extreme interest was the fact that their turntables are set up with balanced outputs for use with their upper-end Phono Stages like the Phono Box RS.
One of the more exciting presentations was the Meze Audio prototype that they are working on for a new dynamic headphone that will come in both closed back and open back, a first for Meze. Interesting was the fact that the drivers have dual-material diaphragms to provide a more balanced tonality.
Klipsch focused their show on their new The Fives powered monitor. Introduced as part of their Heritage line, the highlights are biamplification with independent DSP for the woofer and tweeter, 192kHz digital input, HDMI , as well as, USB, Bluetooth 5, and phono inputs, Dynamic Bass EQ, and 320Watts of peak power.
Andrew Bailey and Ian Judson, industrial designers from Jerry Harvey Audio ran the audience through the process of machining custom IEMs, (their segment began with just a couple minutes of the CNC machine turning out an IEM) truly informative and interesting, making it one of the most memorable presentations.
Adam Sohmer took the stage for HiFiMan highlighting their new Deva Planar Magnetic Headphones (the subject of our recent Headphone.Guru giveaway) with removable Bluemini Bluetooth module. The Bluemini is a Bluetooth receiver, USB DAC, and amplifier all built into a simple plugin module.
I would like to thank Liz Miller Smith and Mark Freed for being excellent hosts and all of the participants that made the current dearth of HiFi exhibition a little more bearable, and am looking forward to AXPONA 2021!