Welcome to our continuing multi-part coverage of AXPONA 2022 once again thanks to our good friend Walter Liederman of Underwood HiFi, https://www.underwoodhifi.com/ , the best place to find high-end audio at affordable prices. As AXPONA cater to the Personal Audio community as well as the two channel loudspeaker community, we will be running these reports on both Headphone.Guru and HiFiAudio.Guru simultaneously.
Upscale Audio is a Dealer/Distributor from Southern California who imports some very interesting and high-performance products from Europe as well as other parts of the world. They had a large exhibit in the Headphone Area as well as a separate room in the tower. Of particular interest in the Headphone Area booth was the Feliks Audio Envy Headphone Amplifier ($7,599 USD), a Class A Single-ended transformer-coupled amplifier based on the epic 300B vacuum tube capable of putting out 8 Watts with selectable input/output impedance, which sounded pretty amazing with the HiFiMan SUSVARA Planar Magnetic Headphones ($6,000 USD). Also on display were the Feliks Audio Euforia Headphone Amplifier ($2,699 USD), the Feliks Audio Elise Mk II Headphone Amplifier $1,999, and the Feliks Audio Echo Mk II Headphone Amplifier ($999 USD), as well as the PrimaLuna EVO 100 Tube Integrated Amp ($2,795 USD) that also doubles as a Headphone Amp, along with a slew of other DACs, Headphone Amplifiers, and Headphones. Up in the tower, the first thing that caught my eye were the Cabasse The Pearl Pelegrina Wireless Active Loudspeaker ($29,990 USD), distinctive looking and quad amplified (3,700 Watts) taking wireless active speakers to their extreme edge. I was also totally taken by the Tannoy Autograph Mini Loudspeaker ($1,000 USD ea), a miniature reproduction of one of Tannoy’s most famous loudspeakers.
The tower was not where I would expect to find a new Personal Audio company, but indeed Geshelli Labs, a family-run design/manufacturing house had a whole room dedicated to their three tiny products. In the name of customization they offer metal cases in a wide range of colors (though I found the wood to be the most striking), and your choice of colored glass faceplates. The line begins with the Geshelli Labs J2 (JNOG2) DAC ($249.99 USD with metal case ($299.99 US Dwith USB module), which comes with a choice of DAC chips. Next is the Geshelli Labs E2 (ERISH) AMP ($229.99 with metal case) which is fully balanced in and out. And finally the Geshelli Labs ARCHEL2.5 XL Single-ended Headphone Amplifier ($209.99 USD with metal case). Definitely, a company to keep an eye on.
Fidelice by Rupert Neve Designs
Fidelice by Rupert Neve Designs was showing their line of Pro-Audio inspired DACs and Headphone Amplifiers. Their focus was on their new RAD X RND ($6,999 USD) limited edition bundle including the Fidelice by Rupert Neve Designs Precision Digital-to-Analog Converter and the Rosson Audio Design RND-0 Custom Headphones with an ALO Balance Headphone Cable.
Another Pro-Audio company reaching out to the Personal Audio community was RME, with their RME ADI-2 DAC FS Ultra-fidelity PCM/DSD 768 kHz DA Converter, RME ADI-2 DAC FS Ultra-fidelity PCM/DSD 768 kHz DA Converter ($1,499 USD), RME ADI-2 DAC FS R Black Edition Ultra-fidelity PCM/DSD 768 kHz DA Converter ($2,399 USD), and RME ADI-2 FS High-Precision 192 kHz 2-Channel ADAT.SPDIF.AES/EBU AD/DA converter($1,149 USD).
Across the aisle from Moon Audio was CLARUS, a new cable manufacturer who has a unique approach, employing three different styles (shapes) of individually insulated (Litz) conductors in their cables. They were showing their CLARUS Coda In-Line Portable USB DAC ($300 USD), as well as, their line of Line Conditioners including a clear topped example of their flagship CLARUS Concerto Power Conditioner ($4,000 USD).
Woo Audio had a room in the tower showing their wonderful tube headphone amps including their gorgeous new WA23 Luna Headphone Amplifier/Preamplifier ($8,999 USD).
Periodic Audio was debuting their new micro TS connector for their IEMs bringing them into the market of swappable cables for all of their IEMs. They were also showing their Rh (Rhodium) DAC/Pre/Amp ($49 USD) in-line USB DAC/Amp.
Again I would like to thank our good friend Walter Liederman of Underwood HiFi, https://www.underwoodhifi.com/, for sponsoring our ongoing coverage of AXPONA, stay tuned for Part 6.