Axpona reviewers perceptions and reality

Just read the Absolute Sounds' review of speakers $20k and many of  the speakers and systems singled out by Mr. Vallin were in our opinion were mostly subpar and many of these systems were extremely expensive to the tune of $500k and above price levels. 

Many critics love the big Von Schweikert/Vac rooms we felt that in both recent shows: Cap and at Axpona these rooms were way too massive for even these large and expensive speakers and these systems did not have the room lock effect where the speakers are actually presurizing the room and therefore producing the realistic size and scope of a live performance.

Other disappointments that critics liked

The High Water Sound room was just dismbodied, soft sounding and utterly uninvolving,.

The CH Precision room not that good especially for the insane price tag of $500k for this room at least.

The YG acoustics/Audionet was an extremely expensive rig that failed to impress.

The Hanawi  speakers first sounded great on an old recording totally disapeared and then sounded aweful on a modern record dead, no dynamics, limited top end no bottom.

We do agree that the YG Linenberg setup was very good and way less expensive then some of the other rigs.

Both Magico systems were horrible, the gigantic Magico dual sub system was impressive in the way it filled the space with scale and  image size and bass output,  but was lifeless and dead sounding, and the CH Precison Magico setup was also boring and uninvolving with an insane cost of probably another $500k level room.

We also agree that the Wilson/Arc room was magical

We also thought the MBL's sounded very good

We also thought the Avante Garde room was also extremely good. 

The point is Mr. Vallin hailed many systems as being best in show that in our opinion didn't deliver the goods at all

The Piega room was not anything special, the German Physics again not bad not that good either, most omni's don't sound right to us,. the Eikons were good for an all in one and the Haniwa's were just aweful other than a 1950's record they were playing which sounded great.

Best Sound of Show (price notwithstanding): This is a tough one, given that most of the contenders competed on a fairly even footing. So I’m going to declare a tie among the Stenheim Alumine Five, (We didnt hear these no comment)

the YG Hailey 2.2,   the MBL 101 E, the Goebel Divin Noblesse, the Magico M2, the Magico M6, the Avantgarde Duo Mezzo XD, the German Physiks Borderlands, and the Piega Coax 711.

Best Sound of Show (for the money): I didn’t get to hear the new $695 Maggies (that’s how busy I was), which reputedly were terrific, but in my category the Eikon and the Haniwa were pretty darn appealing.

Our best in show for expensive speakers and systems was very, different then Mr. Vallen's just currious what others tought of his listings:

Our best in show no particular order


Gryphon Room

T+A Solitare 

Vimberg (best bang for the buck reference speaker at show at $36k sounded amazing)


Grande Utopia EM/Naim Statement Our pick for best in show 

Avante Garde

Worst in show for very expensive setups

Both Magico rooms


Piega/Air Tight

What do you guys think of our list and comments on Mr. Vallens opinions.

Dave and Troy

Audio Doctor NJ

Atohm's bookshelf speaker, GT1, is so small and yet sounds like a floor stander. I was amazed at AXPONA 2017. That brand remains a sleeper in the US.
There are far too many variables at a show like Axpona to compare one’s judgement to another’s. The source of course being the largest variable. The seating arrangement another. I don’t know if there was a Press Day but if so that would have had far fewer attendees than on Saturday which was when I was there. That would affect the listening environment. 
I agree with the comments about the Magnepan LRS at $650. I heard them. Front row in the small seating area. Yes. Hands down the best bang for the buck. I am not sure they even need a bass panel or subwoofer. I would be interested in what Grant VanderMye can do with these for stands. 

Yes. The Classé and Magico Room was also great. Very involving and lots of realism and dynamics. I am familiar with Magico and own a pair of A3, but it really got me to pay attention to what Classé is doing. 

I will also say regarding the negative comments of some the Magico rooms. A lot of their rooms are crowded and not good acoustically, as were a lot of other rooms. F1 audio didn’t even have a room but a big space. That is not optimal to properly judge equipment. If you were to actually go to F1 Audio and listen to Magicos in one of their proper rooms, I believe all would be very impressed.