The Music at AXPONA 2022

I didn't take any notes or data sets--but....that said...

Did it seem to you like at least half of the rooms played obscure audiophile music?  What's up with wind chimes, sound effects, electronic psychedelia, and so on, being so popular at the show?  It seems to me there are TONs of well recorded offerings that could be played from many genres. 

I like the avant garde, but at a show wouldn't it make more sense to stay on the highway of golden age jazz, folk, blues, rock, hip hop, classical?  

What I struggled with is there are so many superbly produced and engineered recordings available, why veer into such a direction?  

To be fair, there were many rooms with great musical selections.  Yet, it's hard for me to imagine folks saying, "hey, what's this track involving a waterfall, chimes, and percussion?  I need to hear it at home." 

Disclaimer--I realize there is some subjectivity to this and I'm certain I've got some "weird" music in my collection.  It just seems there's a big selection of music being played that alienates people. And that's saying something as many hifi enthusiasts have diverse tastes in music.  


Those tracks are picked to wow you and show how much detail their equipment can reveal. Drums will test speed of the speakers. And perhaps some people actually like to listen to water falls, wind chimes, or real drums.

But I do think it can also hurt possible sales for some manufacturers if that is all they played in a demo. Just my 5 cents worth (increased from 2 cents due to hyper inflation).


Larsman +1 agree, the magico and synergistic room at the ground floor the guy is using Diana Krall over and over again , on and off , to show off the difference between no and with powercell conditioner.My ears are happy, but my whole body emotions is very frustrated, because no continuous music to involve my whole being.I can’t say if that system is musical, but I can say it’s a quiet clean sounding presentation.

when i used to attend such hifi shows my buds and i would bring cd’s and sacd's of our own demo tracks and when possible we would ask the demonstrators to play them... even in the more popular rooms this could usually be done towards the end of days...

Aren't Diana Krall's records aimed at audio show demos?

There is that and others that the salesman are just darn sick of hearing. In most cases the manufacturer will play stuff that gets your attention and makes their product sound it's best. 

Reason  you bring a flash drive/LP's.

How many times did you hear Eagles HC?

The rooms that don't honor requests, I give them a backhanded  compliment on their "great system.'

Nowadaze it’s mostly Qobuz. Although I saw in print to suggest tracks, I didn’t see any requests asked for. I did see some flash drives come outta pockets.

Al though I would not consider a system that could not play USB-A I suspect that many show systems could not.

Sceana played Thank God I’m a Country Boy. There’s that.

I think many vendors avoid playing familiar music to inhibit  people from comparing.  

It's all about the show and making the maximum impression...

Plus, they all carefully select the demo material that the gear likes, and avoid those that would cause problems and showcase weaknesses.  

Also, I second @mapman: it's easy to fall in love with new speakers when there's no comparison basis.  

Actually, there is a useful purpose in playing recordings of sound effects.  But the sound effects should be natural things that people hear every day, such as the crack of the baseball bat and catching balls in the mitt, basketball bounces, handball slaps, the crack of the golf club.  Listen to soft leaves crushed by your feet.  These are sounds you have heard since childhood, before you listened to music critically and were corrupted by audio salesmen.  You don't need official reference recordings.  Your daily experience will teach you that few of these systems sound much like these basic sounds you should know almost innately.

I'm sure Diana Krall went to Berklee College of Music solely to learn how to make records for Audio Show Demo's...

The dude in one of the Mo-fi rooms on the 3rd floor played some rap through those stacked-upside-down-on-each-other Wharfdale Lintons - sounded pretty great.

Cheapaudioman also decried the lack of rock in listening rooms in his Axpona recap video from earlier today.

I had one and a half of my requested tracks played in the Quintessenence Wilson Alexx V room. That room was my favorite room of the show (from those I spent serious time in). I did find that some rooms other than the Alexx V room were receptive to requests if you made the request general in terms of genre rather than a specific track. 

I was speaking with an engineer for Von Schweikert and remarked that a lot of exhibitors (exclusive of Von Schweikert, Legacy and Estelon) tended to play the same genre of music - heavy with bass and beats.  He opined that the idea was to play the music their potential customers listen to generally to give them a basis for comparison among the various speakers. I don't really agree with that  - too much loudness and noise, selling their bass capabilities - particularly in the Focal room which put on a disgraceful demo of their Utopias. A din of people all talking too loud and too many things going on at the same time.  If I didn't know the quality of their speakers, I would never have purchased from them. I don't really listen to classical that much but when demo'ing speakers, I use two very challenging orchestral and choral pieces.  I figure if a speaker can do a good job with those classical recordings, they can handle any type of music.  I also noticed that a substantial number of exhibitors used VAC as their electronics (all out my price range)

rap is crap artists that rap obviously can't sing that's why they rap. garbage

If you were at an audio show and you didn’t hear Diana Krall, were you really at an audio show?

I say mix it up! The same stuff got old. I thought it was great Focal played Ghost Rider. Everyone seemed to enjoy it from what I could see. I’ll bet the number of people who only listen to one or two genres of music is very small. I like many different genres. 

I honestly do not know one person who sits idle listening intently to rap music. What a bunch of awfulness. 

I followed the show via a few YouTube channels and the level of Audiophile crap being played was nauseating. Whereas, MBL 101e room seemed to have a great playlist going.

@audioguy85  Cmon’ man, you don’t have four 15’s in your trunk and drive around rattling the fillings out of everyone’s teeth? 


Loved the harp music.  I bought her record.  She was lovely musically, and in person!

Anybody check out Jim Anderson’s talk about engineering Patricia Barber recordings?  That was great sounding music, and interesting.

I found many of the speakers presented, and the music played, to be to bright for my tastes.  Was interesting to see room spinning old beat up LPs.

Anybody check out room 1526?  He played some very good LPs on the Bergmann.  Lots of non-traditional demo tracks.

Vinnie Rossi himself let me pick some music, I had him play Pino Palladino + Blake Mills - Ekuté and when it finished he said "That just made my playlist"!



I find generally the trend is towards brightness. Called sparkle now! Audiofiles are aging and there top end hearing is going is that the reason or is it a tend to perpetuate the hobby and get people to buy again?




 Rap and hip-hop can be great, and just as valid as any other genre, but old people tend to not like it. These people sound like folks from my parents' generation (I'm 70) when rock music came out. Why couldn't we listen to 'real' music like Frank Sinatra and Perry Como? 🤣🤣🤣

Wow the young folks attending the show don't realize how lucky they are to hear all those Diana Krall tracks. Her music also sounds good live..

Back in the day with the old shows. They use to have live performances of some of the audiophile favorites, The studio versions that were available on Vinyl and Cd were great. The live versions were not the same.

Here’s what I don’t get. Not only do most rooms play terrible music but at the same time there is always that incessant din of people talking. My position with audio is, if the music is playing then stfu! But then, I cannot listen to music while I’m working because my mind always wants to go to the music and it distracts my work.

...and most of the above is why, when at audio extravaganzas' in my past, I wore a pair of ear protection muffs.  One can only withstand so much before resorting to the bar for general anesthesia... ;)

Removed when something 'moved me' to remove them.  Otherwise, I'd save myself from the general din...

"Sparkle" 🙄  V. 'air', or 'crisp'?  *L*

A pair of 'cancelation' muffs would be the current 'opt out' for this mortal....


So true! 
Just noise and sounds in so many rooms. 
We made one last sweep as most vendors were packing up their equipment and I heard the opening chords of Cream’s White Room. It was like “music to my ears!”

 I almost ran to that room, sat down and absorbed the sounds of my youth. It was what later generations call “awesome “!

 Then the vendor played Almost Cut My Hair, then Wooden Ships. 
 He closed his room with a Santana tune and I loved the last 20 minutes if Axpona the most. 

@larsman +1

“That rock and roll, with it’s primitive, cacophonous noise, just some rube screaming about sex and debauchery, over a crudely-played I-IV-V chord progression.  That’s not music! Just garbage! Noise!!”



Best times I ever had at shows was the rare invite to listen after hours, these guys actually play good music then. Have a few cocktails, no incessant talking by attendees, way to get spoiled.

Few years back, I requested some Black Sabbath to be played on a large system. Sure enough the rep agreed and we played the only song he had available...Iron Man!!  This didn't prove to be the best experience, LOL. Seemed to get the room cleared out nicely though...don't think the rep was very excited to have me as his remaining listener!!!

Wait they play wind chimes, waterfalls and percussion music at hifi shows now? It’s not all Aja and Dark Side? 

I need to start going to hifi shows! 

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So,  my elegantly written post was removed for using the "s" word!! The moderator can't be polite and simply allow me to edit the word.  They just take the whole thing out... 

This presumes that an editing function of posts exists.  They can be changed for a short time after initial posting, after which as far as I can see they become set in stone.

Thanks to the op for bringing this up. I guess the manufacturers and dealers are all about the equipment, so music is selected to show off strengths. I really wish there would be much more popular music that has a broader audience—from any genre. Yes, I know that much of it is heavily compressed or somehow not matching audiophile standards. But it’s what most of us are listening to most of the time. 

@cdorval1 Enough current or mainstream music is played at audio shows but it must have at least near audiophile SQ. The exhibitor is there to sell or to make the product an aspirational item, not to entertain you. If your choice of music is basically poorly recorded why the interest in HEA?

You know when i attend these shows,there's usually not enough cowbell.I need more cowbell.

This is in response to havocman statement regarding Rap or Rap Artist, it isn’t crap, nor garbage……., in so much as young black peoples ways of expression, which in itself is meant to be freedom of one’s choice in this country.

Said form of expression while spoken, does sell……., aren’t you also angered by the fact the black artist like say Jay-Z | P-Diddy are multi-millionaire, well worth of over say 7 millions if not more?, music in itself is a cultural matter, B&W at best, as a 63 year old African American, and a avid jazz diehard, yet open-minded enough to appreciate one’s art as it’s intended. But I’m will to admit growing up in the 60s | 70s in an upscale black community referred to as Indian Village, which itself is located on the east side of Detroit, to parents whom were Doctors as well as a Pharmacist ( My Father | Mother respectively ) where being exposed to all types of music.


Yet also an era where we took pride of our culture, as well as community as a whole, so more often than not when it comes to me enjoying white artist, they’re usually the ones from England, whom as far as I’m concerned ( and hear ) are more appreciative of the contribution African American artist have made throughout the decades, and dare I say……., sing with a sense of soulfulness make white Americans lack, hence I’d rather not support when it comes time to buy music.

Yet for one to base an assumption based upon biases, doesn’t justify the fact that many said Rappers have means well beyond yours…….., blindness to truth isn’t a given.

In the end……., it’s all global by nature, music that is.

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His vibe was definitely on the negative side……, maybe he fails to understand the Art of Spoken Words?.

Jay Z most certainly is a billionaire; Kanye might be up there as well, or close to it.