Originally Posted by BrolicBeast
LOL—The only reason I know about the existence of AXPONA (in the Viking tongue, it means “Wage War against Dragons” lol) is because Stereophile is one of my home tabs that pops up in Google Chrome and they usually have coverage. Now, I had no idea it was going on this March until Ms. Brolic brought it up as a win-win trip out of state. **In French Accent** But, of course madamouzelle!!!!
I went to AXPONA in NY a couple years back. Lots of "high end" stuff. None of it was optimized for the room it was in and most of it sounded pretty bad, IMO. The Steinway-Lyngdorf room did have their proprietary RC system, and it sounded pretty good, but nowhere near the cost of the system. Lots of huge monoblock amps, weird looking speakers, stupid expensive cables, many vinyl sources, blah, blah, blah. Several of these rooms had systems that cost $200K+. None of them sounded as good or better than my own system at home. Many would consider my system a "high end" system, but relative to a lot of the systems at AXPONA, it is decidedly mid-fi.
It was most interesting to listen to the commentary of many of the other attendees, who clearly were hearing things I did not hear, and who were able to ignore or not recognize many of the problems I heard. The commentary was all the "audiophile" subjective crap: open, airy, transparent, veil-lifted, micro-detail, blacker-background, silkier, faster bass, etc., etc.
The one thing I really did enjoy was meeting Bill Duddleston of Legacy Audio. Their room really did sound good, although the the bass could have benefited from some room correction. Still, Bill's approach to audio was a breath of fresh air in a whirlwind of audiophoolery. Legacy will be in Chicago, and I'm sure you'll hit their room. I expect it will be a highlight of your experience.
I also see that Wisdom Audio will be there. I experienced their systems at CEDIA in 2010, and came away thinking they STOLE that show! That was the most incredible audio experience I've ever had. I strongly suggest you make it to their room.
Overall, tt was a very interesting experience, and I learned a lot about the "high end." The primary thing I learned is that a well optimized "mid-fi" system can sound better than an uber-expensive "high end" system, even if it doesn't have massive dual-monoblock amps, weird looking speakers and cables that cost more than cars.