AXPONA Speakers Overview - Pls add inout

So, apart from the discussion about AN3, which is a different thread, I wanted to open up the discussion about what speakers ppl heard at AXPNA, which impressed the most and which didn’t. I’ll summarize mine here, and would love to hear what others may have heard that impressed them. Caveat being, almost all rooms suck!

Overall, as a relatively newbie Audiophile, nothing really disappointed, everything sounded good, but to me, KEY was which systems sounded beyond their price! To me, that’s the real question…

Magico: Listened to 3 rooms with em, they all sounded good, but NONE blew my socks off or gave me a “wow” moment! To me, they all sounded dark, not overly dynamic, and just good… for the prices they go for, I am not sure if I find them good value for sound (more on this later). Sucks as I was in the market for A3.

Elac: Absolutely amazing sound from small speakers. The new Carina speakers with ribbon tweeter was fantastic, and had insane bass for a bookshelf! Also, the way the speaker had a bottom port would make it much easier to place next to walls or on bookshelf! I was shocked how good it was! Same goes for their new Elac Navis active speaker. I absolutely loved how it sounded and how it’s been configured as you can easily turn off the streaming parts, and use is with better DAC, pre-amp, etc… Hugely impressed and great value for money!

Harbeth: First time I’ve heard any of their speakers, and EVERY SINGLE ONE impressed me, WOW! Hugely impressed, they just sounded LIVE in almost every room I was at

Goldenears: Great sounding, BIG sound, lots of bass, but in a cramped room, hard to audition, wasn’t blown away

Kef: The massive speakers were quite something, the overall room was OK, typical KEF stuff, they were highlighting a lot of their new active speakers, maybe an option for my office

Wilson Audio+Dan Agustino: Probably the BIGGEST sound in the show! The Dan Agustino stuff was like a piece of modern art, and speakers matched nicely.

Sanus Faber+Macintosh: Didn’t impress me as much, looks fantastic but room was crap and sound was OK

Dynaudio: Bad room, sounded OK, but hard to say. Bass for size of the speakers were quite impressive though

WHARFEDALE: Listened to both NEW Linton Heritage, and Denton 80 speakers. BOTH were AMAZING! To me, the BEST in the show, as far as value for money is concerned. They sounded LIVE, open, dynamic and just very much like Harbeth, but at fraction of the price! I highly recommend auditioning one, Denton 80 maybe on my order list as it’s on sale on musicdirect

Falcon speakers: DYI speaker kit, and they actually sounded shockingly good! Again, close sounding to Harbeth and Wharfedale, which seems like to be my kind of sound.

Scaena: One of the best looking and most exotic speakers, and it sure sounded great at $100K+, some rated this best in show? What I didn’t like was a very narrow sweet spot.

Von Schweikert: They had two rooms, speakers $250Kish, very similar concepts as AN series speakers, built-in amps, rear tweeter and woofer, etc… sounded big and grand.

Van Der Steen: Fist time I’ve heard em, and boy did they impress! The big boy in the main room sounded LITERALLY LIVE, as if someone was playing right there, quite nice. The smaller Quattro in another room also sounded really good. I’d pick these over Magico.

BAYZ: If you wanna impress anyone with crazy looking Carbon Fibre speakers! They sounded pretty good with 360 degree tweeter, but it was hard to audition in a tiny room

Focal+Naim: Loved the new Naim mono-blocks, looked amazing, and I am like WHY no on else has designed monoblock to stand tall instead of massive blocks on the floor? Sounded fantastic with Focal speakers. Sound is clinical like B&W

B&W: Main room was loud, clinical and in your face sound, and just OK. Same old, nothing new.

Avante Garde: Horn speakers, first time I’ve auditioned, they sounded pretty good but had some reverb… not sure due to room or what?

There were quite a few others that I now forget, or not memorable. One thing this post made me realize, is that I tend to like the BBC sound? Like how Harbeth sounded to me, versus super rigid chassis of Megico? Not sure, but overall it sounded like rooms with such speakers sounded better to me, regardless of price! Can someone explain that?

Please add your observations and thoughts. As many have pointed out, it’s almost impossible to truly auditon speakers or other equipment in these shows, but you can probably get a general idea to then listen more and figure out what works best for you. Highly recommend attendance if you haven’t been!



Not really. Ported speakers need free space away from room boundaries. Sealed enclosure speakers are more tolerant of being placed close to walls.


Good point, that’s a major issue for me in my room. However, based on what Andrew Jones told me, the bottom porting must make it easier to place next to walls, than if it was ported to the back.

Nice review. I need to buy another set of speakers this year and will look at a few of the ones you liked.

Anybody go to the Martin Logan room? I’m always surprised at how little they get spoken of, esp the new AMT tweeter models.

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Hi, it is Vandersteen, and I would assume that you got to hear the new amps with the Quatros. They released a high pass 100hz tube based amp to go with the powered woofers of the model 7 MkII a couple of years ago, about $60k. Now they have just released a solid state amp that will be a good companion for all of their speakers, it has a built in high pass crossover, starting at 20hz, 40, 80, 100, and 200hz options, sells for around $16k.

As to vertical style amps Levinson, Halcro, and a few more have had them for many years.

Never seen those vertical monoblocks but to me, it’s such a no brainer and most larger ones should be designed like that. It not only looks better, fits better, I think it could be designed to dissipate heat better.

In Vandersteen room, they had the amp and matching sub, but the Quattro was in room 690, and I can’t remember what amp fed it. It’s a massive show and only I spent enough time in a few rooms.

Thanks, but keep in mind, these are all subjective and our tastes maybe different. That’s the biggest thing I’ve learned recently that there’s NO perfect system or speaker, as ppl may like one kind of sound or another, however, we can probably come to an easier conclusion on what’s good value and some of those cheaper speakers provided insane bang for the buck!

Other issues also come into play, I live in a condo, and my main speakers must sit in the living room with our TV and furniture… which mean literally the #1 priority for the speaker is “how it fits and looks” which totally changes the equation. So, as much as I think there are better value speakers there than Focal, B&W or Sanus Faber… due to WAF, and looks that match our decor, I might have to limit choices to those, and possibly Magico A3 (still too dark sounding for me)… cannot wait for a house so I can build my own room and ugliest best sounding speakers! :rofl:

I missed it, apparently they had a secret room for private listening only. Just way too many rooms and not enough time!

Understood completely but its nice to hear impressions from someone who doesn’t do it for a living. There are literally hundreds of speakers in the <$10k a pair range that it is impossible to know exactly where to start. At least there are a few here to give a closer look.

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Thanks, my overall take away from the show was that you do NOT have to pay thousands of dollars for great sound, could definitely build a great sounding system with good engineered equipment!

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I listened to the 11/13/15 renaissance series. In small rooms but they sounded like Logan stats. 15 mids were a bit better. But all in all I feel the panel sounds pretty close to my Odysseys and you can take that bass and do whatever you like with it. Make it really big or small if you choose

I think??? You are thinking of the magnepan room with the new LRS ? Sounded outstanding btw for 650. Your small place might like these if you can get them out from the wall a bit. But their footprint is pretty small.

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Looks like there’s a new reference in town.

These sounded really good just listening through my sound bar. I’d love to hear them in person.

Buchardt Audio S400

Damn, I so wanted to audition those, TWO times I visited, BOTH times they were about to close… heard great things.

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I loved the Ginko stand mounts. Excellent room. They had a very tight presentation. Demoed the speakers with three amps. Really excellent opportunity to hear the differences.

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Also Spendor D7 speakers. Excellent sound.

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They will attend several fairs. so write where in the country you can. Then I’ll let you know. More love Denmark

I am in Vancouver, Canada. Are you from Buchardt? How do you quality control the speakers made in China?