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!