My Top 3 Speakers from Axpona 2023

The Vivid G1 Spirits benefited from proper amplification at this year’s Axpona in comparison to 2022. Didn’t hear the Dutch and Dutch or Estelon XB Diamonds.

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  1. Vivid Spirits
  2. Wilson Alexx V
  3. MBL 101
    Maybe tomorrow that order will change…

The Dutch and Dutch cause a right brain/left brain collision in my skull.
Here on this forum, we become absolute nutballs, isolating this from that, heat, vibration, emi, rf… And having amplifiers, fans, electronic gizmos inside the speaker cabinet makes a mess of my ordinarily delightful open-mindedness. Maybe they sounded better than I would let myself believe.


My current top three, subject to change on further consideration:

  1. Stenheim Ultime
  2. Vimberg
  3. And just to pick something not stratospherically priced, but good and a little weird, Boenicke

Does it have to be three?

  1. Estelon Diamond XB
  2. Vivid Spirits
  3. MBL 101

Honorable mention and could or should be in top 3.
4. Stenheim
5. Dyptyque (probably butchered that name)
6. Magico M3 power by CAT
7. Sonus Fabre Aida
8. Aspen FR 20’s

Top all in one speakers.

  1. Dutch and Dutch
  2. Janzen in Bacch room
  3. Grimm Audio LS1

And no where near the last three mentioned but for $899 the SVS Prime Wireless are a damn good buy!


Show conditions continue to be a limiting factor to these ears. So picking a best of show is rather dicey, especially considering I didn’t hear everything by choice. Then there is the music, which tends to be a clash of pop techno, smooth jazz and tired chanteuse.
When a designer takes an all out assault on a product I expect the earth to move, the hairs to stand on the back of my neck. That didn’t happen. For me there is no best of show nor three that truly stand out.

I find it more interesting what a designer can do with limited funds, especially when providing for an every man system. With that in mind three speaker systems come to mind.

Boenicke W8se they disappeared, sounded musical, and were a surprise of the show due to sound and format. Driven by a Technics integrated amplifier. I’d like to hear these with Rowland electronics.

Grimm LS1be self powered, DSP corrected, and musical. These have me rethinking internally powered speakers.

MBL Radialstrahler 126, a proper sense of scale, driven by MBL C51 integrated and C31 DAC. A real world system that could easily fit in most audiophile’s listening rooms.


Did you get to listen to the Alexia V? I am planning on hearing them next week while in Seattle.

I really like the Glacier Frost Pearl.

Le Mans Blue covers.

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Was the Alsyvox speakers there? I was very impressed with their largest at the Tampa show and then their smallest ($70K Ouch!) at a dealer. Going to listen to them again locally at the importer.

The MBL small room is a serious personal cocoon. It would be hard to leave.

Same for the Grimm room though.

Great choices!


I was very disappointed in the Alexia V. It could have been the room, the rest of the chain, I don’t know.
But they just went to the bottom of my list.
I’m going to my dealer this Friday to listen.


I had 8C’s and never could get them to sound “right” as others seem to have been able to do.

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I seem not to have been as impressed as others with the 8C. Surely a marvel of integrated engineering into a speaker solution, but to me it erred just a bit on the side of “well managed HiFi”. Technically very correct.

I am looking forward to your impressions. The Alexia V is at the top of the food chain pricing for me. I liked the Alexia 2’s I have heard. By all accounts the V should be much better.

I almost bought Alexia 2s. The horrible damage to our economy stopped me.
I heard Alexx V’s at a friend’s house, powered by D’Agostinos. F… oops, I almost said a bad word–sounded amazing. But in the room at Axpona, not.


Weird, I was listening to the Alex V’s with you and I had a very positive impression. Hmmmm…

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whatduhyou know?


I liked neither the Alexx nor Alexia Vs at the show. I’ve heard both of them sound better.

I’m going to skip the 6-figure speakers and mention my favorites in 5-figures in no particular order:
Joseph Audio Pearl3 driven by Doshi tube preamp and Doshi tube monoblocks
PS Audio FR30 & FR20 driven by a BHK Preamp and BHK600 monoblocks
Alta Audio Titanium Hestia driven by a new Class A stereo amp from Infigo


I see mint condition 2’s show up at the dealer in Seattle every now and then. I could be very happy with them. The last time I was there I set aside an hour and a half, three hours later and I had to leave… they were closing. The 2’s were awesome with everything I listened to. They were being driven by a pair of Audio Research REF 250SE.


The Infigo gear was mighty impressive as well!