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  • #1
    Paragon Sight and Sound, one of, if not the largest Wilson Audio dealers in the country, premiered the brand new $109,000 Alexx speakers at this year’s Axpona show. In addition, Paragon Sight and Sound was named the official authorized dealer Wilson Audio for the Chicago market. Having been to the grand reopening of Larry Marcus’ store Ann Arbor back in November of 2015 to present on reel-to-reel tape, Chicago audiophiles and Wilson Audio are in good hands.

    Rounding out the super system was Nick Doshi's newest line of electronics including his 180 wpc Doshi Audio V3.0 KT150-based monoblock tube amplifiers ($29,000), the Doshi V3.0 line and V3.0 phono stage ($16,999 each). No expense was spared either when it to selecting the front-end sources. On the digital end, the newly released DCS 2.0 Vivaldi stack ($115,000) was playing back digital files including some new piano, organ and percussion recordings from Peter McGrath. On the analog front, the Brinkman Balance turntable ($22,000) plus Ront power supply ($4190), 12.1 arm ($5890) and Koetsu Azule Platinum cartridge ($10,995) played back those not quite yet obsolete 12-inch black discs (see http://positive-feedback.com/Issue77/koetsu_azule.htm) while a Studer 807 reel-to-reel machine outfitted with Flux Magnetics extended response heads along with Nick’s outstanding V3.0 tape preamp module ($16,999) handled 15-ips, reel-to-reel tape. Cabling was courtesy of and included all top-of-the line Transparent Audio Opus cabling.

    In addition, Larry hosted a evening Q&A and listening session with Dave Wilson. Dave discussed his and son Daryl’s underlying design philosophy and decisions that went into the building of the new Alexx speakers (this makes four speakers in four years for Wilson Audio with one still in wings).

    Some of the highlights from Dave’s presentation.

    First, it’s hard to believe that Wilson Audio has been in high-end audio business going on 42 years. Next—and slightly off topic-- the Wilson Audio WAMM Magnus Opus are after almost four years in research and development nearing completion (anyone who ever heard the original WAMMs has to be curious about this new all out effort!). Dave has the sound he wants; now what’s left is nailing down the final pieces to the puzzle. Third, the new Alexx’s are definitely no lightweights when it comes to either sound or weight. Each speaker tips the scales at 452 pounds per channel.

    Now for some of the more salient points on the Alexx’s design. Dave and Daryl worked tirelessly to work on the speaker’s settling time, resolution of low level information as well as the ability to move between dynamic levels in their newest speaker effort. This included refining the materials used in speaker enclosures. The speaker enclosures are primarily fashioned from the latest version of X-material but the midrange baffles use S-material. In addition, the Alexx uses a new third material specifically developed for the WAMM project—W-material—that combines extreme rigidity with good damping characteristics. The W-material is used in midrange module transfer point in the Alexx array superstructure to optimize the coupling of the midrange module to the cabinet. (It is painted a special silver to designate its role as Wilson’s latest foray into cutting edge composites). In addition, two drivers handle the midrange frequencies putting less stress on the tweeter. Now the Alexx does has one dip in its frequency response at 2.5 K to 1.5 ohms but Dave added it comes with a +8 degree phase angle that is inductive rather than capacitive and thus easier for amplifiers to handle. Finally, the new speaker employs the new bass drivers developed for the forthcoming WAMMs giving the speaker better and deeper low end response than the MAXX.

    How did the super system sound? Well despite some room issues say in the upper bass area (I remember what Tidal importer Doug White ripping his hair out trying to get his speakers to sound good in this room the year before), attendees certainly got a glimpse of the sound of this new Wilson Audio product. Big. Dynamic. Quiet. Resolving. Effortless. Not to mention, most attendees were amazed that a lowly tube amplifier could drive these Wilson speakers! But the Doshi V3.0 is no ordinary tube amplifier either. I for one, definitely want to hear the new Alexx’s under better circumstances because I don’t think we came close to hearing the capabilities of these new Wilson Audio speakers!




    Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
    Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
    ________________________________________

    -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
    -cj 40th Anniversary ART300 monoblock amplifiers
    -cj GAT preamplifier Series 2 preamplifier
    -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
    -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
    -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
    -Lyra Atlas SL, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
    -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
    -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Allnic cables, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, MG Audio, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies Power Cords
    -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

    Comment


    • #2
      Last but not least—and another system sounding far better his year than last—was the Tidal Audio room (last year, Tidal occupied the room used by Paragon Sight and Sound this year). Gone this year was the thinness and mechanical quality that really bothered me about the Tidal exhibit at Axpona 2015. The super system in The Voice That Is room consisted of all Tidal electronics including the $64,990 Tidal Impulse monoblock amplifiers, the $77,990 Presencio preamplifier ($77,990) and finally the $109,000 Agoria speakers. No analog front-end was used here but the $9995 Bricasti Design M1se DAC and $17,600 Aurender W20 Reference Music Server (along with the new Playback Designs digital gear) produced some of the best and satisfying digital playback heard at the show. Rounding out the rest of the system were Dynamic Design and Purist Audiocables, Stillpoints and a Silver Circle Tchaik 6 power line conditioner.

      There’s a lot of technology and work that goes into the Tidal Agoria speakers. For example, the Agorias are Tidal's first speakers with cabinets constructed from Tiralit, a material, “made from several organic and polymeric layers, compressed with different glues and tons of weight to an extremely hard and yet resonance damping material.” Another features of the Agorias is the ease of which the speaker’s frequency extremes can be adjusted to compensate for different listening rooms. Also of technological note are the 1.2-inch diamond tweeters in a decoupled metal alloy housing found in each speaker. Next, the Agorias are amplifier agnostic being easily driven by either tube or solid-state amplifiers. Finally, the speakers can interestingly be driven in either passive or active mode.

      The sound? It can only be described as effortless and smooth as a baby’s behind. Not fatiguing as other digital systems want to be especially under show conditions. Best of all, the Agorias had the ability to produce a big sound and even under show conditions a semblance of a concert hall or club experience. No doubt that the Agorias could do an even better job under real world conditions.

      Finally a big shout out to Doug White of The Voice That Is and importer of Tidal products! As things turned out, Sunday turned into a free for all trying to hear all the rooms remaining on my list. By about 11 AM Sunday morning, completing that task was looking really dismal so in a last ditch effort to complete my rounds, I decided to skip lunch and just plow ahead. But someone was looking down on me that day! By pure chance, lunch was being delivered at the exact moment I entered Doug's room; upon hearing my plight, Doug most graciously shared half his sandwich and some fries with me. What a life saver and that gave the energy to complete the rest of the day! Thanks a million Doug and won't forget your generosity!
      Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
      Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
      ________________________________________

      -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
      -cj 40th Anniversary ART300 monoblock amplifiers
      -cj GAT preamplifier Series 2 preamplifier
      -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
      -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
      -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
      -Lyra Atlas SL, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
      -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
      -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Allnic cables, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, MG Audio, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies Power Cords
      -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

      Comment


      • #3
        AXPONA 2016 SHOW WRAP UP





        Incomplete grades and would like to listen to again due to various issues:

        (1) Endeavor Audio E-3 MkII Speaker System, $8000: The Endeavors sounded so much better last time heard them at a show.

        (2) Essential Audio: Could never get a good listening seat since room was always packed.

        System consisted of:

        AudioKinesis Bienville Suite loudspeaker system ($12,000)
        Kuzma Stabi S turntable ($2156)
        Kuzma Stogi Ref 313 CE VTA tonearm ($4640)
        Kuzma CAR-30 moving-coil cartridge
        Atma-Sphere UV-1 preamplifier with low output MC section ($2900)
        Atmasphere M60 Mk.III.2 OTL amplifiers with copper foil V-cap option ($7700/pr)

        Interesting debuts and new products:

        Focal Sopra No 2 speakers, $14,000/pr.

        DS Audio Master 1 cartridge $20,000 with electronics (static)

        High Fidelity cables, Magnetic adaptors, $299 pair (entry and experiment with magnetic technology.)

        AMG 12 JT Turbo Tonearm, $850

        Musical Surroundings SuperNova III phono preamplifier, $3000

        Atlas Aesthetix Atlas Mono Eclipse amplifier, $25,000

        Playback Designs Merlot DAC, $6500

        Playback Designs Syrah server, $6500

        Playback Designs IPS-3 integrated amplifier, $13,000

        Master Built MB Ultra interconnects and Signature speaker cables

        Five Best Sounding Rooms:

        (1) MBL/United Home Audio

        (2) Magico/Convergent Audio Technology/Kronos/ZYX Universe Premium cartridge (also hottest room award!)

        (3) NOLA/Playback Designs/Studer-Revox

        (4) Joseph Audio/Jeff Rowland/VPI/Ampex

        (5) Kyomi Audio: Marten/Convergent Audio Technology/Air Force 3 turntable/vdh cartridge

        (honorable mention) GTT Audio: YG/AudioNet/Kronos/Air Tight Opus Magnus cartridge

        Most Surprising Sounding Room:

        Merrill Audio/Divergent Technologies

        Most Improved Show Sound:

        (tie) Audio Union
        (tie) Tidal Audio

        Product (s) I'd Like To Take Home the Most:

        Doshi Audio V3.0 tape preamplifier
        Air Tight Magnus Opus cartridge
        Playback Designs Merlot DAC

        Best New Software Releases:

        Tape: Jason Roebke: Shimmering, International Phonograph, Inc.
        LP : Alan Parsons: I Robot, MOFI, 45 rpm

        Most Exciting Show Announcement:

        Acoustic Sounds to begin releasing 15 ips reel-to-reel tapes
        Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
        Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
        ________________________________________

        -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
        -cj 40th Anniversary ART300 monoblock amplifiers
        -cj GAT preamplifier Series 2 preamplifier
        -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
        -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
        -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
        -Lyra Atlas SL, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
        -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
        -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Allnic cables, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, MG Audio, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies Power Cords
        -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

        Comment

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