Axpona NYC Show Report 2011

Enjoying Lifestyle Audio in the Big Apple
Source: Axpona
AXPONA (Audio Expo North America) is an audiophile show open to the public and was held at the Affinia Hotel on 7th Avenue (diagonally to Madison Square Gardens) on Friday 24th and Saturday 25th June.

The Front Entrance of the Affinia Hotel

Source: Maplandia.com

The Affinia is a classic New York hotel. External renovations were underway when we were there. Certainly the rooms require much needed refurbishment. The lobby as the photograph below shows, is actual very classy and quaint.

The Main Lobby with Axpona Registration Desk

AxponaNYC2011_hotelfront AxponaNYC2011_hotellobby2
Source: AMR

With thanks to Avatar Acoustics (AMR: USA) and Sensorium AV (Avatar’s newest NYC dealer), the Sensorium AV system comprised of:

Purist Computer Audio Source + AMR DP-777 Digital Processor > Absoluta Power Amplifiers > Davone Ray Loudspeakers

Source: AMR

Sensorium AV is not a traditional audio dealer. Owner Bryan Bilgore is a computer programmer by training and designs and constructs in-home audio/visual solutions. He also plays the trumpet; science meets art!

Hence, the DP-777 was partnered with more lifestyle-based equipment but still managed to produce tunes that wowed the customers who came through. More than a few customers were impressed by the sonic quality, especially against the far more costly components being exhibited in other rooms.

One of the many Home Installations by Sensorium AV



Source: http://www.sensoriumav.com/

The following is what John Atkinson Editor of Stereophile had to say about the tunes in the Sensorium AV room:

“The DP-77 D/A converter ($4995) from the English firm AMR that had impressed JA at the Atlanta Axpona in April made its New York debut at the Show, playing music files streamed from a German Purist NAS ($3000), with iPad-based controller software from the same firm. Amps were solid-state monoblocks from Absoluta (approximately $14,000/pair), and the loudspeakers were a fascinating design called the Ray ($6000/pair) from the Danish firm Davone, which are shown on the photo. The Ray is a two-way reflex-loaded speaker using coaxial driver—it sounded amazingly well-balanced and musical in the smallish room. ASI room-tuning accessories were used throughout.”


Peter Breuninger, senior writer from The Absolute Sound is a real gent and he prepared a very special four-part show report, captured entirely on HD video.


Throughout the show we caught up with John Atkinson (Editor Stereophile); Art Dudley (Stereophile); Peter Breuninger (Senior Writer: The Absolute Sound); Clement Perry and Key Kim from Stereotimes; Marshall and Lynne Nack of Positive Feedback and Larry Borden (Executive Editor Dagogo).

We were pleased to make the acquaintance of Lawrence de Martin of Acuvox who is an exceptionally talented recording and room setup engineer. Put it this way, over just one evening, Lawrence designed and constructed a tailored “baffle” to attenuate the very noisy air-conditioning unit which had to be used given the stifling heat in NYC at this time of the year. While it did not completely eliminate the noise of the air-conditioning unit, it nonetheless made running it during playback palatable which was certainly not the case before.

Lawrence de Martin introducing his bespoke air-con baffle



Source: AMR

Despite the small-sized room and the total of 25 or so exhibitors, we managed to attract more than our fair share of the visitors who came this relatively small show.

A snapshot of listeners in the room



Source: AMR

On Friday, the first day of the show, AMR was on the panel and spoke at the Computer Audio & Supporting Media Conference led by Mark Waldrep Ph.D. Founder and President of AIX Records and iTrax.com.

Mark Waldrep of iTrax making the introduction to the presentation



Source: AMR

The main thrust of the attendees were the typical 45-65 male age group and as we have remarked before, we believe was another missed opportunity to attract younger listeners given we were located in the heart of New York!

AMR took the opportunity to shout from the rafters that we must embrace computer audio not just for its sonic advantages but also so that we may attract the next generation of music lovers. We hope that our presentation went some way towards convincing the typical audiophile to try computer audio and to convert a few iPod youngsters to the enjoyment from having a dedicated computer audio system.

On Friday night, AMR and Avatar were kindly invited by Marshall and Lynne Nack to their home to listen to their audio system: the tunes were mighty impressive to say the least. There were too many components to list but we listened to a number of classical and blues records through the Dr Feickert Blackbird analogue chain with Ypsilon Phono and Tenor amplifiers and YG Anat III speakers. The sonic performance was very seductive indeed.

Marshall Nack (left) of Positive Feedback and Clive (right) of Avatar Acoustics



Source: AMR

Marshall and Lynne always make the effort to introduce to us a new restaurant and this time around they outdid themselves by taking us to: Zabb Elee a truly exceptional authentic Thai restaurant that does not prepare the typical Thai food but something but closer to the traditional dishes. In particular was Hor Mok: a Thai curry fish custard wrapped in banana leaf. In fact, you simply salivate just by reading the menu. All the dishes were tingled the taste buds and the Thai beer selection was none too shabby either.


Zabb Elee Thai Restaurant in the East Village: excellent food, great beers and fabulous company

AxponaNYC2011_food1 AxponaNYC2011_food2


Source: AMR

After the meal, we enjoyed a nice stroll through the bustling Village and found a Gelato parlour that served excellent gelatos to sooth the palette after the fiery bashing from the hot chillis!

While the Axpona NYC show has significant room for improvement in terms of exposure and attendees, we thoroughly enjoyed our time in NYC where the company, food and beverages were second-to-none.


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