Acoustic Sounds
Garrard 301
By: Michael Fremer

April 27th, 2024


Hi-Fi Shows

AXPONA 2024 Day 3 Video Coverage

almost an hour's worth

AXPONA 2024 hosted 10,391 attendees from 42 states and 31 countries at the Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel & Convention Center April 12-14, 2024— 14% increase over 2023. It was the best attended AXPONA yet.

As with 2023's strong vinyl sales, the doom and gloom crowd was again wrong. This is a vital and growing hobby that has something affordable for every music lover but aside from shopping at a price point, there's so much fun looking at and listening to the cost is no object audio gear if just to get a reality check about what's possible.

Big rooms featuring Wilson Audio, Sonus Faber, Acora Acoustics and Clarisys showed what audio reproduction can sound like on a grand scale, while smaller rooms filled with more affordable gear let attendees hear products scaled down in price and size.

Many room achieved extremely good sound but I do not award prizes for best sound or even get involved in judging hotel room sound. It's really not fair and other than self-aggrandizement I don't think it serves a useful function. I heard bad sound from too many products I know sound good. When the room acoustics are poor and the electricity is worse, what's the point of setting up a competition?

That said, Jeff Joseph and Nick Doshi carried out one of the more interesting experiments, recording a jazz group late afternoon Saturday on a stage set up in their Nirvana room space. They had two mic set ups and on Sunday played both. One sounded remarkably similar to the live performance. I believe it was the Blumlein mic array.

The show featured 202 dedicated listening rooms on 12 floors and included a busy "Ear Gear Experience" headphone and personal audio section and the Expo Hall that included new and used record vendors and accessory and cable sellers as well as a "Master Class Theater" where speakers sounded off on a variety of seriously interesting topics.

This was a great show with an international flavor at which numerous new products made their American debuts and a few their world debuts, though many more such introductions can be expected at Munich High End May 9th-12th.

This video is the third and final TrackingAngle AXPONA video. You'll see new cartridges, turntables, phono preamps and other analog-related products and finally I think I got the sound sorted out with the RODE GOII properly paired with the 4K DJI Pocket3 camera. Enjoy!


  • 2024-04-27 09:59:54 PM

    Come on wrote:

    I understand you, saying, you avoid getting involved in judging hotel room sound.

    However there always are very good and very bad rooms, mostly both by the same parties. Although I agree, that judging a product by a show listen will be misleading at best in most cases, I’d also say, that the sound of rooms can lead to the conclusion who cares or not and who can achieve good sound in such rooms at all or not.

    I just hope the relative indifference regarding show room sound of pro’s like you doesn’t lead to even less care of exhibitors.

    • 2024-04-28 03:03:54 AM

      Michael Fremer wrote:

      The exhibitors still care to impress consumers

    • 2024-04-28 03:15:59 PM

      Nicholas Paredes wrote:

      I was speaking to a journalist (ML at TM) who responded to my comment on a room I was looking forward to hearing (Treehaus). My comment was that my first visit was rather bad. He stated that it takes a day for exhibitors to sort through the sound and adjust. My second visit on Saturday was much better.

      • 2024-04-28 06:28:58 PM

        Come on wrote:

        It often starts with the selection of records to play. Mostly they play some of the worst pressings available where 80% of the visitors have a much better pressing at home, which even the best playback equipment at the show couldn’t compensate. In my experience the percentage of exhibitors who are capable of making a good presentation seems extremely limited. This gets obvious if, when making less than average sounding demonstrations, they seem to expect overwhelming applause instead of saying, that the show conditions can’t get it any better.

        And in case everyone’s aware, it can’t sound any good at shows…who the heck in other industries would knowingly present his equipment under those conditions?

        IMO, if the play the equipment, it should sound really good...or they should just display it.

      • 2024-05-17 11:22:48 AM

        Rich@ Treehaus Audiolab wrote:

        I am glad you came back for a second listen! There are so many variables at play. For a more complicated system like the Treehaus equipment with more parts and pieces; I didn't have music playing in that room until about 6PM the night before. You do your best, but there is also that fatigue that sets in after a full day of playing furniture movers. We did also have a driver tube give up the ghost after hours the first show day...

        The usual show rooms level the playing field in some ways; however as everyone knows they are not ideal spaces, and compromises are made in the name of trying to make it sound good for as many people in the room as possible. I set up this year along the longer wall. It sacrificed imaging for most of the seats (the center 2 were great though), but it offered a generally better sounding experience for more people in the room.

  • 2024-04-29 12:08:38 AM

    13th Duke of Wymbourne wrote:

    Michael, you should carry a swiffer with you and allow exhibitors time for a quick dust before you film. I know strong lighting really shows up the dust but, even so, I could not believe how dusty some those exhibits were let alone the LPs!

    • 2024-05-17 11:24:48 AM

      Rich@ Treehaus Audiolab wrote:

      Ha! I carry Swiffers and glass cleaner in my show prep kit! Michael, you are welcome to borrow ;-) These rooms kick up a lot of dust with everyone in and out, and the dryness of the air at this show was offering some strong static.

    • 2024-05-17 11:24:49 AM

      Rich@ Treehaus Audiolab wrote:

      Ha! I carry Swiffers and glass cleaner in my show prep kit! Michael, you are welcome to borrow ;-) These rooms kick up a lot of dust with everyone in and out, and the dryness of the air at this show was offering some strong static.