Acoustic Sounds

Features: Hi-Fi Shows

New product debuts abounded at High End Munich. I was trying to cover products in the analog domain—turntables, cartridges and phono preamps—and found many each day, but while I was at it I came upon many other new and exciting products you'll see in this day one coverage. All prices are approximate. The day started with a curious coupling of Technics and Lamborghini. It seemed that Lamborghini wants some vinyl playback caché and Technics wants some luxury to rub... Read More

"Vertere's new high-end tonearm is designated the SG-II PTA, as it looks—at a brief glance—similar to the SG-1 PTA tonearms. However, looks can be deceiving, as the SG-II only shares three parts with its junior siblings: the fine tracking force weight, the lift lower mechanism, and the silicon nitride triple bearing assembly. The SG-II-PTA HB will sell for £13500, €16998, and $16995. It will be available from July.

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April 27th, 2024

AXPONA 2024 Day 3 Video Coverage almost an hour's worth

By: Michael Fremer

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... Read More

April 24th, 2024

AXPONA Day Two Video Coverage! was a very busy day

By: Michael Fremer

AXPONA Saturday began for me moderating a reissue panel titled "Second Time Around: The World of Reissuing and Remastering" with a group of the best: Chad Kassem (Analogue Productions), Shane Buettner (Intervention), Abey Fonn (IMPEX) and Julia Miller (Delmark Records). I keyed off of the recent and somewhat controversial Rhino High Fidelity "Marquee Moon" reissue, asking each whether their task was to release a reissue as close as possible to the... Read More

I was getting a whole lotta love on a crowded AXPONA elevator this past weekend, really enjoying the incoming. A guy stepped off at my floor and said “I guess a lot of people know you. I don’t...but nice meeting you”. This'll sound obnoxious and self-serving but I said to him, “Are you new to this?” “I am,” he replied. “I’m only here because my fourteen-year old daughter wants a turntable”. How great is that? I handed him a business card and told him if he had... Read More

The organizers of the Southwest Audio Fest in Dallas must have felt like Hannibal Smith, who used to say, "I love it when a plan comes together." Gary Gill and Lou Hinkley took a chance by selecting as the show venue the upscale Hilton Anatole and it definitely paid off. Upon entering the lobby, I quickly sensed I was in for a memorable show experience. The hotel's sheer size and impressive facilities could rival a Las Vegas resort. In addition to the... Read More

Audio shows have personalities. For example, AXPONA has a business-like atmosphere. I typically feel rushed, like I am thirty minutes late for an appointment. When I go into a room to listen, I feel like I am on a timer. Don't get me wrong; it is a fantastic show that exposes many brands not seen at other shows, and I wouldn’t miss it, but "relaxed" is not the term I would use to describe the show's overall vibe.The Florida Audio Expo offers... Read More

Here's coverage of days 2 and 3 of the Florida International Audio Expo. This truly was an international Expo as you'll see. Products were on display from everywhere from Latvia to the U.K. to France, Canada, Finland, Austria, Czech Republic, Vietnam and Denmark.Product prices were equally wide-ranging. There was something for everyone at the show, though there was less analog and vinyl than hoped for.Loudspeakers were as usual an important part of the show... Read More

Last weekend's Florida Audio Expo was another successful show. Attendance was substantial—aided by heavy weekend rains, which is always good for hi-fi shows—and good industry participation, which was a combination of regional dealers and the smaller "indie" manufacturers, many of which also participate in the Capital Audio Fest and its Seattle cousin. However, also participating were some major, well-established and/or up and coming manufacturers. In... Read More

Tracking Angle's second and final long form video shot at Capital Audio Festival 2023, November 10-12th begins with a lot of VPI coverage because VPI brought a whole lotta turntables to the show—probably every model currently manufactured. How do they keep tabs on their SKU's?Then it's on to Sikora in the CommandAV room, Genesis Audio Technologies' new "no holds barred" cartridge, Haniwa's new tonearm and super low internal impedance... Read More

This year's CAF differed from past shows I’ve attended in Rockville, Md. Not the show itself, but my impressions. I think it was my 4th CAF. That’s not as many visits as some reviewers and audiophiles, but enough for the show to take on a mission for me. I’ve always enjoyed this show; the 2023 edition was my favorite.In previous CAFs (calves?), even as I knew intellectually most systems are in poor-sounding hotel rooms, I don’t think I sufficiently factored that... Read More

Matt Walker, our man in Tokyo (as opposed to Jonti Davies, our man in Kyoto) reports from the recent Tokyo Audio Show: "We just had the Tokyo International Audio Show this past long weekend over three days at the Tokyo International Forum - a wonderful piece of Rafael Vinoly architecture designed to reflect the sweeping curves of a boat in the centre of Tokyo. There were around 34 rooms across 7 floors  - up slightly on previous years. As previously, attendance is free but online registration gets you a personalised QR entry code for each day as they strictly control numbers and mask wearing is still considered ‘good manners’.

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Should I stay or should I go? No, I wasn’t listening to The Clash. I was mentally weighing whether or not to attend the 2023 Toronto Audiofest. I almost decided that I didn’t have the time or money, but in the end, I went. And boy, am I glad I did!On my first visit to Toronto Audiofest in 2022, I was struck by how different an audio show can be in a location other than the good ole US of A. Maybe it’s simply the friendly, chill Candian vibes. Perhaps it’s the personal warmth and excellent organizational skill of the show organizers, Michel Plant and Sarah Tremblay. It’s both these things and more.

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November 16th, 2023

Capital Audio Festival Long Form Video room visits and more

By: Michael Fremer

Here's the first of at least two long form videos shot at last weekend's Capital Audio Festival. Large Friday and Saturday crowds plus strong industry participation and a large contingent of vinyl vendors made this a high energy exciting show. Rega's high-tech Naia made its American debut. The dealer took it apart for the camera. In a series of stills you'll see what makes it unique. You'll see and hear about an electronics line from Bosnia... Read More

At this year's Capital Audiofest, Infigo's CEO Hans Loomen walked me through the company's MM/MC phono section equipped Method 7 preamplifier. It's a thoroughly modern, beautifully made, infinitely configurable preamplifier. Cost is $20,000. Infigo always gets great show sound and this year was no exception. Read More

He'll sell his transmission line speaker to you as a $100 plan, and hopefully soon as a "flat pack' you self-assemble and then buy the crossover network and drivers from Madisound. Package cost is max $1000.00/pr. Blanchard showed off his creations in partnership with Geshelli Labs—the Florida-based family cooperative that builds DACs, and headphone amps. He's hoping to have all of this up and running very soon. transmission Line cutaway Read More