AXPONA 2019 celebrated their 10th anniversary by growing to become the largest audio show in the United States. The show took place Fri 4/12- Sun 4/14/19 and featured live performances by Shelby Lynne, Brian Dunne and Seth Walker, workshops on turntable setup, seminars and master classes on critical listening, audio streaming, direct-to-disc recording and finding the next generation of hi-fi listeners.
The show completely took over the Renaissance Schaumberg Convention Center Hotel outside Chicago with hundreds of exhibitors displaying the latest in stereo loudspeakers, amplifiers, turntables, headphones and accessories. Beds were removed from almost 200 hotel rooms to make space for hundreds of stereo setups, tuned & tweaked for the 10,000+ visitors to roam, listen, ask questions, and have their minds blown.
Vinyl continues to see significant growth, with new and updated turntables, cartridges, tonearms and accessories ready to serve a growing and younger demographic. Personal audio featuring high resolution headphones, desktop systems and portable players are serving as a lower-priced introduction to the high end for many younger music fans.
CoolCleveland’s Thomas Mulready presented his show, “(secrets of the white album): Behind The Beatles’ Masterpiece” as the closing session on Sun 4/14. Throughout the weekend, he spoke with over a dozen industry leaders and journalists to get their take on the latest innovations happening in the industry.
Liz Miller of AXPONA. Now in its 10th year, and the second year at the Renaissance Schaumberg, AXPONA is considered the largest audio show in North America, showing tremendous growth since JD Events took over management of the show in 2013. Liz Miller manages AXPONA year-round and talks with CoolCleveland about the innovations in the 2019 edition of AXPONA, including a highly functional mobile app, a separate area for headphone exhibits and more exhibition space. Watch here.
Michael Fremer on what’s new in vinyl. Analog Planet editor and Stereophile Senior Editor Michael Fremer shares with Thomas Mulready of CoolCleveland his views on the new innovations in vinyl, turntable and analog technology at the 2019 AXPONA hi-end audio shows. Watch here.
Larry Marcus of Paragon Sight & Sound is one of the largest high-end audio retailers in the country, based in Ann Arbor, MI with original roots in Ohio. He’s seen the industry trends come and go. Nowadays, it’s vinyl and streaming that are exciting new music lovers. He’s planning another high-end audio show in the Cleveland area, so stay tuned to CoolCleveland. Watch here.
Audio-Technica’s Western Hemisphere HQ is right in the Cleveland area, but Frank Doris gets around to all the audio shows. CoolCleveland caught up with him at AXPONA in Chicago and he talked about his multiple stereo systems he listens to: a vinyl setup with tubes, a computer audio system with desktop monitors, a vintage system with a receiver, a 40-year old direct drive turntable, headphones. But, “the music is the important thing.” Watch here.
Julie Mullins of The Absolute Sound has heard it all, and she likes vinyl just as much as digital music. She’s noticing a trend towards all-in-one boxes that serve the same functions as the old-school “receiver:” multiple inputs, streaming capabilities, built-in DACs, smaller footprints, even an FM radio option. Julie also sees how improved trickle-down technology has allowed more sophisticated designs and lower cost in loudspeakers. Watch here.
Steve Guttenberg of CNet is The Audiophiliac. And The Audiophiliac has great ears. Have a look for yourself.He also has strong opinions about audio and music. And in 2019, he’s less interested in what’s new and innovative, and more interested in how technology and good design have brought great sound down to the most affordable levels. Steve recommends two speakers that break the sound barriers and put awesome music into everyone’s hands. Watch here.
Discogs has grown into the largest online marketplace for quality vinyl, CDs, DVDs and community. At AXPONA 2019, CoolCleveland’s Thomas Mulready spoke with Jeffrey Smith, director of partnerships and business development, and Sean Cannon, content marketing specialist, about the innovations and upgrades they are working on. Watch here.
SVS is based in Youngstown, Ohio and is on the bleeding edge of audio technology. From their industry-leading subwoofers to their all-in-one Prime Wireless Speaker System to their smartphone apps, SVS leads the way. CoolCleveland’s Thomas Mulready spoke with Nicholas Brown of SVS at Axpona 2019. Watch here.
Legacy Audio, with their new Legacy V Speaker System, includes internal amplification for the built-in subwoofer pushing the speaker down to 18Hz. James Thompson of Legacy Audio shows the Legacy Powerblock 2 stereo amplifier and Legacy Wavelet DAC/Preamp/Crossover, which does room correction, and allows a USB connection to stream music direct to the crossover to the speakers. That’s a shorter path to your ears. Watch here.
Stereophile He’s seen it all, he’s heard it all. And Stereophile’s Jason Victor Serinus knows what he is looking for: “Whether it’s an innovation matters to me less, than if it sounds like music.” Watch here.
Questyle Everyone was buzzing about the potential of 5G wireless to stream uncompressed high-resolution audio files. Questyle showed how it’s done with their new portable lossless audio player docked to their Super Hub that sends the hi-res signal wirelessly to their amplifier. Welcome to tomorrow. Watch here.
Steven R. Rochlin of EnjoyTheMusic.com has been in the high-end audio business for 25 years, and has a clear idea of where the industry is heading. With the advent of 5G wireless connectivity, there will be no need for compressed files (good riddance, MP3s!), as we’ll be able to stream high-res uncompressed files easily. We can’t wait. Welcome to tomorrow. Watch here.
Music Direct While Music Direct brand ambassador Besflores Nievera is live streaming video from the floor of AXPONA 2019 in Chicago, Thomas Mulready of CoolCleveland captures this interview on video simultaneously. Is your mind expanding? Music Direct carries many hi-end audio brands, partners with dozens of manufacturers and showcased their vinyl and accessories in the Marketplace while Bes was everywhere all at once. Watch here.
Mag-Lev Audio The Mag-Lev turntable has a platter that levitates above the plinth, and it was turning heads and catching eyes all weekend long at AXPONA 2019. CoolCleveland spoke with Roman Hueffel of Mag-Lev Audio about the magnetic force that keeps the platter of their Mag-Lev ML-i spinning in mid-air. What’s next? A levitating tonearm? Watch here.
Bob’s Devices, Infinity, Yamaha and Ohm CoolCleveland’s Thomas Mulready checks in with Bob Sattin of Bob’s Devices and Michael Marks with Infinity, Yamaha and Ohm at AXPONA 2019 to see what they each think is exciting in the high end audio industry. Watch here.
Acoustic Sounds & Quality Record Pressing Ask Chad Kassem of Acoustic Sounds what is new, and he says, “When we talk about new, we go to old…” They can’t keep reel-to-reel tape in stock, his company Quality Record Pressing pressed the 75,000 USA pressings of the 2018 Giles Martin remixes of The White Album, and his companies continue to keep our turntables and stereo systems happy. “We love AXPONA. They do a really good job.” Watch here.
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