Saturday, February 28, 2015
Colleen and I just returned from Phoenix, where we braved a serious bit of winter weather to present the new Axis VoiceBox S loudspeaker to the Arizona Audio/Video Club. Bill Coomes, proprietor of Sweet Spot Audio in Goodyear AZ, is the first Axis Loudspeaker dealer in the United States, and he asked us to return to the AVAZ--we held a demonstration for the group a little over two years ago. The day before we left Colorado we had a snowstorm that dropped about 20 inches of powder in a single day, so we almost didn't make it. But the day before the event the sun came out and the snow started to melt, so we were fine.
I remembered this ballroom from two years ago--big, square, bare walls, tall ceilings, all the conditions that make it difficult to provide good sound. In addition, we had only a few hours to get everything set up and dialed in at the Airport Marriott. I kept looking over at the tiny Voiceboxes and saying to myself, "Big room, little speakers, and a relatively low-powered tube amplifier...sounds like a recipe for disaster." But within thirty minutes or so Colleen and I had the system assembled and playing music. Much to my surprise, the low frequencies were not only present, but tight and controlled and clean.
We brought our prototype of the Unison Research SH headphone amplifier/DAC, which is about to start shipping to the US in a couple of weeks. Matched with the Unison Research CD Primo CD player, the ADL H128 headphones and Cardas Audio Clear Light cabling, this system impressed many of the audiophiles in the room--so much so that we sold a couple of them before the show was over. We have set the MSRP of the SH at $1695, by the way.
The main system was identical to one of the systems we exhibited at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest last October. It consists of the Axis Voicebox S speakers, of course, as well as a Unison Research Triode 25 integrated amplifier/DAC and the Unison Research Unico CDE CD player, all wired with Furutech. Since the Voiceboxes are relatively inefficient, we had to switch the Triode 25 into pentode mode for 45 watts per channel. Even in this big room we were able to achieve decent sound levels.
Just like the last time we visited, the room was pretty much full with Arizona audiophiles. I played three or four of my usual trade show demo tracks--some Three Blind Mice, some 2L Recordings and, of course, Happy Coat. Then we played a few requests. I know I'm making a few waves in the industry by talking about taking show attendees' requests, but an audiophile club meeting is different--more interactive and more casual. After we finished the presentation, many club members lined up to speak with us afterward. The AZAV has always welcomed us and treated us graciously, and we hope to return in a few months to introduce new products from both PureAudio and Brad Serhan's new company, Brigadier Audio Group.
Finally, Colleen and I snapped this selfie just a few seconds before we went into the ballroom and started our presentation. It was a great, productive trip, and you can see it in our faces. We're planning on hitting the road this May for at least a couple of weeks, and we're going to try to visit as many of our dealers as possible. We hope to do more events just like this one. In fact, this is one of the best parts of our job!
Jason Victor Serinus' "As We See It" column in this month's Stereophile, which partially discussed my Part-Time Audiophile article on attending high-end audio shows, is now available to read online at http://www.stereophile.com/content/play-or-not-play. So far no nasty comments!
Tuesday, February 10, 2015
More than two years ago, Colleen and I visited the Arizona Audio-Video Club at the invitation of our Los Angeles and Phoenix dealer for Opera and Unison, Bill Coomes of The Sweet Spot. Bill is officially the first US dealer for the Axis VoiceBox S loudspeaker, so Colleen and I are returning to demonstrate his new line of Australian loudspeakers for the AZAV members.
We are planning to feature the Axis VoiceBox, of course, as well as a Unison Research Triode 25 integrated amplifier/DAC and a Unison Research Unico CDE CD player. All cabling and power management will be provided by Furutech. We also plan on bringing our prototype of the Unison Research SH headphone amplifier along with the Furutech H128 headphones.
The monthly meeting of the Arizona Audio-Video Club will be held at the Marriott Airport Hotel on Wednesday, February 25th at 7pm. The address of the hotel is 1101 N. 44th Street, Phoenix. You can find out more info on AZAV on their website.