The Big (& Crazy) Loudspeaker Roundup – AXPONA 2015

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At each show we at Audio-Head like to highlight all the fun and fantastical, big, over-the-top or just downright awe-inspiring loudspeakers we come across. In addition to the [Outstanding 12th Floor] at AXPONA 2015, we have assembled an assortment of assets that tickled our fancy from every corner of the show here for your amusement (and/or bemusement).

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The most space-aged, gravity-defying swirly-q award goes to the LA Sphere ($180k). The name does not actually reference the home of Hollywood, but rather a more French incantation of the word. Esoteric provided the source and amplification while Cabasse came in with the full range 4-way, coaxial sonic snowball you see above. The setup in the basement room of the Westin featured separate Esoteric stereo amplifiers for both mids and highs.

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This oversized cabinet found in the marketplace is an Altec speaker called the Iconic. According to the sales rep this particular Iconic “came from Les Paul’s recording studio”.

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While vintage “Quads” may be a collectors item for many, the company still makes some pretty swanky electrostatic loudspeakers that give off a nice modern touch. The big dogs at the far end of the MoFi room were a pair of ESL-2912 ($14k) . Powered by a BAT Rex II Monos ($20k), the system did its vintage heritage justice with big sound and excellent imaging whilst playing some classic Dylan tracks from a MoFi remastered SACD.

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A nifty pair planar magnetic panels graced this room powered by exaSound and a pair of Pass Labs X250.8 monoblock amps ($9.6k). The Magnepan 3.7I  ($5.5k/pair) pictured above also pushes some excellent sonics for a not-so-high-end price.

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KEF was in the same room it occupied the previous year, but with the recent release of the Blade Two ($24k) at the Munich show last year, the new younger sibling to the Blade ($30k) was on display for another go ’round. The “Two” is slightly smaller than the flagship, but retains the same chemical makeup for it sound producing parts. This reduction in overall size is accompanied by slightly smaller bass units (6.5″ vs 9″) but with the same Uni-Q driver array.

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The next entry on our list brings us back to another electrostat, this time however its more of a unique 360 degree design. The Muraudio PX1 ($58k) loudspeaker operates in a much more dimensional way than many of its flat panel counterparts. Powered by a full rack of Moon Audio gear, the room makes for an interesting listen for passers-by and hard core enthusiasts alike.

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An audio show wouldn’t be complete without an appearance by Legacy. They quite often attend with completely different setups in tow and this time attendees where treated to the Aeris ($20k, pictured above) as well as their take on room correction and DSP within the V Loudspeaker System and accompanying Wavelet DAC/PreAmp (~$50k for the package).

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Tapping into a more full fledge luxury vibe, the new flagship Neolith ($80k) from Martin and Logan barely fit into their room on the 4th floor. I have to admit the monolith-like Neolith had quite the sexy presentation regardless. I loved the blue hue, but the sales representative told me that it can also be colored to any classic car hue. So if you owned a candy red Lamborghini in your youth, you can recreate that awesomeness with a speaker finish and soak in the memories as you listen to Mozart from the 48″ x 22″ CLS XStat electrostatic high/mid driver and two woofers (15″ rear-firing and 12″ front facing). No word yet as to if they will do the “dirty Dodge Omni white” from my youth.