AXPONA is the Hi-Fi show in the US for many reasons. It’s not only well-organized but feels like a melting pot of positive energy. You get to meet attendees and designers from all walks of life. And everyone and every sound – has a story.

The biggest question I get about these shows is: “Could these shows help in evaluating gear?”

To someone who has heard some of those products in isolation, they could probably do some extrapolation. Familiar rooms, with familiar gear, will have a familiar sound. Go to enough of them – and you’ll start to hear consistencies.

This especially seems to be the case with headphones as you’ll often see them strategically paired with certain amps/DACs. Otherwise, there’s simply no way to evaluate a single piece of equipment without isolating it in your own rig – and listening to it over time. Something as simple as a speaker cable could dramatically change how a speaker sounds.

That being said, hotel rooms aren’t optimal – so when they sound good, that’s when I’ll zoom in and focus. There’s usually only a handful of rooms that meet these criteria every year. Most are brands I’ve never heard of. These are setups that spark curiosity and make you wonder which part of the system is contributing to which part of the sound. In some ways, it does help narrow down the search.

So these were some of the best takeaways from AXPONA 2019. I’ve been traveling and still haven’t had time sort out the many hours of video. Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel if you haven’t done so already.

I’ll be flying out to High End Munich in a few hours. Enjoy!