Axpona High End Audio Expo in Chicago 2018

Axpona High End Audio Expo in Chicago 2018


The largest high-end audio expo in North America happened this April 2018 at the Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel and Convention Center.  Simultaneous shows worked in conjunction to provide the greatest amount of ear candy you can find in an expo.  From digging for records in the record fair to finding thousand dollar headphones at the ear expo to experiencing listening rooms unlike any other, Axpona was a great expo you should treat your ears to.  At first you may think people who spend thousands of dollars on a listening setup are really overdoing it, but the reality is we’re all audiophiles.  Being someone who likes high quality sound is the defining trait of an audiophile, and people in general want quality in the music we listen too, sound in movies, and sound on TV.

high end turntable

It’s true that many of the listening rooms audiophiles have are actually more expensive than what producers use to create the records they listen too.  I enjoyed listening to one sound system that was by Prisma.  It was pristine quality, and to listeners that’s vital.  Sure most of us will never own thousand dollar listening systems, but if you have the money why not?  After all, seeing the warm orange glow of tube amps can you’re your house as well as give you an unparalleled listening experience.  One preamp I saw for a system had the most tube amps I’d ever seen.

tube amps

Personally for me I use studio monitors that do not color the sound of what I’m listening to when creating music, which tubes amps do.  I like hearing what the musicians, producers, and artists were hearing when they made their music.  It’s what they intended people to hear.  But having a sound system that adds further sound waves into the mix can make something sound even better.  It can make it seem as if you’re sitting in the center pit of an orchestra or in a small club that the chosen artist is playing in.     

If you’re on the go this is the same effect you’re going for, and there headphones that make the price of Beats headphones look tame.  There are headphones and technologies that help with everything from noise cancellation so that you hear nothing but the sound in your headphones, various storage formats can be used that offer the best quality, and driving the electrical signals from the headphones to your ear in the most efficient manner.  There are a lot of things that matter to audiophiles regarding their headphones. 

One aspect of music is the medium it’s on, and vinyl is making strides in garnering peoples’ attention.  There’s something in that older medium that people love.  I personally love seeing the covers of vinyl albums.  I think CD covers are too small, and not having a physical product really lacks in something spiritual in the experience of music.  Most of my music is on digital storage, but I definitely have a lot of my go to artists on vinyl from Mille Jackson, Phi Collins, Houston Person, and Jr. Walker.  Many records will never have sold enough copies to be put on CD or MP3 so keeping those records in great condition can be hard.  Stores like Reckless Records had a presence at the record fair  There were several vinyl cleaning companies on site to tell about their services, and in fact some of the vinyl cleaning systems looked like something you might wash your dirty dishes in!  There were people in lab coats ready to get scientific on the proper ways to clean your vinyl.  I like the snap, crackle, and pop of aged vinyl but there were tips to clean and preserve your records for a longer lifespan.  Of course turntable dealers galore were there.  The tone arm on some of these turntables costs $10,000 alone!  Everyone from Audio-Technica, SOTA Turntales, and Linn Products were there showcasing and selling turntables.

$10,000 tone arm

I truly advocate playing instruments to really understand sound from attack, volume, sustain, and all the way to the decay.  There’s nothing like controlling all of that on your own through an actual instrument, but it definitely can be nice to sit back and listen to some music in hi fidelity.  So check out Axpona and other audiophile events near you as you’ll get a greater appreciation for the music and sounds you hear and for the music people play.   

axpona sound system pricing


3 thoughts on “Axpona High End Audio Expo in Chicago 2018

  1. Audiophiles? I like it. I always loved the sound in “headphone music”, though I couldn’t pin down what made it that way. I like the sound quality that Mf Doom, early Kanye, Sufjan Stevens, and Daft punk. Something about how that sounds with headphones always pulled me. You opened a world with this.

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