Axpona 2022: VTL, Stenheim, Wadax, Nordost (a Favorite)

The next room on my first day morning tour was about as far from silent as you can get, and the VTL/Stenheim combo produced some of the most captivating sound at the show, at least according to my big mojo detector.

The Stenheim Reference Ultimate Two ($153,000/pair) for their power from a bi-amped pair of VTL S-400 Reference Stereo Amplifier Series II ($37,500/each) and the energy and excitement they produced in room and in me was pure pleasure with dynamics and physicality knocking on the door of very much like live.

On the digital side, the WADAX Atlantis Reference Server ($59,000 pictured), Atlantic Reference DAC ($145,000), and Akasa optical system for the Reference DAC/Server ($17, 495) were in control. One thing I noticed, as the WADAX gear is impossible to miss, is WADAX was in use in a number of rooms which made me sing (silenty in my head), WADAX are everywhere / They’re everywhere / My mind describes them.


A VTL TL-7.5 Reference Line Preamplifier Series II ($30,000) and TP-6.5 Series II Signature phono stage ($12,500) were also in use, while all cabling was from Nordost and included their Odin 2 Speaker Cable which starts at $35,999.99/pair.

A VPI HW-40 Turntable ($20,000) took care of the vinyl (“vinyl” never needs an “s”).

Located in the very (very) large Schaumburg F room, this system—I was treated to digital and analog musical sources—was pure delight and listening to Voodoo on vinyl, courtesy of VTL’s Luke Manley, from The Sunny Clark Memorial Quartet, which features John Zorn on alto saxophone, Wayne Horvitz on keyboards, Ray Drummond on bass, and Bobby Previte on drums felt like a roller coaster ride through a madhouse of near endless proportions. Bravo!