At every high-end audio show, there should be something that’s a complete surprise to you. At AXPONA 2022, that came in the form of a small pair of Swiss loudspeakers in the AudioShield room.
We’ve been working with John McGurk of AudioShield Distribution for a few months now–John is the one responsible for hooking us up with Van den Hul, EMM Labs and now Credo speakers from Switzerland. Dave McNair is finishing up his review on Credo’s larger floorstander right now, and I’m getting the slimmer EV1202 model any time now.
When I visited the AudioShield room at AXPONA 2022 and met John for the first time, he was running a huge system in one of the big downstairs rooms at the show. This included Credo’s massive Cinema LTM line array towers ($169K/pair) with plenty of amplification from EMM Labs–the MTRX/2 Mono-Block Amplifiers ($85,000/pair USD), the DA2 2 channel D/A converter ($30,000 USD), PRE Reference Stereo Pre-Amplifier ($25,000 USD) and NS1 Streamer ($4,500 USD). The analog rig included the VPI Avenger Direct Drive Turntable ($30,000 USD), VDH Frog Gold ($3,520 USD), VDH Grail SE phono pre ($18,600) and a DS Audio W2 Cartridge ($4,500 USD), all connected with VDH cables.
That’s a big system in a big room, and I found it completely satisfying despite the fact that I’m not always into big array transducers. In my notes, I wrote “fabulous,” which is not one of my usual words for describing gear. But my AudioShield experience was far from over. Grover Neville shot me a text on Sunday saying that I needed to hear the tiniest Credo speakers in the room, the EV 350 Reference ($7,000/pr USD). He said I’d totally be into them.
I headed back to the AudioShield room, told Credo’s Michael Kraske about Grover’s text, and asked to hear the 350s. They’re really small. They look like a typical mini-monitor–although the gloss finish was extraordinary. My first question to Michael: aren’t those little monitors going to get lost in such a big room? They answer was no. Period. Then they started to play and I shut up.
I’ve never heard such a small speaker energize such a large room. Bass response was unbelievably low (they’re rated down to around 40 Hz). Imaging was incredibly focused. I felt like I had just discovered a brand new contender for best two-way mini-monitor.
I found lots to love at AXPONA 2022. But I’m still haunted by those incredible little Credos in the AudioShield room, and I hope to spend more time with them some day soon.
I wrote “fabulous,” which is not one of my usual words for describing gear.Marc Phillips – parttimeaudiophile.com