This year’s AXPONA show was held in a new venue, which received mostly positive responses from attendees and exhibitors. The Schaumburg Convention Center and attached Renaissance hotel offered plenty of good-sized rooms, decent amenities, and a dated but pleasing vibe somewhat reminiscent of Barbarella. The show was well attended, with a record-breaking 8,134 attendees—up 21% over 2017. This year was a bit of a change for me as well, deciding to drive with an audiophile buddy rather than my better half, who couldn’t get time off. Though attendance was up, it was the rare room that was too crowded to enter. Most vendors experienced good traffic and found the rooms to be workable. Rooms around the atrium interior had a bonus view, open and airy, when you left those spaces. Unlike years past, I didn’t spend a great deal of my time in the headphone area, instead concentrating on the more than 100 exhibitors I had preselected. Despite that, I missed quite a few due to very heavy snow and winds to the west, which forced us to head home on the wreck-strewn interstate a day early.
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This article was originally published in audioXpress, July 2018.