AXPONA Part One from Chicago with Goldmund

Although I was nearly perpetually engaged in interviews for upcoming AudioStream podcasts for most of the first day, I did manage to poke my head into a few interesting rooms along the 16th and 15th floors of AXPONA’s Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel and Convention Center.

As far as shows go, things don’t get much more extravagant than a 190+ listening room engagement for the United States. Traffic appeared steady as the day wore on, with a constant human presence in each listening room that I attended. That’s great news for vendors and show runners, but not so great for wide component shots.

One well-tailored stop that was prepped with digital delights was the Swiss-based Goldmund room. It was the first US showing of the new Prana Wireless Active Speaker ($70,000 USD) that was just launched in January of this year. The two-box-per-channel system sits at the base level of the line, with the larger Satya and then Samdhi filling out the space above.

The driver arrangement includes a one-inch dome tweeter, seven-inch mid and nine-inch woofer accelerated by two 175W and one 250W Telos amplifiers, respectively. To get files into the units wirelessly one can opt for the additional Mimesis 11 hub ($10,000 USD, pictured above) or more surprisingly, an included USB wireless stick.

High resolution files are downsampled to 16/48 during the transfer and company representatives stated there was no Roon compatibility as of yet, but several design choices hinted at wireless home theater applications through DSP options and surround-sound decoding. Wired connectivity can be made from the company’s pre-amplifier options, and an additional Goldmund disc spinner was also present and accounted for in the show room setup.

A two-song playlist was conducted utilizing the previously mentioned USB stick with a default Windows Media player acting as the playback software. The recognizable track “Oh Yea” from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off kicked off the listening session to both my involuntary delight and subtle chagrin.

As a steady stream of Bow Bow, Chica Chicaaaahs marched their way into my consciousness, I was able to note the resulting staging wasn’t the biggest I’d heard at the show, but imaging within the space was on point. Low-end punch was satisfying and filled the room in a very authoritative, controlled manner.

It was good way to kick off the weekend’s festivities with equal parts hi-fi and nostalgia for the ‘80s. Unlike a few other “wireless” speaker options, the Prana Active speaker doesn’t require a conjoining cable of any type to send its signal to both units simultaneously. This speaks well to not only the freedom of driver placement, but also accurate timing between the channels given the focused spatial assignments within the demo.

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