AXPONA 2010 Coverage

March 8, 2010
The Advanced Transduction and Belles Room

My award for the worst sound of the show goes to the Advanced Transduction/Belles room and I lay the blame entirely on the Advanced Transduction Directorate speakers ($30,000/system). They just thumped and screeched. I lasted about three minutes in the room – just enough.

The Belles 150A Reference stereo amplifier ($2,995).

Top to bottom, the Belles MB-200 monoblock ($6,650/pair), the Belles VT-01 hybrid tube/solid-state preamplifier ($4,695), the Belles 24-bit DAC, and the Belles 22A vacuum tube preamp ($2,495).

By the way, not everyone’s judgment of the speakers was as harsh as mine. Here is what Jason Victor Serinus of Stereophile had to say about the speakers:

…the sound, even in an acoustically challenged room, had superb balance, dynamics, and transparency.

Apparently, we were listening in alternate universes. That or the mid-range driver had become disconnected during my audition.


In response to my Worst of Show award, I received the following e-mail from Bill Roberts of Advanced Transduction:

Hi Franklin!

Bill Roberts here, Advanced Transduction.

You have a good ear! I in fact did demonstrait the Directorate loudspeakers several times with the 90 to 900Hz driver dissconnected to show the ultra low crossover point of the tweeter system and help educate what crossovers actually do. It is a pity you did not hear the speakers in full range mode apparently. As with any equipment review, I like to spoend some time or a simple question to me about the sound would have yielded the answers. I also performed ‘unmastered mixes’ VS mastered mixes demonstations and had private showings after hours for the ‘press’ to use their own source material. I also played some hyper compressed music to show how terrible the loudness wars have become. I have been a studio owner, operator / Mixing and mastering (Warner records as well) for over 30 years.

We can’t win them all–I would rather the bad opinions of the products to at the least have a chance to redeem theirselves. I have a distributor in Nashville who will be getting a demonstation set by mid spring. His name is Michael Davis and can be reached at 615 579 7500.

I can be reached at 850 780 6335 or

David Belles has performed dozens of shows and with his 4 days of listening deemed the Directorates the best speakers he has heard. I just wish you could have heard them perform as they are intended. FWIW, Michael Fremer spent almost an hour listening and we all know if it is a shade “off” he will run from the room with his hands over his ears, based on past readings

Take care,
Cordially yours,

I will try to arrange a listen either locally or at the next show and will report back.

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