Black Ice Audio Fusion F11 and Fusion F22 Tube Integrated Amplifiers, F360 Tube Preamplifier, Glass FX DSD WiFi, and Fusion DAC Transport

A sub-brand under the Jolida marque, Black Ice Audio used the Florida Audio Expo to introduce the final production models for some new amplification components. (Prior versions seen and heard at previous shows were late-stage prototypes, I was told.) The Black Ice Fusion F11 and F22 integrated amplifiers were shown in striking glass and carbon-fiber chassis with relatively small footprints, which is particularly desirable for the European and Asian markets.

Available color options are black and gray. (There's also an F35 version housed in a larger chassis, primarily for US customers, that was presented at last year's Capital AudioFest.) These integrated amps display an aesthetic that melds classic tube-and-transformer with more modern style and conveniences, such as touch-sensor buttons on the front panel, a headphone jack right off the output transformer, and an included tube-biasing tool that's easier to use than the typical tiny screwdriver. Both amps were created around Jim Fosgate's Odyssey dual-phase V drive circuit, a fully balanced differential push-pull design. The F11 ($1499) delivers 18.3Wpc and uses new-reissue 7189 output tubes, said to allow more voltage to be applied for more sonic sparkle, weight, and punch. The F22 ($1699) uses EL34s for output and 12AX7s for the preamp stage and features a Hafler hybrid design on the output transformers that's been tweaked to enable these amps to drive relatively lower-efficiency speakers, such as the 87dB Vienna Acoustics Beethoven Concert Grands seen and heard in this demo room.

The system also included an F360 tube preamplifier/controller with controls for EQ, soundstage tweaking, and other fine-tuning, plus outputs for a surround system. Digital sources were a Glass FX DAC DSD WiFi DAC and a Fusion DAC Transport ($2499), a dual-mono design with fully balanced DAC and CD transport.