Florida Audio Expo 2020

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Julie Mullins  |  Feb 07, 2020  |  15 comments
A weekend in Florida in February, plus high-end audio gear galore? Yes, and yes. After five years (that's half a decade, but who's counting?) with rival publication The Absolute Sound, I'm now a free agent, so when Stereophile asked me to fly south to cover the Florida Audio Expo at the Embassy Suites in Tampa, it didn't take me long to accept.
Julie Mullins  |  Feb 13, 2020  |  4 comments
On Sunday morning I eased into my rounds with the Musical Surroundings folks: In conjunction with local dealer Sweet Home Audio, they presented a sweet-sounding, straight-up analog setup that featured several products at (relatively) more affordable price points than is sometimes the case.
Julie Mullins  |  Feb 11, 2020  |  0 comments
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.
Julie Mullins  |  Feb 12, 2020  |  1 comments
AudioShield, now the distributor for Credo Audio of Switzerland, partnered with Florida dealer House of Stereo to introduce the Swiss maker’s EV Reference One speaker ($40,000/pair) in a system driven by a full suite of EMM Labs high-end electronics, with EMM’s DV2 integrated DAC with preamp stage and volume control ($30,000) and NS1 streamer ($4500) and Wolf Audio Systems Alpha 3 SX Audio Server ($9895) as digital sources. A van den Hul Grail SE+ phono stage and a VPI HW-40 40th Anniversary turntable served as the analog front end.
Julie Mullins  |  Feb 14, 2020  |  9 comments
Offering a "sneak preview" before the official debut at AXPONA 2020, Endow Audio introduced the latest iteration of its speaker, the piano-black T35 ($19,900), a two-way with a patent-pending Point Array and a 12-inch woofer. It may be rather otherworldly in appearance (grilles are included) but rather unique in its approach. Basically, it consists of an array of nine full-range 3" drivers configured with a single 8" loading driver to create a point source. The woofer takes over frequencies at 100Hz (and below) via an inboard passive crossover. The T35 also contains patent-pending Passive Signal Processor (PSP) technology.
Julie Mullins  |  Feb 10, 2020  |  11 comments
Suncoast Audio presented Fyne Audio F702 speakers ($8995/pair) in their US debut. Handmade in Scotland, the two-and-a-half-way floorstander features a concentric point-source tweeter/midrange array with a titanium center that seemed almost hornlike in its appearance and delivery.
Jim Austin  |  Feb 08, 2020  |  20 comments
I'm surprised how many principals and designers are at this show, as opposed to local dealers and distributors—although perhaps I shouldn't be, considering that it's February and this is Florida.

In the Cardas/Joseph/Doshi room, I found both Jeff Joseph and Nick Doshi. I also found very good sound, produced by Jeff Joseph's Perspective 2 Graphene loudspeakers ($15,000/pair), which John Atkinson reviewed in the July 2018 issue of Stereophile. I won't comment on the speakers except to say that they sounded great; I'll just refer readers to JA's review.

Julie Mullins  |  Feb 09, 2020  |  1 comments
Wynn Audio of Toronto presented a lovely demo with a couple of new products: the Swiss-made EMT STX 5/10 step-up transformer ($9280), which employs a toroidal transformer with pure silver wiring to provide output options for 14dB or 20dB of gain with a lower noise floor for higher resolution, and the Métronome DSS Streamer (DSS stands for Digital Sharing Streamer), which was released in January but seen for the first time here in the U.S.
Julie Mullins  |  Feb 16, 2020  |  2 comments
The MC Audiotech Forty-10 ($35,000) is probably the most exotic speaker seen and heard at the Florida Audio Expo.
Julie Mullins  |  Feb 08, 2020  |  4 comments
A visit to the MSB Technology room yielded a formidable debut, the company's new S500 stereo amplifier, which delivers 500W of power with apparent ease and efficiency, demonstrated with the mighty Magico M2 loudspeaker ($63,600/pair with required MPod bases), which was featured in the February 2020 Stereophile.
Jim Austin  |  Feb 08, 2020  |  2 comments
This was a surprise.

When I walked in to this room and saw these skinny towers, I didn't expect much. When I saw that they were wireless, I expected even less. But the Piega 701s made some very fine sounds, with good bass, tweeters that didn't draw attention to themselves, and a stereo image that didn't collapse when I moved off-center.

Julie Mullins  |  Feb 08, 2020  |  7 comments
It's not every day that you encounter a high-end loudspeaker that the end user actually assembles. Pure Audio Project has taken this unorthodox approach in introducing its brand-new Quintet10 Horn2 speaker at the Florida show . . .
Julie Mullins  |  Feb 09, 2020  |  1 comments
Known primarily for its sharp-looking tube amplification ranges, Raven Audio of Texas has been busy cranking out a plethora of new products, including some entirely new categories for the company: the debut of two loudspeakers (with the same high efficiency, spec'd at 94dB) and a line of cables. Raven presented two active demos: a reference system and a more affordable setup featuring the maker's latest offerings.

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