Florida Audio Expo 2020

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Julie Mullins  |  Feb 14, 2020  |  1 comments
Rupert Neve Designs, the legendary pro-audio maker of recording studio consoles and other equipment for concert halls and beyond, has expanded its product offerings for the home-audio market—ie, music lovers and audiophiles—with its new Fidelice series, including a full-featured DAC/controller with Neve's analog circuitry and an AKM-based DAC chip inside, a phono preamp, and a headphone amp. The three Fidelice components share a retro-modern look with matte aluminum casings with inlayed mahogany wood on top, red-accented control dials, little throw switches, LED lights, and tiny text that reminded me a bit of my first piece of gear, an oldie-but-goodie Advent 300 receiver. Their form factor is distinctive too: trapezoidal with rounded edges, with the DAC housed in a larger chassis.
Jim Austin  |  Feb 09, 2020  |  3 comments
When I heard the Stenheim Alumine 3 at AXPONA last year, I frankly wasn't impressed. The tweeter seemed a little hot, the character a little buzzy. I learned just this morning that Jean-Pascal Panchard, Stenheim's CEO and designer, wasn't happy with them, either. He didn't think they were ready, but they had committed to presenting them at AXPONA, so he kept his commitment. They only produced three pair in that configuration. After that show, changes were made.
Jim Austin  |  Feb 07, 2020  |  6 comments
It's Friday morning as I write this—the first day of the Florida Audio Expo, which is being held at the Embassy Suites Airport Westshore, near Tampa. As often happens, breakfast ran long, as colleagues and others stopped by for conversation. By the time I got up to attack the show—a little after 10am—someone told me the show was sold out, as in no more room for visitors. Say what? I've never heard of a sold-out audio show.
Julie Mullins  |  Feb 11, 2020  |  1 comments
The two A La Carte Productions rooms at the Florida Audio Expo both featured speakers from Austria's Vienna Acoustics, including the North American debut of the Beethoven Baby Grand Reference ($9498/pair). Said to have been three years in the making, the new model is the younger sibling to the larger and aptly named Beethoven Concert Grand Reference tower; the two models share similar drivers and technologies.
Julie Mullins  |  Feb 10, 2020  |  0 comments
In celebration of their first 10 years in business, Volti Audio unveiled a newly redesigned version of their Rival SE (Special Edition) speaker ($19,900/pair), seen here in an eye-catchingly exotic bubinga wood veneer (a rosewood option is also available). Although its side-curved form appears quite substantial, the horn-loaded hybrid floorstander can be sonically suitable for larger or smaller spaces. With its horn drivers and a sensitivity spec of 100dB, the Rival SE also makes for an easy to load-perfect for the 300B-powered BorderPatrol P20 EXD amplifier. The three-way Volti also features matching external crossovers that are user-adjustable, and Triode Wire Labs internal wiring.
Julie Mullins  |  Feb 14, 2020  |  2 comments
Salon 1 Audio made its first-ever appearance at a high-end audio show with a demo room featuring upper-tier amplification from VTL’s Series III: the TL-7.5 Reference linestage preamplifier ($30,000) and MB-185 Signature monoblock amps ($22,500/pair), and the TP-2.5i Performance phonostage ($5000) paired with a Sumiko Palo Santos MC cartridge ($4500) and a Pro-Ject Xtension 12 turntable ($4500) with a lovely high-gloss mahogany wood plinth.
Julie Mullins  |  Feb 12, 2020  |  5 comments
Zesto Audio presented the third generation of its Leto preamplifier: an Ultra version that offers a slew of new features, from upgraded all-analog circuit topology and a new 12DW7 tube configuration to the addition of three gain options (3dB, 6dB, 9dB) that can be saved for different input sources. Full remote control capabilities have also been added for on-the-fly adjustments of input, volume, gain, mono, and muting.

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