Florida Audio Expo 2020

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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 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 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.
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 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 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.
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 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 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  |  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.
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 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.
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.
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.

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