One of the rooms hosted by Suncoast Audio featured a simple but exceptional system consisting of an analog front end by VPI Turntables (Their exceptional $15,000 HW-40 Anniversary Edition), Pass Labs XP-17 Phono Preamp ($4,300) and My Sonic Lab’s Ultra Eminent EX Cartridge ($6,995), digitally sourced by an Aurender W20se Server/Streamer ($22,000) and Audio LaScalla MK2 DAC ($7,700).
The system was powered by a Pass Labs INT-60 Integrated Amp ($9,000) which drove Fyne Audio’s F-702 in a stunning hi-gloss Walnut finish.
Cabling was handled by about $25,000 in Shunyata Research and the system rested upon $3,000 of racks by Critical Mass.
The Concerto for Two Pianos that was playing was punchy and dynamic, as piano should be. Hard to call a $100,000 system a value, but compared to the systems on the main floor, this was a “bargain” in that it produced most of what those half-a-mil and up systems did, but at a greatly reduced cost. The core of Fyne speakers driven by the Pass Amp were $17,995 and really do represent a great deal of value. Highly recommended.
Another room put on by Florida high-end retailer Suncoast Audio featured speakers from a brand I hadn’t heard before…Stenheim. The Alumine 3 Floorstanders ($29,950) were playing when I arrived. Simple design, but great sound that belied their relatively compact size. An easy 8-ohm load that never dips below 6-ohms and a 93dB efficiancy make these easy to drive and a natural match for tube amps…like the wonderful VAC’s that were driving them!
The Valve Amplification Company’s Master Line Stage ($28,000) and Signature 200 IQ Stereo amp ($14,500) sounded detailed yet warm and inviting through the Swiss speakers.
Sourcing was provided by an Acoustic Signature XX Turntable ($5,000), TA-2000 Tonearm ($$2,995) and Tango Reference Phonostage ($5,000) with a Dynavector XX2 Cartridge ($2,000) on the analog side. The digital was provided by an Aurender A30 Streamer/DAC ($18,000)
Cabling was all Wireworld. Power Conditioning was provided by an Audioquest Niagra 5000 Power Conditioner ($3,999) and the components rested on $6,115 of Critical Mass racks.
AGD Productions/Ocean Way
Next stop was to see a pairing that I previously heard at AXPONA last year. The AGD Productions electronics were driving Ocean Way loudspeakers to wonderful success. This was a genuinely pleasant experience. The Ocean Way Eureka monitor speakers ($7000+ depending on finish) were playing far bigger than their size and making easy work of organ music!
They were being driven so nicely by a pair of AGD Audion “Tube” mono blocs ($7,500/pr). I put tube in quotes because the amplification is being done by a Gallium Nitride MOSFET power stage integrated inside a glass tube! This amp was running in a Class-D configuration.
Source for this room was the debut of the AGD Andante Preamp/DAC and optional Phono Stage. This $12,000 beauty was shown in their optional chrome finish.
Let me start by saying that this room blew me away. The sound was effortless and musically satisfying in every way…and did NOT cost a kidney!
Gary Dayton from Bryston met me as I came in and invited me to check out the minimalist system on display. Digital source was the Bryston BDA-3.14 streamer/DAC ($4,195) while analog was handled by a Rega Planar 10 w/ Apheta 3 ($6,495) and a Rega Aria phono stage. Amplification was a Bryston B-135 integrated amp ($6,495).
This fine front end was driving Fyne F502 loudspeakers.
They chose to cable the system with Chord Interconnects and Speaker Wire and set it all on a rack from Quadraspire.
Choose a single source (analog or digital) and you have a system for $13,500-$17,200 plus cables in a real-world-sized package that delivers musicality in spades!
We at HiFiAudio.Guru would like to thank Underwood HiFi for sponsoring this coverage of the Florida Audio Expo 2020. https://www.underwoodhifi.com/