Florida Audio Expo 2020 Coverage Sponsored by Underwood HiFi Part 2

By: Lee Shelly
March 16th, 2020

Fyne/Pass Labs/VPI

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.

Stenheim/VAC

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.

Bryston/Fyne

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/

300x600 Post Page

Ads: 300x300 Post Page

Ads: 600x300 Post Page

We at Headphone.Guru/HiFiAudio.Guru are gearing up to offer a new Newsletter with sneak previews, special offers, and exciting giveaways! Sign up today and get in at the ground floor!*

*Newsletter will be released when a sufficient number of subscribers is reached.