Welcome back to our ongoing coverage of the 2023 Florida Audio Expo. We would like to express our thanks and appreciation to XSA-Labs for sponsoring our coverage, despite their not exhibiting at this show, showing their generous enthusiasm for the industry, and commitment to the community.
Audeze and Linear Tube Audio
Audeze were on hand showing their CRBN Electrostatic Headphones( $4,500) driven by the Linear Tube Audio Z10e amp ($6,950). The amp is somewhat unique in that it will drive both electrostatic and standard headphones.
They were also showing the $1,695 Audeze MM-500 headphones tuned by 14-time Grammy Winner Manny Marroquin. They claim that these are the ‘most accurate’ headphone they’ve ever made.
The Aurender A20 ($15,000) was driving the Audeze LCD-4z ($3,995) directly to great result as well.
The M101 Cables room featured Paradigm Speakers and MolaMola electronics. They did a demo swapping the ethernet cable with surprising results…their cable yielded a substantially deeper and wider soundstage.
Ricky Miranda and Jeff Coates were on hand showing real world systems ranging from <$2,000 to $20,000. The main rig was Sonus Faber Olympica Nova III Loudspeakers ($15,000) driven by a stack of Rotel…their S-14 Streamer ($2,499.99), DT-6000 CD player ($2,299.99), and RA-6000 Integrated Amp (4,499.99), with a Pro-Ject X8 “True Balanced Connection” Turntable ($2,499), and Pro-Ject Phono Box DS3 B True Balanced, Dual Mono & Fully Discrete Audiophile Phono Stage ($799).
Charles Kirmuss was doing demos of his fully-automated ultra-sonic record cleaner.
Tampa-based Soundfield Audio was well represented in both their own room as well as the Orchard Audio room. Shown here is a pair of Obelisk T710 Active Speakers ($15,000) with a Schiit Audio Freya+ ($899)
Florida dealer Upstream Audio had a pair of Focal Kanta No. 2 Loudspeakers($10,999/pr) powered by an Aesthetix Audio Dione Hybrid Amplifier ($6,500) driven by an Aesthetix Pallene Preamplifier ($6,500). The analog sources were a Clearaudio Concept AiR Wood Turntable ($3,300) fitted with a Concept MC Cartridge ($1,000) and an Ovation turntable ($12,000) that was fitted with a DS Audio optical cartridge (price not posted). Digital sources included an Aesthetix Romulus CD player ($9,000). All cables in the system were from Iconoclast and Sonore, and power conditioning was supplied by IsoTek.
Florida retailer Suncoast Audio had multiple rooms. Their 9th floor room featured Clarisys Audio Minuet Neo speakers ($33.800) being driven by a Hegel P30A Preamplifier ($8,995.00)and a Hegel H30a Power Amp ($18,995). Sources were either an Aurender Aurender N20 Network Transport/Music Server ($12,500) or a Rega P8 table ($3,495) with Alphetta3 Cartridge ($2,245) and a Pass Labs Pass Labs XP-27 Two-Chassis Phonostage ($12,075). Powering everything was a Shunyata Research Denali 6000-S V2 Power Distributor ($6,000) and a Shunyata Research Typhon Power Distributor ($5,500).
Pro Audio stalwart RME was once again showing with their outstanding DAC/Headphone amps including the RME ADI-2 DAC FS Desktop DAC & Headphone Amp ($1,299), RME ADI-2 Pro FS R AD/DA Converter – Black Edition ($1,999), and RME ADI-2/4 Pro SE | 2×4 768kHz AD/DA Converter ($2,999).
On a Higher Note
Phillip O’Hanlon was showcasing a decidedly anglo-centric room with Graham Audio LS8/1 Speakers ($9,700/pr) and a Moon River Audio Model 404 Reference Stereo Integrated Amplifier ($4,995) with a Moon River Audio Model 505 phono stage ($5995), fed by a Danish-made Bergmann Modi turntable ($17,000).
Linear Tube Audio was showing off their 2-channel chops running their LTA Z40+ integrated amplifier ($7,650) with the excellent Credo EV1202 Reference loudspeakers ($16,995/pr) and Credo EV350 Reference two-way monitors ($6,995/pr) in a stunning gloss black finish in the Audioshield room, using the $10,500 Meitner MA3 DAC as source.
AGD was in from California showing off their GaN ‘Tube’ electronics.
Fidelity Imports had basically the entire 10th floor (save one room…we’ll get to that)
The first room featured Q-Acoustics Concept 300 Bookshelf speakers ($4,999) driven by Unison Research Unico Due hybrid amplification ($3,999) fed by an Innuos Zen Mini Mk3 server ($1,599). Also on display was a Unison Research S6 Integrated amp ($5,999)
Next room had the excellent Perlisten R5m speakers ($2,995/ea) and R210s subs ($3,995/ea) driven by an Audia Flight FLS10 Integrated Amp ($12,999). An Innuos Zenith Mk3 Streamer ($5,399) once again provided the source.
Perlisten again provided the sound in the next room. This time it was their S7t tower speakers ($17,990/pr) driven by Soulnote D2 DAC (TBA), Soulnote E2 Phono Equalizer (TBA), and Soulnote A2 Amplifier ($7,999). Vinyl front end was a Michell Audio Gyro SE table ($5,498) and once again a Innuos Statement Music Server ($21,700) provided digital.
Next Fidelity room featured the diminutive Cyrus Audio Pre-XR preamp ($5,499) and Mono X 300 monoblocks ($3,999/ea) driving Diptyque DP107 speakers ($7,999).
Yet another Fidelity Imports room was populated by Acoustic Energy AE 520 speakers ($4,999), a Soulnote A-1 Integrated Amp ($3,999), a Soulnote D-1 DAC, a Soulnote E-1 Phono Preamp ($4,999), and a Michell Technodec turntable with T3 tonearm ($2,698).
Last but not least, the Opera Callas Diva Speakers ($11.999/pr) were driven by the Unison Research Unico 90 Integrated Amp ($5,999) which was fed by the Unison Research CD Due ($4,499) or the Innuos ZENmini.
The only room on the 10th floor NOT by Fidelity Imports was the MC Audiotech room. Here industry veteran Mark Conti was showing his TL-12 speakers ($24,900) which use a proprietary polyester mid/tweeter that covers the whole range from 200hz-20,000hz leaving the bass region to be handled by a 12” driver in a transmission line configuration. These were driven by a ModWright LS-300 Preamp ($11,000), top of the line PH 150 Phone Stage ($9,750)and KW-150 Signature Edition Amp ($11,000). The sound was sublime, whether driven by the VPI Prime21 Signature Turntable ($8,999) or by the WOLF Alpha 3 Music Server and Weiss DAC 501 DAC ($9,645).
Ari and Ofra Gershman were on hand showing 2 different pairs of their outstanding speakers being driven by VAC electronics.
Gershman Acoustics 30th Anniversary Grande Avant Garde loudspeakers ($17,000), and Gershman Acoustics Studio II monitors ($3,999) using a VAC Master 300 Amplifier ($42,000), VAC Master Preamplifier ($38,000), EMM Labs’ DA2 DAC ($30,000), and Wolf Audio Streamer ($10,000), with Cardas Audio Cabling throughout.
That concludes part 2 of our ongoing coverage of FLAX 2023, stay tuned for part 3.