Welcome back to our 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.
In finishing up my coverage of FLAX I would like to point out that although I walked the entire show twice, I only photographed those rooms that I felt were unique or interesting, and for the most part this meant produced music to the ears.
Kirmuss Audio/Wally Tools
One of the most informative and unique experiences at the show was to be had at the Kirmuss Audio/Wally Tools room where Charles Kirmuss and J. R. Boisclair gave seminars on their respective products which are obviously complimentary in nature. While a great deal of Kirmuss’ presentation was dedicated to explaining why most other record-cleaning systems don’t actually fully clean the record a lot of evidence was presented (in no small part accumulated due to questions presented by Michael Fremer over the years who was actually present for the presentation I watched) showing why and how well the Kirmuss system works. Likewise, J. R.’s talk went into the limitations of cartridge construction and how very important it is to have the proper setup tools to achieve the maximum performance from your turntable.
Gershman Acoustics/VAC/EMM Labs/Wolf Audio/Cardas
I managed to catch singer-harpist Isabeau Corriveau’s live performance against her recorded self run through a sound system several times in different rooms, the most impressive being the Gershman Acoustics room where the volume and timbre of the harp played through the system was identical to the live harp. The system in question included the Gershman Acoustics 30th Anniversary Grande Avant Garde loudspeakers ($17,000) 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.
Pro Audio company RME is making a concerted effort to break into the consumer market showing 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).
MBL North America
My first encounter with MBL occurred in the late ’80s when I went into their room to hear their amplifiers on the recommendation of my friend Robert Lee (of Acoustic Zen fame) and was completely blown away by the sound of their omnidirectional ribbon speakers. Little has changed since then other than a bit of refinement but the sound is definitely worth the listen. The system consisted of a pair of MBl 101E MkII loudspeakers ($91,000/pr) a pair of MBL 9011 Monoblock Power Amplifiers ($64,000/ea) an MBL 6010 D Preamplifier ($32.400), an MBL 1621 A CD transport ($31,500), an MBL 1611 F DAC ($30,000), a United Home Audio Ultima 5 tape deck ($36,000), and Wireworld eclipse 8 cables.
Orchard Audio was running two spectacular low-budget systems in their room, one employed their Orchard Audio Starkrimson Stereo Ultra Power Amplifier ($2500), and Orchard Audio PecanPi Streamer ($550) driving Soundfield Audio M1V2 speakers ($2200/pr) with Triode Labs cables. The second system consisted of a pair of new Soundfield Audio Speakers (model and price TBA) each with an Orchard Audio Starkrimson Mono Power Amplifiers ($1,599.95/pr) perched atop driven by a second Orchard Audio PecanPi Streamer.
Destination Sound Group/LampizatOr/Tobian Sound Systems/Final Touch Audio/Critical Mass Systems/WestminsterLab
Evoking visions of classic Electrovoice Theatre Speakers, Destination Sound Group was demonstrating Tobian 12 Signature Edition Horn speakers ($50,000/pr ) driven by WestminsterLab REI Class A monoblock amplifiers ($34,000) fed by a WestminsterLab Quest preamp ($24,000) with a Lampizator Gulfstream Music Server ($8,170) and Lampizator Horizon DAC (49,000) as source all sitting on a $23,000 Critical Mass Ultra Q rack.
What enticed me into MoFi’s room 811 was the Dr. Feickert on the door, but what I found was a wonderful little analog system consisting of Falcon Acoustics M10 loudspeakers($2,295) powered by a BAT VK3500 integrated amp(12,000) sourced using the MoFi PrecisionDeck Turntable ($3,500) and MoFi StudioPhono Phono preamplifier ($349). Frankly one of the more musical presentations in a show dominated by $100+ systems.
The growing popularity of Dr. Oskar Heil’s Air Motion Transformer over the last couple of decades takes me back to my audio beginnings as that was the first non-traditional driver that I encountered. Mon Acoustic employs their own USA-made AMT driver in their Mon Acoustic PlatiMon Virtual Coaxial One Loudspeaker ($6,500/pr). For electronics, they used an Aurender A20 music streamer ($15,000) running through a Chord Dave DAC ($14,000), Chord CPA 5000 Reference Preamplifier (Discontinued), and Chord SPM 1200 Mk II Power Amplifier(Discontinued).
Always edifying to look at in a form-over-function kind of way is Triangle Art. Their system consisted of multiple turntables; the TriangleArt Maestro ($9000), TriangleArt Anubis ($18,000), and TriangleArt Master Reference ($48,000) with a selection of tonearms; the TriangleArt Osiris Diamond 12″ ($9,000) and TriangleArt Horus 12″ ($4,400), as well as phono cartridges; the TriangleArt Apollo MC ($9,000) and TriangleArt Zeus MC ($4,800) through a TriangleArt P200 Tube Phonostage ($18,000), TriangleArt L200 MK2 Tube Linestage ($25,000), and a pair of TriangleArt M100 Tube Monoblocks ($25,000/pr) using a TriangleArt RA Ultimate AC Power Filter ($11,990), TriangleArt Rhea Reference Interconnects ($3,000), TriangleArt Rhea Reference Power cords ($3,000), and TriangleArt Rhea Reference Speaker cables ($6,000) to drive a pair of TriangleArt Metis Loudspeakers ($59,999).
Classic Audio Loudspeakers/Atma Sphere/Purist Audio Design
Classic Audio Loudspeakers showed a true love affair with analog teaming up their Classic Audio Loudspeakers T-1.5 Field Coil Powered System Loudspeakers ($79,950/pr) and Classic Audio Loudspeakers T-3.4 Field Coil Powered System Loudspeakers ($59,950/pr) with Classic Audio Loudspeakers Dual Output Tungar DC Power Supplies, an Atma-Sphere MP1 Mark 3.3 preamplifier ($23,890 with outboard phono stage), and a pair of MK3.3 Novacron monoblocks ($12,000/pr), and a Technics SP10 MkIII turntable plus Music Technology & Krebs Upgrade (discontinued) with a Tri-planar Ultimate 12 tonearm ($11,500) and van den Hul Colibri Stradivarius Reference cartridge ($13,000), with Purist Audio Design cables. To flesh out the system there was also a classic Studer A-810 Reel to Reel deck and a Crown 800 Reel to Reel deck.
Last but not least on my list of must-sees was my good friend Justin Webber of ampsandsound who was showing his ampsandsound Casablanca REV 2 monoblocks ($16,000/pr) driving Acora Acoustics SRB Loudspeakers ($15,000), with a VPI Classic Signature Turntable ($6,299) as source and Cardas Cables throughout.
That concludes our coverage of 2023 Florida Audio Expo. We would once again like to express our thanks and appreciation to XSA-Labs for sponsoring our coverage