This will be the first major audio show that we will be covering in almost two years and the anticipation is high. Both I and Co-Editor Chris Eberle will be at the show providing impressions and observations after each day on the Secrets Facebook and Instagram feeds. After the show all our coverage will be ported to the main Secrets website for you to review at your convenience. As of now several manufacturers and dealers are scheduled to be in attendance, showing off all manner of Hi-Fi goodness over several floors of the Embassy Suites by Hilton Westshore. Go ahead and check out the Florida Audio Expo website at https://floridaaudioexpo.com/ to get a sense of whats to come. And check in each evening on the Secrets FB and IG feeds to get a lowdown on all the great gear and noteworthy details as we see it. Hope you enjoy and tell us what you think!
Carlo Lo Raso
T-minus 24 minutes to show opening…
Chris Eberle and Carlo Lo Raso are getting ready to file some “reportage” from the Florida Audio Expo!
First room I popped into was representing Infigo Audio. The room featured the company’s Method 3 Monoblock Power Amplifiers ($50,000 for the pair), Method 4 DAC ($35,000), a Fluvius Streamer from Renascence Labs ($1,750), all wired with Infigo’s Sparkle Series audio cables.
All the electronics were encased with striking silver CNC machined aluminum casework with clear acrylic tops to fully appreciate the electronic eye-candy within. The amps each claim to produce 250-watts RMS into 4-ohms, Class A. The DAC uses an ESS ES9038PRO chipset as it’s core. Optical, Coax inputs will do you from 44.1 kHz – 192 kHz PCM while the USB input will fly you up to 768 kHz PCM and DSD512.
The speakers used were AudioKinesis Gina Satellite speakers ($8,900. per pair) placed on AudioKinesis SuperStand bass cabinets ($3,950 per pair with amps). The Gina’s beautifully made solid walnut waveguide houses a 1” Beryllium compression driver mated to a 10.5” mid-bass driver. The Gina’s response is allowed to naturally roll off with the SuperStand handling frequencies 30 Hz and below. The SuperStand is powered by an external 1000-watt amplifier.
The overall sound in the room was full and pleasing with a great sense imagining. Still detailed without being fatiguing.
Audio distributor High End by Oz brought a room full of fine Danish goods from Audio Group Denmark that were definitely not pastry-based. Cables, power distribution and assorted noise and resonance control items were courtesy of Ansuz. Aavik provided the gorgeous electronics (streamer, DAC, preamp and stereo power amp) all with typical clean Scandinavian aesthetics. And Børresen brought the loudspeakers in the form of their Børresen 01 Silver Supreme Monitor ($55,000 per pair) and the Børresen 05 Silver Supreme tower ($214,500 per pair). I don’t know who made the customized R2R tape deck but it was pretty much there for looks during our visit. An animated Lars Kristensen (Audio Group Denmark CEO) guided us through the demo of both sets of loudspeakers. The little standmount certainly got our attention, not just for it’s razor sharp treble response but it’s overachieving bass output. It was genuinely surprising how much low end the little 01 was putting out in such a big room. If I’m being honest though, the top end was a little to hot for my tastes but that may have been more to do with the setup in the room. The big 05 tower speakers were another matter altogether. Big, effortless and room-filling sound with a tight and impactful bottom end. The mid to treble balance was more complete and refined which is maybe why the top end didn’t bother me with them. But again, the room is everything so take these observations with a grain of salt.
Video of the little Børresen 01 Silver Supreme standmounts doing their thing at Florida Audio Expo.
From the High End by Oz sponsored room, a video of the big Børresen 05 Silver Supreme tower speakers with a little bit of Lars Kristensen joking about at the front end. Florida Audio Expo
German brand T+A was well represented at the show with several pieces of gear that I hadn’t seen before. Of particular interest was this well appointed HA 200 headphone amplifier/ DAC connected to a pair of T+A Solitaire P-SE headphones The HA 200 has almost too many features to mention here, from adjustable impedance for different headphones, to separate DAC sections for both PCM and DSD signals, to a cross-feed switch to help headphones sound more like speakers. It even has optional HDMI digital inputs. The Solitaire P-SE headphones are an open-back planar magnetic design and, needless to say, they sounded pretty sweet when paired with the HA 200.
This is the first of two rooms that featured TAD loudspeakers. This room was sponsored by House of Stereo and Wolf Audio Systems. The speakers are the TAD Evolution One ($29,900 per pair) that have been out for a couple of years now. They were teamed up with a bevy of control and amplification gear courtesy of T+A Audio of Germany. There was also a Wolf Alpha 3SX Audio Server (starts at $9,250), a Van den Hul phono preamp, and a beastly looking turntable from VPI sporting twin tonearms. All lovely stuff to look at and listen to!
The second room featuring almost all TAD equipment was set up by Pro Audio Design Inc, TAD’s new US distributor. As a fan of the brand it was great to see that TAD was officially back in the US market after a roughly 2 year absence. The room featured TAD’s new Evolution Two loudspeakers ($19,995 per pair). These are the smaller sibling to the larger Evolution One that were upstairs. The new speakers do not use TAD’s concentric tweeter/midrange driver, instead going for a more traditional 2.5 way design using a 1” Beryllium tweeter within a custom waveguide and two 6.5” aramid composite woofers. The speakers also sport a novel ducted porting system at their base.
The main control and power electronics were also all by TAD, comprised of the D1000X SACD player/DAC ($25,000), and the M1000S power amp($18,500). Included was a Wolf Alpha 3SX audio server (starting at $9,250) with full system cabling by Synergistic Research. A nicely balanced and full sounding system here with very good bass punch and great overall imaging.
Popping back later into the Pro Audio Design Inc room, they had switched out the Evolution Two loudspeakers for the TAD Compact Reference One stand-mounts. There always are a handful of speakers, regardless of the show, that I will routinely come back and hear to recalibrate myself to what good sound actually is. TAD’s CR1 is one of those speakers and it did it again without fail. There is something extra special about the sound of TAD’s Reference Series speakers, they just always sound so alive.
The top dog at Pro Audio Design inc is Dave Malekpour. We chatted for a good while and I discovered that his company wasn’t just chosen by chance to distribute TAD. He has a long history of producing professional monitoring systems using TAD pro drivers through his other company Augspurger Monitors. It was heartening to hear Dave talk about his passion for the brand, his long history in audio in general, and his ideas for a steady, balanced growth plan for TAD in the US market. Here’s hoping for much success.
One of the fun things about coming to the Florida Audio Expo was to catch up with great folks like Jeff Coates from Pro-Ject Audio Systems. In this video Jeff brings us up to speed with what is new and exciting from the brand. Extra points to Jeff for putting up with my basic videography skils and cheesy commentary!
Chris Eberle and I checking out all facets of the Pro-Ject room. Particularly interesting was the automatic movement of the new A1 turntable ($499.00 with cartridge) and the sheer coolness of the Debut Pro turntable ($999.00 with cartridge). The A1’s automatic play and return mechanism sounded properly silent and seemed well isolated from the regular functioning of the tonearm. It certainly is a much more elegant system than the old, clunky automatic turntables and record changers that many of us grew up with. The Debut Pro just looks understated and gorgeous. The nickel finish of the pivot housing and the feet combined with the 8.6” carbon fiber arm look beautiful in the flesh. Also, really enjoyed the sound of the little Sonus faber Electa Amator III mated to the MICHI 3 integrated amp in this room. Genuinely high quality components in a simple but effective layout.
The Audioshield distribution room had a tasty array of great sounding gear courtesy of Credo, EMM labs, DS Audio, and VPI. The speakers were the Credo EV Reference ONE which were driven by a pair of EMM Labs MTRX2 monoblock power amplifiers. For digital duty, the output from EMM’s NS1 streamer was being fed to a DA2 DAC which was then routed through A matching EMM PRE Stereo preamplifier and then off to the amps. For vinyl playback, a DS Audio optical phono cartridge was fitted to what I am guessing was a 12” carbon fiber tonearm affixed to the VPI Avenger Plus turntable. This was tied to an EMM DS-EQ1 optical equalizer phono stage which hooked into the aforementioned preamp. I got to listen to a little bit of vinyl and digital and the sound of both was extremely enjoyable. The Credo speakers are somewhat new to me and they made a very positive impression.
Suncoast Audio’s room featured the wild looking flagship Vivid Audio Giya G1 Spirit loudspeakers ($93,000 per pair). Block Audio provided system control and grunt via their Line & Power Block SE preamplifier ($45,000) and a pair of their Monoblock SE amplifiers ($60,000 per pair). Digital music came courtesy of an Aurender N30DA Streamer/Server ($24,000) connected to and MSB Technology Select 2 DAC ($107,000). VPI supplied a Prime Signature 21 turntable in a beautiful Rosewood finish ($8,000) and the phono cartridge was a Koetsu Onyx Platinum MC cartridge ($10,995). A rebuilt Studer 810 RTR deck graced the room with its presence ($15,000 approx). It sure looks cool but I never seem to be around in these rooms when the RTR decks are going, though! Room cabling was handles by Nordost. The sound from the speakers was overall very good if maybe just a little bright for my liking but, again, it’s all about the room. I don’t envy anyone who tries to setup a system of this caliber for a show in an unfamiliar room with a bunch of restrictions.
Photos from the House of Stereo sponsored room at the Florida Audio Expo featuring the TAD Evolution ONE loudspeakers and a bevy of components from T+A along with VPI and Van den Hul. Reposted because it seems that Facebook wiped them out when I added the video footage of them playing. Check out the video post for the full description. Cool doesn’t begin to describe this room fully!
The Italians have invaded Florida! Seriously though, Spirit Torino is an Italian headphone manufacturer that brings some unconventional design and technology ideas to the table with some impressive sonic results. Engineers Andrea Ricci and Giordano Zacchini we’re demonstrating Studio Torino headphone examples from both ends of the price spectrum. At the approachable end, they were showing two examples of the Mistral Bluetooth headphones, one closed-back and one semi-open. And on the statement end they were showing the Valkyria, a no-holds-barred, visually and technically striking demonstration of what they can do. Both Andrea and Giordano say that Spirit Torino’s purpose is to recreate the natural sound and feel of a musical event.
From a styling perspective Spirit Torino offers wide latitude with customizing and personalization choices on their headphones, but even when purely standard, these babies are not wallflowers. I can best describe the styling as industrial steampunk meets Japanese samurai. I find it a cool look but if you are looking for understatement they might not be your thing. Similar to how HiFiMAN uses an external BT module/DAC for some of their headphones, the Mistrals incorporate a removable Earstudio ES100 Mk2 BT receiver/DAC in the top of the headband that connects to the drivers. The mahogany earcups also have jacks at the bottom for a standard wired connection too. The Mistrals come with a customized Earstudio app that allows a wide range of tailoring the sound along with custom EQs specific to the Mistrals provided by Spirit Torino. I listened to both models via high quality Bluetooth and found the sound quality to be excellent with a nicely appealing sound signature. I’d be curious to review a sample to see how they would feel and sound after prolonged use. I gravitated more to the closed-back version of the two Mistrals but that just comes down to personal taste. I prefer closed-back headphones for most cases unless I am sitting at home and listening. The price tag for either Mistral is roughly $800.00.
The Valkyria, on the other hand, cost roughly $11,000 dollars. Let that sink in for a minute. For that amount of coin you get what could be described as the “Pagani” of headphones. Each earcup is milled from solid Grade 5 titanium. The dual drivers in each cup are set up to perform in an isobaric system with 10 Neodymium magnets in each cup. There is a complex pressure relief system designed into each cup, complimented by fine leather and Alcantara covered earpads. The Valkyria comes with a balanced cable set featuring braided silver wire with an OFC copper wire core. Single 4-pin or dual 3-pin XLR terminations are available.
So what does an $11K pair of headphones sound like? In a word, effortless. Although it was a brief listen, the room was very quiet and I found the detail and imaging to be outstanding, very much like an electrostatic but with a bass punch well outside what I would associate with most electrostatics. They are marketed for someone who demands the best visually and performance-wise, and who wants to make a statement. The headphone space has become a wacky world in its own right and just when I think it can’t get more interesting, something this audacious comes along. I wish these guys all the success in the world. Folks like them make this hobby fun.
Perlisten Audio was at Florida Audio Expo debuting their new R7t tower loudspeakers. The R7t are a slightly scaled down and simplified version of the flagship S7t towers that I had the pleasure of reviewing last year. The R7t uses a similar number and arrangement of drivers as it’s larger sibling along with the same type of DPC array that really helps control the speaker’s directivity. The drivers themselves, along with the cabinet size and crossover are different from the S7t allowing the R7t to come in at a lower price point (about $10,000 for the pair). Both the S7t and R7t were in the same room for listeners to compare. Distributor Fidelity Imports and dealer Tenacious Sound had also brought in gear from Italian audio specialist Unison to augment the speakers, particularly a beautiful Unison Performance integrated tube amp. Switching back and fourth between the two speakers, playing the same music, it was clear there was a slight difference in scale and detail between the two models but the speaker voicing and tonality were very much the same. The R7t performance sounded very complete from top to bottom. Everything I liked about the S7t is present in the R7t, just at a slightly reduced size and level. I spoke with Erik Wiederholtz, a principal designer and engineer who worked with Perlisten CEO Dan Roemer to help refine and test the ideas that they were coming up with. Erik was very pleased with the response that Perlisten has been getting with their speakers and subwoofers and the R7t was generating significantly more on top of it. He was also showing off a new matching S-series in-wall speaker that Perlisten was about to release. I thought it was one of the handful of best sounding rooms of the show.
Here is a short video of the Perlisten R7t loudspeakers doing their thing. And yes, I used the same track in the lot of the videos I shot at the show because I was trying to hear any noticeable differences between speakers with a track that I was very familiar with.
It’s been a few years since I heard a pair of speakers from Muraudio of Canada so I was happy to find out that they brought a pair of SP1 stand mount loudspeakers connected to a gorgeous new Monaco Integrated tube amplifier from German maker Westend Audio systems. Just stunning looking in that all black finish. Digital duties were handled by a Weiss Engineering DAC501 as the front end. The SP1 have a unusual curved ESL panel that is said to result in a wider sound field and a more expansive sweet spot than conventional panel speakers can muster. Mated with the four 6” dynamic drivers the SP1 are rated to go down to 35 Hz in room. After a good listen I found these claims to be wholly believable. The soundstage projected by the Muraudio speakers was enviable, much wider than any other panel speaker I have experienced with a sound that retains those qualities that people desire from ESL speakers in the first place. Bass was very tight and solid, more than I was expecting from the 6” drivers. Both a beautiful looking and sounding system, and it’s relative simplicity made me question the benefit of needing anything more elaborate. Another in my handful of better sounding rooms at the show.
The Muraudio SP 1, driven by the Westend Audio Systems Monaco integrated amp and DAC501 from Weiss Engineering. Sounding quite lovely.
Popped in on Tom Christiansen Audio and met the man himself! I’ve heard several people swear by Tom’s headphone amplifier designs but I had not heard them yet myself. The HPA-1 is Tom’s original and higher line headphone amp. At $899 it is one of thfe lowest distortion headphone amplifiers out there, has both balanced and RCA inputs, two gain settings, and is able to drive most single ended headphones on the market. The little HPA-10 is on clearance for $299 until they are all gone. It is optimized for higher impedance headphones, has one gain level and just one set of RCA input. Yet it’s distortion level is almost as low as it’s big brother. Both amps are made in Canada. Tom has said he is selling off the current stock of HPA-10 amps because he plans to move upmarket with any future designs. I listened to both amps with the headphones Tom had at hand, Sennheiser HD650s with the small amp and a pair of Focals (can’t remember the model) with the big amp. Both units provided spotless, clean, and open sound with plenty of dynamics and headroom. Neither was working particularly hard to get me all the volume I wanted. If your headphone amplification needs are simple, I think Tom’s HPA-10 is a screaming good deal for a high quality, domestically made piece of kit.
While on the subject of headphones, I stumbled on local Florida manufacturer Geshelli Labs. Geshelli is truly a family run outfit (heck they were all here for the picture). They are based out of Rockledge, Florida and founded by Geno and Sherri Bisceglia. They specialize in the manufacturing of headphone amplifiers and DACs that the average joe (me) can afford. The company offers 3 different amps (Archel2 GMR, Archel 2.5X/XL and the E2) and one DAC (the J2). The amps vary as to balanced vs unbalanced inputs and outputs and whether they can be used as a preamp. The DAC uses an ESS ES9026PRO chipset at it’s core and has dual sets of coax and toslink inputs, Amanero USB input and both RCA and XLR outputs, all for $300 bucks. The products are available in an array of aluminum case and acrylic faceplate color choices and they also offer beautiful wood cases with perfect dovetail joinery ($50 – $90 extra) courtesy of father Joe who is a retired master woodworker. Listening to a couple of the amp and DAC combinations they had on hand it was clear that these folks know what they are doing, visually and sonically. I love finding surprises like this in audio. Fun, honest and completely unpretentious.
Our reviewer Glenn Young has reviewed a few components from Black Ice Audio and has consistently found favor with their sound quality. After visiting their room here at Florida Audio Expo I could understand what he was talking about. Beautiful black tube amplifiers and preamps incorporating several circuit innovations by Jim Fosgate. Yes, that Jim Fosgate. The sound coming from a nice pair of B&W stand mount speakers was warm, lush and extremely spacious. CEO Jerred Dunkerson was teasing their upcoming tube headphone amp/preamp called the Aries with some interesting Fosgate circuit wizardry. Not much was available in terms of details but they promised more would be coming soon.
RBH had recently teased their new Unrivaled line of loudspeakers but at Florida Audio Expo they were live and in the flesh. The line currently has 3 products, the PM-6 standmounted two-way monitor, the 6500 mid-size tower, and the 8300 full size tower. The examples that were brought to the show were beautifully painted in the quality automotive finishes. The monitor was Lamborghini yellow, the mid-tower was Porsche white while the full tower was painted Ferrari Red.
All three speakers share the use of their highly refined AMT tweeter but while the tower speakers are passive designs, the monitor is an active design. Now, I have a little experience with RBH active monitors stemming from my PM-8 review a little while back, but this new Unrivaled monitor adds a new wrinkle in the form of a new lossless wireless transmission capability. Scott Michaels RBH VP, introduced me to Mark Krikorian, President of Audality, the company who developed the wireless technology used in the Unrivaled active speakers. The technology is said to operate on an isolated band so it will be immune from interference from other household wireless devices with a range of at least 500 feet. The system is patented with a number of other patents pending. He showed me an example of what one of Audality’s wireless amplifier modules looked like installed in a ceiling speaker. RBH Technical Director Shane Rich then played me some tracks for me on the new red Unrivaled towers while switching back and forth between them and RBH’s bigger SVTRS series speakers. The new speakers certainly played clean and clear. They also had some serious lung capacity, being able to push some extreme air with very tight but deep bass impact and precision image placement courtesy of that tweeter. Definitely on my list of speakers that I’d like to review!
Charles Kirmuss who has made waves with his ultrasonic cleaning machine and vinyl cleaning regimen was tag-teaming in this room with JR Boisclair from WAM Engineering/Wally Tools. Both were running seminars about vinyl and cartridge care and repair. While Charles was covering the cleaning end of things (his machine costs $1,300 via direct order) JR was discussing the less that perfect tolerances of phono cartridge manufacture and how to properly deal with it. Specifically on how he’s discovered how often stylus are not perfectly oriented on the cantilever. His findings claim to show how sometimes they can be off by as much as 5-7% causing additional distortion and poor tracking of the grooves. Wally-Tools offers a service for sending in your cartridge for analysis. The stylus is examined under a very high-powered microscope and if the stylus is off, it is determined by how much and the cartridge is returned with a report and specialized tools to help you re-align your cartridge so the stylus mates to the groove correctly. Service cost is $500 per cartridge.
Another one in my handful of best sounding rooms at the show. The beautiful looking 2.5-way Margules Orpheo loudspeakers were being powered by an anniversary edition of their U-280 power amplifier and the SF-220 tube preamplifier. I’ve always admired the natural oiled wood finish on Margueles gear. It’s unconventional and attractive. But none of that means anything unless the sound quality is there and boy is it! The upper ranges were smooth and appealing sounding, still with plenty of detail to provide great imaging. But the midrange to bass coverage was where the action was happening. A few rooms at the show sounded like there were voids in the upper bass regions and it deprived the respective speakers of a sense of power and drive when listening to music. Not so here. Top to bottom the Margules room sounded so appealing. I could have sat there for hours!
I’ve been at this AV thing for a while so it’s rare that I do anything for the first time anymore. But last Friday, I attended my first high-end audio show. I’ve been to multiple CEDIA Expos and CES once to cover video and home theater. But my experience with two-channel has been limited to product reviews. The Florida Audio Expo 2022, held in Tampa, Florida just 90 minutes from my home, was too good a chance to pass up, so I made the slog through traffic from Orlando to Tampa on Friday morning.
The show was held at an Embassy Suites hotel with each demo occupying its own room. Two-channel systems were set up with a few chairs or a couch in the sweet spot. Each room showcased multiple products, usually from several manufacturers. Each had something unique to offer in the speaker or electronics realm. I saw a variety of source components, but everyone had either vinyl or hi-res files playing. There were a few reel-to-reel decks too, but none were in operation when I visited.
I decided to cover the show from the perspective of the two-channel neophyte, which I certainly am. The esoteric gear on display came from boutique companies, often run by just a few devoted audiophiles. You won’t find much mass-produced product at a show like this. You can read more detailed coverage from my colleague Carlo Lo Raso but here’s my viewpoint on the Florida Audio Expo 2022.
The speakers are Volti Audio Razz horn-loaded models with a two-inch horn midrange, a one-inch neodymium horn tweeter, and a 12-inch ported woofer. They almost look kit-built but closer examination revealed a truly high-end fit and finish. The sound was extremely detailed with perfectly balanced bass. They’re rated down to 35Hz. As shown, they retail for $5,900 a pair which is bargain basement for a show like this. Spoiler: they sounded just as good as the super-expensive stuff.
Amplification was courtesy of a Border Patrol S20 two-channel unit rated for 18 watts per channel Class A. It had no problem driving the Razz since their sensitivity is 97dB (1w/1m), it wasn’t much warmer than room temperature in fact.
In the Black Ice Audio room, which was very dark, I was immediately captivated by the spacious sound produced by a couple of B&W 805 stand-mount speakers. Of all the rooms at the show, this was the one that showed off its electronics the best. The sound was amazingly large thanks to the two Black Ice F100 Monoblocks seen in the photo above. The real star though was the prototype DAC in the middle. It’s a tube unit with a high-end ESS chip inside feeding directly to the output stage with no op-amp in the signal path. It can also function as a headphone amp. It has a phase control that balances the sound to four channels which were impressively demonstrated for me by Black Ice CEO Jerred Dunkerson. His passion was clear not only in his description of the products but how well they performed.
What is this object you ask? Why it’s the VAC 450i IQ integrated amplifier of course. I stared at this thing for a while as I enjoyed the sound in this room before I finally got up and looked in back. The large volume knob was an obvious tip-off as was the fact that every cable in the room was connected to it. If you ever wanted your electronics to make a visual statement, this is a way to accomplish that. And yes, it has a phono stage, three in fact. It puts out 225 watts per channel and weighs 400 pounds. Want one? Write a check for $150,000 and we’ll talk. If I decide to buy one, I’ll only have to drive about two hours to Sarasota, Florida where it’s made to pick it up.
If you’ve invested in a set of electrostatics and long for more bass, you can do what most people do and add a subwoofer. Or you can get better balanced and controlled bass from one of these boxes from RJS called the BASS or Bass Augmentation Speaker System. It’s a passive cabinet with a 12-inch woofer and port. You can use any amp you want; the demo had a pro unit with eq. It created a much better blend with the panels than a typical sub because it filled in the upper bass frequencies with greater accuracy. I could see using a pair of these AND a sub for a really well-balanced full-range sound.
How could my interest not be piqued by these unusual speakers? They are MC Audiotech Forty-10s which sell for around $50,000 a pair. They are called mid-century modern in design and my first thought was of those Fifties-era TVs where the tube was bolted naked to the top of a speaker cabinet. The Forty-10s won’t show you an episode of I Love Lucy though. They offer wide dispersion and a very warm balanced sound. Behind the screens on top are 10 drivers of a proprietary design. They look a bit like ribbon units, but the folds are much larger. The bases have two 18-inch woofers per channel. The sound was certainly spacious and went beyond the confines of the room.
I’ve saved the best for last. For years, decades even, I’ve seen pictures of these MBL speakers in magazines and online but had never seen or heard them in the flesh. They are the 101 X-treme Omni-directionals driven by a quartet of 9011 power amps. They have been called the most realistic speaker in existence and I could hear why immediately. No matter where I stood or sat in the room, they sounded the same. The soundstage was truly without limit. There was no change in phase or frequency. Only the sound level changed as I moved closer or farther away. The towers in the front handle midrange and upper bands while a pair of bass units, with their own integrated power amps, play the lower frequencies. Ready to pull the trigger on this system? Withdraw $500,000 from your hedge fund and it can be yours.
I was only at the Florida Audio Expo for one day, so my coverage is far from comprehensive. Rather than expound on detailed specs, I let myself experience what audio that costs vast sums of money sounds like. Every room was wonderful in its own way. It’s hard to quantify high-end two-channel as better, but rather different, than what I’m used to from mass-produced components. It was neatly summed up for me in a conversation I had with one of the speaker designers at the show. He said, “some audiophiles buy gear to listen to music while some buy music to listen to gear.” He then told me a story about a client that had an ultra-high-end system costing in the hundreds of thousands and only a small box of records to play on it. For me, it’s about the music and the movies. I love my Anthem, Emotiva, and Axiom components. Would I enjoy reviewing a six-figure two-channel system? Of course. I certainly enjoyed my time at my first Florida Audio Expo, and I look forward to going back next year.