Florida Audio Expo 2022 Show
My humble view of a remarkable and fun show in the sunny Southland, a most appreciated re-appearance to the show circuit. Hats off to all who made it happen.
An interesting set of Piega model 511 floor standing loudspeakers that featured an all-aluminum tweeter/mid driver array, well paired with a 50 Wpc, 6C33C tube-based new balanced audio technology integrated amp with passive phono with streaming input from a Hi-Fi Rose 150b streamer with user-friendly LCD display. The presentation conveyed sweet and engaging vocals supported by dynamic and tight bass. At this session we were treated by an impromptu appearance of an equally dynamic David Solomon and his coverage of Qobuz hi-res streaming, David (king of Qobuz) is always a source of valued information and good humor, it was indeed a fun presentation.
German-based mbl launched their world premiere and earth-shaking Model 101 x-Treme MKII loudspeaker ensemble. Their show presentations always grabs attention and this was no exception as the addition of two giant subwoofer towers augmenting the three-way omni mains threw a sound-stage and "live" experience second to none in my experience, attracting multiple visits. At 1.5 mil, including an array of amps and other supporting sources, they provide an attraction all their own. Congrats to them.
Margules of Mexico City launched their 30th anniversary U-280c integrated tube amp featuring a brace of Gold Lion KT88 power tubes. The amp was serving a pair of three-way, Margules Orpheus, ceramic driver tower loudspeakers. These presented a relaxed, tuneful, and engaging presentation, congrats on the re-launch. A very stylish Margules turntable was also featured.
Graham audio was showcasing their UK-built, 1960s/1970s cabinet style stand-mounted LS8/1, three-way box speakers. Visually they may have a retro wood cabinet appearance, but don't be fooled, the sound was very modern, dynamic, harmonically rich, natural with engaging female vocals, some of the best heard at the show. Completely updated with all new components and sourced by solid-state moon river electronics. Also demonstrated was a Bergmann Modi air-bearing turntable to excellent effect. This set-up attracted multiple visits all while co-hosted by the ever-engaging audio veteran Philip O'Hanlon of Irish spirits fame, we had some tasty sips after hours and just a great time listening to music! After all, this is what's it's all about... the music!
A most interesting and high-performing ensemble was from Magico and Convergent Audio Technology (CAT), this sporting a forest of 16 KT120's ensconced in the CAT JL3 statement power amp. The Magico S5 MKII loudspeakers gave a lightning-fast, full-range, attention-getting presentation sourced via the CAT SL1 renaissance tube preamp with phono. All indeed pretty special, a standout presentation.
RJS Acoustics was showcasing their remarkable MD-2 Bass Augmentation System (actually subwoofers) to flesh out the low frequencies is bass shy main speaker systems such as certain panel speakers. Offered in freestanding, mid-height tower pairs with multiple smaller drivers and placed close to the main speakers. The units are self-powered by Dayton modular solid-state amps, they are easy to integrate and if adjusted properly are only detected when need in the music program. The demonstration herein was remarkable, especially with the modest size and cost of the Maggie LRS loudspeakers demonstrated here. Integration was the best I've ever heard in this situation. Congrats to the designers of St. Petersburg, Fl! Bass starved panel owners should rejoice (other designs would likely benefit as well).
It is pleasing to have Kharma of the Netherlands exhibit again and provide top-level music enjoyment with their elegance DB7 loudspeakers featuring high-tech cabinet materials and drivers, all the while being served by MSB DAC electronics which included a new pair of their s series M200 solid-state power amps. Presenting a very smooth, revealing midrange and tight well-controlled bass, this ensemble was a pleasant listening experience to this visitor, and good to see them aboard again.
LampizatOr (just plain fun to say) of Poland was showcasing their Horizon stereo tube/hybrid DAC/preamplifier to visual and immersive music enjoyment. All while paired with an equally impressive VAC 452 iQ tower integrated tube amplifier (employed in power amp mode) this serving a set of Tobian Sound Systems loudspeakers employing 12" high-efficiency (98dB/W/m) compression woofers and no crossovers. The Tobians did not exhibit any "horn" character to the presentation often found in these compression driver designs. This was a sit-down while and enjoy listening session with the welcoming presenters.
I must add appreciation to Poland for accepting Ukrainian refugees so in need of rescue.
AGD Vivace of the USA was presenting their GanTube monoblock amps featuring Gallium Nitride MOSFET devices, these stylishly encapsulated in KT88 style glass envelopes. These impressive and unique high power (200 Wpc) stereo amps were paired with finely finished Ocean Way, two-way, stand-mount loudspeakers. These were created by famed recording engineer Allen Sides of CA and Nashville. The presentation was unique and involving, very musical, and balanced indeed from top to bottom. This is from a true pro who truly knows the sound of music.