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March 2024


High-End Audio, Audiophile & Music Industry News

Hi-Fi And Music Industry News
Essential high-end audio news you need to know.
Enjoy the Music.com posts audiophile news virtually every day.



Florida International Audio Expo 2024 Show Report

Florida International Audio Expo 2024 Show Report
Florida's Fantastic International Audio Exposition In Tampa.
The funtastic Florida International Audio Expo 2024 took place from February 16th through 18th at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Tampa Airport Westshore Hotel. Attendees enjoyed their experience on 12 floors' filled with great luxury sound gear produced by the world's leading premium high-performance audio brands. As their exciting fifth annual Florida International Audio Expo, this was the opportunity for audio and music aficionados to discover this sensational showcase of products that includes home and desktop stereo systems, record players / turntables, headphones, loudspeakers, digital audio music streamers, Hi-Res Audio DACs, cables, amplifiers and more!
---> Florida International Audio Expo 2024 Show Report.



The Most Expensive Component It's not what you think it is but what you think it is. Article By Roger Skoff

The Most Expensive Component
It's not what you think it is but what you think it is.
Article By Roger Skoff
What would you say if I told you that the most expensive thing about your system might not be what you think it is? No, I'm not thinking of your listening room, although, from a physical standpoint, that might certainly be true, and it might even be the subject of some future article. It's not your collection of records, CDs, and master tapes, either, even though that, too, might at one time have been the case. Instead, for altogether too many people (not you and I, of course) the most expensive thing about their system is one or more of the mistaken assumptions they might have made in putting it together. Many years ago I had the opportunity to visit the home of a wealthy audiophile who had a great love of music and an essentially unlimited budget for a system to play it on. His entire home was designed around his sound room, which was HUGE – probably 25 or so feet wide by 40 or 50 feet long, with a flat ceiling that must have been at least ten or twelve feet high.
---> The Most Expensive Component.



Hi-Fi+ February 2024

CES, AI, And Your Music
AI's enhanced ingress into our lives is still a few years away.
Editorial By Alan Sircom
It's been some years since we went to the annual Consumer Electronics Show. Despite missing the winter desert sun in Las Vegas (especially in the UK, where the sun disappears around mid-November only to return some time in April), Las Vegas had become a busted flush for high-end (or 'specialty') audio. Some audio brands still attend the event, but the relevance of the show waned for the audio world in the 2010s, and by the later part of the decade it had become unsustainable for audio. As the name changed from the Consumer Electronics Association to the Consumer Technology Association in 2015, so the CES subtly changed emphasis, moving increasingly toward wearable tech, health tech, and most recently Artificial Intelligence. While embedded AI in consumer goods is still something of a novelty (who really needs an AI-enhanced kettle?), it's set to dominate the consumer electronics market. And, it's likely to do so fast. Although high-end audio no longer attends the show, that doesn't mean it is immune to the same market forces. AI is coming to your audio system! Get used to the idea.
---> CES, AI, And Your Music.



audioXpress March 2024

Meeting The Standards
UWB high-resolution low-latency audio interface.
Editorial By J. Martins
Audio professionals working in product development, design, manufacturing, and system implementation always meet new challenges as technologies change and evolve. In professional or consumer applications, digital audio signals are being carried using a number of different platforms, technologies, and digital protocols, creating a complexity that no single company in the test and measurement (T&M) field is able to address on its own. Increasingly, T&M companies specific to the audio industry are being forced to focus on one specific angle (e.g., electronics product design, acoustic measurements, production line testing, etc.). On the software front, things look a bit more dynamic, with the availability of solutions that are more or less able to react quickly to new industry demands.
---> From The Editor's Desk: Meeting The Standards.



Avantgarde Acoustic UNO SD Hornspeakers Review The luckiest I've ever felt was when reviewing the UNO SD speakers. Review By Tom Lyle

Avantgarde Acoustic UNO SD Hornspeaker Review
The luckiest I've ever felt was when reviewing the UNO SD speakers.
Review By Tom Lyle
In the mid to late 1990s, I heard a pair of Avantgarde Acoustic horn loudspeakers (hornspeaker) for the first time at a local high-end audio showroom. I don’t remember the model of the speakers I was hearing, but I do recall that they were powered by a pair of Single-Ended Triode (SET) monoblock amplifiers. I assumed that these amps were a perfect match for these sensitive speakers. Sadly, I was not impressed with what I heard that day. The speaker's biggest sin was an exaggerated midrange, epitomizing the "cupped hands" sound. Fast-forward to 2024, when I was offered a pair of Avantgarde UNO SDs for review in Enjoy the Music.com. I was skeptical, fearing I would experience something similar to what I had heard at that local dealer many years ago. Before these speakers arrived, I shared my experience with Avantgarde's North American distributor, American Sound of Canada, about my experience with their horn speakers.
---> Avantgarde Acoustic UNO SD Hornspeaker Review.



AGD Productions DUET GaN-Power Monoblock Amplifier Review Defining your artistic sensibilities. Review By Dr. Michael Bump

AGD DUET GaN-Power Monoblock Amplifier Review
Defining your artistic sensibilities.
Review By Dr. Michael Bump
Professional musicians have a first love, and it's usually not their mother or high school sweetheart, but rather the instruments they surround themselves with throughout their lives. Sometimes this serves a nostalgic purpose, though in most cases, it is because the instrument's sound defines them (The Harry Potter analogy of "the wand chooses you" comes to mind). Theirs is a uniquely personal relationship. We all identify John "Bonzo" Bonham through his style of drumming and the sound of his Ludwig drum kit. The size, tuning, shell material, cymbals, use of timpani, etc. were his calling card, inspiring his touch / gesture, helping define him, and in turn, helping define Led Zeppelin. For almost his entire career, Pablo Casals performed on but a single instrument – a cello crafted around 1700 by the Venetian luthier, Matteo Gofriller. And of course, who can imagine listening to Willy Nelson's music without the voice of "Trigger," his faithful Martin N-20 nylon-string guitar, on which he's been performing and recording for over 55 years.
---> AGD DUET GaN-Power Monoblock Amplifier Review.



Eminent Technology LFT8c Floorstanding Loudspeaker Review Dipole done well. Review By Jules Coleman

Eminent Technology LFT8c Loudspeaker Review
Dipole done well.
Review By Jules Coleman
If you are not familiar with Bruce Thigpen, it's time you were. Bruce has been among the more creative and innovative designers in the audio industry over the past forty years. He began his career by working on what was to become the Infinity turntable, which he followed with the classic and much-admired ET 2 linear tracking tonearm (parts and updates are still available for the model 1, ET-2 and ET- 2.5), before turning his attention to magnetic planar loudspeakers. Beginning with the full-range planar LFT3, he ultimately shifted focus to hybrid designs featuring planar mid and high-frequency drivers mated with traditional cone drivers to handle the lower frequencies. The shift in focus led to the development of the LFT-8 introduced in 1989 and then widely distributed beginning in 1990, the transformative version of which, LFT-8c, is the subject of this review.
---> Eminent Technology LFT8c Loudspeaker Review.



Vinshine Audio Denafrips Arce Hi-Res Music Streamer Review Streams music without obstructions or interfering with your favorite tunes. Review By Neven Kos Of HiFiMedia

Vinshine Audio Denafrips Arce Hi-Res Music Streamer Review
Streams music without obstructions or interfering with your favorite tunes.
Review By Neven Kos Of HiFiMedia
After Alvin Chee, the owner of the company Vinshine Audio, searched for the past year and a half on his YouTube channel for the best streamer for Denafrips D/A converters, Denafrips introduced its music streamer called Arce (twin sister of the rainbow goddess Iris in Greek mythology). The primary focus in the design of this streamer was the quality of playback, so at Denafrips they developed their computer platform instead of resorting to existing ones, such as PC platform, Raspberry Pi, or something else already existing. The computer part of the streamer is based on the Quad-Core ARM Cortex processor, high-precision oscillators, and a power supply built after the 60VA toroidal transformer. There are also low-noise and fast linear regulators, and unlike many others that resort to existing and available solutions or use standard computer solutions and operating systems, Denafrips has also developed its operating system optimized precisely for music playback.
---> Vinshine Audio Denafrips Arce Hi-Res Music Streamer Review.



Phillips Design OH-16 Omnidirectional Three-Way Loudspeaker Review

Phillips Design OH-16 Omnidirectional Loudspeaker Review
Giving you all the music you love.
Review By Dwayne Carter
Phillips Design made a bit of a splash at AXPONA in April of 2023, with their inaugural display of the Phillips Design OH-16 Omnidirectional three-way loudspeakers. Unable to attend AXPONA 2023; I was more than pleased with the opportunity to review a pair. These stylish loudspeakers arrived via freight, in a crate much larger than anticipated. Receiving a well-traveled demo pair, it is unknown whether standard production (consumer) speakers will be shipped the same way. Once unlocked, the crate door swings out to reveal both speakers. While well-designed, it still required two people to maneuver the speakers from the crate. Weighing 78 lbs each; while not extremely heavy, the round speakers require careful handling. With wood (usually teak) slats towards the top, and the 12" carbon fiber composite cone located on the bottom; careful handling is a must. Once in place in the Audio Room (thanks for the help, Timmy), the protective cloth covers were removed to reveal the speakers. To say the Phillips Design OH-16 omnidirectional three-way loudspeakers are unique would be an understatement.
---> Phillips Design OH-16 Omnidirectional Loudspeaker Review.



Børresen X2 Floorstanding Loudspeakers Review Fantastic-sounding sleek speakers.

Børresen X2 Floorstanding Loudspeakers Review
Fantastic-sounding sleek speakers.
Review By Tom Lyle
The Børresen X2 is the smallest speaker in Børresen's X-Series. Even though it is Børresen's smallest speaker in that line, it is a floorstanding speaker 3.5 feet tall and weighs 80 pounds. Børresen's website calls the X2 intro-level speaker. At $8,800 a pair, whether one considers this price entry-level is debatable, but everything is relative – compared with the other speakers in Børresen's X-series, the X2 is reasonably priced. And as you'll read in this review (spoiler alert!), I have nothing but praise for the Børresen X2. After unpacking the X2s, I discovered that this slim, stylish 2.5-way floorstanding speaker had quite a small footprint. Viewed from above, the speakers are more or less triangular. The X2's front baffle is about one foot wide, but its cabinet narrows as it reaches its rear panel, which is a mere one inch wide. This narrow rear panel appears slightly wider at points to allow for the speaker's ports, three round cylinders near the top of its cabinet, and three near the bottom. At first glance, I thought that the ports resembled exhaust pipes!
---> Børresen X2 Floorstanding Loudspeakers Review.



FiiO R9 Flagship Music Player, Streamer, Headphone Amplifier, And Hi-Res Lossless DAC Review

FiiO R9 Flagship Music Player, Streamer, Headphone Amplifier, And Hi-Res Lossless DAC Review
May the Cube be with you.
Review By Paul Schumann
I've been having a bit of an existential crisis the last couple of years over one basic question: Am I a Luddite? As a young man who grew up with a dad who worked for IBM, I felt I was always willing to embrace new promising technologies. During the late 1970s, we had a prototype for a home computer for a few months. If you wanted to do anything with it you had to program it yourself. In my senior year of high school, I built a Heathkit digital stopwatch to time my friends at track meets. In 1986 I bought a second-gen CD player when you could still find only a handful of CDs in the record store. At the same time, however, I stubbornly hung on to the Dynaco stuff I was using. Why? Because nothing I was listening to in the audio stores sounded nearly as good. Well, there was the Conrad Johnson and Audio Research gear, but it was out of my price range. But it seems that through most of my adult life, I've straddled the divide between "they don't make them like they used to" and "new and improved".
---> FiiO R9 Flagship Music Player, Streamer, Headphone Amplifier, And Hi-Res Lossless DAC Review.



Enjoy the Music.com Sponsors The Southwest Audio Fest 2024

Enjoy the Music.com Sponsors The Southwest Audio Fest 2024
Enjoy the Music.com, premium audio's celebrated online site since 1995 and a leader in providing over 25 years of industry news, thousands of gear reviews, and more than 280 show reports, is pleased to announce we're sponsoring the inaugural Southwest Audio Fest 2024 in Dallas. We're sponsoring the SWAF's Thursday night 'Happy Hour' before the event opens to the public. Scheduled to take place from March 15th through 17th at the Hilton / Anatole in Dallas, Texas, exhibitors and members of the press are invited to join us for food, drinks, and live music. Enjoy the Music.com looks forward to seeing you there! For over 29 years, Enjoy the Music.com's ongoing efforts and resources have benefited both the consumer electronics industry and music lovers by providing leading information concerning luxury high-performance audio and premium high-fidelity equipment via the internet. We are deeply honored for the opportunity to support the very first Southwest Audio Fest event, and in teaming up to benefit both the high-end audio industry and audiophiles.
---> Enjoy the Music.com Sponsors The Southwest Audio Fest 2024.



Listener: The Into By Art Dudley

The Intro
Editorial By Art Dudley
Recently I received some new CD re-issues from JVC who have begun applying their very nice XRCD process to the RCA Victor catalog of classical recordings from the 1950s and 1960s. Among this batch was a personal favorite: Fritz Reiner and the Chicago Symphony orchestra performing Beethoven's Symphony No.7. I enjoy this one the most of all the Sevenths in my collection, and the fact that my copy is a mono LP isn't something I ever gave all that much thought to. In fact, until someone corrected me on the point, I half assumed that LM-1991 might be one of those recordings in the RCA catalog that never came out in stereo in the first place. (I am not the sort of record collector who concerns himself with such details, although I am often thankful for the knowledge of those who are.) I also remember thinking that a stereo version of this LP, with that big, gaudy LIVING STEREO banner across the top, must surely suffer by comparison in terms of its cover art, which is Botticelli's La Primavera, reproduced on a sturdy fold-over sleeve the likes of which I haven't seen on any other record.
---> The Intro Editorial By Art Dudley.



Triode Connected Pentodes Article By Herb Reichert of Eddy Electronic Inc.

Triode Connected Pentodes
Article By Herb Reichert of Eddy Electronic Inc.
Back in 1955, some of the big audio issues were: Which provides higher fidelity, triodes or pentodes? Feedback or no feedback? Active or passive? Solid core or stranded wire? Does this all sound familiar? It was in this climate that D.T. Williamson's amp arrived. The old guard believed that there was no substitute for 2A3s push-pull. But the hot issue in the audio mags was high power. High power back then was only 20-30 Watts, but it was thought that the extra headroom contributed to a sense of effortlessness. The Williamson amp tried to be both. Triode connected KT-66s gave this amp the low-distortion loadline of triodes with some of the gain and efficiency of beam power tubes. This circuit and its siblings became the most popular tube amps of all time. It also created the most popular tube modification of all time: triode connecting multi-grid power output tubes.
---> Triode Connected Pentodes.



Altec Alternatives Article By Dan Schmalle

Altec Alternatives
Article By Dan Schmalle
This month we hope to hear some vintage loudspeakers. Once again Eric will generously give us a glimpse and a listen from his fast growing collection. A pair of Altec -- Lansing A7 "Voice of the Theatre" loudspeakers and their domestic counterpart, the Altec Corona, will visit our listening room. As of this writing one crossover is misbehaving, so our demo may be mono, but interesting nonetheless. The A7 (pictured here) is the smallest of a line of loudspeakers Altec produced for use in theatres, auditoriums and studios. It consists of a low frequency driver, type 803A, coupled to a short horn and rear loaded to a "bass reflex" enclosure. This is crossed over through a type 800E 800Hz crossover to a type 802 high frequency driver connected to a type 811 B multi-cellular horn baffle, which spreads the high frequencies horizontally over a 120 degree arc (and about 40 degrees vertically). The high frequency driver sits on top of the dark gray bass enclosure.
---> Altec Alternatives Article By Dan Schmalle.



AGD The Audion GaNTube Monoblocks Review

AGD "The Audion" GaNTube Monoblocks Review
Class D reaches the upper echelon of high-end audio.
Review By Rick Becker
Back at the turn of the millennium you could put together a pretty good audio system for $10,000, and you could listen to many of those components in a local brick & mortar store if you lived in a decent size city. Sure there was some stratospherically priced gear in the $10,000 to $20,000 range you might be able to see if you went to one of the audio shows on the left or right coasts. Then along came "quantitative easing" and the internet. Gear got more expensive, the brick & mortar landscape eroded and major as well as regional audio shows proliferated. Eventually, higher prices seemed to have attracted more well-heeled patrons to the hobby, not unlike what happened to the bicycle industry a generation or two earlier.
---> AGD "The Audion" GaNTube Monoblocks Review.



Pass Labs INT-25 Stereo Integrated Amplifier Review

Pass Labs INT-25 Stereo Integrated Amplifier Review
The most musical amplifier I've had the opportunity to listen to.
Review By Neven Kos of hifimedia magazine
It's been a while since I've had an opportunity to listen to some of the Pass amps officially. The last one was, if memory does serve me, an integrated INT-30 amplifier, a review you had the opportunity to read in this magazine (No. 81 / 2010). My experience with Pass Labs amps is not extensive, but it may be relevant. Before that integrated amplifier in my listening room I enjoyed my own amps over the years, such as integrated amplifier INT-150, power amp x150.5, preamplifier X1 and Aleph P. Either loaned to me, or through other familiar listening rooms, I also had the opportunity to listen to X250, X 250.5, X350, X600, X150, Aleph 3 and Aleph 5. As you can see from the above, there is a certain historical void in my acquaintance with Pass, which we will try to fill in by listening to and learning about the latest Pass Labs toy, the Pass INT-25 integrated amplifier.
---> Pass Labs INT-25 Stereo Integrated Amplifier Review.



Aric Audio Custom 300B PSET Amplifier Review

Aric Audio Custom 300B PSET Amplifier Review
A music lover's amplifier.
Review By Paul Schumann
I have something to admit. I am a music lover. No, it's worse than that, I'm a certifiable music junkie. I listen to music at home. I listen to music at work. I listen to it in the car. I even hear music in my head when no music is playing. I'm always looking for new music to feed my addiction. My wife complains that my Christmas list is boring because all I ask for is music. Well, I do throw in a request for a pair of Berning 845 Monoblocks, but that never happens. Oh yes, my wife is a music junkie, also. She's always on the prowl for new music to add to her collection. Our tradition on Saturday and Sunday mornings is to listen to an album all the way through while eating our breakfast. It may be something brand new, or an album we haven't listened to in a long time. Usually, after our meal, we'll share what we think about it. Yes, music runs through our veins.
---> Aric Audio Custom 300B PSET Amplifier Review.



LampizatOr Baltic 3 Hi-Res DAC Review

LampizatOr Baltic 3 Hi-Res DAC Review
A new approach to Noval tube design from Poland.
Review By Greg Weaver
Founded near Warsaw Poland in 2010, while LampizatOr builds electronics and speakers, many are not aware of those offerings, as it was their exceptional tubed DACs that first put the company on the map. Owned and operated exclusively by its designer Łukasz Fikus, after hearing the disarming $17,250 Golden Gate DAC some seven years ago, then the even more engaging $27,000 Pacific DAC at a show during 2018, the reason for their success became apparent. Both these SET-based devices offered a conspicuous step closer to the undeniable naturalness, organic coherence, and space and dimensionality offered by the very best LP transcription systems. Łukasz and Lampizator North America principal Fred Ainsley have recently announced the launch of the nearly $50,000 Horizon DAC, which I will get to hear at its official launch during the third Florida Audio Expo in mid-February of this year.
---> LampizatOr Baltic 3 Hi-Res DAC Review.



DALI Kore Floorstanding Speaker Review

DALI Kore Floorstanding Speaker Review
Danish loudspeaker giant DALI had promised a state-of-the-art loudspeaker at the press event in Munich's MOC.
Review By Michael Lang
After the presentation of the DALI Kore, in a rare moment of complete agreement, the guests left the room with a big smile on their faces. HIGH END audio show, May 2022, Munich, Germany – for someone from the press, this equates to four hectic days, a race against time to discover as many exciting new products as possible, to have them explained to you and to get hold of at least a couple of short listening sessions from a suitable sitting position. Despite these circumstances, the DALI showroom was packed with press representatives when CEO Lars Worre and his team explained the background and aspirations of the Kore. This was quite necessary, considering that DALI is known for a down-to-earth pricing of its loudspeakers.
---> DALI Kore Floorstanding Speaker Review.



Zesto Audio Eros 500 Select Class A Monoblock Review

Zesto Audio Eros 500 Select Class A Monoblock Review
The Eros 500 is a neutral, realistic, and natural-sounding amplifier.
Review By Robert H. Levi
The more I immerse myself in this hobby since I retired from the entertainment industry in 2008, the more certain I have become that the amplifier is the most important and telling piece of equipment in your system. It was in the late 1970s that J. Gordon Holt stated in Stereophile that one should buy a very good speaker that fits your needs and then bust your budget on an excellent amplifier. I have more or less followed that advice over the last half century of reproducing music in my home. Lately, however, with the maturation of really great tube and hybrid source devices, phono preamp sources and superb LP pressings, extraordinary phono cartridges, SACDs, much improved digital streaming with high resolution, and the maturing science of neutral and high-definition interconnectivity, I have confirmed that JGH was 100% right.
---> Zesto Audio Eros 500 Select Class A Monoblock Review.




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