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February 2024 Review Magazine


High-End Audio, Audiophile & Music Industry News

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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.



Occasional Column: The Musical Point Of View Achieving the artist's intentions of their audio art. Article By Jules Coleman

Occasional Column: The Musical Point Of View
Achieving the artist's intentions of their audio art.
Article By Jules Coleman
Within my previous article last month, I argued that modes of communication could themselves be sources or initiators of meaning. An example illustrates the point. An artist paints a portrait of a friend whom he knows well. Through a range of artistic choices – pose, color, background, composition, etc. – the artist hopes to capture aspects of his friend's character, personality, the life she's lived, and perhaps his friend's self-conception as well. The portrait may or may not do a good job of realizing the artist's intentions, or may succeed in the eyes of some, but not in the eyes of others. Whatever the artist's or the subject's intention or vision, once complete and available to an audience, viewers are likely to respond to the portrait in the light of their interests in it. Those interests may have little, if anything, in common with the artist's or the subject's goals for the painting.
---> Occasional Column: The Musical Point Of View.



Liebestraum, Baby A dream of love for Valentine's Day.

Liebestraum, Baby
A dream of love for Valentine's Day.
Article By Roger Skoff
What are you going to do for Valentine's Day? Take your honey out for dinner? Mail her a card if she's far away? Enjoy a day or a night together if she's near? Or – if you've only seen her from afar and want to open the door to closing that distance – send her (or better yet, bring her) some flowers or a box of chocolates? The dinner will be finished; the card may be treasured, and even tied together in a ribbon with others as a memory, but eventually it'll fade; flowers wilt; and chocolates are fattening (and, GAKK! With light, dark, and white chocolate to choose from, what happens if you pick the wrong one?). Another thing you might try is to forget the conventional way of doing it entirely, and express your feelings through something that will not only last, but that may do so more clearly and even more emotionally than you might without its help. Obviously, the "something" I'm talking about is music.
---> Liebestraum, Baby.



Decisions In Our Buying Habits  --  Hi-Fi+ January 2024

Decisions In Our Buying Habits
Support those little guys wherever we can.
Editorial By Alan Sircom
The world is in the midst of a 'blandemic;' a bland uniformity that exists in all circles of society today. It's down to the little guys to kick against this sweeping tide of vapid mediocrity. And it's down to the rest of us to support those little guys wherever we can. I wish I could lay claim to coining the term 'blandemic' but I heard it first on the radio in a trailer for a discussion about architecture. However, the term resonated and stuck with me. In architecture, apparently, the problem lies with large corporations making increasingly similar decisions about their properties; an expansive head-office of steel and glass, with drab and uniform buildings throughout the rest of the world. This is perhaps best expressed by the increasingly vast hanger-like 'distribution centre' buildings springing up by main arterial roads, where the company's logo and corporate colours the only differentiators between one big box and the next.
---> Decisions In Our Buying Habits.



audioXpress February 2024

From Smart To Intelligent
CES 2024 will focus on rethinking the core technologies.
Editorial By J. Martins
Developments in audio front-ends and MEMS microphones give us a broad perspective of an intense area of activity for the audio industry. After the world converted work-from home spaces into recording and live streaming studios, microphones for musicians, podcasters, and creatives continue to be in strong demand. And as the world got back on the move, many other interesting trends have started taking place. There's now an interesting convergence with in-ear devices and the ability to capture the world around us — also because of the need to work from anywhere — demanding a combination of new technology and designs. Consumer hearables continue to be the market's fastest and largest growing category, and microphones are at the core of these devices. And increasingly, artificial intelligence (AI) and trained models are being explored by developers as an efficient way to optimize the capture and recognition of voice (and other signals) in ways that were not previously possible.
---> From Smart To Intelligent.



Australian Hi-Fi Magazine January / February 2024

Enjoying The Music You Love
Listening to music via network streaming and active loudspeakers.
Editorial By Becky Roberts
I remember this revelatory day in 2017 like it was yesterday. Following an ill-timed holiday, during which my colleagues had received the KEF LS50 Wireless, I walked into the test room and found the two speakers hooked up playing music. I'd read about these "wireless LS50s" when they were announced the November prior, and now here they were in front of me — just two regular-sized speaker cabinets plugged into the power sockets behind them, and to one another via an Ethernet cable; no transmitter box, no source physically tethered to them. Where was this music coming from? 'Only' Bluetooth, their top-panel input display revealed, though their killer feature was undoubtedly integrated Wi-Fi and network streaming. While I'd tested powered and active speakers from the likes of Dynaudio, Dali, Linn and Meridian before, none of them had combined such an assortment of features in such an elegant and accessible (~$4,000) two-box format — primarily as they hadn't integrated Wi-Fi streaming, either at all or as smartly.
---> Enjoying The Music You Love.



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.



Enjoy the Music.com Sponsors The 2024 Florida International Audio Expo's Happy Hour

Enjoy the Music.com Sponsors The 2024 Florida International Audio Expo's Happy Hour
Enjoy the Music.com, high-performance audio's celebrated online site for 29 years and a leader in providing show reports, industry news, and high-end premium audio gear reviews, is pleased to once again sponsor Florida International Audio Expo's Industry Happy Hour. During their February event in Tampa, on Thursday evening both exhibitors and members of the press are invited to join us at the second-floor registration area for complimentary food and beverages. Since 1995, Enjoy the Music.com has been a major resource for information about consumer electronics, including the high-performance luxury audio industry and premium high-resolution / streaming music. We are deeply honored for the opportunity to support the Florida International Audio Expo for the third consecutive year in a row! Enjoy the Music.com continues to sponsor more high-performance audio events than any other publication within the industry.
---> Enjoy the Music.com Sponsors Florida Intl Audio Expo 2024.



The Intro By ARt Dudley -- The Listener Magazine

The Intro
Editorial By Art Dudley
Until eight or nine months ago, Listener Magazine rented office space U on the second floor of what used to be the Oddfellows Hall in Oneonta, New York. Our two rooms were toward the back of the building, right next to a spacious and well-equipped kitchen. judging from what we found in the building, hot meals were a key part of every Oddfellows meeting, along with a thoroughly bizarre ceremony involving elderly men dressed like David and Goliath and a skeleton in a black cardboard coffin. (And thus evaporated all mystery surrounding the group's name.) The important thing here is the kitchen, in which we kept a coffeemaker. One day it was my turn to wash it. I had been rinsing the carafe under running water for several minutes when I recognized a sound: Someone was speaking to me, and apparently had been for several minutes. I turned off the tap and there was my then-assistant, Kim Harmer, gabbing away in my direction. I stopped, smiled, and told her I hadn't heard a single word she'd said. Kim started over from the top.
---> The Intro Editorial By Art Dudley.



At The Edge Of Science The sonic explorations of Kondo-san. Article By Joe Roberts

At The Edge Of Science
The sonic explorations of Kondo-san.
Article By Joe Roberts
Audio experimenters have uncovered many gaps in the models textbook science brings to bear on electro-acoustical phenomena. This can be a source of bafflement and embarrassment to authorities in the field, but our ears have proven their value as a most subtle evaluation device - one which hears things that can't be there. Many scientists take the comfortable and logical way out and deny the possibility of unmeasurable "new" audio phenomena. For example, in the Spring 1991 issue of The Skeptical Inquirer, Fred E. Davis gave us "Hi-Fi Audio Pseudoscience," an article committing cables, AC cords and conditioners, CD treatments, and novel uses for digital clocks to the shady realms of mysticism and the powers of suggestion. He doesn't claim to have done much listening. Surely not worth the trouble based on mathematical models. Yet most of this study was based on "skimming through three or four audio magazines." Very rigorous method indeed!
---> At The Edge Of Science.



Acoustical Quad Acoustical QUAD Electrostatic Speakers -- VALVE Magazine

Acoustical QUAD
The original QUAD components were introduced around 1954...
Article By Dan Schmalle From VALVE
This month's demo is a very special one. Through the generosity of Eric and Dave we will audition what is to many vintage buffs the ne plus ultra of vintage high fidelity systems, an entire QUAD system. It will be composed of the QUAD FM Tuner, QUAD Multiplex Decoder, QUAD 22 Control Unit, two Quad II Power Amplifiers and two QUAD ESLs. All of these components are in very nice shape and will be set up as originally intended right down to the KT-66 output tubes. Acoustical Manufacturing Company, makers of the Quality Amplifier for Domestic use, was started by Peter J. Walker in London in the late 1930's. The original QUAD components were introduced around 1954. At the time the loudspeakers, while revolutionary in their construction and accuracy, were rather poorly received in an era of horn speakers with giant sized bass response. A very interesting interview of Peter Walker can be found in The Audio Amateur, 3/1978. I won't rehash the entire article here (we do have it in the library), but a few select plums from the article help to explain the design philosophy....
---> Acoustical QUAD.



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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