Florida 2019: Friday with Paul

Tortuga, Soundfield, Backert, Legacy, Triode Wire Labs, Border Patrol, Volti Audio

by Paul Elliott

Michael Fremer gets the alignment right and cuts the ribbon to open the first Florida Audio Expo!

All the work Alan and his team has now come together and the show opened to the public at 10 am.  A good steady stream of head off to the exhibit rooms.

Tortuga Audio

It’s hard to decide where to start (way too much stress), so I randomly fell into the Tortuga Audio room.  Morten Sissener has and interesting take on an old idea of using LDR (Light Dependent Resistor) for controlling volume.  This has been tried many times before but other manufactures never could solve some of the inherent problems. LDR’s are notably in consistent and unstable.  Morten has come up with a scheme that can keep the LDR’s calibrated using an onboard computer to adjust them. Also the LDR’s are mounted on user removable board and easily replaced. Recalibration can be done at any time by the user and takes just a few minutes.  Yes this is a passive preamp, but he also has a tube preamp buffer for those who want Genalex Gold Lion ECC88 in the sound path.

I asked Morton the significance of the Tortuga name and he told me was a sailor and was always fascinated with the Dry Tortuga Islands of the coast of Florida. His speakers in keeping with the turtle theme are the Loggerheads.

They have no internal crossovers and bi-amping which he custom makes to order.

His cabling is all Triode Wire and is available through him.

He is direct sales only at: www.tortugaaudio.com.

Soundfield Audio

AJ is one of the Florida Audio Expo‘s promoters. He also has his own company that manufactures speakers. I have known AJ since he came up to Capital Audiofest in Rockville MD, showing his prototypes to get feedback from the attendees as a reality check. He majored in EE and started building speakers to increase and test his knowledge.

He uses very innovative designs. For the top in there is a planar mid-tweeter operating from 700hz and a rear super tweeter firing into an internal geodesic diffuser. This gives a very open sound. The lower frequencies are handled by a cardioid bass system, and the rear wave is attenuated by 20db (which helps alleviate room boundary problems).

Backert Labs

Backert Labs focuses on Rhythm and Dynamics. Andy Tebbe who voices the preamp that Bob Backert designs was manning the room.

The newly designed and patented power supply uses very low capacitance, just the opposite from convention, but their design sounds better this way. the tubes are also run at lover voltage and current than usually done.  Again this design is all about rhythm and dynamics.

The speakers were Sonner Audio, Allegro Unum monitors driven by a Pass Labs XA25.


I asked Anders Eztzeid, VP Sales and Marketing “Why did they decide to come to the Florida Audio Expo. He wanted to present their new amplifier the H590 at the 1st Florida show. The amp uses the patented SoundEngine 2 technology. This is a very high-power low-distortion amplifier design, with something called “Adaptive Feed Forward technology”. It uses an analog computer that samples the music going in and compares that to the music going out, gets rid of the differences, which is (ostensibly) the noise and distortion.  Because this solves the distortion problems, they can run the amp at a much lower bias and this allows the sound to just flow naturally.

Legacy Audio

Bill Dudleston answered my “Why are you here” question, by stating that this is a grass-roots event: the Florida Audio Expo is supporting the industry.  Its bringing the public into direct contact with the manufacturers.  The education is in both directions.

Bill told the best thing that happens is when an audiophile brings a buddy along and Bill sees the fellow just light up when he hears for the first time a system that is musical.

Musicality is foremost in Legacy’s design, and that is all about wave launch reconstruction, so that you are hearing what is natural and believable.

Legacy is continuously pushing the limit, improving articulation, striving for the most believable sound. There is always new things to discover, to bring a better product to market.  He is working on a product to get the music out of one’s head and out in front when listening to headphones and possibly new headphone design too.

Relationships that really sing

There is a group of three companies that have been exhibiting together for a number of years, and the sound of their rooms always get high praise and good reviews. Volti Audio, Border Patrol, and Triode Wire Labs just make beautiful music together. All three companies are very proud that their products are designed and built by hand in the U.S.

Triode Wire Labs

So Pete Grzybowski answers the “why?” question by saying it is the passion about the music.  Always going after natural organic sound. As our music systems get better it quickly becomes blatantly obvious that every thing matters. Yes, yes, yes, cables matter.

Metallurgy is the key, along with construction techniques and design along with cryogenics. It all plays a part in developing and building a cable that works with associated equipment, not to add bad things, but bring out the good.  Cabling is part of the system and a real difference.

Pete is always striving to do this in an affordable way, one that makes sense to the buyer. Pete builds the cables to order, custom, every time.

Border Patrol

Gary Dews was happy to see that there are people still interested in putting on an audio show. This shows confidence in the industry. The timing and location for this show is just brilliant, he says.

Border Patrol designs are about getting the tone or timber and the dynamics right.  This is the key to getting the music sounding natural.  Every bit or part of the design is chosen to recreate the timber and dynamics correctly. Gary emphasizes that he is talking about micro dynamics, the very subtle parts that provide the realism and musicality.

Volti Audio

Greg Roberts answered the “why are you here?” question by saying this is the best way small companies can market their products.

Volti speakers are designed and built to be dynamic. The tonal balance has to be right to sound like real music. He designs his speakers to sound the way he likes.  If he cannot get passionate about the way it sounds like, then there  is something  missing and needs improving.  Greg feels that he is lucky that enough people seem to agree with him that he gets to continue on his journey producing his speakers, and have fun while doing it.


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