Doesn’t going to Florida in early February sound like a great idea, especially when two feet of snow has fallen at home while you’re away? This is the second year of the Florida Audio Expo in sunny and warm–well, mostly–Tampa. I really wanted to go last year to take a short break from another winter in Western New York, but it wasn’t in the cards. I made sure I went this year, and it’s been an exciting show so far. Here are some of the Friday highlights:
I began and ended the day in familiar territory–the first room was The System from Von Schweikert Audio and VAC in The Audio Company room. I feel like I know this seven-figure system intimately, mostly because I’ve reported on it for several shows straight now. Leif Swanson, Damon Von Schweikert and Kevin Hayes always get a “Best Sound at the Show” award from me, but if you think I’m getting bored with reporting on this room you’d be wrong. There’s always a little twist such as the size of the room and switching up the equipment just a tad. In this case I’ve been living with the Von Schweikert Audio ESE loudspeakers in my listening room for the last few months, so I feel I have a more informed idea about the sound and why it’s so special.
One big Friday highlight was the BorderPatrol/Volti Audio/Triode Wire Labs room. Greg Roberts debuted his stunning new Rival SE loudspeaker, which I feel is his greatest product yet. That wide, immersive soundstage and awesome dynamics are still present, but with even greater focus. Tool’s “Chocolate Chip Trip” never sounded better than it did in this room.
Two models of loudspeakers from Acora Acoustics, a Canadian company that makes their enclosures from granite, was another Friday highlight. Each had their own room, and each loudspeaker made a case for greatness. The larger floorstander, the SRC-1, was emotionally gripping. The smaller stand-mounted SRB, on the other hand, was unusually lively and engaging. Every time I listen to Acora Acoustics, I’m even more impressed with these designs.
By the way, Bob Carver is back! I’m not sure he ever left, but I haven’t heard a Carver product in decades. The Bob Carver Corporation is still making unusual amps and speakers with amazing features, such as the ability for the amps to “heal” defective tubes (!). An intriguing new integrated with a projected affordable MSRP is on the horizon, and we can’t wait. The sound of the mostly Carver system was really, really good–very much a Friday highlight.
I missed Doug White of The Voice That Is! at the show–the last I checked he was lounging around a beach in Mexico. But his spirit, not to mention his gift for meticulous room set-up, was still there in the Zesto Audio room. George and Carolyn Counnas of Zesto paired their exquisite tube amplification with the Vimberg Mino loudspeakers, and it had that same sense of “rightness” that Doug always achieves. (Doug, of course, carries both Zesto and Vimberg.)
Another Friday highlight, as I mentioned, came at the last room of the day. I visited the Joseph Audio/Doshi Audio/Cardas Audio room and was once again treated to fabulous music delivered by a system that was so true and musical that it felt like everything I ever wanted in an audio system. Jeff Joseph’s Perspective2 Graphene loudspeakers, at just $15,000 per pair, continue to amaze me.
Saturday should be a big day, and I’m looking forward to visits with Stenheim, MC Audiotech and much more!