Florida in February always sounds like a good idea–on paper. But as soon as I landed in Tampa with high humidity and temperature in the mid ’80s, I remembered why I moved to the Pacific Northwest. That said, the 2023 Florida Audio Expo (FLAX) is turning out to be a lively and energized high-end audio show, with everyone in a great mood for the first show of the year. Here are some quick images of FLAX Friday Highlights.
Words and Photos by Marc Phillips
One of the biggest surprises of FLAX was the debut of Acora Acoustics massive new flagship, the VRC-1. Scot Hull has already written about this room, but I just wanted to chime in and say that this new granite-covered beast offered some of the most precise imaging I’ve heard in a big conference room setting. Each speaker weighs more than 400 pounds, and the price will wind up somewhere north of 200K, but this was the room that prompted me to declare as the most satisfying FLAX Friday Highlight. Wow.
Another exciting FLAX Friday Highlight was the new EMT 928 II turntable–that’s right, EMT has finally returned to manufacturing ‘tables. Now distributed by MoFi Distribution, the EMT 928 will sell for $10,000, $15,000 with an EMT arm, and $18,000 with EMT cartridge (when purchased as a package). That means I can quit playing Powerball while I dream about owning one of the vintage restored EMTs which can cost well over $60,000. I might be able to swing this one day!
Remember when I fell in love with the Falcon Acoustics LS3/5a MoFi Edition monitors a couple of years ago? Well, Falcon introduced the new M10 monitors which carry an enormous amount of LS3/5a while offering much lower bass extension. Again, Falcon Acoustics offers this level of sound quality at a surprising price–just $2,295/pr USD. I’m looking forward to reviewing them in the future. Another stellar FLAX Friday Highlight.
At home I have a ton of Audio Note UK gear in the review system, but it was still a pleasure to sit down and listen to another AN system. While I was there to confirm proper room positioning for my AN/J loudspeakers, it was still a true FLAX Friday Highlight to hear the larger AN/Es throw out a deep and wide soundstage from the corners of the room.
The big news of the Florida Audio Expo was TAD‘s introduction of two new speaker models, plus a complete line of TAD electronics that offered a compelling and immersive sound. TAD placed two complete systems in one large room, rotating between them every few minutes, with a large and enthusiastic crowd who were totally into this new phase for this company.
You’re probably getting tired of listening to me go on and on about Audio Group Denmark and their revolutionary products, but getting another chance to listen to the $100,000/pr Borresen M1 monitors is the very definition of a FLAX Friday Highlight. Here’s Lars Kristensen carefully explaining Audio Group Denmark’s approach to show attendees, just like he did with me in Denmark last summer.
(I have a very funny story to tell about my visit to Audio Group Denmark’s three rooms, which I’ll discuss in my show reports.)
My final FLAX Friday Highlight isn’t a big surprise–I always enjoy visiting the Joseph Audio/Cardas/Doshi/Aurender room at high-end shows. While Jeff Joseph built a system with the Joseph Audio Pulsar Graphenes ($9,999/pr) that I’ve heard a few times before, he added a wonderful element–video. Jeff was playing clips from NPR’s Tiny Desk concerts, and I was amazed at how a single pair of speakers could create such a stunning center image that correctly linked the performers to the TV screen. Was it luck, or just more of Jeff’s genius? I go with the latter.
That’s it for now for the FLAX Friday Highlights. Stay tuned for FLAX Saturday Highlights!
If you would like to hear even more coverage from FLAX 2023, check out our recap report and highlights from our audiophile-oriented show The Occasional Podcast. You can stream the episode direct from the embed below, or from your favorite podcast platform including iTunes, Android, Google, Deezer, Spotify, iHeartRadio and more.