Acoustic Sounds
By: Michael Fremer

February 20th, 2024


Hi-Fi Shows

Florida International Audio Expo—Day One Coverage

the show was not exactly turntable paradise

Last weekend's Florida Audio Expo was another successful show. Attendance was substantial—aided by heavy weekend rains, which is always good for hi-fi shows—and good industry participation, which was a combination of regional dealers and the smaller "indie" manufacturers, many of which also participate in the Capital Audio Fest and its Seattle cousin.

However, also participating were some major, well-established and/or up and coming manufacturers. In this video you'll see the latest new products from established companies like Fine Sounds, which distributes Pro-Ject and Rotel and of course also markets the Sumiko cartridge line. This year Jeff Coates chose to show less costly complete systems—one for around $2000 and one for approximately $6000— along with a series of new products. Both systems sounded very good and represented excellent for the money value.

The well-respected Japanese brand TAD returned, having made a big splash last year at the show with a big room as a new distributor made a push to re-establish TAD in The United States. I interviewed him and the company CEO who again flew in from Japan, to find out what progress they've made here. Also in this video you'll find an interview with the CEO/Founder of Perlisten Audio—a domestic loudspeaker manufacturer that's made waves—sound and other kinds—over the past few years.

Despite the vinyl revival, the show was not turntable-rich though there were some here. VPI had a major presence, and there were turntables from a few other companies including Clearaudio, and Serbia-based Soulines whose tt42 is pictured at the top, but this show was mostly music from servers and streaming with the iPad ruling the source control roost. There were a few rooms with tape decks.

Major and smaller U.K. based brands like Rega, SME and others were not present, not was Technics. Even when rooms had turntables, more often than not, at least when I visited them, they were not spinning. In other words, for the most part this was a digital show. And if it proved anything it's that digital sound has greatly improved. There was much great digital sound though when vinyl spun in the big rooms, there was another kind of sonic magic. Day two video coming up shortly! And in the text for that one I'll discuss the rooms that sounded best to me.

Also, had a very pleasant Friday evening dinner with Ken Redmond, Dave McNair and WallyTools's J.R. Boisclair.


  • 2024-02-21 01:01:49 AM

    Anton wrote:

    The past is definitely prelude!

    Nice to see Apogee back, at least in spirit.

    • 2024-02-21 02:31:32 AM

      Michael Fremer wrote:

      That system sounded spectacular

    • 2024-02-21 10:38:21 PM

      Jeff 'Glotz' Glotzer wrote:

      I had the Apogee Centuar Minors back in the 90's.. Great, resolving speaker, down to the midrange. The 6" woofer sucked balls though. Poor FR integration, cardboardy punch. But the ribbon handling above that, was absolutely amazing. Addicting. Blew a tweeter and though Jason Bloom hooked me up for free (RIP Jason), I needed bass with my space.. got the Mirage M7si's on a trade up policy. Miss that insight despite owning Magnepans. Ribbons on the 2.7i/x's may make me save up. I really wanna hear what the X Series upgrades are going do at the shows this year. (And I haven't forgot about fall- Trying!)

  • 2024-02-21 04:30:02 PM

    chriscarcinogen wrote:

    Did you see that Haniwa turntable with the long(!) tonearm?

    • 2024-02-28 08:12:31 PM

      Michael Fremer wrote:

      Yes. It's in the video. no offset angle. That's a "thing" in Japan but I'm not convinced...

  • 2024-02-21 09:15:59 PM

    James Pritchett wrote:

    Mike, what were you playing on the turntable in the Acora room around 5:30pm? I was looking forward to hearing the speakers, but the music drove me away to the Boressen room with the M series speakers (amazing sound!)

    • 2024-02-28 08:13:22 PM

      Michael Fremer wrote:

      could have been the Patrick Leonard record. Most people love it but that's taste ....

  • 2024-02-21 10:32:18 PM

    Jeff 'Glotz' Glotzer wrote:

    OMG.. One glance at that awesome deck and I guessed Soulines... I was right!! The DNA in that is there, but looks very different.

  • 2024-02-22 05:24:30 AM

    Anton wrote:

    Added to say: this is a great show video. Really worth your time.

  • 2024-02-28 01:08:50 PM

    Volki wrote:

    Waiting for the coverage of day two ...