We have been keeping a careful eye on the hobbyist-turned-semi-pro amp maker Justin Weber of ampsandsound for a few years now. Both his loudspeaker and headphone analog amplification has been causing waves in the marketplace, with both its innovative sound and DYI-roots. When I got wind that they were paired with the always impressive Acora granite speakers, I knew I was in for a treat this year at FLAX 2023.
And so the story starts to unfold. On display at the show were a pair of Acora Acoustics SRB with a new quartz finishes tied to Justin’s Casablanca REV 2 monoblocks ($16,000/pr USD). Tubage for the new Casablanca includes 45wpc with EL-34s and 60wpc with KT-88s or 6550s, for a little more variety in the loudspeaker matching. The pairing on display at the show was top tier quality, much as I’ve come to expect from ampsandsound (and Acora as of late). Justin knows his sounds, and his vintage brands as well. I trust his ears in much the same why I do for Dan Clark of DCA (formerly MrSpeakers). Both designers are stand out picks in terms of how they know build their contributions, but also have a great process for promoting synergy with the rig as a whole.
Listening at the event was equally a treat, with sonic textures bubbling in the most palatable and fun way possible. That’s not to say they weren’t accurate, but rather natural, elegant and uncolored as it gets in a medium to small sized makeshift room in a hotel in Tampa. Vocals and strings shown their best colors without being overtly pushy or strained in their presentation. A luxury-smooth top end and a tasty mid range all fulfilled the promise of hifi glory for paying attendees and press folk alike. It ended up being one of my favorite stops along the way, all weekend.
If you would like to hear even more coverage from FLAX 2023, check out the recap report and highlights from the 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.