I love rooms like the one hosted by Cardas, Mobile Fidelity, Falcon Loudspeakers, Primare, Dr. Fieickert Analogue, Koetsu and Nautilus Power Strip. I know that sounds like a super-sized laundry-list of brand names, but the overall theme of Room No. 502 at the Florida Audio Expo was to “keep it simple.”
Easy to spot from the hallway as I entered the room, in both manner of sight and sound, the Falcon LS3/5a loudspeakers (starting at $2,995 pr USD / $3,250 in Burr Walnut finish as shown)
did well to tackle this small hotel room in terms of giving a full-range impression. Yes, there are limits to what the LS3/5a can do in the low region, but damn if everything else above isn’t spectacular. These Falcon’s are extremely livable speakers. Oddly enough, my favourite personal experience with a pair of LS3/5a’s was at lively dinner party. They held their own.
New for the debut, Primare’s I25 Prisma integrated amp with built-in streamer and DAC ($3,995 USD) which utilizes an updated UFPD all-analog Class-D amplifier technology called UFPD 2. An already iconic integrated amplifier just got better. Units start shipping in March of 2019. We were streaming Qobuz throughout the show with the new Primare, but it also supports Tidal, Spotify, Pandora, Tune In and a few others.
Making a North American debut was the new Dr. Feickert Volare turntable with Origin Live Silver MK3a tonearm and Koetsu Black Goldline MC cartridge ($5,500 USD total package price). Unique for this turntable is it’s aluminum platter. Unique in a sense that Dr. Feickert’s usual platter material of choice is Delrin. A Delrin platter and wooden plinth option are available for a nominal fee of $250 USD each, as they are considered upgrades from standard.
Running the signal from the new Volare turntable was MoFi Electronics’ own StudioPhono MM/MC phono-stage ($299 USD). Compared to the UltraPhono MM/MC phono-stage, you won’t notice anything missing but the built-in headphone amplifier. Otherwise, it’s the same selectable gain and adjustable loading as the UltraPhono, along with two easily accessible buttons for mono-mode and sub-sonic filtering. Small are the units as the power supply is external and tucked out of the way.
Speaking of power, the still-new Cardas Nautilus power strip ($1,499 USD) was being paired with sibling products in the Cardas Clear Beyond signal and power cables, along with an Isotek Isoplug AC Noise Filter ($149 USD)
Simple is the theme here, but nothing about the Solidsteel NS-7 speaker stands ($349 USD) and Solidsteel S4-2 rack ($699 USD) come across as simple. They are gorgeous, sturdy, and isolate with the best of them. The only thing simple about them is the price and the decision to buy.
Listening to “Damned If I Do” off Sarah Shook & The Disarmers’ 2018 album Years, the true to nature vocals of Sarah’s voice sounded as real as ever. As if she was in the room with us here in Florida. It’s not often you can digitally summon your ex-wife’s voice for demonstration purposes at an audio show, but thanks to Qobuz, the “magic” and “terror” (LOL) was real.
by Eric Shook