2024 FLAX Friday Highlights | 2024 FLAX

2024 flax friday

The 2024 FLAX Friday Highlights represent, of course, the beginning of the high-end audio show season, and with a busted tailbone and a fistful of Advil this intrepid reporter ventured out into the hallways of yet another hotel in search of great sound. I found it, too, almost immediately. The Florida International Audio Expo in Tampa, however, is more than just an excuse to head to warmer climes in February–it’s a crowded, thriving show that is truly gaining momentum in the industry.

Words and Photos by Marc Phillips

Plus, it’s a fun show–everyone is rested and ready to enjoy some truly amazing gear.


Gershman Acoustics Black Swan

When I reviewed the Gershman Acoustics Studio XdB monitors last year, it was the first time I was able to experience this innovative and durable Canadian brand in my own home. (I loved them, by the way.) For 2024, the new flagship Gershman Acoustics 30th Anniversary Black Swan ($80K/pair) is the focus of Eli and Ofra Gershman’s vision. The new Black Swan is the latest iteration of a model that’s been around for years, but it features some ambitious design details that include two separate cabinets–one with the heavy subwoofer, a driver that weighs 67 pounds on its own, and one with the other drivers. That’s right, the subwoofer is physically separated and yet this sleek enclosure design looks like a single entity.

What makes the Black Swan a 2024 FLAX Friday highlight is, quite frankly, the sound–big and warm and powerful with plenty of deep bass. In a system comprised of Convergent Audio Technology amplification, VPI analog and Aavik digital, the Black Swan flew gracefully around the–nope, I can’t even finish an analogy this corny. Let’s just say I think the Gershmans deserve their wonderful reputation for fantastic new ideas–especially when it comes to designing enclosures that deliver the goods in intriguing and thoughtful ways.

joseph audio

Joseph Audio, Doshi Audio, Cardas, Aurender

No one delivers more a consistent sound at audio shows than Joseph Audio, Doshi Audio, Cardas, Aurender and J. Sikora. It shouldn’t be a surprise that this room was a 2024 FLAX Friday highlight, especially when the speakers were the Perspective2, a small and compact floorstander that produces such a huge and effortless sound. Bouncing between the Aurender and a Studer reel-to-reel deck, the music in the room was superb–as usual. (Jeff Joseph, if you didn’t know, has some of the best taste in the business when it comes to his show playlists.)



I’ve only had limited seat time with Mytek digital products in the past, but I believe that’s about to change. This company has also been around a long time, starting with pro audio gear that’s used in recording studios around the world. I was particularly impressed with the build and the features of the new Empire DAC and streamer (around $25K), which includes a built-in Roon core. A new pair of GaN monoblocks, built in conjunction with AGD, wowed the crowds for its intriguing aesthetics.

2024 flax friday

Woo Audio

I do have plenty of experience with Woo Audio–I once owned a gorgeous burgundy WA3 headphone amplifier and I should have kept it. Woo Audio has always produced great looking and great sounding headphone gear, but I was surprised at how beautiful the line has become from a design standpoint. Definitely a 2024 FLAX Friday highlight.

2024 flax friday

High End by Oz

Ozan Turan was transitioned from dealer to dealer/distributor for some intriguing lines such as Lansche loudspeakers, the ones with the plasma tweeters, and now VivA electronics from Italy. Usually Oz assembles show systems that are huge, representing most of his lines, but at FLAX he had a simple system populated with some truly special gear: the Lansche 5.2 ($57K/pair), the VivA Solista MKIII integrated amp ($29,500), the Thrax Audio Maximinus DAC ($38,500) and Albedo Silver cables. The buzz is strong on Albedo cables–people with ears I trust tell me they’re some of the most exciting cables available. I really loved the sound of this system, making it a true 2024 FLAX Friday highlight.

moon audio

Moon Audio

There’s something about visiting a Moon Audio exhibit room, because it’s so easy to listen to all the best headphone gear in one place. As you can see, they have a lot of headphones. There’s no way to get a better education about the latest in head gear, but Moon Audio is also expanding their wonderful Dragon cable lines, and soon I will be reviewing an entire loom of their flagship cables.

acora acoustics

Acora Acoustics, VAC

The Acora Acoustics VRC-1 loudspeakers ($218K/pair) are not only one of our nominations for 2023 Product of the Year, but they are, of course, the reigning Chocolate Chip Trip champions. At the Tampa show, I think I’ve heard the best rendering of this Tool drum solo ever, mostly because Val Cora is never afraid to crank up the volume and this time, to my surprise, no one was scared out of the room despite Val’s warning to the room. But the bigger news is this new finish on the solid granite VRC-1s, which have a sort of Southwest feel to them that is classy beyond words. As of Friday, Val had not named this new finish, but he said he would by the end of the day.

I’ll tell you what it is when I complete my in-depth show reports on all these 2024 FLAX Friday Highlights. Stay tuned for the 2024 FLAX Saturday Highlights, which will appear on Sunday morning, the final day of the show.


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