2024 FLAX Saturday Highlights | FLAX 2024

2024 flax saturday

High-end audio is obsessive by nature, which is why I tend to go nuts whenever I see the latest version of the LS3/5a that scales new levels of performance. So my 2024 FLAX Saturday highlights begins with a single pair of tiny speakers sitting off to the side of the room, static, prompting me to assume there are more Falcon Acoustics Gold Badge LS3/5as bopping around. But no, this 2024 version isn’t a Gold Badge. It isn’t even a Kingswood Warren version of the LS3/5a, which was very limited and sold out very quickly, leading me to mope around for years.

Words and Photos by Marc Phillips

This is a new 2024 version that actually improves upon the Kingswood Warren, costs $10K/pair, and is limited to just 50 pairs–and half of them are already sold. One day I’ll get my act together, purchase a pair of whatever super-duper LS3/5a comes down the pike from from Falcon Acoustics, and that will probably be the speaker that I use as a reference for the rest of my life. Until then, I can only drool.

mc audiotech

MC Audiotech TL-8

I reviewed the MC Audiotech Forty-10 loudspeakers a couple of years ago, but they were a bit too much speaker for my room at the time. I’ve always promised Mark Conti and Paul Paddock that I would give their speakers another try when I had a bigger space. I have the bigger space now, but the subsequent MC Audiotech models–first the TL-12 ($27K/pair) and now the TL-8 ($15K/pair) have gotten progressively smaller–and more satisfying. With a system that included Pass Labs amplifiers, Audience cables and a gorgeous VPI Prime Signature ‘table, the TL-8 is a thoroughly accomplished and satisfying loudspeaker–and I begged Mark and Paul for a chance to review them.

2024 flax saturday

Stenheim, VivA, VPI and DS Audio

This room was always packed throughout the day because it was such an impressive system–Stenheim, VivA, VPI, DS Audio–and industry vet Walter Schofield really knows how to do a demo at a high-end audio show. This was a stellar system that did it all: size, scale, detail and coherence. This was a true 2024 FLAX Saturday highlight.

audio group denmark

Audio Group Denmark

If Audio Group Denmark shows up to a hi-fi show, chances are everyone will be buzzing in the corridors. The manufacturer of Børresen speakers, Aavik electronics, Ansuz cables and accessories and now Axxess–their entry level line–hosted three rooms at FLAX 2024 thanks to their Atlanta dealer, Next Level HiFi. Two of these rooms were dedicated to the affordable high-performance Børresen X1 ($5,500/pair) and the X2 ($8,500/pair) speakers, matched to Axxess Forte integrated amp/DAC/streamers, which in many ways are just as surprising as the Børresen M6 flagship–which sells for a mind-blowing $550,000/pair.

2024 flax saturday

Here’s a quick scoop–AGD’s Lars Kristensen told me that he was especially proud of the Børresen X2s since they have the finest price-performance ratio in the entire company. But the new Børresen X1s knocked me for a loop because they reminded me so much of the $100,000 Børresen M1s, the incredible bookshelf monitor that introduced me to this fine company.


The big room, with the $280,000/pair Borresen M3s and the entire Aavik 880 series of components, was truly a 2024 FLAX Saturday highlight. You want to hear the state-of-the-art in music playback? Sit your butt down. But if you do find yourself faced with a system like this, which surpassed $2 million in total cost, make sure you and your audio buddies don’t spend that opportunity talking about the medications you’re taking to combat high cholesterol. For the first time in my life, I turned around and told someone to keep quiet. In fact, I had to tell them twice, because apparently Atorvastatin is a far more important topic than the pinnacle of high-end audio. Take it out of the room, gentlemen. FFS.

triangle and electrocompaniet

Triangle and Electrocompaniet

It’s always fun to walk into a high-end audio exhibit room and find myself staring at the same speaker-amplifier combo that I have set up in my listening room. This was the case with the ($7,000/pair) Triangle Magellan Duetto bookshelf monitors from France and Electrocompaniet amps from Norway. As I’m finding out at home, this is an eager-to-please sound that is clear and energized and focused–and I really enjoy it.

2024 flax saturday

Focal and Naim

I’ll admit it–the Focal and Naim rooms were a 2024 FLAX Saturday highlight because of two new incredible finishes for Focal Speakers. First we have the “white zebrano” finish for the Focal Utopia La Scala speakers, which will catch your eye from across a crowded room like nothing else I’ve seen in the last few years. The other finish is a moss green for the Aria Evo X speakers that changes in shades as the light hits it.

Sound-wise, of course, the Focal and Naim room was thoroughly engaging. I’m setting up several reviews for these two products as we speak, including those $799 Focal Stones outdoor speakers I talked about last year. I have a nice deck now, and those Stones are going to entertain a lot of friends and loved ones in the near future.



It’s only been a few months since I’ve reviewed the stunning and powerful $9,000/pair Aretai Contra 100s monitors from Latvia, so I still remember how they sound and what they can do in terms of sheer performance. Aretai founder Janis Irbe brought the larger Contra 200Fs ($26,000/pair) to the US for the first time, and they were very impressive. They’re still a reasonably-sized 3.5-way floorstander that gets down to 26 Hz while achieving a sensitivity of 95 dB. I loved ’em.



Margules Audio from Mexico City came out with a new two-way monitor with an AMG tweeter, and it went loud and deep in a very impressive way. In fact, this was the first time I’ve persuaded Julian Margules to play Chocolate Chip Trip for me, and the Margules system knocked it out of the park. I’ve known the Margules family for many years, and I’m so happy that they’re gaining more recognition every single year with products that look and sound so beautiful. This was one of the biggest 2024 FLAX Saturday highlights, and I’ll have much more to say in my show report of the room.

2024 flax saturday

Metaxas & Sins

What do I know about Metaxas & Sins? First, Kostas Metaxas makes some of the most beautiful audio sculptures in the business, designs that are provocative and perhaps polarizing, but full of purpose and technology. Second, I know Metaxas & Sins products are quite expensive, which shouldn’t be that surprising when you see this gear in person. (The Siren loudspeakers are $128k/pair, and the Tourbillon reel-to-reel decks are $49,000.) But what I didn’t know was how it all sounded.

I can finally report that this is true high-end audio gear, and it sounds amazing. It’s an absolute 2024 FLAX Saturday highlight.

volti lucera

Volti Audio/Border Patrol/Triode Wire Labs

I always love the sound from “The Three Amigos,” but at FLAX 2024 Greg Robert debuted his new $11,750/pair Luceras. Slotted between the Razz and the Rival models, the Lucera is a three-way hybrid horn speaker that looks like a slightly larger Razz, but sounds closer to the Rival. While the usual fun and exciting Volti Audio sound was still present, it was accompanied by a new level of refinement that easily wound up as a 2024 FLAX Saturday highlight.

2024 flax saturday


Brian Hunter and I started off our 2024 FLAX Saturday with a private audition in the TAD room, which was exciting and fun. TAD has been filling their exhibit rooms with multiple systems featuring just about every product they make, so it’s immensely satisfying to point to a product and have the folks at TAD say sure, we can do that. Graig Neville has been playing around with TAD speakers and electronics, and he’s downright giddy. You’ll hear more about TAD from PTA in the future.

And now it’s Sunday, the last day of the show, and then it’s back to Oregon to write up all the show reports. FLAX is becoming bigger and more mature, but it’s also one of the most enjoyable shows on my schedule. (And that’s not just because the cigars flow freely in the Tampa area.) For the next couple of weeks, I’ll be diving in and talking about the many fabulous rooms at the show.

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