In February 2019, a new audio show was launched in Tampa, Florida: the Florida Audio Expo. I and the other visitors that first year couldn’t have known whether it would be any good, of course, but the idea of spending a few days in Florida in February was appealing enough to go anyway. That show turned out to be hugely successful and has been held yearly since (except for 2021, due to the pandemic). An increasing number of exhibitors from outside the US have been attracted to the show in each successive year—mostly from Canada, Europe, Asia, and the UK—which prompted its organizers to rename it in 2023: the Florida Audio Expo became the Florida International Audio Expo. It has continued to grow in scale and reputation, and we intend to continue to cover it as we have since its inception.

Best of Florida International Audio Expo 2024

SoundStage! Ultra senior editor Jason Thorpe joined me at this year’s show, which was held from February 16 to 18, to cover it for our SoundStage! Global site. Jason has covered many hi-fi shows in the past, but this was his first time at the Florida show—and he loved it. We published 11 articles while at the event, of which Jason wrote 8. From those articles and our notes on products that didn’t make it into our coverage—time restrictions allow us to cover only so much—we selected what we felt were the best products of the show, and in this article, I highlight those products (prices all USD). That two of the products came from Japan, one from Denmark, and one from Finland attests to the international nature of the Florida International Audio Expo.

TEAC TN-4D-SE turntable

One of the components that didn’t make it into our coverage but that I often talked about while at the show, probably more than about any other, is the TEAC TN-4D-SE turntable. It was shown in one of the display rooms of Playback Distribution, the US importer for TEAC of Japan.

The TN-4D-SE comes with a factory-installed Sumiko Oyster cartridge and includes parts and tech fit for a turntable twice the price. It looks and sounds like one too. I invited Jason to hazard a guess at the retail price of this turntable. After examining it studiously for a while, he estimated the price to be $1500. You can probably imagine Jason’s reaction when I told him it was half that price—$749.99.


Among other features are a slim plinth, natural walnut or piano-black, a stable direct-drive mechanism, a built-in but defeatable moving-magnet phono stage, and an S-shaped tonearm designed in collaboration with Japanese tonearm maker SAEC.

Typically, turntables under $1000 look lamentably run-of-the-mill cheap. The TN-4D-SE doesn’t look like its competitors, and it certainly doesn’t look cheap. We hope to get one of these to our budget-turntable guru, Thom Moon, for review on SoundStage! Access.

Esoteric F-02 integrated amplifier

Esoteric is the high-end division of TEAC and is also distributed by Playback Distribution. Priced at $18,000, the Esoteric F-02 (along with the identically priced F-01) is a relatively new addition to the company’s F Series of integrated amplifiers. It is capable of outputting 120Wpc into 8 ohms or 240Wpc into 4 ohms and is said to incorporate preamplifier and power-amplifier technologies from the company’s flagship Grandioso line. At the show, the F-02 was driving a pair of Amphion Krypton3X loudspeakers, which Jason wrote about, and I describe below.


An integrated amplifier costing $18,000 would be expected to look upscale, of course; but the F-02, with its thick, beautifully sculpted casework, wouldn’t look out of place alongside an amp double its price. Besides speaker-level outputs, the F-02 has a balanced dual-mono headphone amplifier with a four-pin balanced output and a 6.3mm single-ended output. The preamplifier stage can be adjusted for 0, 6, 12, or 18 dB of gain. At the 12dB setting, the volume control has a staggering 1120 steps, some as fine as 0.1dB. Balance and tone controls are provided as well as gain control (±18dB) for each input. These controls also operate in 0.1dB steps. The F-02 includes a phono stage compatible with moving-magnet and moving-coil cartridges, but it has no DAC. It is a feature-rich integrated amplifier that offers topflight sonic performance, which the Amphion Krypton3X speakers clearly demonstrated.

As mentioned, Esoteric also offers the F-01 integrated amplifier, which is built exactly the same as the F-02 and has the same features. But whereas the F-02’s amplifier section is class-AB, the F-01’s has been biased for pure class-A operation, which resulted in a different output: 30Wpc into 8 ohms or 60Wpc into 4 ohms. If you don’t need the greater power of the F-02, it would be worthwhile for you to listen to the class-A sound of the F-01. In fact, a listening comparison of these two amps should be very interesting.

Børresen X1 loudspeaker

Danish loudspeaker manufacturer Børresen Acoustics has released some ridiculously priced speakers. Their current flagship standmount, the M1, retails for $100,000 a pair! I have listened to some of these speakers in the past, and I’ve never come away convinced that their sound and build quality were on par with what their price suggests. But looking past those ultraexpensive speakers and keeping an open mind, we spent some time with Børresen’s new X1 standmount speakers, which cost $5500 a pair ($6600 with stands). They sounded amazing and are definitely worth checking out.


Our positive impression of the X1 was shared by many people I talked to at the show. The X1 carries on the design traditions of the company’s more expensive standmount speakers—a ribbon-type tweeter married to a dynamic midrange-woofer, both proprietary and made in house—but for whatever reason, its sound as I heard it in the Florida show impressed me more than any other Børresen speaker I’ve heard to date. Finally, a Børresen standmount I can comfortably recommend listening to, and possibly buying.

Amphion Krypton3X loudspeaker

Around 25 years ago, I was in Frankfurt, Germany, to cover the High End show (now held in Munich). Near the end of the last day of the show, I walked into a room with an intriguing display of loudspeakers from a brand neither I nor anyone else I knew at the time had heard of: Amphion of Finland. I talked to founder Anssi Hyvönen and expressed my interest in reviewing a pair of standmount speakers. Not long after, I received a pair of Argon2 loudspeakers from Amphion directly. I was so impressed by those speakers that I’ve kept a close eye on the company ever since. And so one of the products I was most eager to see at the Florida show was Amphion’s new reference floorstander, the Krypton3X.

Amphion system

The original Krypton loudspeaker has been around for as long as I’ve known the brand, but it took the company over 20 years and many iterations to perfect it. (See our short video on the Krypton from January 2018.) Based on what I heard in Tampa, this latest version of the Krypton may have taken the design to its peak performance.

The system these speakers were part of—an Esoteric N-05XD streamer feeding digital music to an Esoteric F-02 integrated amplifier, with Esprit cables connecting everything—sounded better than any other I heard during my three days at the show. It certainly produced the best playback of Bruce Cockburn’s “Pacing the Cage,” from his album The Charity of Night, that I’ve ever heard. I sat there slack-jawed as Cockburn materialized uncannily before me, his acoustic guitar and voice planted solidly on the soundstage with stunning realism.

I asked Hyvönen to play St. Vincent’s “Los Ageless,” from her album Masseducation, which is a beautiful remake of the same song from her album Masseduction. This track, as all the others on Masseducation, features only the singer’s voice and Thomas Bartlett’s piano. St. Vincent’s vocal image was conjured up distinctly at the center of the stage with Bartlett’s piano alongside it, as weighty and robust as the real thing. The Kryptons can generate deep, powerful bass, which seemed to overload the smallish display room they were in, resulting in a touch of boominess. But knowing this issue would not arise in a more suitable listening space, I was able to suppress my awareness of it and relish the reference-class sound of the Krypton3X.


Hyvönen played several other tracks he likes to use to showcase his speakers. I didn’t know these recordings enough to be able to tell whether the playback was as good as it could be, but they sounded fantastic. As I was about to leave, he approached me and remarked that he had never seen me linger in a listening room so long—I typically dart in and out, trying to visit as many exhibits as I can. This was different. I was so taken with the sound of the Krypton3X system, I just couldn’t bring myself to leave.

No Montreal in March—but Munich in May

Next on our show schedule would normally be Montreal Audiofest, held each March. Jason and I have covered this show together for many years, but it seems to have lost some of its luster and has been receding in prominence, so we’ve decided to skip it this year. Instead, we’re holding out for High End in Munich in May. Jason and I will both be there, as will Matt Bonaccio, who accompanied us last year to Audio Video Show in Warsaw, Poland. Once again, our coverage will appear on SoundStage! Global, and I’ll be following that up with an article in this space on June 1 to highlight the best of the show.

. . . Doug Schneider