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Florida International Audio Expo 2023 Show Report

Fantastic Fun At The Florida International Audio Expo 2023
Great growth within the premium audio experience.
Editorial By Steven R. Rochlin 


Fantastic Fun At The Florida International Audio Expo 2023 Great growth within the premium audio experience.


  Decades ago many of you reading this would have had to wait months to find out what was happening at luxury audio shows. We'd be champing at the bit waiting for the next issue of whatever print magazine(s) we were subscribed to hoping to learn about the latest and greatest gear. It brings me immense joy knowing many of you reading this might not remember those days decades ago. It's also proof of the amazing progress we've all been enjoying thanks to the internet. Back then there were only two main shows within the USA, plus a small handful of others around the world. Today there are so many shows that it is (literally) impossible to have one person report on them all! If there was proof that our industry is 'fire', as the kids say, it doesn't take a genius to know that high-end audio continues to evolve and grow.

While immersivephiles are few are far between, for now, this is another part of our industry that has tremendous growth potential! Yet let's not get ahead of ourselves just yet, as source material supported by the music business also plays its part. As I type this it is February 2023, so let's focus on the right now.



Without a doubt this past weekend's Florida International Audio Expo (FLAX) 2023 was a tremendous success! All around great guy and show promoter Bart Andeer was elated to report that all exhibition spaces / rooms were sold. The weather was typically glorious in Tampa during February. Those from Canada and parts North were happy to fly down to the Sunshine State and enjoy the freedom Florida provides. Families, families, and more families. Sure we're all at the Expo to see and hear all the great audio gear, yet many exhibitors also bring their families, with some going to Disney World, Bush Gardens, Universal Studios, and others to NASA and/or the many other 'tourist traps' that bring millions of visitors to Florida every year. Heck, even Floridians sometimes vacation… in Florida(!).

With that said, this brings us to the very first luxury premium audio show of 2023. The Florida International Audio Expo 2023 featured over 75 rooms spanning many floors of the Embassy Suites by Hilton Airport Westshore from February 17th through 19th. With exhibitors having the day(s) before to set up their rooms, the Thursday night before the show is always a party where exhibitors and members of the press get together and reconnect with one another. A sense of exuberance was in the air as live music filled our ears and good food, all sponsored by Enjoy the Music.com, filled everyone's belly (as did delicious drinks).

As many know, my wonderful wife Heather (far left in pic above) joins me during all events; I'm not going to write about her and industry friends' antics, which seems to add up to Trouble (with a capitalized T, LOL).



A Special Award For A Friend Of Our Industry
During the Thursday night party, we all enjoyed festive food, delicious drinks, and lovely live music. As many of my readers know, my place within our 'audiophile society' is one of support for all this that brings the joys of music to our ears. As an extension of this, Enjoy the Music.com not only reports on it, we sponsor virtually all USA and Canada events. During my discussions with various show promoters weeks before the Tampa event, we agreed that Marjorie Baumert, who kindly brought us the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest (RMAF) for well over a decade until they closed up shop a few years back, should be thanked for all her efforts.



And so I was tasked to get a nice award and gift as a show of gratitude for her ongoing support of our industry. While RMAF in Denver is (sadly) within our rearview mirror, to this day Marjorie still comes to various shows and kindly lends a hand, as she knows the immense effort it takes from many to put on a successful event. During FLAX 2023, it was my honor to present Marjorie with an award and the gift of a golf putter as a show of our gratitude. We love you Marjorie and look forward to seeing you at various luxury audio events during 2023.


Overall Impressions
Writing this editorial the day after the Florida International Audio Expo ended, it almost all seems like a blur of endless happiness. From one room with great sound using large floorstanding speakers, to exhibitors with small bookshelf loudspeakers also creating a glorious soundscape, many said this year's show consistently showcased spectacular sound. While we could all wish for higher attendance from the public, Florida is known more for quality than quantity. As the USA's fastest-growing State, many are moving from cold and/or oppressive 'climates' to the fun and freedom offered by Florida.

Everyone from classic retirees to big investment bankers and the affluent mid-lifers, growth within this State continues to achieve record levels. And those moving here tend to have deep pockets too. Guess what, they also need to fill their newfound freedom and homes with sound. And that's where we as an industry are at-the-ready to bring the joys of music that meet or exceed their lifestyle wishes.

Overall, we all enjoyed music in its many forms from a wide variety of luxurious sound systems, great weather, and seeing one another as we learn about new births, kids going off to college, and discussing other hobbies many of us also share (timepieces, cameras, art, sailing, etc). The diversity at the Florida International Audio Expo was perhaps the best I've ever seen at an event. From the youth (we old guys wish we still had), to the young at heart, which we aspire to be. With a great soundtrack provided by exhibitors, it was among the most fun I've ever had at a show. Many attendees and exhibitors echoed my thoughts here, go ahead and ask them. This brings me to...

As many of you know, my workload nowadays is staggering in both breadth and depth, plus somehow 'finding time' for family and close friends. As many of you know, I could sit in front of a computer screen and code for hour after hour, getting lost within 'a world of my own making' (ok, yeah, that's a bit overblown yet coders understand). Please accept my sincerest apologies that my show coverage may not be as detailed and extensive as others here at Enjoy the Music.com (or that of our partner magazines). Frankly, I see this as a big move forward. Decades ago, CES 1996 for you fact-checkers, I pioneered live luxury hi-fi show coverage online. And once again pioneered 'hi-res' (ok, just 1080 resolution) live video streaming of premium audio shows too. Back then it was a Herculean task fidgeting with software to make it all work together in a way I felt best presented our industry.

Today we have inexpensive (or free) software / hardware 'tools' that easily and seamlessly work together. They enable your creativity and are easy to deploy. On one level I want to laugh at myself for what it took to 'make happen' back in the day, and other times cry about the many hours of my coding and whatnot needed to 'make it all work' back in the day. Let us all give thanks to the many creators and publications who take advantage of these tools today.



Modern Times, Modern Show Reports
Here at Enjoy the Music.com we know there are many publications doing incredible and ground-breaking work! By the time you read this, there are many web pages covering the gear heard during FLAX 2023 already online. In addition, hundred(s?) of videos are on YouTube and I wholly support you watching as many of them as you desire. Take a look around the landscape and be grateful that we no longer have to wait months to learn about what is at a show as was the case decades ago. Let us all show gratitude that the internet has provided the premium audio industry with an age where we have many members of the press, and creative enthusiasts, a 'venue' to share their joy of music with friends all over the world.

All shows now have a global reach that virtually instantly appears online for all to see, hear, and benefit from. The smart promoters of the Florida International Audio Expo provided a dedicated and well-lit space for bloggers, video streamers, and the like to have the best tools and opportunities to get 'er done. We live in interesting times indeed. While I hope you read all our show reports in the coming weeks, it brings me joy knowing there are so many other publications and enthusiasts creating content that brings our industry's message to more music lovers than we've ever had in the past. As they say, the more the merrier!



Please be sure to see their videos, read their reports, and for the newcomers am sure you'll quickly realize how much fun and happiness a great sound system can bring into your home, while you travel, and as you sit at a desktop computer as magical music fills your soundscape. The aural art we choose to call music fills our ears, brings us joy, and at times becomes the soundtrack to our special moments in life. That special song brings back memories of the moment when something awe-inspiring happened… or is happening. In a sense, it is akin to time travel for the human mind. Music is magical in many ways!

A most humble thanks to everyone for 2023's first luxurious premium audio show that happens in Tampa, Florida. I am grateful for all attendees who discovered something new, exhibitors who give tremendous efforts in setting up their perspective rooms, and of course, the Florida International Audio Expo show promoters who provided us a weekend to experience more happiness with both longtime and newfound friends. While every generation, every day, and at times every moment is filled with unique challenges, there's something very special (magical) about taking time to satisfy our deep love in experiencing musical pleasures. We desire to reconnect with 'friends', as for some of us visiting a record store or hearing that special playlist is like being with our 'musical friends'.


As always, in the end what really matters is that you...


Enjoy the Music,

Steven R. Rochlin




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