SSI 2009

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Robert Deutsch Posted: Apr 06, 2009 2 comments
Component supports take a variety of forms: squishy, rubbery things; hard, pointed things; ball bearings (loose or constrained); air or liquid bladders, etc. The Spike component supports, imported by Divergent Technologies, were a new one for me: they use magnetic levitation. Now, I'm familiar with platforms using this principle, but these are individual component feet, each with opposed magnetic components. A box of these "Spikes" contains four such feet, and the price for the total is CN$200. I was surprised that magnets could be made strong enough in this small size to be able to support equipment of substantial weight—hich they apparently can.
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Stephen Mejias Posted: Apr 06, 2009 0 comments
Wilson Audio Specialties' Peter McGrath (second from left) is embraced by the crew of Coup de Foudre (l–r): Jennifer ("Just Jennifer. No surname. You may have heard of me."), Graeme Humfrey, and Erik Fortier.
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Robert Deutsch Posted: Apr 06, 2009 1 comments
Asked to name the top three drawbacks of electrostatic loudspeakers, the knowledgeable audiophile will list—not necessarily in this order—restricted listening area, inability to play loud, and limited bass extension. Although the last criticism can still be applied to the new MartinLogan CLX (its claimed bass –3dB point is 56Hz), the speaker's design has gone a major way toward addressing the other two criticisms.
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John Atkinson Posted: Apr 06, 2009 1 comments
Lafleur's X-1 bookshelf ($14,000/pair) was one of the hits of last year's Montreal Show despite the poor acoustics of the room they were being shown in, so I was looking forward to taking a further listen this year in a better room. Driven by an all-Simaudio Evolution series rig—Andromeda CD player and i-7 integrated amplifier—the X1s did indeed produce a superby detailed, natural-sounding midrange and treble, but the low frequencies seemed a little shelved down in absolute terms, I thought.
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Stephen Mejias Posted: Apr 04, 2009 Published: Apr 05, 2009 5 comments
I adored the sound in the small Son-Or-Filtronique room with the Audio Research VSi60 integrated amplifier, Audio Research CD8 disc player ($10,000), Verity Audio Finn loudspeakers ($6000/pair CAN), and Shunyata cables. Adored it.
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Stephen Mejias Posted: Apr 05, 2009 0 comments
Box Furniture Co.'s Anthony Abbate started as an apprentice to furniture maker Robert Martin. A love for music, sound, and hi-fi would soon get Anthony building equipment racks for his personal system. Later, a chance meeting at Max Fish, the colorful little bar on Ludlow Street in the Lower East Side, with speaker designer John DeVore, would lead to a partnership with DeVore Fidelity, building John's handsome speaker cabinets. (Oddly, but perfectly, Anthony would later later discover that John had sold him some of his old hi-fi equipment. Their relationship was obviously a product of fate. And you can't mess with that.) Anthony's equipment racks and isolation platforms, like the speaker cabinets, are nothing exotic or gaudy. Instead, they are simply elegant. But not elegant in the precious sort of way. Elegant in that nothing is wasted. Elegant in that form matches function. Anthony's work simply is what it is; pure and honest lines, mortise and tenon construction, catalyzed finishes, handmade in Brooklyn, New York.
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Stephen Mejias Posted: Apr 04, 2009 Published: Apr 05, 2009 0 comments
Son-Or-Filtronique's Dany Poulin stands with the Verity Audio Finn. Paired with the Audio Research VSi60 integrated amplifier and CD 8 disc player, the Finns, which are rated at 91dB efficiency and use a rear-firing woofer, were making some gorgeous sounds.
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Robert Deutsch Posted: Apr 04, 2009 0 comments
Which do you prefer: tube sound or transistor sound?
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Robert Deutsch Posted: Apr 04, 2009 0 comments
SSI had a display of vintage gramophones and radios, courtesy of Montreal's Emile Berliner Museum. They've had this for several shows now, and it's always wonderful to see these artifacts that tell the history of our hobby. The Museum is member-supported, and publishes a pamphlet, His Master's Voice, four times a year, in English and French.
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Robert Deutsch Posted: Apr 04, 2009 2 comments
No, it's not the fact that the Sheraton Centre bar is not absolutely teeming with people. They're in the exhibitors' rooms, listening to music.
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Robert Deutsch Posted: Apr 04, 2009 0 comments
Based in Calgary, Alberta, Grant Fidelity is the North American distributor of a range of Chinese-made audio electronics, under various brand names.
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Robert Deutsch Posted: Apr 04, 2009 4 comments
"Oui, Monsieur! You get a copy of Stereophile magazine with every admission to the show! It's an unbelievable deal, n'est ce pas?"
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Stephen Mejias Posted: Apr 04, 2009 1 comments
What a cool piece of gear: Handmade in Plymouth, Minnesota, the Audio Research VSi60 vacuum tube integrated amplifier ($4000) is a fairly compact unit (14" x 8" x 16") that delivers 50Wpc. Its milled top plate has an inset AR logo, while its striking front panel has super-cool function and volume LEDs on the left and totally caressable, soft-touch buttons on the right.
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John Atkinson Posted: Apr 04, 2009 0 comments
I am only familiar with the name "Solen" from the company's audiophile-quality capacitors and other passive components, so I wasn't sure what to expect when I entered the room labeled "Solen." The beautifully finished speakers, demmed with an Ayre C7-xe CD player, Accuphase preamp, and Rotel power amp, were one-off designs to show off what coud be achieved by the audiophile interested in "rolling his own." (Selections from AudioXpress magazine's library of speaker design books were also on show.) The large speaker with the outboard crossover sounded pretty good, I thought. It combined a JBL subwoofer with an Audio Technology woofer, ATC dome midrange, and Dynaudio Esotar tweeter.
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Robert Deutsch Posted: Apr 04, 2009 1 comments
The Pierre Gabriel speakers usually demonstrated at the Montreal show are normally humongous affairs, and, with partnering equipment by Jadis, the system price may leave you with little change from a $500k bill. I was surprised, then, to see a relatively modest-looking—but still very-good-sounding—speakers playing in the Pierre Gabriel/Jadis room.

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