SSI 2011

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Robert Deutsch Posted: Apr 06, 2011 0 comments
Are you in the market for a giant-sized speaker but your wallet is not correspondingly giant-sized? Then check out the Legacy Whisper XD. Weighing 210 lbs, 63"x17"x13", the Whisper XD is for large spaces, and the somewhat bass-heavy sound at SSI suggested that it was not feeling quite at home in the small hotel room. The price is $20,000/pair—not exactly spare change, but you get a lot for your money: a 10-driver system with four 15" subwoofers, four 7" Rohacell-reinforced midwoofers, a 3" ribbon midrange, and a ribbon tweeter. The system includes a DSP crossover with room correction.
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John Atkinson Posted: Apr 06, 2011 0 comments
Resident band at SSI is Give, featuring vocalist Caroline St-Louis and guitarist Stephen Ritch, who performed for trade and press attendees at the Awards party Thursday night. At the 2010 Show, SSI had their new CD available (a beautifully recorded album that proved that rock music doesn't have to be compressed to sound good); this year, the Show was selling a USB key of the Give Band's music.
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Robert Deutsch Posted: Apr 06, 2011 0 comments
ProAc is an English loudspeaker manufacturer that doesn't change models willy-nilly: if it works well and people buy it, then why change it? And if change comes, it should be purely evolutionary, perhaps a refinement of the crossover, or drive units replaced by improved versions of the same models. So, for ProAc, replacing the popular Response D38 with the D40 ($12,000/pair) represents. . .
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Art Dudley Posted: Apr 06, 2011 0 comments
I admit: I’m impressed that the Danish loudspeaker manufacturer Peak Consult has made such a name for itself in little more than a decade. (Adding to my surprise is the fact that “Peak Consult” does not, at first glance, seem to mean anything—although the name makes sense once it’s been explained.) Now Jay Rein and Bluebird Music, North American distributors of Chord and Exposure electronics, Spendor loudspeakers, and van den Hul cables, have taken on the line.
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John Atkinson Posted: Apr 06, 2011 0 comments
"Big sound, uncolored mids, very smooth highs" read my notes from the Lafleur room, scrawled on my pad while I listened to Muddy Waters' classic Folk Singer album. Canadian manufacturer Lafleur had made a big splash at the 2008 Montreal Show with the launch of its two-way X1 standmount and the company's 2011 room featured the X2 ($18,000/pair) driven by a Pathos hybrid integrated amplifier and a Clearaudio turntable.
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Art Dudley Posted: Apr 06, 2011 0 comments
While visiting Gradient’s North American distributor, Simplifi, I listened to the current version of their classic Revolution loudspeaker ($7995), which had been favorably reviewed in Stereophile back in 1995. Earlier in the show I’d been impressed with the uncanny spatial realism in the MBL room; the interestingly shaped, dipolar Gradient Revolution was at least its equal in that regard. On one record, singer Willie Nelson was right damn there, and when someone in his band started giving hell to a tambourine, the effect was almost nerve-rattlingly real. What a cool speaker!
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John Atkinson Posted: Apr 06, 2011 1 comments
The 2011 SSI was my first chance to see and hear the Limited Edition Les Paul Signature version of Thiel's well-received CS3.7 loudspeaker. The last complete design by the late Jim Thiel, the CS3.7 was favorably reviewed by Wes Phillips in December 2008. Wes concluded that he "loved, loved, loved the Thiel CS3.7!"
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Art Dudley Posted: Apr 06, 2011 2 comments
The first time I heard a PHY driver was in an enclosure designed and made by Ocellia Audio, 15-odd years ago. During the years since then, Ocellia head Samuel Furon has continued to refine his complex, intentionally thin-walled designs, and the line has expanded to include some new models. The latest of these is the Calliope.21 Signature ($14,000 as shown, with configurations of this model starting at $9900), which was demonstrated at SSI with an Ocellia Quero integrated amp ($14,000), prototype Ocellia Quero phono preamp (price TBD), and a vintage Platine Verdier turntable with EMT 997 tonearm and Ocellia-modified Denon 103 cartridge.
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John Atkinson Posted: Apr 06, 2011 0 comments
Naim's line of Uniti network-enable music servers . . . er, renderers . . . er, digital music players, can be controlled by a uPnP app runing on iPads and iPhones. Doug Graham's iPad doesn't seem disturbed by his frantic handwaving as it hung in mid-air! New at the Show was the UnitiQute player, which combines a preamplifier with two analog inputs, five 24-bit/192kHz-capable digital inputs, a USB port, and WiFI and Ethernet network connections.
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John Atkinson Posted: Apr 06, 2011 0 comments
This time it's Jacques Riendeau's hand on show, showing off the one-piece aluminum body for the new Oracle MC phono cartridge.
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Robert Deutsch Posted: Apr 06, 2011 2 comments
I have a lot of respect for Dynaudio speakers, and have enjoyed listening to them at various shows, but I've never been as taken with one of their speakers as I was with the new Confidence C1 Mk.II ($8200/pair). With Naim amplification and digital source (including a Squeezebox Touch), the sound was simply exquisite, with highs that were revealing and yet not clinical. The legendary Esotar2 tweeter (shown in the photo) has apparently undergone some evolutionary development, and continues to maintain its status as the best dome tweeter in the world.
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John Atkinson Posted: Apr 05, 2011 0 comments
Totem was demonstrating its new Element series loudspeakers with the Classé CA-M600 600W monoblocks that I enthusiastically reviewed in the March issue of Stereophile. The three Element models—the Fire stand-mount at $5995/pair, the floorstanding Earth at $8995/pair, and Metal at $12,995/pair—all use a new 7" woofer designed and manufactured in-house. But what's with the tie around the guy's head in the wall-sized photo?
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John Atkinson Posted: Apr 05, 2011 0 comments
Not just the public attendees made for the Aux 33 Tours room at SSI. Seen here browsing the jazz LPs (in denim jacket and deshabillé hair) is Graeme Humfrey, one of the proprietors of Montreal high-end retailer Coup de Foudre.
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Robert Deutsch Posted: Apr 05, 2011 0 comments
Totem always makes a splash at shows; this time the demos featured the Element series that was introduced at the 2011 Las Vegas CES. As a nod to the Image part of the name of the show, they also had a huge screen with four commercial-grade projectors, and a very stylish video presentation. The man with the "Einstein" hair on the left side in the picture is Totem president Vince Bruzzese, one of the recipients of SSI's Lifetime Achievement awards.
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Robert Deutsch Posted: Apr 05, 2011 0 comments
Although many (maybe most) of the demos at the 2011 SSI were computer-based, vinyl continued to have a presence, notably in the Aux 33 Tours room, which had an excellent assortment of LPs for sale. And not all the people showing an interest in LPs were old fogeys, as the photo illustrates.

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