TAVES 2011

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Robert Deutsch Posted: Oct 02, 2011 0 comments
Borrowing a page from the Montreal Salon Son & Image—and, previous to that, the Stereophile Hi-Fi shows—TAVES featured live music. Singer/pianist Anne Bisson performed at King Edward's Lounge on Friday and Saturday. Her latest LP/CD was also being played in a number of rooms, and was available for sale. In the Oracle room you had a choice of whether to listen to the LP or the CD. When I was there, the preference seemed to be overwhelmingly for the LP.
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Robert Deutsch Posted: Oct 02, 2011 0 comments
"Have you heard the Woo headphone amps?" Todd Garfinkle of M•A Recordings pulled me over. I told him that I hadn't—but then I have not kept up with the market in headphone amps. "Have a listen." So I did, over Sennheiser HD800 headphones. The M•A Recordings Seeing Unknown Colors (MO 15A) sounded great through the Woo Audio WA6 ($650), without the touch of extra brightness that these 'phones are prone to.
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Robert Deutsch Posted: Oct 02, 2011 0 comments
The interior of the N1 shows an impeccable arrangement of circuit components. There are separate circuit boards for the left and right channels; these are identical, and are stacked, as shown in the photo.
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Robert Deutsch Posted: Oct 02, 2011 0 comments
. . . and CDs.
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Robert Deutsch Posted: Oct 02, 2011 0 comments
I know that Zu is a manufacturer of loudspeakers, but what does "Omen Def" mean. I have no idea, but a pair of these speakers was producing a lively sound at TAVES. At $3400/pair ($2900/pair show special), the price seemed eminently reasonable. They were playing vinyl, courtesy of a KLM 15 turntable and Denon 103 Grade 2 (yes, it's still being made) cartridge.
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Robert Deutsch Posted: Oct 02, 2011 0 comments
Küdos is a line of speakers designed by Derek Gilligan, who was formerly designer of speakers for Neat Acoustics. The Titan T88 ($26,790/pair) made its North American debut at TAVES.
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Robert Deutsch Posted: Oct 02, 2011 1 comments
It's a well-known fact that any speaker can sound bad if the rest of the system if there are problems with the rest of the system and/or there's a problem with room acoustics. However, as I listened to the Sonus Faber Amati Futuras at TAVES (NBS preamp and cables, Basis turntable and arm, Audia Flight amplifier), which sounded very good indeed, it occurred to me that I've never heard Sonus Faber speakers sound bad. Was it just luck? I doubt it . . . (JA is working on a review of the Futura, to appear in the February 2012 issue of Stereophile.)
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Robert Deutsch Posted: Oct 02, 2011 0 comments
Ron Sutherland of Sutherland Engineering is famous for his phono preamps. At TAVES he introduced a new product: the N1 ($10,000), a line-plus-phono preamplifier. The most striking thing about this product is that it uses Nixie tubes for the display of source number and volume. Nixie tubes are those little tubes that light up to display a number or other characters. It's a charmingly retro look. I didn't think that these tubes are being made any more, and Ron Sutherland confirmed that this is correct; however, he has purchased a huge stock of Nixie tubes, so his customers are taken care of.
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Robert Deutsch Posted: Oct 02, 2011 0 comments
TAVES had a number of vendors offering an excellent array of audiophile LPs . . .
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Robert Deutsch Posted: Oct 02, 2011 1 comments
Toronto-based Focus Audio has been around since 1993, and they manufacture a vast array of speakers. The ones on demo (Chord CD player, Conrad-Johnson ET5 preamp and LP125M power amps) were the FP88s ($6800/pair). I enjoyed a recording of Eva Cassidy played through this system.
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Robert Deutsch Posted: Oct 01, 2011 0 comments
If you're wondering what you're getting when you buy a speaker like the Focal Stella Utopia EM, the back of the speaker gives you some indication. Note that it's signed by designer Jacques Mahul, and the quality control of this speaker was the responsibility of one S. Robert.
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Robert Deutsch Posted: Oct 01, 2011 0 comments
Ulrich Ranke, Managing Director of Ceratec, with one of the Xeno modules. There are four of these in each speaker.
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Robert Deutsch Posted: Oct 01, 2011 0 comments
There are probably no speakers that have a more old-fashioned look than those made by Tannoy, nor audio equipment more futuristically high-tech than the Devialet D-premier DAC/preamp/power amp. Audio Eden, a high-end audio dealer located in Newmarket (about 35 miles from Toronto), combined a pair of Tannoy Turnberry SEs ($7300/pair) with the Devialet D-premier ($16,500). Demoed by Mike Hamelin, this unusual combination worked well, producing an easy-on-the-ears, relaxed type of sound.
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Robert Deutsch Posted: Oct 01, 2011 0 comments
Paradigm has some new active speakers, including the A2 ($300–$350/pair, depending on finish) demoed here by Erin Phillips and Mark Aling using a Numark DJ mixing deck. Paradigm has also entered the earbuds market, with models ranging in price from $59 to $149. Like Paradigm's speakers, these were developed utilizing anechoic testing.
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Robert Deutsch Posted: Oct 01, 2011 0 comments
Focal distributor Audio Plus can always be counted on to give impressive demos of the big Focal speakers; this time, they had the Stella Utopia EMs, driven by the Devialet DAC/preamp/amp, with a laptop as a source. At $90,000/pair, the Stella Utopia EM, is for those folks who can't quite afford the $180,000/pair Grande Utopia EM. Great sound, as always with speakers in the Focal Utopia line.

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