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Robert Deutsch Posted: Nov 06, 2013 0 comments
The design and manufacturing of loudspeakers can be described as falling on a continuum. At one end, we have speakers that use off-the-shelf drivers purchased from driver manufacturers, combined with crossovers based on information in standard loudspeaker design cookbooks and/or loudspeaker design software (perhaps with "voicing" that conforms to the designer's preference). In the hands of a skilled designer, this approach can produce good results—but they can't claim any originality.

At the other end of the continuum are speakers that are designed and built from the ground up,, using design principles that, while perhaps not entirely original, represent substantially new application of these principles. This approach is much more rare—and much more costly to implement.

The Muraudio Domain Omni ESL ($48,000/pair), which made its debut at TAVES, is squarely in the latter category...

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Robert Deutsch Posted: Nov 04, 2014 1 comments
The Sheraton Center Hotel, venue of the 2014 Toronto Audio Video Entertainment Show (TAVES), represents a marked change from the genteel elegance of the King Edward Hotel, the TAVES venue for the past two years. Built in 1972 in a modern style, the Sheraton offers a lot more space—it also sports one of the most confusing show layouts that I've encountered. There are long corridors leading who-knows-where, and stairs going up and down that may or may not lead to exhibit areas.
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Robert Deutsch Posted: Nov 06, 2014 5 comments
I'm drawn to the idea of having a single transducer reproduce all the frequencies, but I appreciate the difficulties of this approach. Generally, the larger the driver, the better it is at reproducing low frequencies, and the worse at reproducing the highs. Thus, I was intrigued when I walked into the demo room of R2R Audio, a new Canadian manufacturer, which featured a single-driver system, with the driver having a 15" diameter, used in a dipole configuration. Can a driver like that reproduce anything other than the bass?
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Robert Deutsch Posted: Nov 07, 2014 1 comments
The Estelon X ($70,000/pair) was on the cover of the TAVES 2014 Show Guide, with the printed admonition "Don't miss Estelon in the Yorkville East Suite, 4th floor." Since they were kind enough to provide direction to the demo room, I just had to comply . . .
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Robert Deutsch Posted: Nov 01, 2015 4 comments
The first room I visited at the 2015 TAVES, held this past weekend in Toronto, was Update Stereo & TV's big room that had MartinLogan's flagship Neolith speakers—and they sounded completely different from the pair that I heard at the 2015 CES. Transparency, tonal neutrality, precise imaging, presence: it was all there. These are great speakers!
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Robert Deutsch Posted: Nov 02, 2015 4 comments
Cellist Vincent Bélanger (above) is getting to be a fixture at audio shows, the sound of the instrument and Bélanger's impeccable musicianship always serving as a welcome reminder of what our hobby is all about. He played at the party TAVES put on for the industry and media in a large ballroom, and first apologized that the sounds he was about to make were not nearly as loud as people were used to in the demo rooms. I think there's a lesson in there—and it's not that Bélanger was playing too softly!
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Robert Deutsch Posted: Nov 04, 2015 3 comments
TAVES 2015 presented the World Premiere of the ACA Seraphim Skogrand Edition speakers ($58,500/pair), with Skogrand cable CEO/Designer Knut Skogrand (above) on hand for the event. "Manufactured in a small workshop in the mountain hills of Norway," Skogrand cables are designed to "let any system perform at its full potential." This search for perfection does not come cheap: a 3m pair of SC Beethoven speaker cables costs $32,500!
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Robert Deutsch Posted: Sep 29, 2012 0 comments
Location, location, location. Although there are more factors that go into a successful audio/video show, unless the location and the venue are right, it's really an uphill battle. The organizers of the Toronto Audio Video Entertainment Show recognized that unless the show is in location that's convenient and has a venue that's attractive, only the most devoted audio/videophiles will attend.

They got it right by selecting the King Edward Hotel, a luxury hotel in downtown Toronto, with many restaurants nearby, and also close to theaters. All right, so parking is expensive, but the King Edward is steps from the subway, so it's easily accessible by public transit.

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Robert Deutsch Posted: Sep 30, 2012 3 comments
The Audio Zone Eliminator speakers ($8900/pair) have a distinctly DIY look, aimed at providing maximum performance with no concession to decor. Bass and midrange are both horn-loaded, the bass using a reproduction of the Electro-Voice DX-15 driver, the midrange a Selenium D330 compression driver, and a Fostex supertweeter. Claimed sensitivity is an astonishing 120dB. The Audio Zone Eliminator is built to order. Audio Zone also offers a variety of amps and preamps (active and passive), at what seem like very reasonable prices (eg, 50W Op-Amp Integrated, $1595), all made in Canada.

I'm a great admirer of Quad electrostatics. . .

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Robert Deutsch Posted: Oct 01, 2012 0 comments
John Atkinson reviewed the Acapella High Violoncello II speaker—an esoteric item with a horn-loaded midrange and ion tweeter—two years ago. His conclusion: "This admittedly expensive German speaker really is one of the finest-sounding speakers I have had the pleasure of using."

How expensive? $80,000/pair. Is that too much for you? Well, TAVES 2012 had a demo of the Acapella Violin 1, which is a "mere" $45,000/pair. In a system with Audio Research Reference electronics, the Acapella Violin 1s sounded magnificent.

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