I ran across the poster above in Canada HiFi magazine: an announcement of the launch of a new audio store with an evening of vinyl playback. Located in the town of Orangeville, Ontario (population 30,000, about an hour's drive from Toronto), the store, with the intriguing name of Aardvark Boutique Audio, hadn't opened yet, but the event, taking place in the Orangeville Opera House, promised "Canadian Musicians On VinylIn Amazing Hi Fi Sound." I had to go and check it out.
Established in 1980 by Victor Sima as Sima Electronics, Canadian audio company Moon by Simaudio Ltd. celebrates its 35th year in the audio business in 2015or, as its ads say, "35 years of passion." To mark the event, Simaudio had a party at Executive Stereo, their Toronto dealer (see photo above). It was a fairly low-key event, with a handful of Toronto-area audio journalistsincluding yours trulyand representatives of Simaudio attending.
It's been almost exactly a year since I reported on the opening of a new store dedicated to high-performance audio and video in Unionville, Ontario. To mark the first anniversary of the store's opening, they had a party to celebrate the occasion.
An event at SSI 2015 that, to the best of my knowledge, was unique for an audio show, involved the setup of an "on location" recording studio, and the making of actual recordings. No, not a "Garage Band" App, not a "home recording studio," but a real professional studio, involving some $300k's worth of equipment, and the services of professional recording engineers. The project, called La VibZ Studio, was initiated by Stephan Rich, musician and sound technician, and brought together for the SSI 2015 event vocalist/pianist Anne Bisson, the Give Band (featuring vocalist Caroline St-Louis and Stephan Ritch on the guitar), and Hans Wilwright. The attendees were provided with Sennheiser cordless headphones for listening to the playback.
Montreal dealer Coup de Foudre's exhibit featured the 2012 Stereophile Loudspeaker of the Year Vivid Audio Oval K1 (USD$26,000/pair), in a system featuring Luxman electronics. I've never heard these speakers sound anything less than great, and their sound at SSI 2015 did nothing to change my previous impression. I really liked the red of the demo pair, and asked importer Philip O'Hanlon if it was a popular choice. He said that although the red is much admired, most people end up choosing a different, more conservative, color. I guess I'm not like most people. My Avantgarde Uno Nanos are red, and so is the last car I bought.
The first room I visited at SSI 2015 was the one devoted to the Soltanus Acoustics ESL Virtuoso loudspeaker (CAD$10,995/pair). Why did I choose this room? First, their room was right next door to mine, so it was a matter of convenience. And when I saw the sign that said that they were showing a full-range electrostatic loudspeakerwell, given my history with the original Quad and KLH Nine, I was most intrigued.
And this speaker turned out to be one of my "finds" at the show...
One of the characteristics of shows like SSI, where many of the exhibitors are dealers rather than manufacturers or distributors, is that you may get a chance to hear equipment combinations you would never encounter at CES. At SSI 2015, the Totem Earth speakers were combined with McIntosh electronics, to good effect. Another thing that distinguisher these dealer-exhibitors is that you can buy the products on displaysomething that's strictly forbidden at CES. The Totem Earth has a list price of CAD$9000/pair, but you could have it a "show special" price of CAD$6000/pair...
So there I was, taking the subway in Toronto to Union Station, where I would be taking the train to Montreal, and this coming weekend’s Salon Son & Image (SSI), when I spotted this sign, advertising the availability of grants for education related to the love of music. Is that fitting, or what? The list of occupations related to music was extensive, and included, in addition to some obvious ones like audio technician, sound mixer, and electrical engineer, some that I would not have thought of, like intellectual property lawyer and accountant. But I was happy to see “magazine editor” on the list.
I reviewed GoldenEar Technology's first speaker, the Triton Two ($2999.98; all prices per pair), in February 2012. It was and is an outstandingly good speaker, but I thought then that if GoldenEar would apply the same expertise to the design of a speaker with fewer cost constraints, the results could be better still. Sandy Gross, president and CEO of GoldenEar, must have been thinking along similar lines when he named the speaker Triton Two, leaving One for a more ambitious future product.