LATEST ADDITIONS

John Atkinson  |  Mar 23, 2019  |  1 comments
I thought I would start my day by exploring the Hotel Bonaventure's ballroom exhibits, and on my way to the Westmont 2 room, where British company PMC was presenting the North American debut of their flagship Fenestria loudspeaker, I heard some unambiguously live harp music, played by the young lady in the photo, Isabeau Corriveau. A great way to start the day and one that emphasized the show's focus on music of every kind.
Robert Schryer  |  Mar 23, 2019  |  2 comments
Even sans Justin Trudeau, who last escorted me to the show in a Ferrari-red Airbus helicopter (not really) I was feeling good about this year's show—its 32nd edition—because for months I’d been seeing Facebook posts announcing the return of major brands that previously had bailed on Montreal’s Fest.
Art Dudley  |  Mar 22, 2019  |  4 comments
At 1:00 on Friday I spoke with Sarah Tremblay (above), co-organizer (with Michel Plante) of the Montreal Audio Fest. The 2019 show had opened only two hours before we ran into one another, and already over 4600 attendees had pre-registered and 1400 of them had arrived on-site. (Admission is free, but the organizers ask of each attendee their name and gender, and whether they'd attended previous Montreal shows.) Tremblay told me that approximately 50% of registrants so far were first-timers: an excellent sign.
John Atkinson  |  Mar 22, 2019  |  10 comments
The 2019 Montreal Audio Fest has opened at the Hotel Bonaventure across the street from the city's main railway station and even at the opening time of 11am, there was a long queue at the registration desk. The show, which runs until 8pm tonight, 10am–6pm Saturday, and 10am–5pm Sunday, has a theme celebrating both the Woodstock Festival's 50th anniversary and the 50 years since John Lennon's and Yoko Ono's infamous bed-in in Montreal and the Fab Four's last live concert. I will be covering the show live for Stereophile, along with Robert Schryer and Art Dudley. Stay tuned for our reports.
Jim Austin  |  Mar 21, 2019  |  11 comments
Like most serious pursuers of the audio hobby, I've known about J E Sugden & Co. Ltd. for years. For many of those years, though, it was easy to forget about them, and I mostly did—until, quite recently, Sugden gear began popping up at audio shows, including the 2016 Rocky Mountain Audio Fest. In his report on that show, Herb Reichert described the midrange of Sugden's A21SE Signature, a pure class-A integrated amplifier, driving DeVore Fidelity speakers, as "shroom-like" and contrasted the sound with what he called class-D's "fake cocaine." That got my attention.
Herb Reichert  |  Mar 21, 2019  |  9 comments
If you've ever dipped your toe into some form of high-performance motor sport, you know: The best race-car engines spin torque and exhale horsepower—with intoxicating ease. They're engineered to be responsive. Depress the clutch, toe the throttle, and watch the tachometer instantly pin itself. Engage the clutch—your chest contracts and your head gets light. Then later . . .

Back in your Ford Fiesta, its revving engine sounds distant, muffled. Your body can't feel the powerplant's power. In gear, the Ford feels soft and hesitant, not responsive.

Jason Victor Serinus  |  Mar 20, 2019  |  17 comments
For all those who love Beethoven, for all who wish to honor conductor Bernard Haitink's 90th birthday earlier this month (March 4), and for all who've been posting variations of, "Jason, for the love of God, free us from the horrors of contemporary music," this one's for you. Live from the London Symphony Orchestra, we present Beethoven's Piano Concerto No.2, Triple Concerto in C for piano, violin, and cello, and Leonore Overture No.2, Op.72a from LSO Live (LSO0745D). Although identified as a "CD" by arkivmusic.com and Amazon, this is a hi-resolution SACD, recorded in DSD64.
Art Dudley  |  Mar 19, 2019  |  8 comments
The late Julian Vereker, the sharp-minded former racing driver who founded Naim Audio and designed its first products, did so because he wanted audio amplification of a quality he felt no one else was making at the time, reasoning that if he wanted such a thing, so might others. Thus came about Naim's first domestic-audio product, the distinctive NAP200 solid-state amp (1973).
John Atkinson  |  Mar 19, 2019  |  9 comments
High Performance Loudspeakers: Optimising High Fidelity Loudspeaker Systems, Seventh Edition, by Martin Colloms. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2018. Paperback, 696 pp., $95. Available as an eBook, $79.99.

"Listen to that—that's what I mean by 'cone cry!'"

It was 1979. I'd been taking part in a blind listening test of loudspeakers organized by Martin Colloms (footnote 1) for the British magazine Hi-Fi Choice and, after the formal sessions had ended, had asked Martin to explain something I'd heard. A drive-unit's diaphragm produces cone cry when it resonates at a frequency unconnected with the musical signal it is being asked to produce; we had been using an anechoic recording of a xylophone, and one of the loudspeakers we'd been listening to was blurring the pitches of some of the instrument's notes.

Jason Victor Serinus  |  Mar 17, 2019  |  7 comments
Don't be fooled by Definitive Audio of Seattle's intentionally understated exterior. In my five years covering the annual four-hour Music Matters showcases, I have never heard such stellar sound from the store's six showrooms and head-fi listening area. In fact, four of the exhibits at Music Matters 14, held on Thursday March 7, together offered the finest sound I have ever experienced at any show or store event. And I'll swear by that statement.

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