Montreal Audio Fest 2017

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Art Dudley  |  Mar 29, 2017  |  0 comments
The Montreal Audio Fest, formerly Salon Son et Image, isn't so much about hardware. If it were, there'd be no sense attending, because the High End show in Munich does hardware better than this or any other show, and God bless them for it. Montreal Audio Fest also isn't about lavish parties or celebrities or exotic climates: cripes, the weather up there in March is usually so miserable that even the ducks that populate the Hotel Bonaventure's tenth-floor gardens spend most of the day hiding under the bushes. Montreal Audio Fest is mostly about people...
Robert Schryer  |  Mar 29, 2017  |  1 comments
If there's one thing that brings me more joy than seeing a lot of happy people at the Montreal Audio Festival, it's getting a seat in an exhibitor's room. Unfortunately, I often can't have it both ways. Those same happy people, if there are enough of them, will make it so there's no chair left for me to sit in.

One way to improve one's sitting chances is to go on Sunday, generally the day with the least amount of show goers. I call it the Sunday rule.

Art Dudley  |  Mar 28, 2017  |  1 comments
At Montreal Audio Fest 2017, by means of some creative signage as well as their presence in one of the show's larger ballrooms, Yamaha had a simple message: "We're back." This was reinforced by a system comprising the latest Yamaha gear, much of which maintained the company's traditional styling . . .
Art Dudley  |  Mar 27, 2017  |  2 comments
Saturday at the Montreal Audio Fest dawned snowy: a clear sign that God wanted us to stay inside all day and listen to music. So I made an early start and began my rounds at the Bluebird Music suite, where proprietor Jay Rein and I had the luxury of a mostly empty, pre-throng room in which to listen and catch up.
Robert Schryer  |  Mar 27, 2017  |  2 comments
My pretend-award for this year's "speakers most like Mega Bloks" category goes to Israeli company PureAudioProject, whose Trio15 modular open-baffle speaker concept proved a hit at the Montreal show. A pair of Trio15 speakers is sold in kit form, in the loose sense of that term, since there's not much kit to assemble. What there is is a metal frame, two outboard circuit-board crossovers, and three rectangular panels, each pre-fitted with a driver, that "snap" together vertically to create the speaker's front baffle. Customers can choose between a variety of different drivers and crossovers—shown above is a panel with a Voxativ unit—and even swap those parts themselves at a later date; any modification is a "snap" that requires no soldering.
Art Dudley  |  Mar 27, 2017  |  2 comments
I entered the Oracle-Gershman room to the sounds of the Albinoni (or Giazotto, if you prefer) Adagio in g—from an LP that turned out to be by bassist Gary Karr—and the sound was gorgeous, with lots of texture (the good kind), color (ditto), and bass weight (very ditto).
Robert Schryer  |  Mar 26, 2017  |  0 comments
Whatever our preference in sound, there are audio components or systems that are not only better than others at plucking our heartstrings, but of doing so on such a level of intimacy it's as if the hardware were delivering the musical performance specially for us. I experienced such moments while listening to Coherent Audio's audio setup, which featured a Baetis Prodigy music server ($US3000), a Triode Labs Au Pre preamp ($CDN2000), a Triode Labs 2A3 SET ($CDN3900), and a pair of dual-concentric Coherent Audio Model 12GR speakers with a sensitivity rating of 96dB and an impedance of 8 ohms.
Art Dudley  |  Mar 26, 2017  |  0 comments
One is bound to hear at any hi-fi show—even a superior one such as this—the live, acoustic version of the Eagles' "Hotel California," just as one is bound to hear, at any Catholic mass, a Hail Mary: no surprise at all, and under the best possible conditions the aural equivalent of comfort food. At the 2017 Montreal Audio Fest, I first heard it at the exhibit sponsored by France's Atoll Electronique—and it reminded me of Ian Anderson's gracious comment, when asked if he was dismayed at the undeniable similarities between that Eagles song and Jethro Tull's own "We Used to Know," from the album Stand Up: "[Hotel California] is a very, very fine song.
Robert Schryer  |  Mar 25, 2017  |  0 comments
I was pumped about this year's Montreal Audio Fest, the city's 30th consecutive audio show, for a couple of reasons. First, I was pumped because I was covering the show for Stereophile with the estimable Art Dudley, and, second, because after last year's debacle that saw the show being unceremoniously cancelled by then-fest organizers/owners, the Chester Group, then resurrected by previous and self-re-instated show organisers, Michel Plante and Sarah Tremblay, the event's rapid revival was proof to me that the Montreal audio show still has legs and a purpose. (The show is taking place this weekend at the Hotel Bonaventure.)
Art Dudley  |  Mar 24, 2017  |  2 comments
What better way to start an audio show than with live music? With that in mind, one hour before the official start of the 2017 Montreal Audio Fest, Canadian distributor Plurison hosted, in their capacious display room, a too-brief performance by cellist Vincent Bélanger and singer-pianist Anne Bisson. They performed a few selections from their new LP Conversions—a project that was sponsored by Lily Luo and cable manufacturer XLO.
Art Dudley  |  Mar 24, 2017  |  0 comments
There’s already one good bit of news out of the 2017 Montreal Audio Fest, which begins at 11am today and runs through 5pm on Sunday: reconstruction of the interior of the show’s longstanding venue, the Hotel Bonaventure—a project that was in full, noisy swing during last year’s show—has now been completed, restoring the Bonaventure’s glory in general and its superb bistro/watering hole in particular. It was there that I enjoyed a short pre-show encounter with the audio-industry luminaries pictured above (L–R): Jeff Joseph (Joseph Audio), Doug Schneider (Soundstage.com), Keith Pray (Stereophile), Meredith Gabor (Nordost), and Mat and Harry Weisfeld (VPI Industries).
Stereophile Staff  |  Mar 23, 2017  |  7 comments
The 2017 Montreal Audio Fest starts tomorrow at its traditional venue, the Hotel Bonaventure Montréal (900 de la Gauchetière Ouest). In its current incarnation, this is the second year for the show after being "rescued" in 2016 by Michel Plante and Sarah Tremblay. Both had been long associated with the Canadian show before it was sold to the Chester Group in 2013.
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