Our fearless reporter--left--waxing eloquent in his notebook.

I have bumped into manufacturer Artist Cloner’s owner and designer, Sylvio Comtois, many times at audio shows. He strikes me as being a bit of a mad scientist. Not “crazy” mad but mad in the sense of being obsessed with a particular objective.

In Sylvio’s case, that objective is the realization of the ultimate in sound reproduction through meticulous system synergy. It’s why he designs, builds, and demoes entire ArtistCloner systems, to show what can result when everything in the playback chain, from cables to speakers, is optimized to work together with one voice. And while he’s happy to sell you a component or two to fit into your existing system—and I have no doubt they sound very good that way—that kind of misses the point, which is: Sylvio’s products are designed to work together much in the same way that your limbs and digits are meant to work for you, as parts of an organic whole.

Sylvio Comtois and his wife Isabelle with the Ether. This photo and the top photo, credit: Maxime Dorand.

Consider the 40"-tall, 2.5-way Ether speakers (introductory price, $22,000/pair, $25,000/pair after that). Their drivers and series crossovers all have their own chambers. Their inch-thick enclosures are made of one layer of elastomer, one layer of plywood, one layer of acrylic, and one layer of a grounded slate compound.

Feeding the speakers in this room were a pair of 48W (into 8 ohms) Coleo monoblock amplifiers (introductory price $8000 each, $9500 each after that), a Luceo preamp (introductory price $7000, $8000 after that.), and a Librarium music server / streamer (price varies). ArtistCloner cables, cable risers, and power conditioners were used throughout.

Music was streamed from the Librarium’s internal hard drive. On the cut “No Need to Argue” by the Cranberries, the organ’s bass tones produced tremors in the room’s structure and pushed a heavy blanket of low-octave energy into my chest. O’Riordan’s vocals hovered above, undisturbed, sounding sweet, tangible, colorful, clear.

A quieter track with acoustic guitar and bird sounds highlighted how spacious, natural, cohesive, and dimensional the soundstage sounded. In a more general sense, the music sounded pure and unobstructed, like a gushing river of tactile sound, proving that system synergy is a noble objective to obsess over. Since, hey, you've got to obsess over something, right?

Anton's picture

Looks like they are awaiting their Jan 6 verdict!

I am sure the vibe was happier than that.

Sylvio's mission is commendable. Imagine how much listening he must do....very cool. (And, likely, a great ear, to match!)

rschryer's picture

We do look like a somber bunch, but I assure you the collective mood was lighter than this group photo may suggest.

Glotz's picture

Anton, you rule! So funny.

RH's picture

Thanks Robert!

Wish I could have attended the show to hear them, but it's nice to read some details about the new AC product.

rschryer's picture

You're welcome, RH.