Final Words

This year's annual audio-industry cocktail/supper ceremony was held in a ballroom-like room that gave the proceedings a bit of an Oscar-night flair. (Our invitation to Will Smith was rescinded in light of current events.) In what I'm assuming was a first at an audio-industry gathering, a drag queen entertainer was invited to perform on stage—Montreal's Rainbow—who did a skit with show organiser Michel Plante that involved her "translating" Michel's opening speech from French to English. What made it funny is that Rainbow's English is spotty at best, but she gave it a good, inventive whirl.

As at all of these events, Lifetime Achievement awards were presented to people who have made significant long-term contributions to the audio industry. This year's celebration was especially moving.

The first-announced of the night's two recipients was Classé Audio's Dave Nauber, one of nicest guys I've met in the biz, and I had just met him the day before. I was immediately won over by his humility and kindness. Nauber is leaving Classé after 20 years of service, first as President, then, after Sound United bought Classé from Bowers & Wilkins in 2018, as Director of Brand.

The second recipient was none other than Michel Plante himself, half the organising team of Canada's two Audiofests (his wife, Sarah Tremblay, is the other half). Plante is another mensch who has devoted his life to promoting the audio industry. Michel took the occasion to announce that he had accepted a job as Canadian Brand Ambassador of KEF. By the look on Michel's face and his reaction, it was clear that Sarah had managed to keep Michel in the dark about his upcoming moment in the spotlight.

A hearty congratulations and Godspeed to both Dave and Michel.

Other items I'd like to mention in closing:

The Grado headphone room was consistently abuzz. This room represented an aspect of what's so great about an audio show: You can try out and compare gear on the spot, and if you like something, buy it there at a show discount.

The girls in the Audiofilles ("Audio girls") room just want to have fun. They also want to highlight that girls can dig audio, too. The room was showcasing a system built around a belt drive Pro-ject Triangle turntable (designed by Pro-ject in partnership with Triangle) fitted with an Ortofon OM-10 E cartridge ($1000 for the package), a 125Wpc Music Hall A70.2 integrated amp ($2000, although the unit may be discontinued), and a pair of wireless Bluetooth Triangle AIO speakers ($800). The sound was vivacious, punchy, and capable of a higher degree of musical refinement than its price might suggest.

Audio Pro tabletop speakers, from Sweden, sound unusually great. Lily Luo of importer Motet loved them so much she decided not only to represent the brand in North America but to hire Montreal artist Lisa Liu (see to paint each speaker, making it a unique piece of art to admire visually and sonically. Lisa is a fantastic person and a talented artist; any love and support she can get is well deserved.

Trends at the show? Streaming! It's everywhere! The good news is that as this segment of the industry continues to mature, the performance from streaming devices is getting noticeably better. Another trend? Fewer dome tweeters; more ribbons and AMTs.

I'll close my coverage by saying that Montreal Audiofest 2022 was an unmitigated smash and a breath of fresh air. Here's to hoping the Big Bug doesn't ruin the party again.

Anton's picture

You were the next best thing to being there.

rschryer's picture

Thank you, sir!

thatguy's picture

Enjoyed the coverage. I wish I could be there but I agree with Anton.

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

Excellent coverage.

rschryer's picture

...thank you!

Julie Mullins's picture

I enjoyed your coverage, Robert! It made we want to attend the Montréal show even more.

rschryer's picture

We could share a plate of fried calamari. :-)

jaccli's picture

The show was basically on 1 floor and not many rooms . The fact that they charged 15 bucks was a total rip off . Very sad .

rschryer's picture

...go to the same show?

The show I attended had 100 exhibitors, a great ambience, and excellent fried calamari. It also had plenty of live musicians, LP records for sale, and specials on all sorts of gear and accessories.

What more do you want for your 15 bucks?

jaccli's picture

A few years back a previous owner pulled out and cancelled the show . A group took over and put the show on for free and we donated . The reason they did that was because the show was small . This show was even smaller. Forget about what I want for 15 bucks .It's what I don't want and that's an inferior product at any price .

rschryer's picture

Simply put: you and me attended the show from different perspectives. And I don't mean in a professional sense.

The most important thing to me is the vibe of a show, how positive its energy is, which usually comes down to a balance between how happy exhibitors and visitors are in relation to each other. I think, in those terms, this show was pretty good.

It's also possible you were just not lucky during your visit. It's hard to quantify your experience, but hopefully you'll have a better one at the next show.

Rob S.

Jim Austin's picture

... that the show organizers bought you off with a plate of fried calamari. :-)

Jim Austin, Editor

rschryer's picture

...kriptonite, Jim. I'll do about anything for a plate of the stuff.

jaccli's picture

I understand your position , if you were to criticize you probably would not have an opportunity to write about the next show . I don’t have those kind of restraints and I can compare this show to the many I have witnessed over the years . So yes let’s agree to disagree.

Talos2000's picture

.... I also agree that the show was well worth the $15 price of admission. It is really quite irrelevant that it was previously free. Times change. I have to say, honestly, carping about a $15 admission fee seems a little cheap to me. It cost me $23 just to park my car!

Also, since you are a veteran of many of these shows over the years, you will also know that since Sarah and Michel took over stewardship a few years back (a heroic effort, you must surely recall), the show has improved immeasurably, where the previous management group had instead been gradually plumbing newer and newer depths.

rschryer's picture


Sarah and Michel takes pains to inject elements of fun into a show.

audio man's picture

Let's hope the show is better next year . I'm sure covid did not help but yea it they should not charge for shows like that .

Sounds2Cool's picture

I've always appreciated the sound of a good escalator, but not while listening to music.

rschryer's picture

the escalator was adapted to operate on a sound-absorption blanket of 50,000 Gaia Isoacoustic electro-marbles.

Not a mechanical peep from that thing. People would look at the stairs to make sure it was working.

Talos2000's picture

That would be .... escalator music?

rschryer's picture

It's a lot more trouble, but immensely more enjoyable, than elevator music.