Lemay Audio: Dayton Wright, Tenor Audio, Baetis Audio, iFi Audio, Inakustik, Silversmith, Modulum Audio

Quebec-based Lemay Audio was one of my best sounds of the show. At its dizzying price, it should be. If its price makes your eyes glaze over at first glance, all is not lost. I'll get to that.

First, here are the links in the playback chain: a pair of Dayton-Wright Hommage 7 speakers (introductory price $38,000/pair, $43,000/pair after that); a Tenor Audio Line 1 preamp ($200,000); a 250Wpc Tenor Audio 20th Anniversary Edition 175S amplifier ($150,000); the Baetis Audio reference 4 music server / Roon endpoint ($15,000); an iFi Audio Diablo DAC ($1350); a bevy of audio cables by Inakustik and Silversmith and antivibration products and stands by Modulum Audio.

Across a selection of mostly classical music streamed from Tidal or the Baetis's hard drive, the system delivered a smorgasbord of ear- and heart-pleasing ingredients—tactility, touch, natural warmth, exquisite timbres—but even more impressive to me were the global aspects: a spectacularly mapped out soundstage. Its transparency. The high-resolution focus on the instruments. The impression of hearing everything, and I mean everything: every echo, every instrument, every minute, resonant vibration coming off the stroked strings of a violin. If I were to name the system's greatest attribute, I would say it was its absolutely seamless picture. The music unfurled as in real life, uninterrupted by the signal-altering degradations usually caused by electronics.

<Tenor, etc. Electronics>

I don't want to diminish the contributions of the expensive Tenor gear in that setup. Those products sound amazing, but for most of us, they're beyond aspirational. (If you've got the budget, go listen.) But that's not true of the rest of the system. A huge contributor to the seamlessness I heard was the speakers: Those Dayton Wright Hommage 7 electrostats. They're hardly inexpensive, but they are aspirational—within reach for many. So is the Baetis server.

And what about the iFi Diablo? What's a $1300 DAC doing in a system with a $350,000 amplification chain? Is Mr Lemay of Lemay Audio crazy for including it?

Crazy like a fox. I said it in last year's report, and I'll say it again: The iFi Diablo is a giant killer. I'll say the same thing, even at $43,000/pair about the Dayton-Wright Hommage 7.

Unless otherwise indicated, all prices are in Canadian dollars.

Glotz's picture

I will have to check out that iFI Diablo. $1000 in the US is a nice sweet-spot!

rschryer's picture

...when the risk is low(-ish) and the upside is high. If you do get it, make sure you have the proper connections and cables to connect it to your existing gear.

immanent voiceless's picture

Robert, what cables exactly would one need to use this as purely a dac and not as a headphone amp, and why this in particular instead of one of iFi's dedicated DACs? Thank you in advance!

rschryer's picture

...as a headphone amp, what's important to know is that its only digital input is a 3.5mm Coaxial/Optical S/PDIF (although it does have a balanced analog output.) In other words, you have to make sure that you use some sort of adapter or 3.5mm-terminated cable (on the DAC end) to connect it to your digital source.

Hope that helps.

Glotz's picture

A simple search online brings these results (and the manual for the matter...)

"Balanced 4.4mm fixed analogue output" (Smaller of the two front outputs for headphones OR the rear balanced analog output). "This is an analogue output via 4.4mm > XLR or other balanced interconnects."

iFi sells a XLR to 4.4 TRRRS (tip ring ring ring SLEEVE!) LOL.. say that a few times. No, I'm not heckling a baseball batter, but it sounds like it. It runs $100. Moon Audio also sells an adapter (only) for $30. elsewhere.

Reasons for their own proprietary connection?! Mobility. Big-ass XLR outputs on the back of portable device pretty much negates the small form factor and making it 'portable'. After resisting the eye roll, I thought about why. Sensible decision but not without cost- fyi. I see the use in some of the other products in their lineup as well.

The other connections are: S/PDIF 3.5 coax/optical RCA, USB C for power, and a USB3.0 Type A.

Glotz's picture

I had no idea Robert was writing a response, until I posted...

dickeyn's picture

What..... Dayton Wright is back from the dead? I have their SPA pre-amp. They did not want to repair this "back in the day".

RH's picture


I'm hoping to see a report on another Quebec manufacturer's room:
Artist Cloner. Possibly the goofiest company name I've seen, but every time they've shown their speakers it's become one of the buzzes of a show. Their stand mounted speaker I heard at the Montreal Show is still seared in to my mind. They've move on to an interesting floor standing model that another show goer mentioned people literally applauding, so I hope you had a chance to listen as well.

rschryer's picture

Great little system. Stay tuned.

RogerSmith's picture

Just an FYI you have tagged this post as Montreal Audio Fest 2017 ;)