Looking Back on Toronto Audiofest 2019

So: What did I think of the Toronto show? I thought it was great, comparable to the Montreal show in spirit and crowd buzz, though traffic did seem thin on Sunday compared to the previous two days. But that's not unusual for an audio show.

I'll say this, unequivocally: The Toronto Westin Airport Hotel is a fantastic venue for an audio event, better than the Montreal show's near-fabled Bonaventure Hotel, where it counts most: in the exhibitors' rooms. For whatever reason, and this was the consensus among those I spoke with, the rooms at the Westin seem to have acoustic properties that made most systems being demoed sound better than expected by anyone who's ever been at an audio show. It's worth the trip to Toronto just to hear what that's like.

My takeaway is the Toronto Audiofest is on sure footing. For that, another big thank you is owed to the fest's organizers, Sarah Tremblay and Michel Plante—and not just to them but to their whole crack team of industrious helpers, who work tirelessly in setting things up, keeping things going, and then tearing it all down, to make sure that for three days everything goes well and that everyone's happy. To all of them, I would just like to say: On vous aime.

Would I go attend next year's Toronto Audiofest if Stereophile editor Jim Austin—in the middle in the photo above, with Bob Deutsch on the left and yours truly on the right—asks me to? In a heartbeat.

Peace and love.

COMMENTS
Bogolu Haranath's picture

Wow ...... RS is a young guy ....... I didn't expect that :-) .......

Bogolu Haranath's picture

RS also looks too handsome for a 'Canuck' ......... Just kidding ..... Just Kidding :-) ......

Bogolu Haranath's picture

On vous aime les gars :-) ........

RH's picture

That's Jim Austin? I was in a couple of rooms with Jim. Never having seen him before I didn't know who he was, but it was clear by his reception in the rooms that he was a "somebody." :-)

I would have liked to have said "hi" from a long time Stereophile reader!

Bogolu Haranath's picture

So, you missed an opportunity to take a 'selfie'? ....... Sad :-) .......

Anton's picture

JA2 still makes Herb Reichert call him Dr. Austin.

His gaze alone can mute the Hi Fi.

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

I've never heard Jim refer to himself as Dr. Austin.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

OTOH ....... Mr. Austin prefers to be called 'Your Highness' :-) ........

Anton's picture
Bogolu Haranath's picture

'Your Highness' do the dishes :-) ........

Jim Austin's picture
I've never heard Jim refer to himself as Dr. Austin.
No, only with Herb. :-) Jim Austin, Editor Stereophile
Ortofan's picture

... the message they send to (potential) customers when they rush to fawn over the reviewers?

Bogolu Haranath's picture

It is, who you know, that matters in this business ....... If you wine and dine and give other perks to the reviewers, you get favorable reviews ........ Just kidding ...... Just kidding ........ Of course Stereophile is honest in their reviews :-) ........

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Just ask RS ....... In the demo rooms they were clearing out all the people in the 'sweet-spot', so that RS can hear the music played, optimally ....... And, they were clearing out people, so that RS can take his photographs, optimally ......... Just kidding ........ Just kidding :-) ........

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Take for example ....... See that beer RS is drinking in that picture? ........ It is Sam Adams recently released, limited edition 'Utopias' beer, which costs $210 a bottle ....... It was bought by one of the show exhibitors :-) .........

rschryer's picture

"Guaranteed to make any system sound lusher!"

(Which is why I drank it at the end of my day.)

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Mr. Austin wanted to show that, he cannot be 'bribed' ........ So, he drank that beer before getting that picture :-) ..........

Bogolu Haranath's picture

And ...... Mr. Austin drank that beer at the 'beginning' of the day ........ Now we know why :-) ........

tonykaz's picture

Mr.Schryer, looks like a 3 Generations photo: Old Gramps that knows everyone and everything, the Brilliant Son that ran-off to a Career but then-returned to take his rite-full-place and the handsome grandson that somehow avoided face-Tats, still hasn't quite yet made his mark but is now being mentored by the Old Wise Ones. Old Gramps and Dad both look "Proud".

Missing is our Spiritual Leader!

Looks like one hell-of-a-Team!

Tony in Venice

ps. who is holding the camera that y'all are so glowingly fond of?

rschryer's picture

...is Lionel Goodfield from Totem Acoustic and MoFi Distribution.

Nice guy.

tonykaz's picture

MoFi has lots of Gear needing review.

Seems like you're pretty well connected.

Tony in Venice

Bogolu Haranath's picture

After reading your comment, RS may get a 'face-tat' like fellow Canadian Justin Bieber, and, that 'tat' could say 'Audiophile' :-) ........

Bogolu Haranath's picture

'Spiritual Leader' is enjoying 'Martinis' with Beethoven, Mozart, Mahler and other composers and conductors, singers and song writers in another world, and listening to music :-) .........

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Where are those Stereophile hats? ......... Aren't they suppose to be wearing those hats? :-) .........

JRT's picture

The reason that these are on back order is customized wide neck flap made from 1/2 inch thick SAE F13 sheepswool felt, intended to absorb direct reflections from the rear room boundaries. SAE F13 sheepswool felt has very good acoustic damping properties. The hat itself is thinner sheepswool felt effective at damping only the higher frequencies, while the rounded profile of the bowler hat spreads the spectrum of interference from diffraction.

edit: Here it is with the sheepswool felt acoustic damping rear neck flap removed. The Stereophile trademarking is modestly embroidered into the interior lining.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

How about a hat (helmet) like the guy from 'Audio Science Review'? :-) ........

Anton's picture

...but he was standing behind Robert Schryer.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Actually, he was standing in front ........ He was 'Photoshopped' :-) ........

JackWlwi's picture

I thought you guys were experts ....

Being honest, a lot of the rooms had absolutely abysmal sound including some very high end rooms. 0 or near 0 treatment of 4 hard walls and a ceiling will do that.

The reason why the sound was so good in some, but not all rooms, was the shape of the rooms. The typical square/rectangular rooms mainly sounded poor, but the 6 sided rooms, of which there were a lot almost all sounded pretty good. 3 walls were a traditional rectangular configuration, the other "wall" was made up of 3 pieces, two symmetrical pieces angled about 35-40 degrees, and one parallel to the far wall. The speakers were always in front of the angled sections. That configuration eliminated two corners in the room, improving the bass, and because the speakers were in front of the angled sections, the back reflection would have a longer path to the listener and not have nearly as big an impact as a flat wall behind the speaker.

rschryer's picture

.. some of my fave rooms were rectangular in shape.

That said, I do agree with you that the shapes of the rooms at the Westin generally seemed better suited to a hi-fi show than those at the Bonaventure.

JackWlwi's picture

.... but pretty much all my worse in show, and certainly worse value, were not the 6 sided rooms.

JackWlwi's picture

I didn't see these in any of your show coverage.

While I agree the MBL was best in show for overall sound, when price was taken into account, I don't think anything touched the ORFEO Jubile when price was taken into account. I went into the room not knowing anything about them or the price. I really liked the sound right away and more the longer I listened. I was quite surprised at the very reasonable price (7K CDN, 5K US)

Jim Austin's picture

A little late catching up with this conversation.

Will look for them at future shows.

Jim Austin, Editor
Stereophile

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