Montreal Audio Fest Starts Today, March 23

Things change. Montreal's annual hi-fi show used to be called Salon Son et Image, but now it's called Salon Audio Montreal—or, for non-Quebecois, the Montreal Audio Fest. It takes place in a Hotel that used to be called the Hilton Bonaventure, but is now called the Bonaventure Hotel. It's a consumer-oriented show that used to charge admission, but is now open to the public, free of charge. You can bring the whole family for all three days of the show and still have money left over for smoked-meat sandwiches and poutine: think of it!

Speaking of change—and families—the show's tireless organizers, Sarah Tremblay and Michel Plante, have cooked up something new for 2018: a room devoted not to traditional audiophiles but to Audiofilles, as in Audio Girls. For this space, through which Sarah and Michel hope to dispel the notion that high-end audio is just "a male preserve," seven women of note have assembled their dream playback systems, with the help of partnering equipment suppliers. I'm writing this on the night before the show begins, and while prowling the halls I've already seen a few Audiofilles tee-shirts, which are very cool.

This year's show will also feature a number of rooms designated as having systems priced under $5000; live music from classical guitarist Sebastien Deshaies, cellist Vincent Bélanger, the Anne Bisson Trio, and many others; and an entire ballroom devoted to LP vendors. (Yes, I made a half-hearted attempt to get in early, and, no, they wouldn't let me.)

The Montreal Audio Fest runs from 11am to 8pm today (I recommend leaving work early), from 10am till 6pm on Saturday, and 10am to 4pm on Sunday. The Bonaventure Hotel is walkable from the Amtrak station (Gare Centrale)—you can make the walk entirely underground, through Les Halles de la Gare, if the weather gets nasty—or you can just hop in the car and drive here: As I write this, there is no snow in the forecast. Honest.

Whatever name it wears, Montreal's annual hi-fi event is my favorite show of the year, for its unique blend of good gear, good music, and good people; if you've never before made the trip, 2018 would be a fine first year.

volvic's picture

Every year I keep saying I am going to go back to my home town's hi-fi show, as it was always one of the better ones on the East Coast and hey who doesn't want to go back to their hometown. But alas, another year another conflict. Enjoy the show attendees and journalists. Sigh!

ppgr's picture

Impossible. I'm sure the organizers will find a way to order some for sunday.

Anton's picture

I haven't been to this show but got a chance to visit with the organizers several times at other shows - they deserve a great turn out!

Cheers, Sarah and Michel!