Robert Schryer's First Day in Montreal

I was pumped about this year's Montreal Audio Fest, the city's 30th consecutive audio show, for a couple of reasons. First, I was pumped because I was covering the show for Stereophile with the estimable Art Dudley, and, second, because after last year's debacle that saw the show being unceremoniously cancelled by then-fest organizers/owners, the Chester Group, then resurrected by previous and self-re-instated show organisers, Michel Plante and Sarah Tremblay, the event's rapid revival was proof to me that the Montreal audio show still has legs and a purpose.

Stepping off the 10th floor elevator into the warm environs of wafting musical melodies and people chattering gleefully about all matters audio-related, I immediately felt at home. Audio shows are an extension of my natural habitat—these are my people, audio is our thing—and I was in the mood for some hedonistic audio fun.

The first system I listened to contained a modern mix of the ultra new and the old: a Lumin U1 network music player ($CDN7500)/Auris D1D DAC ($CDN3000) conbo feeding a tube-based Auris Piano Preamplifier ($CDN3000) and a pair of push-pull Auris Forte 150 mono amplifiers ($CDN20,000/pair), so-numbered not for their power output, which is rated at 100Wpc (impedance not stated), but for the type of tube they use—the mighty KT150.

Speakers were the Delta ($CDN9000/pair), made by the long-established French company Triangle, a brand whose speakers are known to forsake some midband warmth for a more tactile, clean, and lively sound, such as the one being reproduced by this setup.

I then visited the Arcam/Revel room, sponsored by audio wholesale distributor Erikson Consumer, wherein I had my fancy caught by two systems. The showcase system—the piece de resistance at center stage— comprised a pair of Revel Performa F208 speakers ($CDN7000/pair), an Arcam CDS 27 streamer/CD player ($CDN1300), and an Arcam SR250 class-G integrated amplifier ($CDN5500, to be reviewed by Kal Rubinson in our June issue). When I asked the genial representative to explain to me what class-G is, he said that it's a cross performance-wise between class-A/B and class-D. Some subsequent Googling on my part revealed that a class-G design uses multiple power supply rails, rather than one, to improve efficiency.

The second Arcam/Revel system was on static display, cast to the side away from the limelight. Yet what immediately attracted me to this system was how compact, simple to use, and smartly designed it seemed to be, while offering a good deal of features. The heart of this setup was the Arcam Solo Music system, an integrated amp ($CDN3000) that works as a CD player and streamer, supports SACD, and has 4 HDMI inputs. Flanking it were a pair of stand-mount Revel Concerta 2 M16s ($CDN1400/pair). Not enough bass? No problem. Add the matching Revel B10 10" powered sub ($CDN2300) and you've got a near full-range system.