Robert DeKoninck and the Son Ideal & Skylan Stands

I was happy to meet 29-year old Robert DeKoninck, who has been working at Montreal’s Son Ideal hi-fi shop for three years, here seen with Harbeth’s Compact 7ES-3 loudspeaker ($3600 CAN) on Noel Nolan’s Skylan stands ($520 CAN). Robert’s longtime love for music (he’s a drummer) eventually led him to hi-fi; he’s been an audiophile for about seven years. This is encouraging. When I was 22, I had just started working for Stereophile, and I had little idea about what it meant to be an audiophile! Robert says he sees more and more young people coming into the shop, and he’s encouraged by both the resurgence of vinyl—Robert only listens to vinyl at home and doesn’t even own a CD player—and the latest trends in computer audio. These seemingly disparate interests, he feels, will lead more young people to the hobby.

The music in Son Ideal’s room was especially comforting and attractive to me. The Harbeths were being driven by Rogue Audio’s Cronus Magnum ($2200). Source at the time I entered the room was the heralded Rega Apollo CD player ($1300 CAN), but I was charmed more by the Rega P3-24 in stunning gloss pink finish, with outboard TT-PSU power supply ($1300). Awesome.

I also had the pleasure of meeting Skylan’s Noel Nolan, who explained that his stands are constructed of MDF top and bottom plates and posts of custom-extruded PVC, because steel stands ring like tuning forks, creating resonances that work against the music. He has found that loading his stands with white rice works best for Harbeth loudspeakers due to the speaker’s light wall structures. A pair of Nolan’s attractive stands, made since 1985, are shipped directly from his factory in Calgary; price includes shipping, as well as a funnel, cup, and wrench for assembly.

Will's picture

How did you like the sound? I thought this was the best sounding room at the show... and from the buzz on the floor, many others agreed. Love those Harbeths.

Ken's picture

This was also among my favorite rooms at the show. The key, IMHO, is that the rooms generally were creating horrible bass bloat on the oversized speakers that most were showing. As a result, my favorite rooms were this one, the one with the Joseph Audio monitors and the Audio Dream room with the small $1400 monitors.

Ace Mineral's picture

The Harbeth Compact doesn't look very compact.

Nick's picture

I agree with Ken, the Audio Dream room and Joseph Audio room produced great sound. I say this every year so here goes, the people at Son Ideale are one of the nicest and honest people you can ever meet.