SSI 2015

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Robert Deutsch  |  Mar 27, 2015  |  0 comments
So there I was, taking the subway in Toronto to Union Station, where I would be taking the train to Montreal, and this coming weekend’s Salon Son & Image (SSI), when I spotted this sign, advertising the availability of grants for education related to the love of music. Is that fitting, or what? The list of occupations related to music was extensive, and included, in addition to some obvious ones like audio technician, sound mixer, and electrical engineer, some that I would not have thought of, like intellectual property lawyer and accountant. But I was happy to see “magazine editor” on the list.
Robert Deutsch  |  Mar 29, 2015  |  3 comments
One of the characteristics of shows like SSI, where many of the exhibitors are dealers rather than manufacturers or distributors, is that you may get a chance to hear equipment combinations you would never encounter at CES. At SSI 2015, the Totem Earth speakers were combined with McIntosh electronics, to good effect. Another thing that distinguisher these dealer-exhibitors is that you can buy the products on display—something that's strictly forbidden at CES. The Totem Earth has a list price of CAD$9000/pair, but you could have it a "show special" price of CAD$6000/pair...
Art Dudley  |  Mar 31, 2015  |  24 comments
A transitional show, then—or one with potential to be so. I dearly hope that, with a bit of freshening-up and a few new ideas, Salon Son et Image will be back next year, bigger and better than ever.
Art Dudley  |  Mar 28, 2015  |  5 comments
When it comes to designing and building loudspeakers, I confess immunity to the DIY bug, mostly because I wasn't drawn to woodworking until age 50. (At age 10, my Pinewood Derby car was a simple wedge, requiring only a single saw-cut on a rectangular block of wood—although I felt vindicated when the Triumph TR7 came along.) Had things turned out otherwise, I would be spending all of my time in the room of Solen Acoustics: Salon Son et Image stalwarts who make available nearly every sort of drive-unit known to humankind . . .
Art Dudley  |  Mar 29, 2015  |  3 comments
The psychology of shows: Upon exiting an especially pleasant, successful demonstration, one almost expects to be disappointed by the next one down the line. Yet after leaving behind the excellent playback quality and (literally) rare music in the PS Audio room, I was surprised and delighted by the fine sound in the room of Gershman Acoustics—a brand that, for whatever reason, has seldom if ever been a part of my beat.
Art Dudley  |  Mar 27, 2015  |  3 comments
My very first official encounter at this year's Salon Son et Image was with a vintage-gear dealer: Cristian Fatu's static display included this beautiful McIntosh 275 power amplifier above (approximate value: $CAD3200) . . .
Robert Deutsch  |  Apr 01, 2015  |  22 comments
An event at SSI 2015 that, to the best of my knowledge, was unique for an audio show, involved the setup of an "on location" recording studio, and the making of actual recordings. No, not a "Garage Band" App, not a "home recording studio," but a real professional studio, involving some $300k's worth of equipment, and the services of professional recording engineers. The project, called La VibZ Studio, was initiated by Stephan Rich, musician and sound technician, and brought together for the SSI 2015 event vocalist/pianist Anne Bisson, the Give Band (featuring vocalist Caroline St-Louis and Stephan Ritch on the guitar), and Hans Wilwright. The attendees were provided with Sennheiser cordless headphones for listening to the playback.
Art Dudley  |  Mar 31, 2015  |  6 comments
Montreal dealer Audioville drew crowds to the St. Pierre ballroom with an impressive system built around B&W 800-series loudspeakers, Conrad-Johnson electronics, and an AudioQuest Dragonfly-equipped Apple MacBook Pro, cloud-streaming CD-quality files from Tidal. Adding to the SRO factor were the workshops conducted by AudioQuest's Steve Silberman, under the title of Computer Audio Explained. (Actually, it was Audio Informatique Appliquée.)
Robert Deutsch  |  Mar 31, 2015  |  18 comments
Montreal dealer Coup de Foudre's exhibit featured the 2012 Stereophile Loudspeaker of the Year Vivid Audio Oval K1 (USD$26,000/pair), in a system featuring Luxman electronics. I've never heard these speakers sound anything less than great, and their sound at SSI 2015 did nothing to change my previous impression. I really liked the red of the demo pair, and asked importer Philip O'Hanlon if it was a popular choice. He said that although the red is much admired, most people end up choosing a different, more conservative, color. I guess I'm not like most people. My Avantgarde Uno Nanos are red, and so is the last car I bought.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Mar 24, 2015  |  1 comments
Now that spring has sprung, the moon has gone super, the sun has eclipsed, and more polar ice has melted, it's time to welcome the 28th edition of the Montreal Audio Show. Known to French Canadians as Le Salon Son et Image, the show occupies the consciousness of audiophiles worldwide on March 27–29 from its customary location, the Hilton Bonaventure.
Art Dudley  |  Mar 30, 2015  |  2 comments
As mentioned in my earlier report, Sony came to town with more than just a system's worth of ES-series components. As I discovered on Saturday morning, they also brought the new NW-ZX2 ($CAD1199), which is the new big brother—forgive the fraternal illogic of the metaphor—to last year's well-received ZX1. The new Sony, which will be reviewed by Michael Lavorgna in the May issue of Stereophile, offers the same Dynamic Sound Enhancing System as the company's HAP-Z1ES file player, and its amplifier is more powerful than that of the ZX1; perhaps best of all, the ZX2 provides 128GB of built-in storage. . .
Robert Deutsch  |  Mar 29, 2015  |  13 comments
The first room I visited at SSI 2015 was the one devoted to the Soltanus Acoustics ESL Virtuoso loudspeaker (CAD$10,995/pair). Why did I choose this room? First, their room was right next door to mine, so it was a matter of convenience. And when I saw the sign that said that they were showing a full-range electrostatic loudspeaker—well, given my history with the original Quad and KLH Nine, I was most intrigued.

And this speaker turned out to be one of my "finds" at the show...