Toronto Audiofest 2019

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Robert Schryer  |  Oct 20, 2019  |  8 comments
Earlier this year at the Montreal Audiofest, the organization that presents that show presented a lifetime achievement award to longtime Stereophile editor John Atkinson. Yesterday, the same organizers, who also present the Toronto Audiofest—gave the same award to another Stereophile contributor: Mr. Robert Deutsch.
Jim Austin  |  Oct 19, 2019  |  0 comments
Should you ground your loudspeakers? With most speakers it's a moot point, since there's no practical way to ground the internal metal parts. A few companies—Tannoy comes to mind—have in the past sold speakers with a grounding pin, claiming reduction of distortion and RF interference.
Robert Schryer  |  Oct 20, 2019  |  1 comments
Featured in the MartinLogan room were the company's standmount Motion 35XTi speakers ($CAD1600/pair). The XT denotes the model's folded-diaphragm air-motion tweeter while the i stands for improved, the latter mainly as it relates to upgrades made to the speaker's woofer and crossover.
Robert Deutsch  |  Oct 20, 2019  |  10 comments
Saturday was a busy day at the Toronto Audiofest.
Robert Schryer  |  Oct 19, 2019  |  3 comments
The Acora Acoustics room was another standout. The Canadian company has been building speakers for only a year, but they are on to something with their SRC-1 speaker ($CAD37,995/pair), whose enclosure, as per their marketing literature, is "handcrafted using granite by only the finest artisans in Canada." Sure, they must be a pain to move around, but one could say the same of the amps that were powering them, the cinderblock-shaped Audio Research Ref 10/750Se amps ($CAD95,200/pair).
Jim Austin  |  Oct 20, 2019  |  10 comments
Scotland's Fyne Audio already has a large lineup of loudspeakers, from small budget standmounts to some serious high-end contenders, like the nominally 96dB/2.83V/m, 8 ohm flagship F1-12, with its 12" concentric driver. I counted 23 models in 5 series, including four subwoofers but not counting their in-wall and in-ceiling lineup.
Robert Schryer  |  Oct 18, 2019  |  21 comments
My journalistic objectivity be darned! The Goerner Audio/Grandinote room produced the sort of sound that melts my heart, ravishes my senses, and reminds me of why great hi-fi is worth the money . . .
Robert Schryer  |  Oct 19, 2019  |  4 comments
Looking for a simple, sweet-sounding system that's sure to elicit pride of ownership? If so, I'd like to suggest the one I encountered in the room hosted by retailer Vinyl Sound. It starts with a Ken Micallef fave, the Kuzma Stabi S turntable with Stogi arm ($CAD6400 for both), and an Ortofon Cadenza Blue cartridge ($CAD2000).
Robert Schryer  |  Oct 19, 2019  |  7 comments
The Hearken Audio room was showing the sort of gear that indulges my creative impulses. None of it looked boring, or robotically manufactured on an assembly line. Two of the displayed items in particular snagged my focus: the Jean Nantais Ultimate Lenco analog rig ($US17,500), outfitted with a Graham Audio 12" tonearm ($CAD10,335; only arms of 10.5" or more in length can be used) and a Tru-Lift automatic tonearm lifter ($USD275), a Miyajima Labs Saboten L low-output MC cartridge ($CAD6700), and a pair of 102db sensitive Rethm Saadhana speakers ($CAD24,000).
Robert Schryer  |  Oct 21, 2019  |  26 comments
As noted in the spec sheet being handed out in Executive Stereo's room, each Kii Three loudspeaker ($CAD23,000/pair), which stands all of a foot high (the bottom portion of the speaker in the photo is a subwoofer, which was not being used during my visit), is stuffed with six drivers, six amps that generate a total of 3000W, and six DACs.
Robert Schryer  |  Oct 19, 2019  |  10 comments
Having never before seen a pair of Klipsch La Scalas ($CAD15,000/pair) in person, I was pleasantly surprised by their appearance when I saw them in the Kennedy HiFi room. Looking stately, dare I say noble even, with their wide baffles and hardwood enclosures, the Klipsches were coupled to a system that included a Simaudio Moon 393 preamp ($CAD6800), a Moon 330 120Wpc power amp ($CAD4400), and a Pro-Ject 2Xperience turntable ($CAD1700 with arm and cartridge).
Robert Schryer  |  Oct 21, 2019  |  33 comments
I'll say this, unequivocally: The Toronto Westin Airport Hotel is a fantastic venue for an audio event, better than the Montreal show's near-fabled Bonaventure Hotel, where it counts most: in the exhibitors' rooms. For whatever reason, and this was the consensus among those I spoke with, the rooms at the Westin seem to have acoustic properties that made most systems being demoed sound better than expected by anyone who's ever been at an audio show. It's worth the trip to Toronto just to hear what that's like.
Robert Schryer  |  Oct 19, 2019  |  1 comments
Another system that did a great job at communicating music's gestalt was the one taking pride of place in the Toronto Home of Audiophile Ltd room. The system included a Lumin U1 streamer ($CAD8000), a Mutec Ref 10 Audiophile 10 MHz master clock with MC3+ smart clock/re-clocker/USB interface ($CAD7150 for both), a PS Audio DirectStream DSD DAC ($CAD9500), a Pass Labs XP22 preamp ($CAD14,000), a class-A, 30Wpc Pass Labs XA30.8 stereo amp ($CAD9800), and a pair of GoldenEar Triton One.R speakers ($CAD8000). Completing the system were a DirectStream Power Plant 20 power conditioner ($CAD14,700) and various cables from Gutwire and Siltech.
Robert Schryer  |  Oct 20, 2019  |  11 comments
Gobsmacked is a word I never use, but I will in this report. That's because I'm at a loss to find a better term to convey how I felt when I heard the system MBL had set up in their room—which, by MBL standards, was small (other qualities that came to mind about the system's look were tidy, clean, and really, really white). The all-MBL system consisted of a total of three components: The three-way omnidirectional Radialstrahler 120 speakers with integral stands ($CAD30,150/pair), the 300Wpc C51 integrated amp ($CAD14,600), and the C31 DAC-CD player ($12,000), with Wireworld cabling throughout.

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