Montreal Audio Fest 2023

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Robert Schryer  |  Mar 26, 2023  |  0 comments

Another room that stood out from the pack for its sonic excellence belonged to Canadian speaker manufacturer Acora Acoustics, which was showcasing its floorstanding SRC-2 model ($62,000/pair) on Quartz stands ($11,000).

Robert Schryer  |  Apr 01, 2023  |  0 comments

"Are you sure there are no tubes in the chain?" I asked On a Higher Note's Philip O'Hanlon, North American distributor of the BBC-inspired Graham Audio speaker line, in Montreal retailer Art et Son's room. Philip was sitting with me listening to an LP of Belgian singer Mélanie De Biasio.

Robert Schryer  |  Apr 02, 2023  |  5 comments
Our fearless reporter--left--waxing eloquent in his notebook.

I have bumped into manufacturer Artist Cloner’s owner and designer, Sylvio Comtois, many times at audio shows. He strikes me as being a bit of a mad scientist. Not “crazy” mad but mad in the sense of being obsessed with a particular objective.

Robert Schryer  |  Mar 29, 2023  |  0 comments

Although it may seem like it sometimes, not all the exhibitors at an audio show play the same typical audiophile fare, which sounds great but rarely challenges the power and dynamic reserves of their systems. Mark Jones, of Ontario-based retailer Audio by Mark Jones, is one of those exceptions to the rule. The first track he played for me was Led Zeppelin's chord-crunching, drum-whacking "Moby Dick," at high volume.

Robert Schryer  |  Apr 02, 2023  |  1 comments

As usual, I found cellist and Audio Note UK music ambassador Vincent Bélanger hosting the Audio Note UK room, but this time, Vincent wasn't alone.

Robert Schryer  |  Mar 30, 2023  |  2 comments

Beautiful strains of music lured me into the Audiophile Experts room, where the song "Göttingen," written in 1964 by French chanteuse Barbara (real name Monique Andrée Serf) as an ode to the German city by the same name, was playing. As well as having become a hit in her native country, the song has been credited as having helped improve relations between France and Germany in the years following the Second World War. Barbara called the song "a hymn to Franco-German reconciliation".

Robert Schryer  |  Mar 27, 2023  |  20 comments

I found the sound of the rooms at this show almost universally good, but some stood out, including the Bowers & Wilkins / Classé room, which sounded fantastic with the Tidal-streamed 16/44.1 FLAC files played for us.

Robert Schryer  |  Mar 27, 2023  |  0 comments

Bryston launched two new products at this year's show that will hit the market in a week or two, according to Bryston CEO James Tanner, who was sitting in the chair next to me in the Bryston room. If what I heard in that room are any indication, Bryston is on to something big.

Robert Schryer  |  Mar 27, 2023  |  3 comments

My friend ran up to me in the Mezzanine hallway. "You have to check out the Klipsch Jubilees", he said, breathlessly. "They're so big!" He leans his head back like he's looking up a skyscraper.

Robert Schryer  |  Mar 30, 2023  |  2 comments

As soon as I entered the room hosted by distributor / reseller Distribution Phonographe's room, I thought, "where's all the gear?" There wasn't much around, and of the few items that were around, one was so small as to be nearly imperceptible at first glance.

Robert Schryer  |  Apr 01, 2023  |  0 comments

Remember in my first post when I said "How cool it would be if I'd turned into Alternate Rob with a half-million dollar system waiting for him at home?" Well, the system I encountered in one of Filtronique's rooms would fit the bill nicely.

Robert Schryer  |  Mar 26, 2023  |  0 comments

As is typical of their show setups, Focal Naim occupied a large, banquet-style room divvied up into different exhibits and active setups. How can you realistically gauge the sound of a demo while other demoes are playing in the background? The trick Focal Naim used, which worked like a charm, was to move our group among alternating demoes so that only one played at a time.

Robert Schryer  |  Apr 02, 2023  |  0 comments
Jacques Riendeau of Oracle Audio

I was running out of time.

Robert Schryer  |  Apr 01, 2023  |  4 comments

What did the Hearken and Art et Son rooms have in common? The Graham Audio LS8.1 speakers ($13,300), so it probably shouldn't come as a surprise that I heard a similarly, though not identically, engaging intimacy in both systems' presentations, the kind that made me just want to relax in my seat and listen through whole albums.

Robert Schryer  |  Mar 26, 2023  |  3 comments

When I spotted—on a poster affixed to Heaven 11's exhibit room door—Charlton Heston as Moses (?) holding tubes in his arms instead of those famous stone plates, I knew going in I was in for something a little different. Visions of single-ended triodes were dancing in my head.