Robert Schryer

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Robert Schryer  |  May 18, 2018  |  27 comments
"No one thing turned more people into audiophiles than the '60s counterculture," said Bruno, arm flung over his cash register. "It opened up the doors of sonic perception. Even the great audio designers of the day were countercultural mavericks!"

Bruno is the lanky, braided-beard, thirtysomething owner of a small, well-stocked record shop in Montreal, and we stood facing each other on either side of a glass case filled with vinyl paraphernalia. Bruno has made the most of his limited space. Every foot of each wall supports a shelf crammed with music-related merchandise: rock and jazz memorabilia, album covers, refurbished turntables. There's even a rack in the back for music and audio magazines, including Stereophile.

Robert Schryer  |  Mar 28, 2018  |  4 comments
Along with those other nerdy qualities I love about sound reproduction, I love a good soundstage. That's because a good soundstage, like a clever Hollywood movie effect, can provide the push needed to make me believe that someone who can't possibly be there in front of me singing or playing an instrument actually is and that I've missed nothing.

I bring up the soundstage thing not because I think hearing a good soundstage during playback is essential to one's enjoyment of a recording, but because the soundstage thing is the aspect of playback I was most wowed by of the system I heard in the Verity Audio room.

Robert Schryer  |  Mar 26, 2018  |  2 comments
My fake award for overall best retail audio store representative at this year's Montreal Audio Fest goes to the genial and youthful-looking Robert de Koninck from Montreal retailer Art et Son. Robert was a veritable fountain of infectious audiophile enthusiasm that extended to the products he represents, the result of which is that I now intend to visit the store he works at.
Robert Schryer  |  Mar 25, 2018  |  3 comments
What the Hegel system did was turn a live recording of a guitar-shredding Chicago blues player into an explosive, hotel-room-filling event. The sound was dynamic as all get out, head-bobbingly propulsive, and though slightly coolish in character, excitingly expressive. The gear recipe to this musical fun-romp was a Hegel Mohican CD player (CA$5999), Hegel P30 preamp (CA$8999), 350Wpc Hegel H30 amp (CA$17 000), and PMC MB2 SE 3-way, stand-mount speakers (CA$38 500/pair, stands included), with XLO cabling throughout. A frenzied drum solo sounded so viscerally real that I almost expected to be hit by a flying drum stick.
Robert Schryer  |  Mar 24, 2018  |  3 comments
I was thrilled to be back to cover the Montreal Audio Fest for Stereophile with my partner in crime Art Dudley, Eager to start roaming the hallowed halls of the Bonaventure Hotel, Art and I quickly drew up the lines of our respective coverage territories in the program's exhibitor floor plan and went our separate ways.

First room on my route belonged to Gershman Acoustics, who was showcasing their sizable new flagship speaker, the Posh (above left), which, as its name suggests, is poshly priced at (US)$129 000/pair...

Robert Schryer  |  Nov 14, 2017  |  61 comments
"Why can't you stop being an audiophile?"

The question took me off-guard. It didn't come from one of the usual suspects—a hostile anti-audiophile, or a non-audiophile who simply can't fathom why we should care so much about something as nonessential as sound reproduction—but from Louis, a sharp dressed, goateed, middle-aged man who was known, among his audio repair shop's clientele, for not only his virtuosity as a classical solo violinist, but his expertise—some would say his preternatural ability—in setting up turntables to sound their very best.

Robert Schryer  |  Apr 18, 2017  |  65 comments
Audiophilia is dead.

Actually, it retired to an exclusive country club in the sky—but as far as the enduring, salt-of-the-earth audio hobbyist is concerned, it may as well be dead. The reason is simple: The old audiophile paradigm used to be mostly about when we were going to get that top-shelf component we had our eye on; it was rarely an if proposition. That's because, if you were an average, determined audiophile, it wasn't prohibitively expensive to buy top-shelf equipment. That's what made our hobby so exciting back then: the idea that you could actually own the best sound around. Damn!

Robert Schryer  |  Mar 29, 2017  |  1 comments
If there's one thing that brings me more joy than seeing a lot of happy people at the Montreal Audio Festival, it's getting a seat in an exhibitor's room. Unfortunately, I often can't have it both ways. Those same happy people, if there are enough of them, will make it so there's no chair left for me to sit in.

One way to improve one's sitting chances is to go on Sunday, generally the day with the least amount of show goers. I call it the Sunday rule.

Robert Schryer  |  Mar 27, 2017  |  2 comments
My pretend-award for this year's "speakers most like Mega Bloks" category goes to Israeli company PureAudioProject, whose Trio15 modular open-baffle speaker concept proved a hit at the Montreal show. A pair of Trio15 speakers is sold in kit form, in the loose sense of that term, since there's not much kit to assemble. What there is is a metal frame, two outboard circuit-board crossovers, and three rectangular panels, each pre-fitted with a driver, that "snap" together vertically to create the speaker's front baffle. Customers can choose between a variety of different drivers and crossovers—shown above is a panel with a Voxativ unit—and even swap those parts themselves at a later date; any modification is a "snap" that requires no soldering.
Robert Schryer  |  Mar 26, 2017  |  0 comments
Whatever our preference in sound, there are audio components or systems that are not only better than others at plucking our heartstrings, but of doing so on such a level of intimacy it's as if the hardware were delivering the musical performance specially for us. I experienced such moments while listening to Coherent Audio's audio setup, which featured a Baetis Prodigy music server ($US3000), a Triode Labs Au Pre preamp ($CDN2000), a Triode Labs 2A3 SET ($CDN3900), and a pair of dual-concentric Coherent Audio Model 12GR speakers with a sensitivity rating of 96dB and an impedance of 8 ohms.

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