Robert Schryer

Robert Schryer  |  Sep 21, 2021  |  52 comments
In 1968, I was a 2-year-old toddler living in Paris, France—my birthplace—on the 14th floor of a diplomat-occupied apartment complex overlooking the Seine. My dad, a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, was stationed in Paris, working security at the Canadian embassy. My mom and I were there with him.
Robert Schryer  |  May 14, 2021  |  15 comments
The first image that pops into my mind when I think of Focal is of the iconic Grande Utopias and how at one Montreal audio show I couldn't believe that the gentlest, sweetest music I'd heard all day was coming out of those massive speakers. I saw it as a paradox of sorts.

Founded in the City of Lights, Focal has been around since 1979, the year Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now received the Palme d'Or at Cannes and when the average annual income in America was $17,500. Focal started as a twinkle in the eye of engineer and technology journalist Jacques Mahul, who believed he'd built a speaker that would appeal to hi-fi enthusiasts: the DB13. Fast-forward half a century, and Focal, designated "entreprise du patrimoine vivant" (living heritage company) by the French government, employs some 230 people at its large, stylish, multilevel digs.

Robert Schryer  |  Dec 29, 2020  |  70 comments
When I first heard the word "audiophile," I loved it. It sounded fresh and dignified. I related to it instantly. An audiophile! I loved the whole idea of it, the focus on music, on sound. That was me! I'd found myself! And people like me. Other audiophiles, who lived all over the world. To paraphrase Tom Petty, it was like a first flash of freedom.
Robert Schryer  |  Oct 16, 2020  |  16 comments
I was doing my press beat for Stereophile in the hallway of Montreal's 2019 Audiofest when I glimpsed something that stopped me in my tracks. It was a marketing slogan, across the room on importer/exhibitor Goerner Audio's floorstanding banner: "Tubes or semiconductors? Magneto-solid technology amplifies emotions."
Robert Schryer  |  May 21, 2020  |  112 comments
Reviewing a new loudspeaker from Totem feels like destiny—as if a formative moment 30 years ago has come full circle. That's because the first genuine audiophile speaker I ever owned was Totem's now-iconic Model 1, a product whose arrival altered many audiophiles' expectations of how much great—and wide-range—sound a small speaker can deliver. It's still being made today, at least in spirit.
Robert Schryer  |  Feb 04, 2020  |  12 comments
As per our ritual, Karim and Dan arrived at my door in late afternoon, bearing our ritual's customary offerings: dark beer, wine, cold pork sandwiches, fruit and chocolate tarts, good music on well-recorded CDs, and audio hardware to try out on the host's hi-fi—on this particular Friday, my hi-fi. It's what we did: break bread while gabbing like regular folk about regular things, then bolt for the listening room for an evening of hi-fi fun.
Robert Schryer  |  Dec 18, 2019  |  13 comments
Until about a week ago, I thought Classé Audio was out of business. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that Classé was not just alive but also kicking, with a new line of high-end electronics, which were being showcased, along with flagship products from Marantz and Polk Audio, at Montreal audio-video importer Sherpa Group's offices. What's more, it was happening tomorrow–that is, the day after I found out about Classé's resurgence.
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 21, 2019  |  2 comments
Another room where the sound warmed the cockles of my heart was hosted by Gershman Acoustics, Krell, and VPI. There, I re-met Gershman Acoustics' Ofrah and Eli Gershman (in the photo above), whom I see regularly at the Montreal Audio Fest—is there a harder working husband-and-wife team working the audio show circuit?—and had the pleasure to meet for the first time Krell's congenial COO Walter Schofield. The gang (minus VPI's Mat Weisfeld, who's often in the picture but wasn't this time) was demoing a system that was another of my show highlights.
Robert Schryer  |  Oct 21, 2019  |  1 comments
Imagine an audiophile system assembled by the UN and you might end up with something that looks a lot like what I discovered in the Wynn Audio room. Among the countries being represented there were: France, with the Metronome AQWO CD/SACD player ($CAD22,000), with tubed output stage and USB input; Switzerland, with the 215Wpc Goldmund Telos 590 NextGen integrated amp ($CAD33,800); Germany, with the Vimberg Mino speakers ($CAD41,900/pair), built in the same factory as its sister company Tidal Audio (not to be confused with the streaming service); Sweden, with the Entreq Olympus Infinity ground boxes ($CAD5800 each); the Netherlands, with Crystal Cable cabling and rack; and the US, with Critical Mass Systems footers.

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