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Nordost QKOIL QK1 AC Enhancer wb

If you’re looking to improve the sound of your music system, Nordost would like you to take a look its new product called the QKOIL QK1, the latest addition to the company’s line of power products. The QKOIL is the entry level product in the QRT range, a family of modular, non-intrusive devices that deliver measurable sonic enhancements and provide purified power to your components. At its core, the QK1 is a load resonating coil (LRC) which generates a passive electronic field that has a beneficial sonic effect on the AC current.

The QK1 uses Nordost’s proprietary Micro Mono-Filament technology in a loading application to prevent time delay and distortion of the transmitted signal, making the AC current as close as possible to the desired “distortion-less condition”. In addition to improving the overtones and pacing of music, the QKOIL opens up midrange frequencies and improves the attack of transient details in the music. Visually, the QK1 increases clarity of imaging by adding depth and focus.

The QK1 is housed in a mechanically tuned carbon-fiber body and equipped with either a US (NEMA) or EUR (Schuko) connector. It is compatible with voltages from 110V to 240V, and can be used with an AUS or UK adaptor if required. Suggested retail price for the QKOIL is set at $249.99 US.

Like all QRT products, the benefits are cumulative and the QK1s are even more impressive when applied collectively. It can be used as a “stand alone” product or to complement a full QRT system with a QBASE, QX2, QX4 and especially the QV2. Plug the QKOIL into any spare socket on your system’s AC line and experience first-hand the surprising yet indisputable effect it will have on your A/V components.

For more info, please check out www.nordost.com

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TenorTetra Rhody Purdy Sept Jazz 040 (Custom)

If you live near Belleville, Ontario or if you’re willing to go on a little road trip, there’s a unique music event that we would like to invite you to, on behalf of Jeff Keary.

April 26 and 27, 2014

During the weekend of April 26th and 27th, Jeff Keary has organized a demonstration of  “The Last Waltz” in the definitive 2 channel audio mix by Grammy award winning Rob Fraboni, the film’s original producer, who will be present at the event and available for Q and A. The Last Waltz is a classic cult movie about The Band, and also features Dylan, Clapton, and Neil Young.  Rob was the original sound editor and has worked closely with Martin Scorcese, who directed it.  Rob has worked as sound editor/engineer on many other movies including Mean Streets and Shine A Light. He also recorded Dylan and The Stones.

This event will be a world premier of “Real Feel” technology devised by Rob Fraboni and will be demonstrated using Tenor Audio’s 175s pre amp and 350M monoblocks driving Tetra Loudspeaker’s flagship 606 “listening instrument”. This unique pairing represents the absolute pinnacle of Canadian hi-fi. Representatives of both companies will be on hand.  Real Feel is a new technology designed to treat digital audio signals, significantly improving audio quality. In the future, Real Feel technology could be integrated into headphones, TVs, wireless speakers, and other audio products to render substantial improvements to the sound.

To reserve your seat at these events, please contact Jeff Keary at 613 779 8933 or activeartsstudio@gmail.com.  Two sessions will take place: April 26 at 7pm and April 27 at 12 noon.   Location: Active Arts Studio, 116 Barley Road, Rednersville (near Belleville).

Both above events are fundraisers for the Blues in the Schools organization.

May 3, 2014

Then, on Saturday May 3 at 7pm, Active Arts Studio will present “Pacing the Cage” with Bruce Cockburn’s manager Bernie Finklestein and producer Joel Goldberg in attendance and available for Q and A.   For this screening, again the combined delights of Tenor Audio’s amplifiers and Tetra Loudspeakers listening instruments will be utilized. Following the Q and A with Bernie and Joel, there will be a performance by the Frere Brothers who will perform some of their own material and songs by Bruce Cockburn.   This event is a fundraiser for the Ostrander Point Appeal Fund and seats may be reserved through www.saveostranderpoint.org

About the Venue

The above audio demonstrations will be offered in a gorgeous, well maintained church that dates back to 1849.  The space is said to offer fantastic acoustic properties and attracts local artist performances regularly.

For more info about these events, please contact Jeff Keary at 613 779 8933 or activeartsstudio@gmail.com

TenorTetra Rhody Purdy Sept Jazz 056 (Custom)

SSI Welcome (Custom)Once again this year, I had the wonderful opportunity of attending the Salon Son & Image show in Montreal – held March 28, 29 and 30th.  Suave Kajko, Editor-In-Chief, CANADA HiFi Magazine and myself headed over to Montreal on the train from Toronto.  During the ride we mused about what changes we might see at the show, given that this would be the first edition under a new owner – the Chester Group.  On arriving at the show, once again hosted at the Hilton Bonaventure Hotel, we soon recognized that SSI 2014 had remained much the same, keeping its same overall look and feel – it was nice to also see familiar faces on staff.  Montreal is always fun – first, there’s the trip out of town; then there is the French-Canadian culture and; third, it affords an opportunity to see some manufacturers, dealers and friends that you just don’t see Toronto-side.  SSI, or as it is now being alternatively called, the “Montreal Audio Show”, has always been worth the journey and this year was no exception.  Here’s is some of what I saw and heard at the show.

HEGEL-vMAX 2 (Custom)

My first stop was a room hosted by VMAX Services, the distributor for such products as Hegel Music Systems, NuForce, Amphion, Triangle and HiFiMan.  The feature system in this room was anchored by a Hegel H80 integrated amplifier ($2,000) that has an output capability of 75 watts-per-channel and an on-board DAC.  Connected to the H80 was a Hegel CDP2A CD player ($2,800), acting only as a transport – which I thought spoke to the confidence of the distributor with the on-board DAC of the H80.  The speakers in play were Amphion Argon 1, which range in price from $1,900 – $2,000, depending on finish.  On static display in this room was Hegel’s H300 integrated ($5,700) and their HD25 DAC/preamplifier ($2,500).  Though I only had a short stay, I enjoyed the ease and musicality of the system and its very small non-ostentatious stature.

GTT Audio - Grim Audio (Custom)

Next up was a room from GTT Audio & Video, a North American distributor for Grimm Audio and the U.S. distributor for Kronos Audio.  GTT was featuring Grimm Audio’s LS1i active loudspeaker system ($39,900/pair).  Each of the two loudspeaker enclosures had integrated D-class amps which offered 2 x 120 watts to power the woofer and tweeter combination.  The speakers also have an integrated electronic DSP and a crossover, and accepted a simple CAT5 digital input connection from a Grimm Audio USB box that was connected to a laptop playing digital music files.  For analog junkies, also on tap was a gorgeous Kronos Sparta turntable ($21,500), with a Helena arm by Andre Theriault ($6,500), with an Air Tight PC1 cartridge ($5,000-$6,000).  The phonostage was by Audionet (PAM G2 at $10,100) with an  optional EPC power supply ($6,700).  On the Friday afternoon, the room was attracting a fair audience, which I expect had much to do with the quality of the setup.

Audiopathways 1 (Custom)  Audiopathways 3 (Custom) Audiopathways 7 (Custom)I made my way over to Audiopathways, who hosted two separate rooms at the show.  Audiopathways is a distributor of many fine audio brands including Raidho, Aragon, Acurus, Audio Flight, Jeff Rowland, Bel Canto and many others.  The first room featured a Jeff Rowland Continuum II integrated amplifier ($10,000) with a Bel Canto 2.5 DAC ($2,200), a refLink USB ($2,000) and CD2 CD player ($3,000), driving a pair of Raidho’s new X-1 mini-monitors ($8,000/pair) on matching Raidho stands ($1,100/pair).  Cabling was Transparent Audio Reference, very fine and very expensive.  This system sounded anything but small.  The sound was amazingly controlled, detailed and room filling with bass that was unbelievably full and extended given the tiny speaker enclosures.  The system was captivating, to say the least.  Off to the side on static display in this room were a couple of Aragon amplifiers – their 8008 and Iridium, as well as a new Class-D integrated amplifier called the Aries ($3,500), which includes a 4.3? colour touch screen, balanced XLR inputs and four sets of unbalanced RCA inputs.  There is also a line-level 2.1 input and corresponding output.  I would have loved to hear it, as I’ve come to appreciate the high-quality and high-value that the Aragon brand has become synonymous with.

Audiopathways 4 (Custom)

Audiopathways 5 (Custom)

Crossing the hall to the second Audiopathways room, my eyes welcomed the familiar sight of Bel Canto Black components.  I first heard Bel Canto’s Black models at the last TAVES, in a room also hosted by Audiopathways, there paired with Vienna Acoustics, The Kiss loudspeakers.  This time, Audiopathways paired the all Black system consisting of the ASC1 preamp/controller and dual MPS1 mono block amps ($58,000 for all 3 components) with Raidho’s C1.1 bookshelf speakers ($,18,000/pair) on matching Raidho stands ($3,300).  Cabling was all Tranparent Audio, with the speaker cables being their MM2 series at an approximate price of $12,000.  The Bel Canto Black system is a three box system that is made up of their ASC1 Asynchronous Stream Controller, mated to a pair of MPS1 Monoblock Power Stream amplifiers.  The system utilizes a ULN Master Clock with Asynchronous Interface and proprietary StreamLink ST Fiber Interconnection.  Each Power Stream Monoblock incorporates a Bel Canto nCore Discrete Power Processor stage that can supply 1200 Watts to a connected loudspeaker.  The system sounded velvety smooth with entrancing details and articulate and surprisingly extended bass.  On standby was a pair of Raidho D-1 bookshelf loudspeakers ($28,000), though Angie Lisi mentioned they seemed to be too much for the room, despite their modest size.  Also on static display were a pair of beautiful Bergman turntables – the Magne ($14,000) and the Sindre ($24,000) models.

Lawrence Audio 1 (Custom)

As I continued my way down the hallway I came across a room with an unfamiliar name, that of Lawrence Audio, a manufacturer of fine loudspeakers.  Angela Yang, General Manager, for the company was kind enough to welcome me in and provide me with some literature on their speakers, as well as details on the system in their room.  I was happy to see the system sourced and powered by Bryston equipment, models that I’m very familiar with, which included a pair of Bryston 7B-SST2 amplifiers, controlled by a BP26 preamp and fed digital files via a BDP-2 digital player through a Bryston BDA-2 DAC.  The highlight of the room though, were the Lawrence Audio Cello loudspeakers ($18,000 US/pair).  These speakers were lovely shaped, and beautifully crafted, emulating the lines of the instrument from which they take their name.  The Cello is a 3.5-way speaker, featuring a pair of AMT high-frequency drivers and a pair of 8” woofers, along with a rear facing aluminum ribbon tweeter.  In the short time I had to listen, I was comforted by a smooth, delicate and airy sound.

Kevro 3 (Custom)

Kevro 5 (Custom)

Kevro 4 (Custom)

In the Kevro International room, the Union Jack ottoman sitting in the centre of the room, served to hail the heritage of the manufacturers being featured – those being Monitor Audio and Cyrus Audio.  The speakers were the relatively new Monitor Audio Silver 10  towers ($2,800 to $3,000, depending on finish), connected to a full Cyrus Audio stack.  The Cyrus Audio equipment included the Stream XP2Qx preamplifier/streamer/DAC ($3,799), the PSX-R power supply ($999), the CD Transport ($1,499) and two Mono X200 Signature amplifiers ($3,799/each).   Wiring was all Clarus Cable – from their Crimson series, including  6 foot speaker cables ($5,000/pair), analog interconnects ($1,100/1 meter pair), digital coaxial interconnect ($385/1 meter) and 6 foot high-current power cords ($1,650/each).  The system had a zesty, yet controlled sound that was fun and engaging to listen to.  On static display in the room was Cyrus Audio’s new Lyric 07 all-in-one source / amplifier system ($6,499), which I first got a glimpse of at TAVES 2013.

Anne Bisson (Custom)

As I was making my way around the floor, I came across Anne Bisson, playing a grand piano.  She was promoting her latest album, Tales From The Treetops.  I’ve become quite a fan of her music, which is made all the more interesting with the very high quality of her recordings.  I look forward to spending some time acquainting myself with this latest creation of hers and wish her all the best.  You might want to take a look at a YouTube video of one of the songs on this album “Your Smile”, as it gives you a backstage glimpse on how the recording was made.

Lenbrook Canada 1 (Custom)

Walking into the Lenbrook room, I encountered a display showing off Lenbrook’s latest venture – Bluesound.  Bluesound is a modular, compact lifestyle-oriented range of audio products.  Unlike other competing products in this space, such as Sonos, Bluesound aims at being able to store and playback high-definition / high-resolution audio – up to 24-bit/192kHz without compression.  Bluesound was developed by the engineers at NAD and PSB, two companies that are well known for their high-quality / high-value / high-performance products.  On display was the Node player/streamer ($550), the PowerNode integrated amp/player/streamer ($800), and the Pulse all-in-one player/stereo speaker ($800).  The integrated amplifier utilizes 35-bit/844kHz digital amplifiers, derived from NAD Master Series components.  In addition, there was a Bluesound Vault (digital player/CD ripper/1 TB storage priced at $1,100), which has an Apple / Android interface for control and NAS connection capability.  The Vault caught my attention, as I’ve been looking for a new storage solution for digital music files in my reference system.

Lenbrook Canada 2 (Custom)

Lenbrook Canada 3 (Custom)

Lenbrook Canada 4 (Custom)

Also in this room were the NAD compact D3020 hybrid analog/digital integrated amplifier/DAC ($549), the D7050 pure digital integrated amplifier with Airplay/Bluetooth ($1,100) and the D1050 DAC ($550).  And, to the other side were four sets of headphones – the PSB M4U2 ($399); the M4U1 ($299) and NAD’s HP20 ($199) and HP50 ($299).

Audio Note UK 1 (Custom)

Audio Note UK 2 (Custom)

Like I’ve come to expect from Audio Note (UK), their room was sparse and simple, which allowed for the sound take front-row, so to speak. I noted that the sound of brushes on drum skins and cymbal hits were pristine in their clarity, while maintaining a bounty of harmonic colour.  Bass notes however, were slightly vague, carrying some bloat.  Playing in the room while I was there was the Audio Note (UK) CDT Three/II ($13,200) with the DAC 3.1 x/II ($11,100), an OTO SE Phono Signature integrated Class A amplifier ($7,100), Two Deluxe Turntable ($3,950) with the Arm Three V2 ($2,250) and an IQ3 MM cartridge ($1,100).  The speakers were the Audio Note (J/D $4,150/pr) on matching stands ($720/pr).  The were some components on static display, which included the Audio Note P2 SE Signature power amplifier ($6,750) and the K/SPe two-way loudspeakers ($4,150/pr).

Gershman Acoustics (Custom)

In the Gershman Acoustics room, the featured system included their new Avant Garde R1 loudspeaker priced from $8,000 to $10,000/pair, depending on finish.  Powered by Audia Flight – the Flight Two integrated ($8,000) with the CD One M CD player ($8,000) – the sound was lively, dynamic, and impactful.  In action and on display were Gerhman Acoustics own vibration control devices – LVC, which included the LVC Cable Float ($95/each); the LVC 40 ($335/set of 4); and the LVC 100 ($345/set of 4), which can be used with components and/or speakers.  Also on static display in this room, was a pair of Gerhman Acoustics Idol loudspeakers ($3,000/pair).

Stayed tuned for Part 4 of our coverage of SSI 2014 (coming soon)!

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Sound Momentum Acoustic Wood Diffusers (Custom)

Most music listeners don’t realize that the sound you hear from an audio system, or a live performance, is highly dependent on the acoustic properties of the space itself.  In a home setting, a portion of the sound produced by speakers arrives directly at your ears, but some of the sound radiates from the speakers and reflects from various surfaces (like walls and furniture) and arrives at your ears a tiny bit later.  This reflected sound is what causes distortion in the music that reaches your ears.

New Canadian manufacturer Sound Momentum has developed a unique solution, in a stylish package to eliminate this problem.  The Sound Momentum Acoustic Wood Diffusers are made in Montreal out of real wood and will significantly improve the sound quality of the music system in your room.  What makes these panels unique is that they can be positioned very close to the listening position – for example on the back wall, right behind you couch, something that other acoustic diffusers don’t permit.

Pricing starts at $460 for 22″ x 22″ panel.  For more info, please visit www.soundmomentum.com.

If you’d like to learn more about room acoustics please read CANADA HiFi’s feature on this topic at: http://novo.press//improving-acoustics-in-your-listening-room-tips-on-identifying-and-resolving-acoustic-problems/

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The CANADA HiFi Magazine would like to invite you to enjoy high quality sound outside your home with Monitor Audio’s Climate range of all-weather speakers. Imbued with the design innovation of Monitor Audio’s celebrated hi-fi speaker designs, the CL range will deliver crystal-clear, wide bandwidth audio performance for every wet-area or Outdoor application.

The Climate range features C-CAM Driver technology and passive radiators for great control, clarity and outstanding bass response. The range is comprised of four different models, designed to suit any and every application. There are three two-way satellite speakers: the CL50, CL60 and CL80 housing 5″, 6″ and 8″ C-CAM bass drivers, and there is also the CL60-T2, a single stereo 6″ driver design. Such a versatile choice of all-weather speakers leaves installation options wide open.

Whatever the space and environment, the CL range may be used in any combination to deliver the glorious full-range sound that has won acclaim around the world. You can even enjoy great stereo sound from a single CL60-T2!Monitor Audio Climate Outdoor speakers group

Features and Specifications of Monitor Audio Climate Outdoor Speakers

  • Great full-range sound
  • Four models to suit every all-weather application
  • High performance C-CAM driver and tweeter technology from Monitor Audio’s hi-fi ranges
  • ABR (Auxiliary Bass Radiator) for added low-frequency punch
  • Magnetically attached end cap covers – hide the bracket hardware for a sleek attractive appearance
  • Full installation flexibility: 180 degree rotation bracket in vertical and horizontal planes
  • 15 degree angled wedge supplied to supplement additional bracket versatility
  • Solid, sealed, weather-proof polypropylene enclosure – UV rated
  • Aluminum grille to prevent rust
  • Textured white and black finish (both paintable to suit your décor)
  • Paint mask included
  • High Frequency protection circuit

Monitor Audio C-CAM Technology

What is C-CAM? Ceramic-Coated Aluminium/Magnesium is an innovative material originally developed by the aerospace industry for use as blades in jet engines. It exhibits ideal qualities for use as a driver dome, avoiding the ‘break-up’ or bending modes of more conventional materials. Increased efficiency and clarity and reduced distortion are the result.

Check out the Monitor Audio Climate Outdoor speakers at www.monitoraudio.caMonitor Audio Climate Outdoor speakers CL60

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OPPO PM-1

OPPO Digital, a company most well-know for its high-performance universal Blu-ray Disc players, has just introduced its family of planar magnetic headphones – beginning with their PM-1 model.  The OPPO PM-1 uses a unique planar magnetic driver with a 7-layer diaphragm and a FEM-optimized high energy Neodymium magnet system.  The diaphragm uses a spiraling pattern of flat conductors etched on both sides.  The double-sided design permits double the conductors to be utilized within within the magnetic field, providing for higher sensitivity, better damping, and greater driver control.  

Lending to added comfort and greater performance, the OPPO PM-1 is a circumaural (over-the-ear), open back design. The design and driver construction provide high sensitivity and extremely low distortion for a transparent, highly dynamic sound with well-balanced tonality, along with low weight for portability.  

The PM-1 is estimated to become available in limited quantities beginning mid-April at a MSRP of $1099 U.S.  OPPO intends to release a PM-2 model which will have a similar design and performance, as well as the the same planar magnetic driver with cost savings achieved in terms of replacing costly metal parts with materials and processes more suitable for a larger production run.  For example, the luxurious hand-picked lambskin found on the headband and ear pads of the PM-1 will be substituted with synthetic leather on the PM-2.  The PM-2 is estimated to become available in summer 2014 at a MSRP of $699 U.S.

Look for more details to be shared at:  http://oppodigital.azurewebsites.net/.

 

 

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Paradigm Soundscape 5

There are plenty of soundbars out there to choose from but this isn’t just another ordinary, mediocre soundbar.  When a world renowned speaker maker like Paradigm designs a soundbar you can be assured that sound quality is a top priority.

The Paradigm Soundscape is a 5.1 channel powered soundbar designed for those that love music and movies.  Its suite of drivers consists of four 4? mineral-filled polypropylene cone woofers and three 1? satin-anodized pure-aluminum dome tweeters.  The driver complements are physically separated into three sections (L/C/R) within the cabinet, ensuring sonic clarity and channel separation. The complement is arranged perpendicularly to achieve the low-profile design.

The Soundscape’s onboard user interface controls Power, Volume and synching of an external subwoofer (sold separately). The integrated 7-character display offers navigation of numerous customizable features including: a dedicated Music Mode, dedicated Movie Mode with Paradigm Virtual Surround, treble/bass adjustments, virtual surround on/off, renaming of sources for convenience and of particular importance to customers and Paradigm Dealers, comprehensive IR learning with discrete HEX codes. The Soundscape can learn power on/off, source select, volume up/down and mute from a TV’s remote so that both the Soundscape and the TV can be controlled via a single remote. The system can be configured for use with two separate remotes, one of which could be used for whole-home automation. Bluetooth and aptX streaming technologies as well as AVRCP (Audio/Video Remote Control Profile) are part of the package, enabling remote control of Bluetooth sources directly from the Soundscape. This feature also allows the user to charge their Bluetooth device from another room while still allowing playback and control via the Soundscape’s remote control or top-panel interface. Soundscape offers specific EQ modes, one for on-wall placement, one for placement on a flat surface.

The DSP-based amplifier supplies deep, articulate bass to each of the four high-power polypropylene woofers so that an external subwoofer is welcome, but by no means critical. It is also the processing platform for Paradigm’s proprietary Paradigm Virtual Surround sound processing which helps make this product a standout. Dolby Digital decoding provides improved compatibility with TVs that don’t feature LPCM audio modes.

The Soundscape’s rear panel offers digital optical and analog stereo inputs for hook-up
of Blu-ray/DVD/CD players, gaming consoles, satellite receivers and other external sources. Inputs and outputs can be renamed for convenience and include: 2 x Optical SPFIF, 1 x Coax SPDIF, 1 x Analog RCA Right/Left, 1 x Sub-Out and Bluetooth (wireless). Analog outputs are included for wired subwoofer connection. Connections can be made via the soundbar or through the television itself, increasing the amount of inputs and improving the entire user experience. It’s all easy, and in just a few minutes customers are immersed in their favorite music, movie or video game.

Total System Power: 7 x 25 watts RMS Sustained. 7 x 50 watts Peak Power.  Soundscape dimensions (without feet or brackets and including grille) H x W x D: 5-1/4” x 42” x 5-1/4” (13.3 cm x 106.7 cm x 13.3 cm). Weight: 19.7 lb / 8.9 kg.

Available now for $1,499.  For more info, please visit www.paradigm.com

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exaSound

exaSound Audio Design has announced DSD256 playback on Mac OS X Mavericks, which they claim to be a world’s first.  The new DSD256 capability is provided via the release of two new driver technologies – Core Audio DoP256 and OS X ASIO.  Owners of the e20 Mk III, e22 and e28 DACs can now download these free updates from the exaSound website.

 Until now the highest DSD resolution – DSD256, also known as 4xDSD or DSD 11.28/12.28 MHz, was available only on Windows.  With OS X Mavericks new possibilities for audiophile-grade sound streaming are now available.  exaSound began the development effort on this latest generation of drivers way back in July 2013.

The Mac sound system doesn’t have a built-in support for DSD-encoded audio. The audio industry has adopted an open-source standard called DSD over PCM (DoP). DoP relies on a workaround to disguise DSD as PCM data stream. Unfortunately this workaround causes 30 to 50 percent overhead. The DoP implementation of DSD 256 requires support for PCM at 705.6kHz and 768kHz. Such sampling rates are a real challenge for both computer CPU and USB audio interface; however, the exaSound Core Audio DoP256 driver overcomes these limitations.

Other benefits of the exaSound Core Audio DoP256 driver include:

  • Simplified installation and upgrade. All that is required is to run the installation package and to select the new driver in the player program setup.
  • A single driver supports all exaSound devices in both stereo and multichannel modes.
  • Simplified user interface and configuration.
  • Seamless support for Integer Mode and Exclusive Mode.

exaSound intends to puch performance even further with a new ASIO driver technology for OS X that they are currently workin with leading player developers on, which will enable ASIO support in their programs.  

exaSound claims that its DACs are the only devices on the market that can play natively any high-resolution audio format – multi-channel and stereo – at any sampling rate that can be produced today.  Look for more details at: http://www.exasound.com/

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Sony-Wireless-Speakers-1-700x450 (Custom)

Joseph Bonondona, one of CANADA HiFi’s Facebook friends, has been selected randomly as the winner of this giveaway – congratulations Joseph!  Thank you to everyone who participated by liking our Facebook page and following us Twitter.  And if you didn’t win this time, don’t worry, we’ve got another amazing giveaway just around the corner – this time it will be something pretty awesome from Monitor Audio.  Stay tuned for an announcement in the next few days!

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Canadian manufacturer Bryston Ltd. showed its muscle at this year’s Salon Son & Image (or Montreal Audio Show) in one of the biggest rooms.  Just take a look at their amazing setup above.  George de Sa is working on a full coverage of this room but I had a chance to sit down and have a listen, and snap some pictures, as well while at the show, which I wanted to share with our readers.  The large Model T Passive looked friendly and less imposing than you might think in the glossy white finish, and were powered with a couple of 28BSST² mono block amps.  The sound here was dynamic and powerful and certainly left a great impression and a big smile on my face.  I also discovered a very cool new (to me) Nine Inch Nails track called “Copy of a” thanks to James Tanner’s diversified taste in music.

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In addition to the active demonstration system inside this room, Bryston showed pretty much its entire line of electronics and speakers.

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Audiopathways demonstrated this year that you don’t need a big room to experience an amazingly talented and powerful music system.  The system above consisted of the magnificent Raidho Acoustics speakers driven by a Bel Canto Black preamp/amp system.  Owner Angie Lisi played two different Raidho speaker models during the show, offering visitors a chance to hear the C 1.1 ($18,000) and the D-1 ($28,000).  I am not exaggerating when I say that these perhaps the best sounding speakers I have ever heard.  The accuracy, soundstaging, musicality and details are simply first-class in both models.  And the amount of deep, clean and articulate bass is astonishing given that both models are not very big bookshelf speakers.  The Bel Canto Black system is equally as impressive in performance.  I had a chance to listen to this system a couple of weeks earlier at Angie’s Audio Corner and found it to be incredibly transparent, clear and have a completely black background.  You can read more about this system here: http://novo.press//angies-audio-corner-whats-new/

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In another room, Audiopathways showed the brand new Raidho X-1 bookshelf speaker.  At $8,000 it is the smallest and most affordable Raidho model, allowing those with more reasonable budgets to get a taste of the seductive Raidho sound.  I was simply blown away (again) with this speaker’s performance.  What I heard was a perfect tonal balance, vivid details, fantastic soundstaging and a phenomenal bass.  From a speaker the size of could be a computer speaker, the sound was unbelievable.  We hope that Audiopathways will demonstrate these speakers again at the Toronto Audio Video Entertainment Show (TAVES) this fall, so that music buffs from the Toronto area can give it a good listen.

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MBL’s room is always a pleasure to spend some time inside, listening to music.  But you usually have to wait your turn, as there was a line-up in front of the room non-stop.  These German-made omni directional speakers radiate sound in a 360-degree pattern reproducing music in a true-to-life, three dimensional fashion that is highly engaging and emotional.  MBL electronics on the other hand produce a clean, dynamic, highly detailed and powerful sound.  The combined system resulted in one of the best sounding systems at the show, at least in my opinion.  Rumor has it that MBL, together with retailer Update TV & Stereo, will be demonstrating an out-of-this-world 7.1 channel MBL sound system in the biggest room at TAVES 2014 this fall, along with a 4K Sony projector on a gigantic screen.  Can you imagine the thrill of such a system?

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Canadian manufacturer Muraudio made its debut at the 2013 TAVES in Toronto, introducing visitors to its first speaker called the Domain Omni DA1, a powered loudspeaker that uses an Omni-directional electrostatic module combined with three precision designed low frequency woofers. At the Montreal show, the company demonstrated its new passive Domain Omni PX1 loudspeaker designed to be paired with audiophile-grade amplifiers like the Bryston mono blocks that it was powered by at the show.  The sound in this big room was powerful, dynamic and truly multi-dimensional, regardless of where in the room you stood.  We heard that Muraudio has some big plans for TAVES 2014 and we certainly can’t wait to see what they have in store.

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Audio Sensibility attracted a healthy crowd to its display at the show, thanks to its diverse selection of products on demonstration and available for purchase – including cables, power distribution boxes, various accessories and records.  This year, the company also demonstrated the brand new Alpha Design Labs (ADL) EH008 earphones along side the H118 headphones, fed by an iPad mini.  The ADL display (shown below) allowed visitors to make a direct comparison between the ADL headphones and the newly released earphones.  Various ADL headphone amps and DACs sat below in the display case.

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Acoustique Technologies, a Montreal-based retailer, seriously stepped up its game at the Montreal show this year.  In addition to is regular booth the company featured two other rooms at the showcasing its portfolio of products.  The Acoustique Technologies booth focused on smaller items like DACs, bookshelf speakers, cables and various audio accessories.  The upstairs room on the other hand featured full-scale audio systems.  One of the rooms paired Nola Metro Grand Reference Gold speakers with Manley tube-based electronics, and a Meitner DAC.  Notice the hole in the enclosure at the top of each speaker – this lack of enclosure behind the mid and high range drivers eliminates any colouration normally caused by the enclosure and gives the speaker somewhat of an unusual appearance (image below).  A Nola Boxer 2-way, stand mount monitor speaker was also available for demonstration inside this room.

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Take a closer look at these cool, stealthy looking Manley Snapper tube amps above.

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The second Acoustique Technologies room was centered around Swedish-made Marten loudspeakers (both Heritage Getz 2 floorstanders and Heritage Duke 2 bookshelves were available for audition) and higher-line Manley electronics.  If you live in the Montreal area, we invite you to check out their beautiful new store located at 1970 rue Beaubien Est, Montréal, H2G 1M1 (Tel: 514 387 4944, www.acoustic-tech.com).