Salon Audio / Montreal Audio Fest 2017 Coverage by George de Sa

2017-04-05T20:24:48+00:00April 5th, 2017|Audio Video Show Coverage, Features|14 Comments

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VPI with Joseph Audio
Joseph Audio and VPI paired up to assemble an impressive system. Fronted by the VPI Titan turntable, using a new reference 12” 3D printed tonearm with Nordost Valhalla 2 cabling and a Lyra cartridge, the system was pulling exceptional musical details from the grooves. The Joseph Audio Pearl 3 loudspeakers were powered by Simaudio monoblocks and connected with Transparent Cables. The whole gang was there in the room when I stopped by: Jeff Joseph, as well as Matt and Harry Weisfeld; three guys who truly know how music should sound.

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Audio Note, U.K.
Next stop was the Audio Note U.K. room. Despite their rather modest appearance, I’ve become a huge fan of the sound of Audio Note U.K. show setups – always inviting, musically convincing with captivating imagery. This year’s system was no less, using Audio Note JSpe speakers ($6563 CAD), an M2 Phono preamp ($3,800 CAD), P2SE power amp ($4895 CAD), CDT-One Transport ($3910 CAD) with DAC 2 ($2500 CAD).

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Bleu Stereo
Bleu Stereo, by Dany Poulin, had a room with a number of interesting brands. Centred around a Balanced Audio Technology (BAT) preamplifier, the VK23-SE and power amplifier, the VK225-SE, this system played through ELAC 507VX tower loudspeakers. The analog source was from VPI, namely the VPI Prime table with a MoFi Master Tracker MM cartridge ($980) and VPI’s own Analog Drive System speed controller. Power was delivered via an IsoTek Aquarius EVO3 with a full Luna Cable loom. Listening to the album, Into The Labyrinth by Dead Can Dance, I enjoyed the warm, relaxed yet nuanced sound, which from the traffic in this room, was obviously to the liking of show patrons, as well.

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Esoteric and Focal by Audiophile Experts:
In one of the larger rooms on the lower floor, I came across an attractive system that mated Focal Scala V2 Utopia loudspeakers (approx.. $40,000 CAD) with Esoteric components. The room was hosted by Audiophile Experts, a Quebec audio/video dealer. The Esoteric components on demo included: the K-01 CD/SACD player; C-03 preamplifier; S-03 amplifier and G-02 clock. The turntable was a VPI Prime Signature. As expected with this pairing of high calibre components, the sound was delicate, open and natural.

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Goerner Audio:
A lovely sound was emanating from the room of Goerner Audio, in which I found the friendly face of Reinhard, company owner. Reinhard had setup a simple system with a mid-priced WLM (Wiener Lautsprecher Manufacture) Diva IV loudspeaker ($18,000 CAD) being driven by a Grandinote Shinai integrated amplifier (37 wpc full Class “A” no negative feedback). The music server/DAC in play was a Grandinote Volta ($14,000), both components sitting on a Grandinote Support Shinai+ stand ($2,500). The sound emanating from this system immediately put me at ease – speaking to its sense of flow and naturalness. Other brands / products on display from Goerner Audio were those of Trigon and Digitbit. None of these brands are commonly known but from what I’ve heard from them, definitely worth investigating.

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Mark Levinson, KEF & AudioQuest by Audioville:
In a room hosted by the Quebec dealer Audioville, a regular exhibitor at the Montreal Show, I found a system pairing Mark Levinson with KEF and wired with AudioQuest. The speakers were the KEF Reference 5 and cables were a mix of AudioQuest Wells Signature, Wild and Diamond. The sources and amplification were all Mark Levinson, including: the No 526 preamp, No 536 monoblocks, and No 519 CDP/DAC/streamer.

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However, the most interesting to see was the new and first ever Mark Levinson turntable – the new No 515, which is built by VPI to Mark Levinson design and specifications.

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JVCKenwood was putting on a show with their new flagship projector, the JVC DLA RS4500 ($44,999 CAD), native 4K projector with a laser light source and full HDR. Capable of 3000 lumens this projector was delivering a spectacular picture on a sub-optimal portable screen setup. The projector is capable of easily casting a reference quality image, at even up to 200”. I took in a few scenes from the latest Max Max film, which seemed to be popular in the HT/video setups at the show this year.

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