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Salon Son & Image 2015 Report Montreal High-End Audio Show
Salon Son & Image Report 2015 -- Montreal High-End Audio Show
Report By Rick Becker -- Part 4

Sufficient, friendly and attentive staff was on hand to talk with visitors and explain the products and answer questions. Also of interest to me was the Naim Mu-so, a lifestyle high end wireless system that looks like a sound bar with six 75 watt amps driving that many speakers. It is cool enough to be marketed through select Apple stores and Apple.com. A couple of Pathos pieces also caught my eye including their Classic Remix ($4695CDN), a re-design and updating of their Classic One integrated amp that puts out 70 wpc in hybrid form and now incorporates an internal DAC with a full suite of digital inputs as well as a headphone amp to keep up with the changing times. Also from Pathos was one of their Adrenaline hybrid monoblocks that produces 200 watts ($54,995CDN/pair) that makes the new PS Audio amp look positively affordable. But who can argue with the classic Pathos extruded logo heat sinks on the sides? If the price hasn't scared you away, you've probably already skipped over to their website. It is items like these that perpetuate the cliché, "Italian Design."

 

If you're concerned that your wife might be upset with your self-indulgence in this hobby, perhaps you should consider some fine jewelry from Crystal Cable Absolute Dream series ($5500 to $44,000CDN) which can also double as interconnects and speaker cables when she's not wearing them. And if in the words of Lou Reed, she was a "he", you might consider the similarly priced Siltech line which is more masculine. I also preferred the Crystal Cable Arabesque Minissimo monitors in fashionable colors to the original glass versions which caused too much angst. In the Fundy room hosted by Audiophile Experts I spotted Audio Physics Scorpio 25 Plus floorstanding speakers that were driven by a couple of Devialet units sitting on a table with a Clearaudio turntable and an Esoteric CD player. No photos, no comments. Guess I really dropped the ball in this room. Sorry, guys.

 

At the other end of the hall in Fontaine H Quebec Acoustic set up three or four modestly priced rigs ranging from barely entry level to a very solid system with a BC Acoustique EX362D integrated amp ($2500CDN) putting out 80 watts in Class A shown here with Davis Acoustics Cesar HD speakers ($4700) that really cranked out "another brick in the wall" given their 92dB efficiency. If you were an entry level person, or new to the hobby, this was a room where you could definitely get comfortable.

 

Across the hall in the Jacques Cartier room was a pair of Tannoy MOS (Modern Old School, my term) Westminster GR (Gold Reference) speakers ($50,000CDN) with dual concentric drivers from their Prestige series. Tannoy touts the finest traditional cabinetry for those of us whose home is truly their castle. Treble was adjustable from inserting a plug into various sockets across the panel at the bottom of the speaker. The speakers were driven by a Cary Audio rig featuring a CAD 120S Mk II stereo tube amp. The music source was their DMC 600SEDigital Music Center, a CD player with DAC capable of handling 32-bit/384kHz program material. A DAC 100T tube DAC was also in the rig. Mark thought the Gelaskin smart phone case with the image of the Tannoy Prestige speaker would be a more affordable Plan B. While not cutting edge, it was a real treat to hear these finely crafted speakers. With their high sensitivity you are not likely to clip the music unless your room is exceedingly large.

 

I ducked into a darkened room to witness one of the few exhibits aimed at home theater. This one was using a very substantial projector to throw a very large screen.

 

The narrow hallway at the opposite end of the Level Grands Salons always has an interesting collection of gear on silent display that I believe is hosted by the distributor Plurison. With a wild poster proclaiming "My Second Spin" was a mostly red LP playback rig comprised of a Music Hall mmf 2.2 le turntable, a Micromega Mygroov mm/mc phonostage ($299CDN) and Kantos powered speakers totaling $1199 for all, unless I missed something in the translation. What a great way "to get back, Jack; start a new plan, Stan" and "set yourself free." (Paul Simon)

 

Recycling the white dome tent that housed the headphone display last year, an affordable entry level rig was pretty enticing. It included a Cocktail Audio X12 digital source, a Micromega Myamp ($699CDN), and Micromega Myspeakers ($499/pr.). On silent display nearby were a Mydac ($399) and a Myzic headphone amp ($299). All great gear to achieve lift-off into the world of High End audio. Jerome Fragman of Plurison promised me next year I can use their tent in the wilderness area atop the hotel and feast on the ducks.

 

Jerome also walked me through the Cambridge Audio lineup that had lots of new product. Starting at the far right end of the table was the CXR 200 AV receiver ($3799CDN) and CXR 120 AV receiver ($2799) that will be available later this spring. Next were a couple of integrated amps, the CXA80 ($1399) with 80 wpc, and the CXA60 ($1199) with 60 wpc. Next up was their CDC CD transport only for $699, which makes sense since a lot of integrated amps now incorporate DACs. This was followed by a pair of streamers, the CXN ($1399) and 851N ($2199) which has a better DAC and mates with the 851W stereo power amp ($2999), the last item on the table. The power amp puts out 200wpc in stereo or 500w in bridged mono. These streamers have a remote control with volume control, so they can work as a preamp, too.

 

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