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TAVES Consumer Electronics Show 2015 (Toronto Audio Video Entertainment Show) Report
TAVES Consumer Electronics Show 2015 Show Report 
Toronto Audio Video Entertainment Show Part 3
Report By Rick Becker

 

  The 2015 edition of the TAVES Consumer Electronics Show was a remarkable success, establishing a new direction for the event, while breaking all expectations. For the first time in its history, the show brought together over 100 exhibitors and witnessed a staggering 55% increase in attendance. The show was enjoyed by over 6500 visitors (about 700 industry professionals and 5800 consumers). The new technology & innovation elements of TAVES attracted the most diverse, highly qualified audience to date including business owners, families, teens and kids.

 

Continuing on the lower floor of the Best Western...

 

In the Atelier-Audio room (7125) I found a table full of goodies from the high end Japanese manufacturer Yamamoto, including the YDA-02 USB (only) DAC & headphone amp ($350 CAD) that was both cute and attractive with LEDs to indicate 44.1 through 96 kHz at up to 24-bit resolution. On the HA-03 Headphone/Speaker amplifier ($1900) that's a locking headphone input on the lower left face. And the A-014 Stereo Power Amplifier ($6000) with volume control using 300B power tubes is also seen above. Although I've seen Yamamoto gear before, I don't think they permit playing of their equipment at shows. Also of great interest were the Emission Labs vacuum tubes from the Czech Republic, apparently a competitor of KR in that country. Also admired was the Ocellia Quarero monoblock single ended triode design with no negative feedback. Metronome, from Belgium, had their DACs on silent display including the entry level, the mid-level Hex DAC with USB ($3990 CAD) and high-end Pavane ($7000) on display. The Pavane has no filters and no output transformers so the DAC is said to be more pure sounding and realistic, using a DAC chip of their own design made completely in house. In an active rig the Pavane was feeding a 10 wpc, Class A, Audioprojekte CA10 amplifier. The speaker was a small floorstander with a ribbon tweeter in a circular mount and a pair of dynamic drivers in a more conventional column.

 

Zavfino 1877Phono piqued my interest with a full page ad in the show program featuring their handsome looking but conventionally finished turntable. When I walked into their room (7146) I was blown away by a handful of turntables exquisitely finished in automotive paints with stunning designs. The sad realization was that much of the art work would be covered by the platter. I'd say the artist, who also does cars and motorcycles (but not tattoos?), is world class. Will Tremblett, the owner, walked me through their presentation. The turntable, as you can see, has a separate motor and is belt driven. There is a separate power supply and speed controller as well. A reflective circle on the side of the platter is used in conjunction with a strobe that acts as a tachometer. The plinth is mdf and the platter is aluminum. The table sells for around $4200 USD including the 9.5" carbon fiber Aeshna Series tonearm. The tonearm combines a ceramic horizontal bearing with a knife edge vertical bearing, and uses PC-OCC 33 AWG copper (which is very thin) or pure silver 34 gauge wire which is even thinner. Various finishes are available on the tonearm. His company also markets a variety of cabling related to turntables including Devil's Hair 32 gauge headshell leads of OCC coper, as well as interconnects, speaker cables and power cords. The Devil, they say, is in the details. The company began making tonearm cables and they now offer five different models ranging from $130 to $600 CAD for the top-of-the-line pure silver model. Some of their tonearm cables are used by other manufacturers. The tables were on static display in this room, but I had a chance to hear one later in the show on Sunday.

 

In an ethereal blue room (7121) Smartketing, a Canadian distributor with a strong presence in Quebec and a few in Ontario and British Columbia, mated AVM gear from Germany was on white pedestals along with one black and one white pair of Canton speakers, also from Germany. On top, on the center pedestal was a CD player. Below it wearing a chrome faceplate was a gorgeous preamplifier / streamer / DAC with a tube output stage ($8000 CAD), feeding the handsome monoblock amplifiers, also with chrome face ($9500/pr). The speakers were from the Canton Reference Series ($18,500), and appear to be from the now discontinued series, replaced by the new Reference K series. Perhaps there are some deals to be made? On another wall was an AVM lifestyle all-in-one system ($5000 CAD) just add speakers. It comes with chrome, white or black faceplate and is made to order with a CD player, DAC, preamp, Class D power amps, both mm and mc phono stages, streamer and a headphone amp create it your way! Gorgeous electronics here and great sound from the speakers.

Humble apology goes out to Reinhard Goerner of Goerner Audio (room 7117) who imports some unusual lines from Europe and always has a very interesting room for listening. It was the same again this year, except I forgot to take photos especially of the Wiener Lautsprecher Manufaktur loudspeaker from Germany. The ad on the inside back cover of the show program suggests it is the Rudolf model. Some years ago at Montreal Ernie Fisher, one of the veteran publisher & reviewers, dragged me into a room to hear a WLM monitor and I was highly impressed. This company may have evolved since then, but the quality seems just as good. At $27,000 CAD it should be. There are two woofers that do not do the same thing, according to Reinhard. The top woofer gives the presentation a greater sense of space. Efficiency is 94dB/W/m making it an easy drive for the Grandinote solid state amplifier from Italy. Frequency range is 25Hz to 25kHz, courtesy of a 50mm graphite cone tweeter, not a dome, in what is an M-T-M D'Appolito arrangement on the front baffle. An Acoustic Signature WOW XL turntable with their TA-1000 tonearm fitted with a cantilever-less London Super Gold cartridge (formerly known as Decca). Cabling was Nordost Valhalla 2. Listening to a familiar ZZ Top cut I found the sound here to be very precise with good spatial characteristics, but on the dry side without any bloom. The treble seemed pretty incredible from my brief exposure to this speaker.

 

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