Continuing Along HiFi Listening
Rooms @ Main Pavillion
Wearables 2.0: It's about time
Brain Computer Interfaces: And you thought Siri was wild!
Augmented, Virtual and Mixed Reality
Green and Autonomous Vehicles: Reinventing the wheel.
And then, on Sunday:
Pirate Radio Diaries: Adventures in Illegal Broadcasting
Robots—and Roboticists—in the Family!
There were also a large number of Special Events on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, as well as something called "Meetups" in the Pinsent 3 conference room, all told on a wide variety of topics and demonstrations.
RUELaudio, Inc., in Room M was one of the most interesting rooms at TAVES. Thierry (Terry) Ruel was born on the French islands of St-Pierre et Miquelon, somewhere out in the Atlantic Ocean between Newfoundland and Labrador where the whales roam, but has since moved to Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada where his multiple talents have led him to develop these tall line source speakers, dubbed the R7. Their modular construction allows them to be fitted from floor to ceiling in your room for best effect with 112 to 168 drivers being used per pair. Music from a laptop was sent to a Mini DSP & ICE amplifier and on to the speakers where woofers fired out the back side and seven small full-range drivers fired out the thin slot in the front side of each module. Gold plated pins sticking out of the top of each unit interlock the connection between the modules as well as carry the signal.
Baltic Birch from Russia and Finland, and carbon fiber are used in this patent pending design. Price ranges from $36,000 to $52,000 CAD for 16 to 24 modules, depending on the height of your room and includes the amplifier and digital signal processing, so it really is an active system. The sound was spacious and uniform as I walked about the room, but there was no "sweet spot" or pinpoint imaging that so many audiophiles prefer for their private listening. Rather, you are presented with a performance that is much closer to the experience of a live music presentation in a large hall. And not just you, but all the other people in the room, too. The finish on this speaker was attractive, showing off the 2000 to 3000 layers of Baltic Birch, but it was also recently completed, so the aroma of the stain with UV protection filled the room and suggested the drivers were not yet broken in. Nonetheless, this was an audacious premier for a very promising young company. I look forward to seeing them again, perhaps at Montreal in the spring.
I unscrupulously requested a review sample be sent to Michael Fremer for review.
HiFi Room N was listed as AuDIYo, but in fact it was a second room from Wynn Audio. It was a grand presentation, though I might have tidied up the cables and put them on cable riser if it had been my own. The Penaudio Sinfonia speakers ($33,000, all prices Cdn, here) were statuesque and appealed to my love and appreciation of wood. It is also available in black ash, and piano gloss black or white. It is a full range speaker running from 20Hz to 30 kHz, as is the smaller Sinfonietta version for those who need or prefer a more modest size. It requires a serious amplifier being rated at 4 Ohms and 87dB/W/m efficiency (86dB for the Sinfonietta) the Karan Acoustic KA S600 ($40,000) from Serbia would certainly qualify, rated at 600 Wpc, and putting out 1000 watts at the speaker's 4 Ohm rating. Like, when was the last time you heard of an amp with gold plated circuit boards? And notice that there are even fins on the fins of the heat sinks! The Karan KA L Mk3 ($14,000) was the preamplifier here and the source was the Goldmund Eidos 36U+ ($48,000). Cabling was by Furutech Evolution II with a $517 RCA interconnect, $1043 3m speaker cable and $890 power cord.
You could certainly spend more for cables, here, but I wouldn't underestimate the quality of the Furutech used here. Let's not overlook the Entreq Tellus II ($2500) grounding device tucked away on the bottom shelf of the Critical Mass System Black Platinum Mk3 stand ($2500). If you liked the sound here but can't come up with the $150,000 for the large way shown here, you could easily scale back in every category from these same manufacturers. I remember when Pen Audio from Finland first broke on the scene here with their small Cenya stand mounted monitor. It seemed like a lot of money for such a small speaker, but the quality was certainly there, even then. It was a marvelous opportunity to hear their flagship at this show in what was one of the Best Rooms at the show. The high S/N ratios of the preamp and power amp (-110, -112dB) were augmented with the Acoustic Revive RTP-6 ($5000) power strip that conceals a lot of high technology combined here with the Acoustic Revive platform made with Finnish hickory board over quartz to absorb EMF radiation. Unfortunately, the ambient noise of the listening rooms precluded appreciation of the black background of this gear.
At this point I need to introduce Terry Parker who was present under the guise of Jolt! Gallery. He was manning two tables at the end of the Main Pavillion, right in front of HiFi Room O (as in "Oh!" not zero). One table had something to do with art, sort of, and the other seemed to be about marijuana. The Canadians were, and perhaps still are, far ahead of us in the race to legalize marijuana. With the onset of global warming, marijuana is threatening to replace wheat as the main cash crop of Saskatchewan, so President Trump will be faced with the prospect of building TWO walls, not one. (Oops! Pardon my impersonation of John Oliver.) The guy who wrote the book on marijuana on table #2 also painted the front of HiFi Room O, which brings us back to the TAVES show.