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Montréal Salon Audio / Montreal Audio Fest 2016 Show Report
Montreal Salon Audio / Montreal Audio Fest 2016 Show Report
Part 2 By Rick Becker









The next room, St. Leonard, hosted by Plurison, one of the most prominent dealers in Montreal, was one of the best and most interesting of the show for me. It featured the new Micromega M One integrated amplifier in orange, with four other variations of chassis on a side table. The wrap-around side and extended top concealed the cable connections at the rear, giving it a svelte appearance suitable for the finest homes. A new category for listening rooms was introduced with the vaporizer shown here to minimize static electricity in the air, which is probably more critical for the analog playback than anything else. A Clearaudio Talisman mc cartridge was mounted on the tangential tonearm and the entire ensemble was very colorful. Beneath the green vinyl was a red Funk Achromat mat on the Clearaudio Inspiration turntable. Michel Plante honored me by playing a different cut from a ZZ Top LP that I had played in the previous room. With a turntable and cartridge combination that was easily 10 times the cost, the music was far superior, too. This was my first listen to the Focal Sopra No. 1 stand mounted monitor, and at least with ZZ Top, I didn't want for bass. Keeping a system in balance from a quality standpoint should always be a priority and the prices shown here were a bit of an eye-opener. Not only do they give credence to the idea of having a strong front end, but also praise to the Micromega M One for playing in a much more expensive league. I've heard the Sopra No. 2 floorstander a couple of times, and the No. 1 only gives away deeper bass to its larger brother. This is an outstanding speaker.



If you had forgotten to bring an LP to audition the previous system, there was plenty in the hallway outside the room as well as elsewhere at the show.





On the other side of the island of large suites in the Jacques Cartier room sponsored by Son Ultime was an unusually eclectic combination of brands featuring a rare opportunity to hear the Kingdom Royal speakers from Tannoy ($82,000 US). This speaker sounded a lot less horn-like than the large Tannoy models I've heard from the Classic series with elegant wood trim. The Kingdom Royal was a blend of classic and contemporary with a dash of gold bling. In the low light of the room the gorgeous wood veneer on the sides and back was practically unnoticeable. Bryston 7B- cubed monoblocks with their new matt silver finish never came close to clipping with the efficient Tannoy speakers. A Linn Majik DS digital music player was the source. Hearing unclipped music in a large room is always a treat. Room treatments by Primacoustic lined the walls, here, cutting down the reflections.



Next door in the Pointe Aux Trembles suite was yet another outstanding listening experience. You're looking at the whole rig in the first photo and yes, that's a laptop on the floor between the speakers. This was a Goldmund wireless system using their proprietary system similar to Wi-Fi. The Logos Tower speakers were two-way with a DAC, pre-amp and a 175 watt power amp for each driver inside each tower. That would be a 1" soft dome tweeter and a 6.5" mid-woofer. It was shown in the optional white finish rather than the standard aluminum finish. Each comes with a gold plated top engraved with the Goldmund logo. The power cords looked like generic IEC cords plugged into a simple looking power strip along with the computer. A Goldmund dongle is attached to the computer and you're ready to rock. Alternatively, the speakers can be used with coaxial cables. This was flat out the best wireless system I've ever heard — not that I've been to CES or Munich lately where they might have shown their much more expensive Prologos or Prologos Plus wireless systems. These were much more pleasant to look at, targeting the lifestyle consumer. The music was focused, fast and harmonically balanced, really getting out of the box with a very generous soundstage as you would expect with the speakers placed far out into the room. It's a set-up for those willing to spend once and spend large ($30,000) and then move on to other pursuits in their lives. As always the room from Wynn Audio, hosted by Wynn Wong, was an exceptional room by any standard.




Stepping down to the $10,000 price point (?) was this handsome Nanometis tabletop/computer wireless speaker that can team up with the Talisman wireless hub or the Goldmund dongle, both available in four finishes and capable of decimating anything in this category with its 140 watt/speaker built-in amplifier. Also on silent display was a Goldmund headphone amplifier with built-in DAC and dual headphone jacks for $12,000.


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