Salon Audio Montreal / Audio Fest
2022 Show Report
Lower Level Continued
In the other half of the room, with the lights off, Totem presented a modest home theater arrangement with periodic standing-room-only presentations — again, reasonably priced gear. I missed seeing Vince Bruzzese this year, nor did I get a chance to say hello to his son who was busy with the home theater presentation.
In the hallway by the Totem room was the lovely young harpist, Isabeau Corriveau, once again, providing some live music to the show and selling her CDs (and an LP!).
Proceeding around the corner to Montreal 2 on the end cap of the Montreal block, I stepped into an intimate presentation in the Apple-Tree HiFi room. As I moved forward into this romantic café setting filled with beautiful music, I realized the gentleman in the front row was about to make a proposal to the woman next to him. Fully expecting him to get down on his knee as I drew closer, I could hear him softly say, "Honey, can we buy these speakers?"
Powered by the acclaimed Grandinote Shinai integrated amplifier ($15k USD) from Italy was a pair of horn-loaded dual concentric speakers from a new Canadian company, BSC Research. Their new Dundee 8 speaker ($19,850 CAD) features a 1" compression horn with an 8" poly driver with rubber surround. High efficiency (96dB/W/m) is one of the main selling points for horn-loaded speakers, allowing them to be driven by low-powered SET tube amps. The Shinai, here, is a relative monster amp by comparison with 37 Wpc from this 88-pound beast, but its unique solid-state design has a very tube-like sound. Reinhart Goerner imports this line, but wasn't at the show this year, though I've heard this amp many times over the years.
On silent display was an analog source with a chrome-plated Trans Rotor Fat Bob S with upgraded power supply and very heavy platter. The tonearm was the new, free-standing Tru-Glider tonearm ($4k to $6k USD) from Integrity HiFi that I heard at Capital AudioFest last November. (These are the same people that brought us the Tru-Lift mechanical tonearm lifter device.) The holographic music floating in the air at the time of my visit came from a Grandinote Volta streamer/DAC (about $9500 USD) that was connected to a Roon Nucleus.
I heard none of the stereotypical horn colorations. The relatively small size of the cabinet belied the large holographic soundscape. The music was very transparent and dynamic as you would expect from such a high-efficiency speaker, and not the least bit irritating. The cabinets, with their proprietary horn design, are painted with a clear urethane topcoat that gives it almost a candy-apple finish with lots of depth. It is available with either gloss or satin finish and in real wood veneers as well. Custom paint colors are offered at no upcharge. The wood veneer finish requires the use of solid wood at the rounded edges to prevent veneer peeling, so this adds an extra $1100 CDN to the cost.
The crossover is in an equally finely finished cabinet and sits next to the speaker on the floor. Filled with high-quality parts, it features three-position toggle switches for bass, midrange and treble — up to 30kHz, with attenuation of 0dB, -1.5dB and -3dB. Bass extends to 38Hz (anechoic) and a claimed 24Hz in-room. Had they been serving wine, I could have camped out in this room all night. It was a personal favorite as well as one of the Best Of Montreal 2022 from an objective standpoint. The music here was a complete invitation to a pleasurable music experience.