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Salon Audio Montréal / Audiofest 2023 Show Report

Salon Audio Montréal Audiofest Show Report Part 5
The Lower Level continued, plus Best Rooms and a post-show adventure!
Report By Rick Becker


Best Of Salon Audio Montréal Audiofest Show 2023


  Crossing over to the side with the Outremont and St. Laurent rooms, let's wander down through the Outremont rooms heading toward the escalators. These rooms were larger than the Westmount (except for Outremont 1, hosting Yamaha again, which was larger than the other Outremont rooms), but not as large as the Montreal rooms and only about half the size of the St. Laurent rooms across the hall from them.


Outremont 7  SonUltime
Last year in this space Son Ultime wowed me with a McIntosh rig driving a pair of large Tannoy speakers. This time they brought in the McIntosh XRT1.1K floorstanding, four-way line array with 70 drivers. It is one step down from their flagship model.



The speaker was supplemented with a pair of REL S812 subwoofers that were acoustically unobtrusive, which is to say they blended seamlessly with the main speakers.



New products here included the McIntosh MCD12000 two-channel SACD/CD player with their reference level DAC built-in, along with seven digital inputs. And yes, those are vacuum tubes for the analog output stage in the center window.



Also new here was Shunyata's flagship Omega speaker cable. Note the McIntosh speaker is set up for tri-wiring or tri-amplification.




Outremont 6  Audiophile Experts
Audiophile Experts is a new vendor to me and they had a fine rig comprised of Esoteric Audio components — one of the top brands in the industry. The Solidsteel racks are substantial and no doubt sufficient for the Esoteric gear, but usually Esoteric is shown on something more elegant and exclusive.



Was this the third Stable 33.33 turntable I saw or heard at the show? Sylvain Pichette must have been busy setting them all up. I noticed that an optional black platter was sitting on the lower right Solidsteel shelf. Sylvain reminded me the price on his turntable is 13,900$.



Zooming in on the photo revealed the Accuphase AC-6 cartridge.



And the rig featured the Scala V2 Utopia Evo from the Utopia III Evo line. Shown here in what appears to be the two-tone Noyer Naturel finish with wood veneer on the sides, it is also available in six others, most of which are the same color all-over.



It is hard to dispute the elegance and fine design of the Utopia III Evo line. Even Focal's lower lines feature design elements that raise them above their competition. The technology beneath the exterior goes deeper the higher up the line you go and is commensurate with the excellence of the exterior design.




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