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Salon Son & Image 2015 Report Montreal High-End Audio Show
Salon Son & Image Report 2015 -- Montreal High-End Audio Show
Report By Rick Becker -- Part 3

Salon Son & Image Report 2015 -- Montreal High-End Audio Show

Salon Son & Image Report 2015 -- Montreal High-End Audio Show

In spite of the fact that James Tanner had not put up the "Free Beer" sign I recommended, I stumbled into the Bryston room and collapsed into a directors' chair in the sweet spot next to him. Music filled the room with a huge soundscape emanating from a pair of Model T Signature passive floorstanders ($8495CDN with the external crossovers on the floor behind them, $7495 with internal crossovers) driven by their 7Bsst monoblocks that are good for 600 watts into 8 Ohms. Big, bold and transparent music that was on the other end of the teeter-totter from the sound of the Sony speakers mentioned above. Much more dynamic and transparent, and only a little less focused—a tradeoff I'd gladly accept. More like "being there" and less like listening to a pristine recording. I was so engaged with Dire Straits I forgot to take photos of them.

Later, I enquired about Bryston's shift toward being more consumer oriented in recent years. For a long time it was rare to even see a Bryston amp at a high end show. Mr. Tanner explained that in earlier times they were more pro-audio oriented, with much of their gear going to touring musicians. With the advent of lighter gear, the touring market became a lot less lucrative for them, though they are still strong in the recording industry. Consequently, they shifted their focus onto the high end consumer and have been presenting their electronics at shows on a regular basis, as well developing a line of speakers at a very fast pace.

New at this show was their Model A Subwoofer with opposing 10" long throw drivers powered by an internal 400 watt amplifier for $2000/$1895 with vinyl finish. It has a lower profile than their vertically aligned Model T subs for those who need a less conspicuous design. They will have to send me a pair if they want me to comment on its authority. Also introduced at an estimated price of $3295CDN was the BDA3 DAC with 32bit and DSD capability.

 

Canadian Exhibit And Head Zone

Salon Son & Image Report 2015 -- Montreal High-End Audio Show

I drifted over to the Canadian Exhibit and Head Zone to browse and wait for Mark to get back together with me. Tri-Art Audio had a pair of speakers on display in a couple of areas. Seen here was the 3-Open model that looks like a two-way open baffle miniature version of the 5-Open model seen upstairs, but like the first one, this too has a tiny super-tweeter between the dome tweeter and mid/bass. Only a single capacitor is used on the tweeter which probably results in a very transparent sound. In a more modest size room, this would probably mate very well with a powered subwoofer or two. Next to it is a box design on a small Plyboo stand for desktop applications and here, too, a super-tweeter is employed. Both models from their Bam Bam series go for a reasonable $1600CDN and both use the same super-tweeter and silk dome tweeter. A smaller bass box for table top use and woofer box for listening room use are available for the box monitor shown here. A tip of the hat to Simon Ginsberg of Tri-Art Audio for sorting this out for me.

 

This innocent looking stack of hardware next to the Grado Statement Headphones comes from Meridian, more widely known for their cutting edge digital based electronics and loudspeakers. On top is their new Prime Headphone Amplifier ($2699CDN) with two 1/4" jacks and inputs for analog and USB sources. It's an analog amp that can also serve as a preamp should you also want to drive a power amp or active speakers directly. Below it is the Prime Power Supply ($1749CDN) that will enhance the performance of the Prime Headphone Amplifier, or other low voltage USB devices. I had a chance to compare both the wood bodied Grado Statement headphones ($1299CDN) and the Grado Professional Series metal bodied PS1000e model ($2200CDN). Go with the stainless steel Professional model if you're getting paid to listen critically to music; buy the wood bodied Statement if you want to enjoy the music at home. That's the bottom line.

 

I've had more than my share of Triode Lab tube amplifiers to review in the past two years and I've enjoyed every one of them, though I do have my preferences. Since they are mostly low-power amps, you need to use them with efficient loudspeakers, but when you get the right combination, they really sing. One of my favorites was a 2A3 stereo integrated so it was with much delight that I spotted the world premiere of the 2A3 Mono Blocks—FFX version ($5999USD) with white decks filled with the superlative Hashimoto transformers. The elegance of the design lies in its simplicity and use of color. Knowing what I've learned from their previous models I can give this one a rave review just by looking at it.

 

As the show wound down after 6pm the ducks in the wilderness at the Bonaventure began to bed down for the night. Mark and I adjourned to a party where Sarah Tremblay was given the Golden Duck Award for her years of dedication and service to the show. Words were spoken in French to the effect of her being calm above the surface of the water while paddling furiously below the surface to get things done.

 

Mark and I hiked over to St. Hubert's at the train station for some fine Canadian chicken. I ordered a cut up chicken that was supposed to be their specialty. When it arrived, it looked like the chef must have been a protégé of John Belushi. To put it politely, it was on the dry side. Mark made out much better with a plate of wings. Next year I pack some wings from my local Country Sweet chicken shack in a cooler with a mix of medium and hot sauce. Back at the hotel we tried to get to our email in the business office suite, but all the internet instructions were in French. Up in the room I tried to finds some Elite Eight NCAA basketball on the tele but the closest I got was hockey, curling, and more hockey. Does anybody play basketball in Canada? All in all, it made for a good night's sleep, turning in early, as there was much more to come in the big rooms down the escalator on Sunday.

Stay tuned for more.

 

---> Salon Son & Image 2015 part 4 show report page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
 

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