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Salon Son & Image 2009
Salon Son & Image 2009
Report By Rick Becker  Part 2

In another room hosted by Brosseau was a very real world system with a Moon .5 CD player, Moon .5 integrated amplifier and Paradigm Studio 20 v5 monitors on stands. Richard Gray's Power Company conditioners purified the electricity, here. It was nice to have a chance to hear a Paradigm speaker in a dedicated system. The corporate presentation often has every model they make crammed into a single exhibition with less than optimal acoustic representation. Simaudio Moon separates powered the top of the line CS3.7 Thiel loudspeakers with aluminum cones but I wish I had stopped in when the hosts had the Genesis G5.3 loudspeakers hooked up that were pushed to the sides of the room.


Mordaunt-Short showed a loudspeaker made from all-epoxy cabinets and all aluminum drivers. The tweeter has a cone on its backside that actually protrudes through the epoxy cabinet.


Level 4

Moving down to Level 4 I found one of two pairs of Usher D2 loudspeakers in North America was on display. The other pair is down in the States. A modified UX-1 Limited Esoteric CD player drove a pair of VTL monoblocks for the horn drivers and a pair of Nuforce Class D stereo amplifiers drove the bass drivers one channel  driving each bass driver. In a much larger room than last year, it sounded much better, but it was far from optimal. This is a loudspeaker for a select few situations given its size, sensitivity and price ($22,000 US). I would much prefer an opportunity to hear the new Dancer Mini One or Mini Two.


Also noted in the Usher room was this secret 5-11 power conditioner, seen here in prototype form.


Browsing around on the open space of Level 4 the Velodyne's flagship Digital Drive 1812 Signature Edition subwoofer with 10 and 15 inch drivers with carbon fiber cones each powered by a1250 watt amplifier (3000 watts peak). The system also includes digital room analysis and equalization with eight parametric bands. Fortunately, they were not playing this beast, as I'm not sure the glass walls of the atrium could withstand the SPL.


Not far away was a series of paintings designed to enhance your listening room with extra-thick sound dispersing brush strokes. I thought this one with a line drawing of a piano would look particularly nice in my friend Art Shapiro's listening room. Art is the only reviewer I know who prefers to listen exclusively to piano music, having been a near master of the instrument at an earlier age. There was no price tag on this one, indicating that possibly it was already sold, but judging from the other paintings, this one probably went for a couple of thousand dollars a reasonable sum for an original work of art. It was about 2.5 x 4 foot high, and unfortunately, I could find no reference to the artist.


This gentleman, with some encouragement, graciously cranked up a 78 rpm record for us quite literally. The music... how do you say in French "Blew my socks off!"


I may have stumbled on a critical evolutionary link here that seems to combine the early predecessors of the Gemme Audio Green Gem and the stand-alone phonograph player, as seen below.


In another part of the open booth section I found not an entrepreneur, but a true hobbyist, Sylvain Pichette <sylvain452@videotron.ca> from Quebec, shown here in the white shirt talking to other show attendees. He explained that with his trade as a machinist he would never be able to buy a high end turntable, so over the course of several lunch hours he concocted his own. Actually, it took over 300 hours, he said, and valued it at $8000. It looked as professional as anything else I saw at the show. Very impressive!


Saturday Night

At this point Linda and I decided to call it quits and head back to the Europa. We had another agenda, but not what you might think. You see, the early April date of the SSI now falls right on the first night of the Final Four of the NCAA College Basketball Tournament. Being a Syracuse fan, and by association a Big East fan, Connecticut disappointed us by going cold in the first game and losing to Michigan State. We went to the Baton Rouge a few blocks away for dinner. Naturally, being in a hurry with only forty minutes between games, service was dreadfully slow. I almost threw on an apron and went to the kitchen myself. My effort to convey our urgency was lost in translation by the waitress and my steak came out rare rather than medium rare. Knowing what happens to food when it is returned to the kitchen, I ate it as served. The food was good; we were hungry. Back at the room, North Carolina was beating up on Villanova, another Big East team that had also gone cold. At least the Abita beer from New Orleans that we smuggled in from the States was a winner: a French American beer in a French Canadian city.

More to come...


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