SSI 2014

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Robert Deutsch  |  Mar 29, 2014  |  0 comments
I have a fondness for electrostatic transducers, and one of my early stretch-the-budget audio equipment purchases was a pair of Stax Lambda headphones. So I was happy to see the display of Stax headphones at SSI 2014. They even had one that looked like a descendent of my Lambda: the $3495 SRS-5170. My Lambda still works, but the foam inside the earpiece has deteriorated. I should get it fixed...
Robert Deutsch  |  Mar 29, 2014  |  0 comments
One of the popular exhibits at previous Montreal shows has been the Personal Audio Zone, at which attendees could listen to a wide variety of headphones. This has been retained at SSI 2014, but with the difference that people could actually buy headphones. At least, that was the idea.
Art Dudley  |  Apr 01, 2014  |  0 comments
Avatar Acoustics' Darren Censullo brought to Montreal a variety of new iFi products, including a rack system that can hold up to four of the company's Micro-series products. Two versions are available: one without cables ($99) and the one shown here ($149), which includes two short cables and one long, wrap-around cable. In the foreground is another new iFi accessory: their in-line USB iPurifier ($99), which is said to be effective on DC power and digital signal alike.
Art Dudley  |  Apr 01, 2014  |  4 comments
Also new from iFi Audio is the first of their Nano-series products, the lithium-battery-powered iDSD Nano ($189), a 24/384 DAC that offers DSD processing in a remarkably tiny package. Contrary to the evidence on Darren Censullo's finger, it does not bite.
Art Dudley  |  Mar 29, 2014  |  0 comments
AudioQuest also announced their entry into the world of Ethernet cables, with a line that includes nine distinct models; seen here is the Audioquest Cinnamon Ethernet cable, priced at $69 for a 1.5-meter length. "USB won't go away," said the company's Steve Silberman, "But Ethernet will continue to grow.
Art Dudley  |  Mar 31, 2014  |  0 comments
As I made my way through the hall, I hesitated before entering the room of Lawrence Audio, makers of some very attractive floor-standing loudspeakers: They were playing the Nils Lofgren song "Keith Don't Go," which I really don't like, really loud. Even so, it was standing-room only: Mine appears to be the minority opinion, at least as far as the trampoline-loving Mr. Lofgren is concerned...
Robert Deutsch  |  Apr 02, 2014  |  7 comments
Ledoux Acoustique speakers are handcrafted in Magog, Quebec, each speaker signed by designer Patrice Ledoux. The Ledoux Concert 5 ($1595/pair) formed the centerpiece of a sub-$5000 system that included a Ledoux Gaia-10 subwoofer ($1950, Cambridge 651A integrated amp ($795), and Blue Circle BC6000Si power line conditioner ($1295). If you do the math, you'll see that the total is $5635. I questioned M. Ledoux about this discrepancy, and he said that this system could be sold as a "show special" at $5000.
Art Dudley  |  Mar 31, 2014  |  0 comments
Here's the Devialet line on static display: the D-110 ($6495), the D-170 ($9495), and the D-240 ($17,495).
Art Dudley  |  Apr 01, 2014  |  0 comments
On static display at the Pavillon was a sample of the A115 stereo MOSFET power amplifier from Ontario-based Linar Audio; information on pricing was not on hand.
Robert Deutsch  |  Mar 31, 2014  |  0 comments
A highlight of the Lifetime Achievement award party was another performance by soprano Sophie De Cruz, this time joined by baritone Julianne Horbatuck, her partner in an upcoming production of Lucia di Lammermoor. She sang Musetta's waltz song from La Bohème, tossing off high notes with abandon, and the two of them blew the roof off the place with a duet from Lucia. Pianist Dominic Boulianne provided unobtrusive but effective support.
Art Dudley  |  Mar 30, 2014  |  0 comments
When I return home from Montreal I'll be able to tell my 16-year-old daughter, truthfully, that I listened to Lorde's "The Royals" on a very good system, the value of which rivals the expected cost of her first two years of college. Included in this Coup de Foudre-sponsored system were a Luxman DA-06 D/A converter ($5000), Luxman C 900 preamp ($19,000), the big Luxman M 900 stereo amp ($19,000), and Vivid Giya G3 loudspeakers ($40,000), used with Cardas cables.
Art Dudley  |  Mar 29, 2014  |  0 comments
It only looks as though Steve Silberman of Audioquest is trying to ignore a corpse behind the loudspeakers; in actual fact he's explaining the finer points of JRiver playback software—a topic in which he is remarkably conversant—while a colleague works on their system's cabling.
Art Dudley  |  Mar 30, 2014  |  0 comments
Manley tube electronics—the same 300B preamplifier plus a pair of Snapper amps—were used in another Acoustique Technologies room, where they drove a pair of Nola Metro Grand Reference III loudspeakers ($30,900), with the Meitner MA-1 D/A converter ($7000) as a source. I'm sorry to say the Nolas proved impossible to photograph in the back-lit but otherwise dark and very crowded room. And the excessive volume level—and consequently harsh trebles—discouraged me from lingering.
Art Dudley  |  Apr 01, 2014  |  0 comments
Evolution Home Entertainment's Saxe Brickenden—who was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award during the SSI party—displays the Massfidelity Relay ($249), a combination Bluetooth receiver and 24-bit D/A converter intended for wireless streaming from your iPhone to your hi-fi.
Art Dudley  |  Apr 01, 2014  |  1 comments
Experience says that one must wait in line to hear the MBL system at any hi-fi show, and SSI 2014 was no exception. Similarly unsurprising was the realistically vivid sound on tap, with levels of color and texture that, in a strange way, stood in contrast to the resolutely smooth, monochromatic appearance of their gear. (Maybe that's intentional?) This year I was entertained by a variety of musical excerpts, including a snippet of Beethoven's Piano Concerto 2, through MBL's C31 D/A converter/CD player ($9200), C11 stereo preamp ($8800), C21 stereo amp (9200), and 116 F loudspeakers ($29,000/pair), with Siltech cables and a generous sprinkling of Shun Mook Mpingo discs.

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