SSI 2014

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Art Dudley  |  Apr 01, 2014  |  0 comments
I admit some confusion: According to the product sheets found near this static display, almost every one of Tri -Art Audio's 20 products is named either Pebbles or Bam Bam. That said, here is the Ontario-based company's $1150/pair mini-monitor. It is named Bam Bam. Bob Deutsch was similarly puzzled by the company's dem room.
Art Dudley  |  Apr 01, 2014  |  0 comments
It's a fondly regarded part of every SSI: a single large ballroom given over to small exhibits—some active, most of them passive—of products that are designed and made in Canada. Among the most striking sights in this year's Pavillon du Canada was something that I can describe only as The Big, Orange Turntable, which sat near the center of the floor: unlabeled, unattached to any other components, and apparently unrelated to any known exhibits. Big, Orange Turntable, we salute you.
Art Dudley  |  Apr 01, 2014  |  1 comments
I have experienced my first cable demo in French. The very animated and enthusiastic Bruno Delorimier conducted a Nordost interconnect comparison for an appreciative audience of Quebec audiophiles, using a pair of Dynaudio Confidence C1 loudspeakers ($8500/pair, plus $600 for stands), and all SimAudio Moon electronics. Going from Nordost's Blue Heaven ($350/1 meter pair) to their monofilament-technology Heimdall (ca $800/1 meter pair), the differences in rhythmic nuance and sheer touch—in favor of the Heimdall—were apparent, regardless of language.
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  |  1 comments
Among the many SSI rooms sponsored by Canadian distributor Plurison was a ballroom—the Verdun, to be precise—where the signage promised MartinLogan loudspeakers on demonstration. I stepped a short distance inside and was swallowed by darkness—and sound. I followed the latter, turned left, and felt more than saw a row of theater-style seats, most of them filled with people who were enjoying Avatar on a large screen. The sound was indeed impressive, but it was impossible to see, let alone photograph, the gear being demonstrated, and I could locate neither personnel nor literature. Unsure how to illustrate such an experience, I grabbed my chance and, on the way out, photographed the next guy going in.
Art Dudley  |  Apr 01, 2014  |  0 comments
Mark Waldrep of AIX Records didn't bring to SSI any new releases, per se; instead, he brought along a renewed enthusiasm for debating the controversies within the high-resolution music community—and an invitation for showgoers to visit him on www.realhd-audio.com, where they'll find up-to-date news and views on all things HD, as well as a selection of free high-definition-audio sample files.
Robert Deutsch  |  Apr 01, 2014  |  0 comments
With Bam Bam and Pebbles as product names, I thought I was merely stating the obvious in a previous show report when I suggested that the designer of Tri-Art Audio products must be a Flintstones fan. I mentioned this to the Tri-Art people at SSI 2014, asking whether they were paying royalties for using these names, and was told that they never thought of any connection with the Flintstones: Bam Bam is a reference to the use of bamboo in their products. (I still don't know how "Pebbles" comes into it.)
Art Dudley  |  Apr 01, 2014  |  1 comments
Speaking of companies that specialize in affordable audio cables, Quebec's BIS Audio was doing a very brisk business in the Pavillon du Canada.
Robert Deutsch  |  Apr 01, 2014  |  0 comments
The "Swiss Army Knife" metaphor has been applied to many audio products, but the metaphor has never been more apt than referring to the new Cocktail Audio X30 ($1899). Made in Korea and imported to North America by Audio Plus/Plurison, the X30 is described as an "all-in-one HD music server/network streamer/CD storage." However, that doesn't describe all of its capabilities. If you look at the connections in the back (bottom of the picture), you'll see speaker connections, so it's also an amplifier. (I'm not sure, but I think the number in the model designation indicates the watts per channel.)
Art Dudley  |  Apr 01, 2014  |  0 comments
Here we see Steven Huang of Audio Sensibility waiting on a customer at his SSI display. His Toronto company offers custom cables at sanely low prices—starting at $129/meter for their entry-level interconnect—and sweetens the deal with custom-machined stainless steel (not aluminum, or even aluminium) connector shells and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
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.
Art Dudley  |  Apr 01, 2014  |  0 comments
On my second day in Montreal I had an enjoyable conversation with Jean Barbeau of Solen Electronique, the Quebec manufacturing company whose capacitors and other passive components remain popular with hundreds of manufacturers (including the vintage-inspired Shindo Laboratory). Monsieur Barbeau, who co-designed the fine-sounding loudspeaker project being demonstrated in Solen's SSI room, observed that more and more young listeners have been approaching Solen in recent months for DIY parts and advice—"A very healthy trend."
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.
Robert Deutsch  |  Apr 01, 2014  |  2 comments
Now, that's a real speaker! Unless you examine it, or read the literature on the Tannoy Canterbury GR ($30,000/pair), you might think that you're looking at a speaker made more than a half-century ago: a very substantial floorstander that's wide as well as deep, making no concession to modern speaker design ideas like keeping as narrow a front baffle as possible.
Art Dudley  |  Apr 01, 2014  |  0 comments
Although their sign suggested that this was a passive display, the Blue Circle Audio table in the Pavillon du Canada was anything but. The always-colorful Gilbert Yeung offered visible and audible proof that his line of PLC Thingee power-line conditioners—with prices starting at $CAD220 each for the four-outlet versions in the foreground—effectively removed noise from household AC current. I was thoroughly impressed (not to mention entertained).

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