Art Dudley

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Art Dudley  |  Apr 24, 2018  |  2 comments
In an oft-viewed clip on YouTube, recorded at the 2009 Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival, three world-class guitarists pause during a music workshop to talk about their instruments: Danny Knicely describes his 1939 Martin D-18, Chris Eldridge talks briefly about his own 1937 Martin D-28, and Josh Williams notes that his guitar was made in 2002, by the Kentucky-based luthier Neil Kendrick. Then, with fine comic timing, Knicely remarks, "One of these days, me and Chris will be able to afford a new guitar, too!"
Art Dudley  |  Mar 29, 2018  |  6 comments
On at least one occasion that I can recall—in 1996, in the early days of Listener magazine—a US publicist for the Japanese manufacturing company Denon told me that they planned to discontinue their DL-103 moving-coil phono cartridge, an enduringly popular model that had been in production since 1962 (footnote 1). At the time, neither the DL-103 nor any of their other cartridge models appeared on Denon's US price lists, and neither English-language promotional materials nor even a basic spec sheet was available to American consumers or press.
Art Dudley  |  Mar 28, 2018  |  5 comments
Quebec-based Solen—which distributes parts from a number of different manufacturers, as well as manufacturing their own well-regarded capacitors and other components—has a talent for filling their exhibit rooms with scores of items, including finished products made from the parts they sell. Among the latter at this year's Montreal show was a single-ended triode amp that will soon be available as the Coffin Audio 2A3 SE. Using new-old stock 6SL7 tubes to drive its nominal 2A3 directly heated output tubes, the nicely made Coffin amp uses Solen Teflon coupling caps, and the stereo amp's retail price is estimate to be $CAD6000.
Art Dudley  |  Mar 27, 2018  |  4 comments
I started my Sunday by visiting Plurison, the Canadian distributor for Focal, Naim, Rega, Musical Fidelity, Devialet, Music Hall, Wharfedale, Cambridge, Astell&Kern, and others (and, under the name Audio Plus Services, the US distributor for some of those same brands). As they did last year, Plurison set up shop in the Ville-Marie room—one of the Bonaventure's largest, having been carved out of what used to be the hotel's main restaurant—and presented their products in a mix of active and static displays, with a degree of visual refinement that few other exhibitors matched, and none exceeded.
Art Dudley  |  Mar 27, 2018  |  0 comments
I began my Saturday afternoon with a visit to the Montreal Audio Fest's Audiofilles room, the name being a pun (en Francais, bien sur) on audio girls. For the occasion, a number of partnering manufacturers contributed elements of what turned out to be a fine-sounding system: an Oracle Paris MkV turntable with tonearm and Paris PH200 phono preamplifier; McIntosh MB50 streaming audio player and MA7200 integrated amplifier; Luna Cables Orange interconnects, speaker cables, and AC cords; Modulum equipment supports; and a pair of Totem Forest Signature loudspeakers, in high-gloss mahogany finish.
Art Dudley  |  Mar 27, 2018  |  5 comments
On Saturday morning, the Montreal Audio Fest seemed to get crowded in the blink of an eye: One minute I was stepping out of my room in the Hotel Bonaventure, the next minute I was excusez-moi-ing my way into one SRO room after another. I confess that, for one very brief moment, I wished I was back with the howling old owl in the woods.

Homesickness was dispelled the moment I heard the system in the first of three rooms sponsored by Motet Distribution of Toronto, this one featuring Triangle Australe speakers ($CAD5500/pair), driven by a VTL S-200 stereo amp ($CAD17,500) and 5.5 preamp ($CAD11,200), with a laptop and an iFi Macro portable DAC/headphone amp ($CAD780) as the source.

Art Dudley  |  Mar 25, 2018  |  4 comments
The venerable Japanese firm Luxman and the German turntable manufacturer Acoustic Signature—whose President, Gunther Frohnhofer, I had the pleasure of meeting on Friday—shared a room in which Raidho C3.2 and and D2.1 loudspeakers (respectively $US37,500/pair and $US44,00/pair) were driven by Luxman M700u power amps running in mono ($US8995/pair), in turn driven by a Luxman C700u preamplifier ($US8995), fed by a Luxman EQ500 phono preamp ($US6495) and Melco N1ZH v2 music server ($US5000). LPs were played on Acoustic Signature Double X ($CAD5500) and Storm turntables ($CAD9000), both fitted with Acoustic Signature TA2000 tonearms ($CAD3400).
Art Dudley  |  Mar 25, 2018  |  0 comments
After all that work on the first day, a break was in order. A record-shopping break.
Art Dudley  |  Mar 24, 2018  |  4 comments
I love Tannoy loudspeakers—more than most other brands that have been around since the late Devonian, their contemporary products retain many of the qualities that made their forebears famous, not to mention great—but for whatever reason, every year in Montreal I tend to visit the room co-sponsored by Quebec Tannoy distributor Zidel Marketing fairly late in the show. This year they were first on my list, even before going record shopping.
Art Dudley  |  Mar 23, 2018  |  3 comments
Things change. Montreal's annual hi-fi show used to be called Salon Son et Image, but now it's called Salon Audio Montreal—or, for non-Quebecois, the Montreal Audio Fest. It takes place in a Hotel that used to be called the Hilton Bonaventure, but is now called the Bonaventure Hotel. It's a consumer-oriented show that used to charge admission, but is now open to the public, free of charge. You can bring the whole family for all three days of the show and still have money left over for smoked-meat sandwiches and poutine: think of it!

The Montreal Audio Fest runs from 11am to 8pm today, from 10am till 6pm on Saturday, and 10am to 4pm on Sunday.

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