Art Dudley

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.

Art Dudley  |  Feb 27, 2018  |  12 comments
Five years ago, I reviewed the Alumine loudspeaker from Stenheim, a Swiss company founded by four former employees of Goldmund SA. I noted the Alumine's surprisingly "high sensitivity and easy drivability," praised its performance for being "clean but neither sterile nor colorless," and admired, in my geeky way, the coated cellulose-fiber cone of its 5" midbass driver, which is made in Chartrettes, France—just southeast of Paris—by a company called PHL.
Art Dudley  |  Feb 22, 2018  |  10 comments
The hoary question of tubes vs transistors, once certain and clear, is made ambiguous by recent products from a few solid-state specialists, not the least being Ayre Acoustics—the company that endures in the wake of the passing of its founder, the widely admired Charley Hansen. In their solid-state preamplifiers and amplifiers of the past decade in particular, Ayre has enshrined a number of technologies that are more than just variations on the audio-engineering status quo, and that appear to pay real sonic dividends.
Art Dudley  |  Jan 30, 2018  |  5 comments
In my youth, I unwittingly trained myself in the art of deferred pleasure. I did this by investing my allowance in every mail-order product that caught my eye—things I saw in the back pages of the magazines and comic books I loved—then settling in for a wait that always seemed interminable. This happened most often in summer months, when extra chores brought extra cash, and when school didn't interfere with keeping vigil at the mailbox.
Art Dudley  |  Jan 23, 2018  |  1 comments
For all its faults—complex grammar, inconsistent rules of pronunciation, burdensomely endless vocabulary—English has proven itself a commendably plastic language. This is good for audio enthusiasts, in the US and elsewhere, whose choices in playback gear continue to evolve not only in substance and function but in name: Unlike many of the people who speak it, English can keep pace with the changes.