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June 23rd: Technics tables for all
     Is vinyl coming back into fashion, or what? Bryston has a turntable of its own, and now Technics has brought back one of its legendary direct-drive turntables, the SL1200.
sl1200
     We first saw it at CES in January. Back then it was a collectors'item, with only 1200 of them to be produced. The launch must have been successful, because Panasonic has put the table into full production.
     These Technics tables have been especially sought after by deejays, because the platter gets to full speed in less than a quarter turn, something you can't achieve with belt-drive.
     The relaunch has led to a call for Panasonic to bring back its one-time flagship, the Technics SP10. No word on that yet, but Technics, a long dormant brand, now has a range of two-channel audio products, from amplifiers to loudspeakers.


June 10th: Bryston spins recordsBrystontable
     It's not as though Bryston has ignored vinyl all these years. It makes a number of preamplifiers with phono stages. It used to make, and has now brought back, its MC-cartridge stepup transformer—in fact we own one. But perhaps it's a sign of the times that it now has its own turntable, the BLP-1.
     
It's a belt-driven turntable, with the motor driven by Bryston's own pulse width modulation power supply. The platter is made of Delrin, a Dupont polymer chosen for its ability to damp out vibrations. The record mat is part of the platter.
     The BLP-1 has its own tone arm, made from titanium, with tungsten steel bearings. The headshell is not removable, to enhance rigidity. On the other hand, the tone arm cable is removable, which means you can use whatever cable you want.
     With the release of this $4000 table, Bryston can boast a complete branded system...but for one detail. No cartridge is included. The one shown in Bryston's photo appears to be a Benz Micro Glider. Bryston says it will work to identify the available cartridges that will best match its table, tone arm and phono preamplifiers.
     Will there be a Bryston-branded cartridge? We'd be surprised if the company isn't thinking about it.


May 12th: The Vancouver show lives on?vancouvershow
     Notice the question mark. 2015 was the first year that the Chester Group attempted to run a high-end show in Vancouver...well, actually way out of town. We are surprised to see the Chester Group try its hand again. Why?
     This is the Vancouver show's second successful year, says the press release. Successful? The few exhibitors who attended were delighted, because visitors had little else to see. But there's more. The Chester Group had run the wildly successful Montreal Salon into the ground, cancelling it with less than 10 days notice. It was saved by its previous owners, Michel Plante and Sarah Tremblay. With only a few days to get their act together, they recruited exhibitors who didn't ever want to see the people from the Chester Group, and put together one of the best shows ever.
     So has the Chester Group learned its hard-won lesson?
     We're betting not. The phone number for booking a room is in the UK! The press release includes instructions on dialing overseas calls.

 


May 11th: The return of Dynaco
     This famous hi-fi name dates from the late 1950's. The Dynaco MkIII monoblock and the Stereo 70 amp were among some of the most famous affordable power amps of their day. Now a Canadian company, Radial Engineering, is bringing back the Stereo 70 under its new name, the ST70.

st70

     It's still a tube amp, of course, using one of our favorite output tubes, the EL34. The rest of the tube lineup has been rejigged, since some of the old tubes are no longer available. We note the presence of the EF86 pentode, often a better choice than the usual twin triodes. The rectifiers are all solid state now, the power transformer is all new, and biasing is simplified: adjust until two diodes are the same brightness.
     If you're old enough to have built a Stereo 70 from a kit, we must report that no kit version is likely to be available. We don't yet know the price either. The new Dynaco will arrive in July.

BY THE WAY: An extended version of our Flash Sale is under way, running through next Wednesday. Look for an eye-popping deal on Moon CD plater/DACs, and a 20% sale on BIS cables.
 


May 6th: BIS cable sale at The Audiophile Store
     One of our favorite cable companies, BIS Audio, offers special prices every month of May, and we're only too happy to go along. BIS is somewhat unusual as cable companies go. It buys wire, not cables, and uses it to make finished cables. Designer Bernard Brien then listens to each model before adding it to the catalog.
     Anyway, our weekend Flash Sale is offering 20% off on BIS cables. If you don't see a model listed, call or write, and we'll give you 20% on those too.
     We're preparing some other eye-opening bargains at the store, and you'll be seeing them pop up in our next weekend Flash Sales.
     In the meantime, we're working on the next issue of UHF. Tests aside (and we know there have to be equipment reviews of some sort), we're also preparing information pieces. We've always thought they were what made UHF different from other publications, and way different from the information commonly available on the Internet.
     We hope you agree.

 


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March 17th: The show must go on
     And it very nearly didn't. Britain's Chester Group, whose third Montreal high-end show this would have been, pulled the plug with just nine days notice. Nine days! Why? Not enough exhibitors, even though the organizers had sought irrelevant exhibitors, such as those selling stage lighting.
     But then something remarkable happened. The show's previous owners, Michel Plante and Sarah Tremblay, picked up the phone. A number of companies had refused to attend the Chester event but were devastated by the show's disappearance. A non-profit organization was quickly formed. Exhibitor fees were slashed, and attendence would be free. Can you actually organize a show in just a week? Judge for yourself.

salonlist

     It's going to be a little chaotic, inevitably. But that's a good list. Note that François Charron, who was handling a lot of the logistics, is back too. We'll be there, of course, and our blog will be up shortly is now on line.
     The show opens Friday the 18th, at 11 am.

BY THE WAY: We have an extended version of our weekly Flash Sale during the Audio Fest.

March 17th: RenewalsMicrologoMaggie
     We've been sending out renewal notices to our subscribers. We started with subscribers to Maggie's electronic version, and the notices for subscribers to our print issue will be out shortly.
     After that, we'll be stuffing forms into envelopes, because snail mail is not quite dead yet.
     We should tell you that a handful of the e-mails we sent out with the download link for issue No. 97 were returned. If you didn't receive your link, it may be because your e-mail address has changed, and you didn't let us know. In a couple of cases, subscribers had their notifications bounced by some cockamie anti-spam service. We recommend that you use a universally portable e-mail address for your subscription, from gmail for example.
     You haven't forgotten this weekend's high-end show in Montreal, right? We knew you wouldn't.


March 10th: Scrambling to save the Salonaudiofest
     The Chester Group was quite clear as to the reason it was cancelling (or "deferring") the 29th edition of the Montreal show: there were hardly any exhibitors coming. Which is not a surprise, considering the efforts that the Chester Group was making to chase them away. But cancelling it on such short notice borders on the unethical.
     Did we mention that this was to be the 29th edition?
     No one was more upset about the death of the Salon than the two people who used to own it, Michel Plante and Sarah Tremblay, and they quickly moved to save it. Sarah was still working with the Chester Group last year, but quit before closing time. And Michel became Canadian marketing director for Plurison, the large audio distributor. A few phone calls allowed them to recruit some industry leaders who were still supporting the show. Or would have if they had not had to deal with the Chester Group.
     We don't yet know how many exhibitors there will be. Some, like Bryston, pulled out as soon as they heard the news. You won't need a ticket, because for this one time entry will be free. The dates are the same, and so is the venue.
     You might wonder whether Michel Plante, being a part of a large distribution company, might have a conflict of interest. Phooey! Last year, the dreadful show put on by the Chester Group was supported mainly by Plurison. The company has grown over the years in part because of this long-running event. It has a business interest in keeping it running, sure, but so do we all.
     See you there?


March 9th: Montreal show dies, reincarnatesshowwindow
     People have been asking us whether the Montreal Salon, scheduled for March 18 to 20, was really going to take place. Our answer was that it probably would, but it might be the last one. The Chester Group, which purchased the show, appeared to be run by idiots, and the industry was bailing out.
     So the past 24 hours have been interesting. Yesterday, the Chester Group confirmed what we had feared: the show was cancelled, and would be rethought, with new venue, dates and orientation. Since then, some industry people have created a non-profit organization to take over the show. It will be called the Montreal Audio Festival, and Le Salon Audio de Montréal.
     Who's behind it? One of the key people is Sarah Tremblay, who had been working on recent shows, but was so upset with the incompetence of the Chester Group that she had resigned in mid-show, gritting her teeth until closing time. Interesting tidbit: an earlier press release by the Chester Group had claimed that Sarah would be working on the 2016 Salon after all. That was, of course, a lie.
     Stand by for more. A Facebook page and a Web site will probably follow shortly.


March 8th: UHF 97 arrivingLogoMaggie
     The new print issue will be delivered to us, and to the various distributors, Thursday. In the meantime, Maggie will be working on her electronic version, and it is mere hours away from going on line.
     So here's an important heads-up: When issue 96 came out, our e-mails with download instructions bounced back, presumably because subscribers had changed address without letting us know. If that's your case,
e-mail us now. UHF No. 97 is packed with information, and we don't want you to miss it.
     When will you get your print issue?
     The copies should be in the mail by Friday. By next week, the majority of readers in Ontario and Quebec will have it. It will spread rapidly after that.


 

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