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October 18: Gershman's super speaker at TAVESposh
     Gershman is a small Canadian loudspeaker manufacturer, and its flagship speakers (the Avant Garde and the Black Swan) are expensive. This is not exceptional. High-end audio is expensive, if only because the products are made in limited (read: small) quantities. You know about the economies of scale? This is the opposite.
     If you remember the Gershman Black Swan, you'll know that it is built in two sections. The superior section, which is on stilts, contain the midrange and tweeter. Underneath it, but not touching it, is the large box with the woofer. The new speaker, dubbed the Posh, works the same way, though that is not obvious from the photo, or from a cursory examination. Three of the drivers are in the superior part, and it is supported by the elaborate aluminum structure. Down below is the subwoofer.
     The room was difficult, as were all of the rooms at this show, but the Gershmans managed to make it sound rather fine. The source was a good one, the Oracle Delphi VI in its latest incarnation, with amplification by Krell. We thought this was the best Gershman room ever, and one of the very best at this year's TAVES. We were in no rush to leave, and sat through several selections, including Hugh Masakela's Stimela and Simon and Garfunkel's Sound of Silence.nofood
     The bad news: this is not a budget speaker, unless you consider the word "budget" to have a meaning unknown to us: $129,000.
     It was a good thing there was some good music to feed our souls, because there was nothing else to feed us. This was the first convention centre we have seen that has nowhere to get a sandwich, a bowl of yogurt, a coffee or even a bottle of water. We were directed to two nearby restaurants, a Tim Hortons (of course) and a Subway. And if you wanted to bring back a drink for a tired exhibitor, you were greeted by this sign at the front door.
     There were other complaints too. The Centre, eager to protect its remarkably ugly carpeting, would not allow exhibitors to use dollies to transport equipment. When you know that some of the speakers on display weigh 150 kg, you can see the problem.
     Ah well. We were happy to be visitors, not exhibitors. After hours, we could go hunt up a meal in a good restaurant. Couldn't we?
     Did we mention what a wasteland Etobicoke is? Most airport areas are, in fact. Fortunately, there was a pretty good steak house next to our hotel, which was itself in renovation.
     Even if this was a thin show, we have lots more to tell you about.

October 16: Back from Torontotavesregistration
     This was the fourth venue for
TAVES (the Toronto Audiovisual Entertainment show) since its beginning. The first three shows were at the King Edward hotel, right downtown. TAVES then moved to the Sheraton, right across from City Hall. In 2015 and 2016, it went far north to Richmond Hill, not really Toronto at all. And this year it was at the Toronto Congress Centre...not to be confused with the Toronto Covention Centre. This venue is not downtown but near the end of the runways at Pearson International Airport.
     We remember that, a long time ago, an audio show was situated near the Montreal airport. It wasn't a happy experience. This venue was no mere hotel, but a large convention centre, with all the trappings. Oh, except what you would expect: somewhere you could get a coffee or at least some water. Nope, not here. We'll have more details shortly, but we were happy to see the back of this show.
     By the way, the centre is in Etobicoke, nominally part of Toronto, but long an independent suburb. We suggest that it host a convention of city planners...to see how not to do urban planning. Etobicoke is a wasteland, not suited to humans. And even less to music.


Get a brand new Focus Audio integrated tube amplifier,
built in Canada, at a huge discount,
from UHF's Audiophile Boutique.

October 6: Toronto show coming
     It's called
TAVES, and it opens on October 13th for a three-day run Of course, we plan to be there.
     The past two years, TAVES had forsaken its downtown venues in favor of Richmond Hill, in the distant suburbs. This year it's back in Toronto, but only sort of. The Toronto Congress Centre (not to be confused with the Toronto Convention Centre, is at 650 Dixon Road in Etobicoke.
     There will be a lot more than hi-fi at TAVES this year. The show is even getting together with a show and sale of recreational vehicles. We're told, however, that audio showrooms will be first class.
     Another show opens today: the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest in Denver.

BY THE WAY: Since we're on our way to TAVES, we're starting our weekend Flash Sale early.


Not bi-wiring?
Still using the gold-colored jumpers that came with your speakers?
We have great jumpers made from single-crystal copper..

September 29: Totem turns 30totemstaircase
     It was in 1987 that UHF Magazine received an early sample of Totem's Model One speaker. We liked what we heard, and once it was in production we were the very first to review it. We have published several Totem reviews since then, and there will be another in issue No. 99.
     So it really has been 30 years since that early beginning, and that called for a party. It was held on September 27th at Totem's spectacular building in Montreal. Of course, Totem designer Vince Bruzzese was there, showing the innards of some of his latest creations.Bruzzesse
     It was a noisy party, we might add. The home cinema room, which was showing a Transformers movie, was actually one of the quiet spots.
     Our last visit to the Totem building, we realized, was for the 20th anniversary, and that was of course a decade ago.
     Issue 98 of UHF is coming in the next few days. Among the products to be reviewed in the following issue is the Totem Signature One. It's larger than the original we reviewed all those years ago, but it is similar in configuration, and also in ambition.
     Here's to the next decade, Vince.



 


Not bi-wiring?
Still using the awful gold-colored jumpers that came with your speakers?
We have great jumpers made from single-crystal copper.

September 1: Home cinema preampmaestrom9
     Audio Control is best known for high-end car audio and test instruments for installers. It does make home audio components, however. The latest is the Maestro M9.
     Of course it has support for the newer technologies:Dolby Atmos, DTS:XTM and Dirac Live room correction technology. It can handle 4K Ultra HD at 60 frames per second, and it's compatible with HDMI 2.0a and HDCP 2.2. There's nbo men tion of 3D, which appears to be on its deathbed. Again.
     The price? In Canada it's $8,400.
     Yes, we know, though it is by no means the priciest home cinema preamp on the market. It's been tempting to use a receiver as a preamp (Onkyo, Marantz, Yamaha, etc.), and substituting better amplifiers. But receivers no longer come with preamp outputs.

BY THE WAY:
The Flash Sale is extended this weekend, for Labour Day. It features music recordings, digital cables and blank recording tape.


August 31: The end of Nitty Grittynittygritty
     A lot of companies make machines for cleaning LPs. The original is probably the Keith Monks. It is certainly the most thorough, using a time-consuming multi-step process. Its very high cost limits its popularity. You find it mainly in museums and broadcasting networks.
     For many audiophiles, a more affordable alternative has long been one of the Nitty Gritty machines. You put the record on its small turntable, push a button to apply the cleaning fluid, and then turn on the vacuum cleaner to pick up both fluid and dirt.
     The company was founded in 1981 by three audiophiles. In latter years, it has been run by the production manager, Gayle Van Syckle, who is now reported to have health problems. The company will now shut down.
     We reviewed the top model, the one that cleans both sides of the record at once, some years ago. We found it very effective, but deplored its combination of high price and somewhat shoddy construction. We even carried it briefly in our
Audiophile Store, until it became clear that some on-line outlets were underselling our cost price. In the meantime, a number of competing machines arrived, some of them more capable, and others less expensive. Still, Nitty Gritty was first in bringing LP cleaning to a wider audience, and it still has a large fan club.


Get a brand new Focus Audio integrated tube amplifier,
built in Canada, at a huge discount,
from UHF's Audiophile Boutique.


August 25: McIntosh transportmactransport
     Like many of our readers, we play Compact Discs from a computer hard drive. Why? Because they sound dramatically better that way. But we can't do that with our many SACD recordings. There are several open-source softwares for converting SACD to the native DSD, but what do you play the SACD from? Not your computer hard drive.
     McIntosh now makes a transport — just a transport, not a complete player — for both CD and SACD. The MCT-80 ($3,500 USD) plays both firmats, and connects to a digital-to-analog converter of your choice. Almost. But not quite.
     The transport has the usual coaxial and optical outputs, but those work only for Red Book CDs. To play the DSD content of an SACD, you need a secure connection, one that can't be used to extract the high-definition file for uses the producers don't want. The transport has an "MCT" output, meant to match jacks on a number of DACs and preamplifiers, all from McIntosh.
     This is not McIntosh's fault, but frankly the copy protection makes no sense. You can buy DSD files, unprotected, from numerous sources. Who is really beiong protected?

BY THE WAY: The weekend
Flash Sale is underway once again. It includes several SACDs a turntable and some very high end speaker cables. But it runs only through Monday the 28th.


July 24: Goodbye to Classé?dr3
     Yes, the name of this venerable audio company once has an acute accent on the "e," because its name was a pun on "class A." Dave Reich's original amplifiers were all class A solid state amplifiers, and they sounded wonderful. UHF's original book,
The UHF Guide to Ultra High Fidelity, included a chapter by Reich explaining why and how class A was superior to class AB amplifier operation.
     The amplifier shown here is a DR3-VHC (very high current), one of the last he produced before the bean counters took over his company, dropped the class A designs, took the acute accent off the "e," and — to show their grace — took Dave Reich's initials off the model names.
     The next decades were a mixed bag. We reviewed a Classe CD player and found it unacceptable, which meant we were never again supplied a product for review. We do know some of the later Classe products were very good, and some were not. But...
     Classe was purchased by B&W, the British speaker maker, which was in turn bought by an Asian investor. The rumor has it that the Classe branch was a money loser. A counter rumor says that what is left of the company is moving to Boston, and will continue customer support. Stay tuned.


Get a brand new Focus Audio integrated tube amplifier,
built in Canada, at a huge discount,
from UHF's Audiophile Boutique.

July 7: Inside your cable

cableschema


     All right, so what is it?
     It's a schematic representation of a loudspeaker cable. If you think it's just a neutral wire conductor (which is what we wish it could be), look again. It is in fact a complex network of resistors, inductors and capacitors. In UHF No. 98, coming out shortly, Paul Bergman will tackle the physics behind audio cables. And also behind that much ignored part of the cable, the connector.
     We don't have to tell you that cables are a highly controversial part of high end audio. Do they make a difference, or do they merely make money for companies selling them? We think you'll find this article more than a little useful.
     Coming soon.


June 29: UHF's interactive featuresbrystonpage
     We will be completing issue No. 98 of UHF Magazine shortly. At the moment, we're in the fun part, designing interactive featiures into Maggie's electronic edition. Here, for example, is one of the pages from our review of the Bryston BDA-3 DAC. The titles of the music selections we used are in blue. You probably know what that means. Those are hyperlinks.
     Here's the way it will work. Each time a piece of music is mentioned, and it is colored in blue, you can click on it (with a mouse) or touch it with your finger (on a tablet), and a window will open in your browser. And you'll hear an excerpt from the musical piece.
     That isn't all.
     There are other links in our texts as well, connecting to relevant information on the Web. The page we link to can be from our own site, or it can be from Wikipedia, or it can be from the site of a manufacturer. All of this information is a mere click away.
     You expect this sort of interactivity on a Web page, but we have never had it before in our magazine. We think this kind of value-added information will make UHF more useful and interesting than ever.
     One of the other tests, by the way, is of a series of loudspeaker cables. However the review will be accompanied by a technical article (from Paul Bergman), explaining the physics of speaker cables, and especially of loudspeaker connectors. Do connectors matter to a cable? Well, do tires matter to a car?
     More information coming up. Lots more.

BY THE WAY: Although we are hard at work finishing up the issue, this is a long weekend (July 1st is Canada Day, and Canada's 150th anniversary). And so we have an extended version of our weekly
Flash Sale. It's on now.


May 12: Blank tape at the BoutiqueTapeandreel
     At the Montreal show in March, one exhibitor had brought an open-reel tape recorder, a Technics RS-1500. At AXPONA, the other day, there were (by our count) four of them. Long-ignored, open-reel analog tape is making a comeback. But where do you buy tape for these magnificent machines?
     One source, it turns out, is
our own Audiophile Boutique. We haave a good supply of factory-sealed bulk tape, on 2500-foot pancakes. We also have reels, aluminum and fibreglass.
     How much of it do we have? Actually, we're not sure (we haven't completed the inventory), and because we ourselves own several Technics machines, we're not selling it all.
     It's Canadian-made tape, from Pacific Magnetics, designed for normal bias.

BY THE WAY: Don't forget to drop by our weekend Flash Sale, starting today (Friday) at 3 pm.

Hundreds of recommended products at The Audiophile Store


Bargains on used, discontinued and specially-purchased products at
The Audiophile Boutique

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