***Have you looked at our cable page on The Audiophile Store? Great cables from Atlas and BIS...and those are just the two letters of the alphabet.
Go north young audiophile
Once again, the “Toronto show” is not in Toronto at all, but in Richmond Hill, well north of the city. The new venue is the Sheraton Parkway, at 9005 Leslie St. The address sounds urban enough, but it is in fact north of highway 407, which is itself way north of the 401, Toronto's busiest highway.
The smaller rooms are in the Best Western hotel, which is actually attached to the Sheraton. From the standpoint of visitors, the smaller hotel is perfectly good, but it has no elevators. That's difficult if you're trundling heavy equipment.
TAVES has become about much more than just high-end audio, though of course that continues to be front and centre. There are sections dedicated to video gaming and virtual reality. There will be a technology workshop accessible to children as well as adults, thus making the show a family event. You'll be able to test drive an electric car. As in previous years, there will also be an art gallery.
How do you get to TAVES? It's at 600 Highway 7 East. If you're using a GPS (highly recommended), the postal code is L4B 1B2.
Here's the map.
We'll be there, blogging. If you can make it, watch for us and say hello. If you can't...see you on line.
A new Canadian turntable
The Oracle Delphi turntable, now in its sixth incarnation, has been around since 1980. It was, and is, stylistically spectacular, as well as pleasant to use. The Oracle Paris (named for the Greek mythological character, not the cit) is also a thing of beauty. Now comes the Oracle Origine, a new low-cost high-value table
The colored band you see is an interchangeable insert. It canbe opaque, or (if you want to backlight it) translucent. The arm, developed in-house in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, is a unique unipoint type. Oracle CEO Jacques Riendeau shows how easy it is to pickup the arm.
The turntable is now in production (we've asked for a review sample). The table and arm, with an Ortofon cartridge, will cost $2200. And that's in Canadian dollars.
***Have you looked at our cable page on The Audiophile Store? Great cables from Atlas and BIS...and those are just the first two letters of the alphabet.
Bryston's big room
Even at the smaller shows (and some really are small...we're looking at you, Vancouver), Bryston is there. The Bryston room is set up by James Tanner, who has been setting up difficult (read: big) rooms, and he can get the best from difficult spaces.
That is of course the Model T speaker, the original Bryston speaker., but this time it's thr active version, tri-amplified, with Bryston amps of course.
For an active speaker, you need an electronic crossover. Bryston has long made one. We reviewed it back in UHF No. 21. But the current version is all digital, and has no knobs.
Oh...the sound? Excellent, as usual. Did we mention James has been doing this for a long time?
We've asked for a couple of products we want to review, the BDAC3 and the TF2 stepup transformer.
***Have you checked out the electronic edition of UHF, available from Maggie?
It's always a pleasure to hear an Acapella speaker. this is the new Atlas.
We heard the Jennifer Warnes album, The Hunter, played from a German TransRotor turntable.
The Acapella's claim to fame is its tweeter, whose diaphragm is plasma...essentially air. On a female voice, the resul is just exquisite.
Products for cleaning vinyl records
and your stylus.
Recommended by UHF.
If you've seen NOLA speakers before, you'll know they're large. Not so the NOLA Brio Quad...so called because the very small main speakers are supplemented by two subwoofers...or actually bass modules. We heard songs by Melody Gardot, smooth and natural.
The Gershman Avant Garde speakers, fed by a Pass Labs solid state amp were demonstrated with both digital and analog music. The digital was not as good as we would have liked, with a veiled edginess that was tiring after only s short period. With analog, it was another story. We listened to Eva Cassidy's hard-to-find Fields of Gold. The Gershmans really came into their own, and the song was over too soon.
One of the biggest speakers at the show was the Focus Audio Master 2, towering above even the tallest visitors. Speakers that size are better suited to a chateau than a living room, never mind a small hotel room, but they sounded amazingly dynamic and lifelike, with explosive dynamics. The speakers were driven by a veritable squadron of Focus Audio's own tube amplifiers. Those amps are integrateds, with volume controls. They were controlled in tandem by a single remote control.
Just as big and four times as expensive, at nearly $200,000 were the Tidal Sunrays from Denmark. We had to admire the fine furniture finish, but we were less enamored of the sound, which was bland and lifeless. Why so big? Why so expensive?
A much smaller speaker provided contrast. The Falcon LS3/5a is one of the original BBC-designed speakers. We listened to several LPs, from a Kuzma turntable: Cannonball Adderley and Rickie Lee Jones, as well as a recording of Gregorian chants. The image was huge and stable, the tonal balance natural.
We were pleased to see KEF present its Muon speakers, originally billed as a proof-of-concept demo. Sculpted from aluminum, these tall speakers look like the T1000 in the Terminator 2 film.
Along with the new VPI Titan turntable and Hegel amplification, the Muons made great music. One of the arms on the VPI table (it has two) might have needed adjustment, though. In a digital-analog comparison of the March to the Scaffold from Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique, the analog version was slightly flabby, pointing to a low vertical tracking angle.
Jeff Joseph was playing his Profile floorstanding speakers, a lower-cost alternative to the Pearls. He played us the title track of Nina Simone's original recording, Little Girl Blue.
One of the most memorable rooms was that of Triangle Art, maker of both a turntable and electronics, along with the Venture Ultimate MkII speakers. We listened to a Chet Baker album, The Touch of Your Lips, which we then rushed out to buy.
There was live music too, singer Anne Bisson performing songs from her new album (with cellist Vincent Bélanger), Conversations. Vincent has often appeared at shows as well, and so he was...in Europe.
We could hardly help noticing that Among the exhibitors not present was Angie, whose store is not very far away from the show. Not exhibiting is fair enough. She said on her Facebook page that she wasn't coming because “the show had changed.” But then she took a step further. She held a competing event at her store at the same time as TAVES. That's unethical, Angie. You have betrayed an industry that has been very good to you. Not cool.
The 2015 edition of TAVES drew very good crowds, despite what is, for anyone near the downtown core, a distant location. This year may have been different. Even on Saturday afternoon, it was easy to get into any room we chose. Perhaps they were ogling the electric cars or playing with the robots.