March 24-26, 2017
All prices in Canadian dollars unless indicated otherwise
I love delivering good news.
When it comes to picking standout sound at an audio show, I rarely get the chance to offer up a system that normal folks can afford. It’s usually some sort of stratospheric system with at least four zeros involved in the price. And that’s reasonable, I suppose. Big speakers make large bass, lots of watts help along the way, and cost-no-object construction generally points in the direction of exceptional sound.
Walk into a Bryston room at any show and you’ll see consistency that’s maintained with corporate attention to detail. The layout is consistently good, the products are always arranged in the same manner, and -- most importantly -- VP James Tanner is sitting in the right-most of three director’s chairs, iPhone in hand and constructing playlists on the fly.
Considering the local, regional nature of the Montreal Audio Fest, it’s a tribute to the show’s reputation that a number of big hitters take the time to augment the smaller distributors and manufacturers. It’s gratifying to sit at the bar in the Hotel Bonaventure, pecking away at my keyboard, and see within my peripheral vision at least three of the big names in audio. While the trend in shows seems to be going toward manufacturer and distributor support for dealer-based rooms, there’s still enough of a large-scale manufacturer presence to lend an air of authority to shows like the Montreal Audio Fest -- so that means a number of new product introductions. (All prices in Canadian dollars unless otherwise noted.)
The Montreal Audio Fest is three short months after CES, so product debuts here are rather rare. But the Canadian audio scene is quite active, with many local fans and a fair scattering of Quebec- and Ontario-based companies. So it wasn’t surprising that a good number of the new products we could find were from north the border. (All prices in Canadian dollars.)
A good night’s sleep and I’m a whole bunch less pissy this morning. Late yesterday afternoon, after I launched into a snarky tirade about the Wynn Audio room, I wandered into Plurison’s expansive suite and was gobsmacked by a sleek, Matrix-like succession of small, stylish, otherworldly sections. Plurison is Canada’s largest audio distributor.
After four hours of sleep, a 5 a.m. departure from Toronto, and a five-hour drive in shitty, snowy conditions, I was not in a patient, receptive state of mind. I usually arrive at the Hotel Bonaventure, site of the Montreal Audio Fest (formerly called Salon Son & Image), later on Thursday night and start meandering around the show on Friday morning, fresh after a nice breakfast and an imperial quart of coffee.
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