Is the 2019 edition of Montréal Audio Fest the busiest audio show in Montreal ever? I can’t say, because I’ve attended the show for only a few years. But I had lunch with an industry veteran who said this is the busiest he’s seen the show (Montréal Audio Fest and its predecessor, Salon Son et Image) in a decade.
Finding speakers to cover at Montréal Audio Fest 2019 wasn’t hard -- they were in abundance, varying greatly in shape, size, price, and, most impressively, country of origin. In fact, it’s been years since I saw so many speakers from so many places at this show. Below is the second batch of speakers that caught my eye, with prices in Canadian dollars unless specified otherwise. You can read my first installment about new speakers at Montreal here.
There’s a huge infrastructure that supports the speakers, amps, and sources at audio shows. However, the cables and accessories often don’t share in the glamor that speakers, electronics, and turntables enjoy. And that’s a shame, really, because systems just can’t work without cables, and the accessories add some spice to an ecosystem that would otherwise be at least somewhat sterile. Below are the new cables and accessories I found in Montreal, with all prices in Canadian dollars unless specified otherwise.
Loudspeakers are the easiest for me to cover for three reasons: they’re typically the most obvious things when you enter a room, I keep abreast of the market and usually know right off the bat what’s new and what’s not, and I’m really into speaker design and always keen to learn what might be new. As a result, the moment I got to the Hotel Bonaventure, the home of Montréal Audio Fest 2019, I started looking at loudspeakers and little else. Below are the first speakers I found, with all prices in Canadian dollars unless otherwise noted.
The Montréal Audio Fest was jumping this year. Over the last two years I’ve felt a buzz ramping up at this show, but 2019 feels like it’s on another level. It’s like adding more mass to an already massive sun -- eventually it reaches a critical mass and begins to contract under its own weight. So goes it with the MAF. There were more exhibitors this year, and the Friday of the show, which is usually quite sedate, was just packed with showgoers. All good omens for the future of the show.
When I arrived at Hotel Bonaventure just before noon on day one of the Montréal Audio Fest 2019, there had to be at least 100 people in the registration lineup. So, not surprisingly, exhibit rooms were busy throughout the day.
First order of business at the Montréal Audio Fest 2019 is to scour as many of the used record bins as possible before the crowds dig up all the uncut diamonds.
It was purely a coincidence. Late in the day on March 21, I had little to do as I walked around the hallways of Hotel Bonaventure, in downtown Montreal, as companies were setting up for Montréal Audio Fest 2019, to be held March 22 to 24. The show was still a day away, so you can imagine that few were ready to showcase anything. I looked in room after room and saw little. Ready to give up and go get something to eat, I opened one last door -- to the room of Motet Distribution, distributor in Canada for at least a half-dozen brands, including the UK’s PMC. When I looked in the room, I saw a crowd of people and someone said, “Come in, you’re just in time.” Little did I know I had just walked into the North American launch of PMC’s Fenestria loudspeaker, a bold statement piece priced in Canada at $90,000 per pair ($65,000 per pair in the US).
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