March 24-26, 2023
All prices in Canadian dollars unless indicated otherwise
It’s a bit of a cliché. This sport of audio is all about reproducing music, and audiophiles tend to blather on about how important the music is to our world. But walk around most audio shows, and it’s all about the gear, the equipment. There’s often a marketplace for used or new records, but it’s the equipment that takes center stage.
I’ve known Don Rhule, the Canadian distributor for Kimber Kable and Quadraspire, for over 30 years. We originally met at a car stereo shop that we both used to frequent. The shop was a touch sketchy, but the proprietor was a fun character, and to this day we like to joke that we used to have the same fence. People tend not to get it, thinking we mean that we were neighbors, having shared the same backyard fence. We then explain the joke and laugh uproariously.
It’s rare for me to sit down in front of an unfamiliar system and melt into a puddle. But that’s what happened to me in retailer Filtronique’s larger room. I’d just sat in front of hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of Nagra gear playing through a pair of Wilson Audio Alexia V speakers, all fully wired up with Siltech cables.
Unlike Friday, when I drove to Montreal on the morning Audiofest opened and couldn’t find parking anywhere near the Hotel Bonaventure, where the show is held, on Saturday morning I woke up at the hotel and began making my rounds the moment the show opened.
How can a country with as small a population as Canada incubate so many high-end turntable manufacturers? When I say, “so many,” I actually mean “three.” First off there’s Oracle, the granddaddy of Canadian record players. I recall seeing an Oracle ’table for the first time in the early 1980s—I was absolutely transfixed by its baroque, crystalline construction. Its successor is still in production as the Delphi MkVI. Oracle is at the Audiofest this year, but I’m not here to talk about them.
I’m fairly certain that whenever most people think of MartinLogan speakers, an image of an electrostatic panel comes to mind. Probably one of the company’s classic hybrid speakers with a dynamic woofer at the bottom.
I’ve attended the annual Montreal audio show for over 20 years. Usually, I arrive the day before the show opens and leave late on the final day. But to be a little more efficient with my time this year, I decided to arrive on the morning of the first day. That was a mistake.
On Friday morning, the first day of the 2023 Montreal Audiofest, my daughter, Toni, and I were sitting at breakfast in the Hotel Bonaventure’s Le Bisco restaurant. Audiofest has been held in the Hotel Bonaventure for how long—a decade now?
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