Publisher Profile

2012 Salon Son & Image, Part IV

Furutech/TAVES/Acoustic Technologies, Codell Audio/Naim, D2MK Solutions/Cary/Waterfall, Audioville/KEF/Chord

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Furutech / TAVES / Acoustic Technologies

Down at the pavilion I met up with Simon Au who is the owner of which distributes Furutech and Mundorf capacitors amongst other brands. Simon Au, together with Sauve Kajko of Canada Hi Fi Magazine, are the two main individual responsible for organizing the upcoming Toronto Audio and Video Entertainment Show (TAVES) for 2012.

When asked whether TAVES 2012 will be as successful as last year, Simon replied enthusiastically that most of the exhibitors from last year have already signed on, and they are expecting a 20 – 30 % increase in the number of exhibitors. There is a good chance that even Porche Canada may be present at the show. They are expecting visitor attendance to ramp up from last year’s level by a significant number.

I promised Simon that will be there to provide show coverage. It will be held at the same venue (Le Meridian King Edward Hotel), from Sept 28th to 30th.

Montreal dealer Acoustic Technologies was occupying the majority of the remaining space in the booth with Simon Au. Acoustic Technologies represents names such as Furutech, DACT, Rossner & Sohn, Klaro Audio, Sonos, Marantz, PSB speakers as well as their own line of cables. But out of all their products, I like their SOLID-RACKS the best.

SOLID-RACK are hand made from Canadian solid hard maple boards, each layer is supported by CNC machined solid aluminum column. They can be custom ordered and stained to the colour of your choice. A standard sized 26 x 34, quad level rack sells for $1,795, and a 48 x 30, triple level rack sells for $2,095. The quality is top notch. The moment I saw these racks at the 2011 TAVES, I like them so much that I immediately bought the floor model from Acoustic Technologies for the vintage system in my library.

Codell Audio / Naim

Montreal dealer Codell Audio unveiled the North American debut of Naim NDS Network Player. Priced at $13,000, the NDS is due for delivery in May 2012. The NDS includes internet radio, three S/PDIF digital inputs, iPhone or iPad compatible. It can play music on a USB stick, even high-resolution WAV or FLAC files with full onscreen control. The unit can even be controlled with an iPhone.

As with all other NAIM components, the NDS comes with an external power supply called the XP5 XS ($3,000). And when the piggy bank fattens up, one can upgrade to two separate units of the NAIM 555 PS Power Supply ($9,300 each).

The NDS was demonstrated with a full-fledged NAIM system from top to bottom. The sound is consistent with the usual NAIM configuration at previous shows, with the speakers positioned closer to the back wall. The presentation is upfront and forward, with an immediacy which tickles the fancy of those who are after a livelier type style of sound. All-in-all, a very good sounding setup.

D2MK Solutions / Cary / Waterfall

D2MK Solutions, Canadian distributor for Cary Audio Design and Waterfall Audio amongst other brands, showcased a system featuring the Waterfall Victoria speakers ($6,000), the Cary Audio Design SA-200.2 solid state amplifier ($3,995), and the SLP05 Preamplifier ($8,500).

Glass, when employed in audio racks, have a tendency to sound bright and brittle. Even hanging a painting with a glass frame will affect the sound of the room, so needless to say making a pair of speakers out of glass is a bold undertaking. According to Waterfall Audio, all these concerns have been properly addressed by various damping techniques employed in the design.

To the side of the room, a Cary CAD 120S ($5,795) was on static display. The 120S is an integrated class AB push-pull amplifier which can be operated in ultralinear or triode mode with the flick of a front panel switch. The circuitry is based on a previous model with changes made to the input impedance of the amplifier. The amp is rated at 120W in ultralinear, and 60W in triode.

Audioville / KEF / Chord

A lot of marketing buzz was generated around KEF’s new speaker prior to the SSI. I received a nice press release kit from a company doing marketing for KEF, announcing the Canadian debut of KEF’s Blade loudspeaker. KEF partnered with Montreal retailer Audioville to showcase the Blade with some very high tech looking Chord electronics. Priced at $30,000 dollars, the Blade is supposedly a one-of-a-kind technological breakthrough, and the world’s first “Single Apparent Source Loudspeaker”.

The electronics driving the KEFs were no slouch either by any standards. The Chord Red Reference Mk III CD Player ($ 26,000) was feeding into the Chord CPA 8000 Reference Preamp ($ 45,000), and the SPM5000 Mk II amplifier ($ 25,000). In total, we were looking at $ 126,000 worth of electronics in the room so this raised my expectations a little.

The sound was unique and unconventional, albeit different than my expectation. Without a formal review, I cannot render any specific conclusions on the speaker given I am unfamiliar with the listening environment and the associated equipment.

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