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Toronto Audiofest 2019 Show Report

Toronto Audiofest 2019 Show Report
Part 2 By Rick Becker

 

 

  Focal and Naim teamed up again (as usual), in Room 341 to provide a demonstration of IsoAcoustics speaker platforms designed to improve quality of sound from the speakers. As seen in the photo, identical pairs of Focal speakers (the black ones were the 'bad guys') and the white ones were mounted on the IsoAcoustics anti-vibration platforms.

 

 

Unfortunately, the hosts were in conversation with customers and didn't seem likely to be demonstrating the difference anytime soon. In addition to the buoyant platforms, IsoAcoustics is now offering thick maple platforms on special spikes.

 

 

C. N. Thomas Imports, a Canadian distributor in 339 was showing a pair of Zu Audio Omen Dirty Weekend speakers ($1850 CDN) driven by a Tektron TK6J5 tube preamp feeding a pair of Tektron TK2A3/50M-Ref tube monoblocks fitted with KR Audio 300B tubes. The monoblocks can be had with type 2A3, 45, 50 or 300B tubes with a selector for each tube type if you want to roll tubes.

 

 

Various woods and either copper or brass top plates are available, as are NOS tubes. Tektron offers a wide variety of preamps, power amps, integrateds and a headphone amp, all hand made with point to point wiring. The turntable here was the same upgraded Chinese clone of the Micro Seki mentioned in the Corby's Audio room above, though with a different arm.

 

 

Entracte Audio by Design hosted by owner George Taylor, presented a variety of brands in 337. ATC SCM 40A active loudspeakers ($13,800 CDN) were the end point. A Melco N1Z High resolution music library ($7300 CDN) stored the music and a Melco N100 USB optical disc drive/ripper ($1699 CDN) accepted CDs. The DAC was an Aqua La Voce S3($5490). Interconnects were Swisscables Evolution ($800 CDN for one meter length). And an Audio Valve Eclipse tube preamp ($6600 CDN) was the handsome piano black piece on the light maple shelf on the floor.

 

 

A pair of JL Audio E110 subwoofers ($2299 CDN) were in place, but in the small room with vintage big band music containing little deep bass, if any, you couldn't tell they were active. Nonetheless, there was very good music to be heard here.

Strangely, the Coupe de Foudre room (327) was locked so I moved on.

 

 

2nd Floor Atrium
Coming off the elevator and entering the atrium, I took a spin around the booths. Frank Fabian of The Speaker Shop serves a variety of clients ranging from home audio to PA, to DJ to Commercial to car stereo doing custom work as well as repairs in the Toronto area. I missed the large yellow banner he's used in past shows, but he seemed to be attracting lots of interest without it.

 

 

Xounts Up, a German company, presented something totally different –an audio system in a decorative obelisk for those to whom décor is more important than technology (not that there was no technology involved here.

 

 

Art Acoustic Panels are created to order by the woman from Ukraine whom I recall from previous shows. Each block is hand shaped and painted. Panels range in price from about $800 to $1600 CDN, depending on size. Being of wood, they useful for dispersion, rather than absorption, so as not to deaden your room.

 

 

This was the North American debut of the Xavian Premio Esclusivo monitor ($4895 CDN) according to the Czech representative. They are being marketed in Canada through Stereo Untypical. The brochure explains their quality construction using solid Italian oak or black or white lacquered MDF. They certainly looked deserving of a formal review.

 

 

 

 

The energetic Mike Tang was on hand with a new turntable ($4k USD) of his own design featuring an outboard motor and a magnetically suspended tonearm of his own design, as well as a moving coil cartridge with the coils mounted at the stylus end of the cantilever. He told me another reviewer has requested a review sample and I'm looking forward to a tonearm ($1200 USD / any length) for the final stage of my Linn Project.

 

 

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