By Ian White
Well... So much for the recession!
With less than ten minutes to go before the doors officially opened, the line of people at the Delta Hotel stretched down the hall and it was very encouraging to see so many people at all three venues on Friday afternoon. Montreal always seems to attract a lot of serious listeners, both male and female, and this year started off with a bang.
I wonder if my tax return will be big enough?
So what was the most expensive system on display at the Delta? If you are expecting a tax refund this year in the area of $250,000, then the MartinLogan system on the main floor of the show was definitely calling your name. MartinLogan has clearly embraced the home theater crowd with open arms, and the system on display (although they could have turned the lights on at least once) certainly made a statement. Having owned three pairs of MartinLogan speakers over the years, I was fascinated to finally see and hear the Statement E2 system ($75,000) but I must confess that I was under whelmed by its performance with the chosen material. With sixteen 12" woofers in the two sub-bass towers, one would think that the bass response would have been literally ground shaking, but that proved to be an incorrect assumption. The Statement E2 were driven with the Classe' Audio Omega monoblocks, in a system that included the Classe' Omega SACD-1 CD player, and Omega SSP-75 processor. MartinLogan also showed its Odyssey, Aeon, and Descent loudspeakers, which are all significantly more affordable than the Statement E2, and in my experience a better value for the money, even from the perspective of a "statement" level system. I've heard all three products in the context of a home theater system, and they were superb with both music and movies. In this case, less is definitely more.
Invaders for Mars...okay, so they came from Germany
The Violin ($14,000) from German manufacturer, Acapella, were being demonstrated by Tri-Cell Enterprise at the Sheraton 4 Points hotel, and were quite adept at making Willie Nelson come alive in the rather large room. The Violin are considerably smaller than the flagship Acapella horns that were being played at
CES in January, and a lot less imposing on the domestic environment, not to mention the eyes.
You don't have to "shout"!
One of the biggest surprises on Friday was the superb sound coming from the Loth-X Ion Aura loudspeaker. Not only did the speaker possess a superb level of clarity, pace, and tonality, but it was beautifully coherent sounding from top to bottom. The 6.5" driver used in the Ion Aura is also used in the smaller Amaze bookshelf monitor, and both speakers seem ideal for single-ended amplification.
Click here to see last
year's show coverage.