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Salon Son & Image 2010
Montreal High-End Audio Show

Montreal High-End Audio Show Salon Son & Image 2010
Part 1 -- Report By Rick Becker

Stepping into the DeVore Fidelity room was like stepping back in time to the mid-1960ís ó at least visually. The sound was thoroughly modern and among the Best Rooms at the show, but the little DeVore Gibbon 3XL monitors ($3700) and the Leben RS-30EQ phono stage ($2600) and CS-300XS integrated amplifier ($3500) with their gold tone finish certainly had a classic look to them. The small plants and the vinyl padded headboards completed the look. Moreover, the entire rig, including the modern SME turntable with EMT cartridge and wooden equipment rack from Box Furniture had such a unified, unassuming look that it made me want to say "Iíll take the whole room ó to go!" It was a pleasure to meet John DeVore again this year. Flipping back to my coverage of his room with The Nines loudspeaker last year I note the consistency of excellence in his presentations. If I havenít raved quite as much about his rig this year, it is probably because he was playing a different LP.


An Aura Neo CD player ($1895) and Aura Groove integrated amplifier ($1995) with both computer and iPod compatibility formed a very nice looking lifestyle system with a pair of very clean looking Amphion monitors. Built in Korea , the Aura is a joint venture of April Music and Aura Design of Japan. You will be home for less than $6K for this system.


An Audio Analogue Crescendo Integrated combined with a Crescendo CD player ($1095, each) was supplemented with a Hanss phono stage, but I heard the rig with the digital source through another Amphion (?) speaker. This sounded like a very good entry level approach. An inexpensive and conventional looking Hanss turntable was listed at $695 without arm or cartridge, but the serious table on display with the platter removed to show the construction was their T-20 with their signature aluminum sandwich plinth for $2995. Also on silent display (thank you) was their RC-20 record cleaning machine for $695 that looks like it could give my vintage VPI black box a run for the money, although the platter looked to be several inches smaller in diameter than a typical LP.


This was my first listen to Legacy Audioís Whisper, a tall, efficient floor stander with open baffle and rear-firing woofer to cancel the back wave on the bass. It was powered by an Ayon Triton integrated tube amplifier that was sourced with an Ayon CD-5 CD player. A Synergistic Research Tesla Power Cell power conditioner was also in the rig, as was a Xilica digital room processor, used as an external crossover to deal with the large woofers in the small room. In my opinion, I think they would have been better off playing one of their smaller models that was on hand. I doubled back to this room the next day in hopes they might, but the Whisper was still in the rig.

I took a quick dive into a room with a controlled presentation at the invitation of a host who spotted my press pass. I should have asked more questions first. I found myself locked into a presentation of Linn equipment given entirely in French. From what I could tell they played back music recorded at different bit rates, seemingly trying to educate the listeners. The saving grace of the experience was the final cut played back on an LP-12. Analog lives!

Iím a quarter of the way through the photographs I took, so take that to mean there is a lot more to come!


Click here for part 2.


































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