Salon Audio Montreal / Audio Fest 2019 Show Report
Tri-Art Audio had a complete big rig on display featuring not only their open baffle speaker with its tiny super-tweeter and exposed crossover on the floor beside them, but also a corner diffuser replete with tuning bowls and six super-tweeters in the corners behind them. It isn't clear on the pricelist if the corner diffusers were included in the $6082.55 price of the speakers, but I suspect not. Built with Plyboo their gear seems very fairly priced. I've been a fan of open baffle speakers for a decade or more and Tri-Art is up there with the best I've heard.
The larger TA-2 turntable shown in this room with both a 9" and 12" tonearm goes for $4224 USD and features an exotically drilled platter. While the Plyboo and open baffle look may be challenging at first, I've easily grown accustomed to it over the course of a few short years at shows. They have smaller versions of everything if you don't need to or can't afford to go this large. Totally Canadian, this is one of my personal favorite companies. Tri-Art Audio/Motet Distribution, Room 1238.
Probably the biggest bargain at the show was a system including a Bluesound Node 2i streamer, Hegel H90 integrated amp and these Dali Oberon 7 speakers for a Show Special price of $3299, taxes included — a savings of $1760 CDN, good until May 30th (2019) if I fudge my French correctly.
This system not only looked great but it will rock you for years until you might discover something better or more satisfying at a much higher price. If I had lucked into a rig with as much value as this earlier on, I might never have become involved in High End audio. I love the look of this speaker — and check out the design of the base. Brosseau.ca, Room 1306.
Immediately next door was a second room by Brosseau featuring one of my all-time favorite speakers from the French manufacturer Cabasse. The concentrically mounted tweeter and woofer in the sphere atop a triangular tapered pillar are minimalistic high art. Power came from a gorgeous Luxman high end integrated amp. The price for the monitors was $17k and the sub in the corner added another $5000. But still, for a piece of fine art of this caliber, you could easily end up with a single painting for your wall. With great transparency, immediacy and focus, this was one of the Best Rooms at the show, as the rapt attention by the people in the room confirmed. Brosseau.ca, Room 1308.
This DeVore 0/96 speaker driven by Leben tube amplification sourced with an analog front end is a perennial favorite and this year was no exception. Lots of love in this room for people who want to buy it once and get on with their music. It was certainly nice to see Coup de Foudre back at the show after an absence of a few years. Coup de Foudre Audio Video, Room 1309.
Similar story in this next room with an Acoustic Solid turntable and a Grado cartridge powered by a Thoress stereo integrated tube amp and some wild looking speakers with a full range driver augmented with a horn tweeter and possibly a down-firing woofer that will probably take some getting used to. Coup de Foudre Audio Video/Tri-Cell Enterprises, Room 1311.