Salon Audio Montréal Audiofest Show Report Part
Room 2343 Hearken Audio
Matt's front end this year was a Jean Nantais JTN Reference turntable (8600$, show special) with a Graham Phantom III tonearm (11k$) with Cardas Clear Beyond phono cable (2620$) with an Aida Mammoth cartridge (13,130$$) made from a real mammoth tusk. The Aidas line of cartridges is a relatively new line he is bringing in from our NATO allies in Lithuania.
The finely finished box of plywood next to the stand with the name Yeti stamped on it was their Reference power conditioner (8500$) though they make smaller ones with metal chassis that were seen on silent display. Yeti is a new brand from another of our NATO allies in the Netherlands. Also on silent display was an EAR 8L6 amplifier (6295$). The active rig was displayed on a handsome Massif rack (3k$).
The speakers were Graham LS8/1 which I had heard earlier in the show but I have to tell you, in this much more expensive rig, the music was ethereal. The Lejonklou gear is extremely minimalist — to the point that dedicated power cords are supplied with it for optimum sound quality. It is not massive or visibly impressive, but the music sure is. It's all about the music.
Please accept my humble apology for being so enthralled with the music that I forgot to take photos. I'll photograph the Lejonklou in Chicago, for sure.
Room 2346 Artist Cloner
There were some new items this year, chief among them was the floorstanding speaker. His stand-mounted monitors have earned my praise in the past but this floor stander seemed to take it to a new level. His work always has a keen sense of design, an element he shares with his wife, whose paintings are often put to good use as room treatments at shows.
While modest in size and not unusual in terms of driver layout, the cabinet seemed to be made with a top layer of 3-dimensional slate-like laminate. It was a breath of fresh air in a world of piano gloss black, having a natural if not organic appeal that would blend perfectly with a front wall treated with live flora.
The unique design of the extended aluminum footers practically concealed the adjustable feet. And the clever design of his cable risers neatly kept the speaker cables off the rug.
The Luceo preamp (8k$) with its Beam Power Tetrode tubes configured in Triode mode is likely a major contributor to the outstanding sound heard here.
The Pteros power distributor was introduced in 2018, but this was the first I recall seeing it. Priced at 3569$, it features Furutech GTX-D(G) gold-plated and NCF(R) rhodium-plated pure copper AC receptacles as well as a switch for a DC blocker. It is available in black or Fiery Red.
What caught my attention in a big way was a diminutive trio of preamp and Class D monoblocks that had been CNC machined out of a block of aluminum. Dubbed "Spunky and Kahuna". The preamp, in Class A with no feedback, runs from 4Hz to 250kHz (-3dB) and has an impressive S/N ratio of -118db. It comes with a metal remote volume control.
The monoblocks each put out 100 Watt @ 8 Ohms, 200W @ 4 Ohms and 300W @ 2 Ohms. Talk about a giant slayer... this is an elegant way to downsize and keep your power-hungry speakers, too. They were priced as a set at 14k$ but were offered at special show pricing at 9500$.
Turning the corner here, after a short zig-zag, we reach the 2400 Hallway.