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Salon Audio Montréal / Audiofest 2023 Show Report

Salon Audio Montréal Audiofest Show Report Part 4
It's Sunday, let's take a look n' listen at the Lower Level.
Report By Rick Becker



  A Musical Fidelity integrated amp and an entry-level Avid turntable were on silent display. I haven't seen many Avid turntables in recent years, but I like the designs they have at several price points.



Iso Acoustics has come out with carpet spikes that anchor their vibration-absorbing footers more securely on carpeted floors. The spikes make the footers even more effective. There is a lot of contention over whether it is better to anchor a speaker with spikes or use an isolating footer. Now you can have it both ways.



For subwoofers, IsoAcoustics has developed this diamond-shaped unit with spikes as well to keep your subwoofer from crawling across the carpet when dinosaurs come marching through your room. A larger version of the Aperta Sub will also be available soon. They are conveniently shaped so you do not have to remove the standard feet of your sub.



Above is the new Naim NSC 222 with a preamp on the left and streamer on the right, built into one box for 12k$. There is also a new NAP 250 power amp (12k$) with 100 Wpc. If you need more sound quality, they have the NPX 300 (12k$) external power supply for the NSC 222. The NSC 222 has a built-in phono stage and features RCA inputs as well as a DIN input, which was their standard in the past. For outputs, you have a choice of XLR or RCA. There are also numerous digital inputs for the DAC. Times have changed. This series is what was on display in the corner rig and seen up close, below.






Montreal 5  Studio La Vibz
Montreal 5 is the other large room glowing in purple light and again this year it was set up as a surround sound recording studio and playback area for people to watch an occasional live recording session.




Audio Sensibility Table
Out in the hall, Steven Huang was set up selling cables and educating customers about his high-value products as he has done for many years.

Steven loves to create niche products that have too low a volume for major cable manufacturers to address. His latest such product is a pair of Silver Signature DC cables for MSB DACs which feature separate power supplies. (These DACs list at $114k and $54,500 USD.) A Chinese company has created a pair of DC cables for these DACs that received a positive review in Monoandstereo.com magazine. They cost $10,900/pair. (Two are needed — one for the analog side and one for the digital side.)

Steven's Silver Signature versions are $999 USD, each. His first review on Audioshark was extremely favorable. And I'll chime in that his more modest DC cable did wonders for my humble Calyx DAC. Steven also makes a DC power cable for the top-of-the-line Lumin X1 Streamer / DAC.


Montreal 6  Acora Acoustics
This year, Val Cora moved across the hall from Westmount 5 where he showed his stand-mounted SRB 2-way speaker. The larger room gave his SRC-2 2.5-way floor standers (62k$) room to spread out on the long wall and create a huge soundstage for a larger audience. And the audience found him. The darkened room allowed people to focus on the music, sourced from LP on a top-of-the-line Oracle Delphi Mk VII (16,875$) turntable with a Reed 2G tonearm (5,750$) fitted with a Lyra Atlas Lambda cartridge ($12k USD).



Val indulged me with my request for Rickie Lee Jones' "Danny's All-Star Joint" and "Coolsville," which I used extensively in my most recent review. He insisted I sit in the center seat and the previous occupant obliged. Let's just say I was mesmerized as tears welled up in my eyes.



There was a digital front end consisting of an Innuos Statement server (28,200$) and an MSB Discrete DAC (29,900$) that others might have heard. Cardas Audio Clear and Clear Beyond cables, along with a Cardas Nautilus Power Center connected everything. The equipment was mostly placed on one of the two Quartz stands he used that sell for 11k$ as configured.

One interesting feature of the setup was the wide angle the speakers made with the listening position. Val has consistently spread his speakers wide like this in recent years and always aimed them straight forward. Aligning the speakers on the long wall, as I do myself, certainly creates a wide, spacious soundstage. Val's only complaint about the room was that as great as it sounded, his new, 225k$ speaker he premiered at the Florida show sounds even better. That's as good a reason as any to go to Axpona to hear it.



As I rounded the corner toward Montreal 7 I noticed a humongous power cable draped down the wall. I figured it must be 50 Amps and wondered who had ordered their own personal dedicated line at the show. Just as I went to snap a photo, who other than Ofra Gershman photo-bombed me?




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