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TAVES Consumer Electronics Show 2015 (Toronto Audio Video Entertainment Show) Report
TAVES Consumer Electronics Show 2015 Show Report 
Toronto Audio Video Entertainment Show Part 5


Downstairs At The Sheraton

Moving downstairs I first entered the Gormley room where US importer Jay Rein of Bluebird Audio had teamed up with retailer Executive Stereo from Toronto. Jay was very busy talking Chord DACs and portable headphone amps with attendees, but he took time to introduce me to JC Calmettes of Jadis, shown here with the Jadis I-50 integrated amplifier featuring KT150 power tubes and a gorgeous chassis. The amp is rated at only 50 wpc, indicating that the tubes were not being pushed anywhere near their capacity. We had a very pleasant and interesting conversation. It turns out that I passed very close to the Jadis factory in France when I was a young man hitchhiking through Europe. As a source they had an Oracle Paris (how appropriate!) turntable with a Benz Micro Ace cartridge. The Jadis DPMC phono stage was quite interesting in that there was no switching between moving magnet and moving coil cartridges  you just turned the volume control on the front panel to adjust the gain. It is a tube design with a tube power supply and stands as the entry level phono stage for Jadis. The digital front end was the top of the line Chord CD player. Below it on the rack was the top of the line Chord streamer. The speakers were the Spendor D7 ($7500 USD) rated about 89 to 90 dB, making them an easy load for the Jadis I-50. The analog sourced music here was warm and inviting  very easy to listen to.




Moving across the hall to the Stouffville room I encountered the Venture Audio room with what was clearly a very expensive rig. Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon was playing on a massive bright red Triangle Art Signature turntable with separate power supply and controller, equipped with a Triangle Art Apollo cartridge ($8000 for the cartridge only). Signal was sent to the Venture VP100P phono stage which is not designed to load the cartridge with a resistor (which acts as a second order filter), but rather it is a current generator that adapts itself to numerous cartridges, not unlike a microphone, I'm told. After passing through the RIAA section the signal was passed on to the VP200D preamp, a MOSFET design with a built-in DAC ($60,000). Venture V200A+ monoblocks (200 wpc, Class A, also using MOSFETs, $125,000/pair) were driving the Venture Ultimate MK II speakers with a high gloss exotic veneer ($68,000).

I had a chance to meet Hoo Kong Njoo, the man behind Venture, along with his daughter who was also quite knowledgeable of their products. They live in Belgium where the electronics are manufactured. The speaker chassis are made in Singapore with a hard polyester high gloss mirror finish that aids in reducing cabinet vibrations. The speakers are assembled there using Belgian components, including their own wire, specifically designed for each driver. Being of that certain age, I've heard "Dark Side of the Moon" a lot, but never with such an expensive rig at the given volume  about 95dB at the listening chair, would I guess. Maybe it was the volume, or the surface noise of the LP at that volume, but I've enjoyed that music better in other rooms over the years. The build quality was certainly commensurate with the price, though.



At the very end of the hall in the Ballantrae room, which was not obvious to people walking about, I wandered in to discover a home theater presentation with JVC, Kenwood and an EluneVision Aurora 4K projection screen. It was too dark to take a meaningful photo, but somehow I ended up with the screen grab shown above on my camcorder, which I think was from this room. For home theater enthusiasts, this would have been an important stop. Unfortunately, they needed a sandwich board sign in the hall to draw people further down the hall into their room.



In some circles they say "Presentation is everything." And I believe it was Update TV and Stereo in the Markham A room where they took that to heart, featuring Big Red, a.k.a. the Martin Logan Monolith speakers. No mention was made of the speaker in a room where the only product identified was from the little sign on the floor for AudioQuest cables. All the rest of the gear was hidden behind the black curtains on the perimeter of the large room. After looking at the product brand list on their website, I'd venture a guess that the curtains were concealing MBL gear, with Devialet as a second choice. The music was crystal clear, nuanced and dynamic with forcefulness indicative of high powered solid state amps to drive this $80,000 USD electrostatic hybrid speaker. It would have been easy to slip behind the curtain, and not unlike me, but I decided to play their game and just sit and enjoy the music. (Talk about blind testing....) Moving from the front row center seat to the second row center seat produced a subtle improvement. From either chair, this was an easy nod for one of the Best Rooms at the show.


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