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Toronto Audiofest 2022 Show Report Fine sounds on the fourth floor.

Toronto Audiofest 2022 Show Report Part 2
Thirst for more on the third floor.
Show Report By Rick Becker

 

 

  The active rig in the room had a Mission 770 two-way speaker with an 8" mid-woofer, also with the classic Mission look with a white baffle and a beautiful real wood veneer cabinet. This model sells for $6500, including the stands. On the table next to it was a Thorens TD 1500 manual turntable ($2699) with a suspended sub-chassis and an armboard not unlike the Linn Sondek. It comes with a pre-installed Ortofon 2M Bronze cartridge... and a dust cover! The electronics were a modest-looking Audiolab CD player, preamp, and power amp.

 

 

 

 

Within room 349 hosted by Vinyl Sound, a turntable was on top of the rack but a HiFi Rose streamer / DAC with a full-front touch-screen that was readable from across the room told me Lyle Lovett was playing “Her First Mistake". The small print on the screen informed me it was a FLAC 16-bit/44.1kHz two-channel recording. The turntable was a Dr. Feickert Analogue Woodpecker with a Thomas Schick MoFi tonearm which, at 10.5", is exclusive to MoFi. It was fitted with a Koetsu Black Goldline MC cartridge.

A whest Two.2 phono stage was further down on the SolidSteel rack and an IsotekV5 Aquarius power conditioner was below that. A BAT VK80i integrated amp was unconventionally mounted on the bottom shelf. The speakers were a gorgeous pair of Wharfedale Elysian 4 ($15k) designed and engineered in the UK. The horizontally applied wood veneer was covered with a very transparent clear gloss finish, indicating it was likely built in China. The speakers were introduced about three years ago, but Covid precluded them from being shown until this show. The music was sounding very good in this room, from what I could sort out from all the conversations.

 

 

 

Another very good-sounding room was right next door in 351 sponsored by Audioarcan. The always eye-catching Pure Fidelity turntable from the hand and mind of John Stratton in Vancouver, Canada was appropriately spotlighted. Its separate Conductor power supply and speed controller was on the shelf below. The price of the turntable with the Origin Live tonearm was about $13k as shown, but it starts at about $8500. The cartridge was an Etsuro-Urushi Cobalt Blue MC with a sapphire cantilever and a microline diamond stylus. Of special interest were the Rhodium-plated terminal pins and the beautiful cobalt blue Urushi finish.

 

 

The rig included an Icon Audio PS3 Mk II MM/MC all-tube power supply ($5625), and an Icon LA4 Mk III David Shaw Signature tube preamp ($53,895). An Icon Stereo 40 Mk IV power amp putting out 50 Wpc ($4995) with headphone and remote control, as well as an HP8 Headphone amp ($1950) were on the rack, but not active. The PMC Fact 8 speakers ($16k) were driven by the Icon Audio MB845 Mk II monoblocks shown above, which put out 110 Watts each with PP 845 tubes. There is also an integrated amp, the Stereo 845. Icon Audio is designed in England by David Shaw, but the parts are made in China, then sent back to England where the amps are assembled and tube-matched. Music Direct handles the line in the USA and Audioarcan handles distribution in Canada.

 

 

On silent display was an Icon Audio MB81 with Russian GU81 transmitter tubes that also happen to be excellent audio tubes. The amp is available as a PP (push-pull) version that puts out 250 Watts, each, or an SE (single-ended) version that puts out 100 Watts each. I've only seen amps using this tube a few times in the decades I've been into high-end audio. Be careful with the price list on the Icon Audio website; I believe it is in British Pounds.

 

 

 

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