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Toronto Audiofest 2023 Show Report

Toronto Audiofest 2023 Show Report
Part 5... Lobby Level And Lower Level
Show Report By Rick Becker



Sutton B  EQ Audio Video
EQ Audio and Video a retailer from Richmond Hill, north of downtown Toronto, took over the entire large Sutton B room and shared Sutton C with Tri-Cell Enterprises, a major Canadian distributor. Sutton B was divided up into multiple vignettes, each featuring a different system. The largest of those vignettes, pretty much the center third of the room, was reserved for a presentation of Focal's flagship speaker driven by Naim's flagship amplifier. When I arrived, the seating area for this presentation was SRO as you can see above. Frankly, I wondered why. The bass was boomy and muddled the midrange. I was so turned off I didn't pay attention to the treble.



I've heard earlier versions of this speaker and amplifier over the years, and it should not have sounded like this. Chalk it up to poor setup or being in the middle of the large room?



This is a great speaker but it deserves a better environment and care in setup than it received here. I cut in front of the audience, who seemed to be enthralled by the presentation, to explore the rigs further into the room.



Much more impressive and one of the most impressive speakers I've ever heard, particularly at this size, was the new flagship from Monitor, the Hyphn. At $130k CDN it is also very competitive with other speakers with this level of sound quality. The contemporary design is unique without being the least bit offensive. I found myself being quite attracted to it. And I was not alone in that regard as many others sat or stood through the presentation of several long segments of curated music. A dude in the sweets pot sat through the entire gig with a cell phone propped up on a monopod between his legs, recording it all. I hope he can afford a pair.



The Hyphn were driven by the Rotel Michi M8 Class A/B monoblocks (~$20k, pr.) that were putting out 1800 Watts into the 4 Ohms of the Hyphns. The preamp below the turntable in the rack was the new Michi P5 S2 (series 2) priced about $7500. At the bottom was an Audience Adept Response power conditioner. The highest series of Audience cables were used throughout the system with the 10' pair of speaker cables running about $10k. I have to say this was the best performance of several with Rotel's Michi electronics over the years. They were certainly partnered with other fine components that showed them at their best.



There are four 8" woofers in each speaker. Two woofers in each column face two directly opposite in the other column. They are wired in phase so they all fire directly at the opposing driver. There are also six 2" midrange drivers and third-generation micro-pleated diaphragm tweeter (their take on an air-motion-transducer). Efficiency is 88dB/W/m and in-room response goes down to about 18Hz with a measured bass response to 32Hz. It felt not only deep in the bass but also very tight at the lowest notes that were played.



Each white column is ported at the bottom.



The Hyphn in white was dramatically lit for this presentation. The banner hints at what it would look like in black.



A Roksan Radius 7 turntable graced the top of the rack with an attractive blue light dispersed in its acrylic platter and acrylic plinth.  It is priced around $10k with the arm and is superseded in the Roksan line only by the Xerxes 20 Plus. Rick Lennon of Kevro International was very helpful with the information for this system.



Another vignette presented a Michi X5 integrated amp ($10k) that puts out 350 Wpc into 8 Ohms, and 600 Wpc into 4 Ohms driving a pair of Monitor Audio Platinum 200 3G speakers ($17.5k). A Musical Fidelity streamer sourced the music, which sounded very good in a much more affordable package. The Monitor line trickles even further down into very affordable territory.



EQ Audio also showed several Musical Fidelity components in black anodized finish such as this substantial integrated amp.



And here was a minimalist integrated from Musical Fidelity that put out 50 Wpc.




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