Home  Hi-Fi Audio Reviews  |  Audiophile Shows  |  Partner Mags  Music News       

  High-End High-Performance Audiophile Review Magazine & Hi-Fi Audio Equipment Reviews

  High-Performance Audio Reviews
  Music News, Show Reports, And More!

  Celebrating 29 Years Of Service To Music Lovers



FSI Expo 2008
Le Festival Son et Image de Montreal 2008 Show Report
FSI 2008 Le Festival Son et Image de Montreal Show Report
Report By Rick Becker -- Page 4

  Undercutting Bluebird Music's Ultimate Budget System with a shift in technology was a $3500 system from Codell Audio that incorporated the Vandersteen 1C loudspeaker along with Fatman's new iTube 182 integrated amplifier fed by their iPod docking station. The tube in the center of the amplifier danced with blue (or was it green?) light in cadence with the music, ala the original Fatman I saw here last year. Later on I would come across even larger Fatman pieces, but the rig here clearly showed the high value of the Vandersteen. 

I've written very favorably about Gamut Audio over the years here at Enjoy the Music.com and I was enthralled by the Gemme Audio loudspeaker here at Montreal last year. Imagine my delight at hearing Gamut's CD3 player and new, smaller Si 100 integrated amplifier driving Gemme's new Katana floorstanding loudspeaker ($9300) with ceramic drivers. Dressed in piano gloss black, this upscale model surpassed my recollection of last year's experience of the original Tanto in musicality, as well as physical beauty. This was easily one of the Best Rooms at the show this year.

Hearld International Holding Company hardly sounds like an audio company, but they burst upon the scene Big Time last year with large and uniquely designed loudspeakers. The H777M seen here is an upgrade of last year's presentation with two built-in amplifiers and an electronic crossover. It was just as convincing as the version I saw last year, once again visually dominating a small room, but sounding quite at home. This is the one that looks like an evolutionary derivative of B&W's famous Nautilus model of many years ago. On the floor was an even more interesting product, their H737P, a dual-preamp that can output the signal from vacuum tubes, solid state, or a combination of the two. As applied to the H777M loudspeaker, for example, you could drive the built-in power amplifier for the midrange and tweeter with the tube output of the preamplifier, and drive the bass drivers with the solid-state output. How cool is that, you ask? Well, it would probably take a complete review to answer that question far beyond the scope of a show report. But it certainly was an interesting concept and a visually interesting piece to look at. They are hoping to bring it out for about $2000. Very good sound here. 


In another room Hearld displayed a variety of home theater lifestyle loudspeakers that had one of the most stunning combinations of style and finish that I've ever seen. That the various sets sold for between $1000 and $2000 was remarkable. Among the styles were thin floorstanding towers, thin stand mounted monitors and an unusual style that looked like 4" square extruded tubing in primary colors designed to mount at an acute angle on a wall. Definitely a contemporary lifestyle! This loudspeaker is actually gloss back and white, though the photo above gives an artistic coloration.


Not to be out-done, a few doors down the hall was the huge Usher D2 loudspeaker standing close to 6' tall on castors and looking like a contemporary D'Appolito interpretation of the vintage Altec Voice of the Theaters I used to own. I can assure you that the Usher sounded much better, if not quite as efficient at only 98dB/W/m. Goertz cabling is inside. The piano gloss black finish and stained wood horn were visually impressive, but you can also choose piano ivory if you live in Miami. The electronics were Nuforce, but there was also a set of tube amplifiers on the shelf below them, so you might have experienced a different sound if you were there. The CD player was an APL modified Esoteric model that sells for $30,000. You ask why? Well, I think it has something to do with the 20 pair of 32-bit AKM DACs per channel that keep re-sampling the data toward bit-perfect reproduction as the error goes down by the square of the number of DACs you have so I'm told.

In a room that is a stand-out every year, Verity Audio presented their Sarastro II in a very beautiful slate blue birds-eye maple veneer. Finished to perfection, it was very stately. Black Ayer monoblocks were positioned on slabs of what looked like recycled solid maple slabs from a bowling alley. The effect was less formal than the Sarastro, but very nice indeed. The front end was a Nagra tape player playing master tapes. As much of a treat as it is to hear master tapes, it is almost like cheating when it comes to identifying the Best Rooms at the show, but this was certainly one of them. Last year they did it with tube amplification, this year with solid-state.


As the Press & Trade Day came to a close at 6pm I wandered down to Level 4 to partake in the cocktail hour. I couldn't resist kicking around in the open ballroom where twenty or so mostly unattended booths had silent presentations. To my surprise I encountered a display for Dynamat Extreme, which I had reviewed as a window treatment in my Winter Tweakfest review, and shared my findings with the representative there who was intrigued with my new application for their product. Check out the Enjoy the Music.com Review Magazine to read my impressions of Dynamat.

Another representative fired up a pair of new Fatman products their Control Room preamplifier with gold (real?) plated hoods covering the small signal tubes, and their Engine Room, 200 watt monoblocks. The Control Room includes three line inputs and mm phono stage. Fatman is actually a product of TL Audio, a British firm with deep roots in the recording industry specializing in hybrid products combining solid state with tubes. The Fatman line-up is so tasty that they have become plagued with off-shore copies. In an age of super-sized consumers, their name and their cute etched logo is a stroke of genius. From what I heard last year and upstairs at this year's show, their reputation should grow rapidly.


Another British hybrid amplifier, the Roth Audio MC-4 ($600) shared the table with the Fatman. This small 13 wpc integrated is designed to work with iPods, MP3 and CD players and includes a chunky remote control for controlling the iPod. Valves are used in the low signal stage and a pair of MOSfets is used in the power stage, allowing for a small footprint on your desktop. I thought this was a creative original design with its use of Plexiglas to keep fingers and fur away from the tubes.



Wandering through the Lifestyle area of the show, I came across a pair of B&O loudspeakers that reminded me of Blue Nuns. The use of flash here gave them a holier than Bose appearance. In reality, the blue was much more muted.


And a little further on I was greeted by the Village People.


Click here for next page.













































Quick Links

Premium Audio Review Magazine
High-End Audiophile Equipment Reviews


Equipment Review Archives
Turntables, Cartridges, Etc
Digital Source
Do It Yourself (DIY)
Cables, Wires, Etc
Loudspeakers/ Monitors
Headphones, IEMs, Tweaks, Etc
Superior Audio Gear Reviews



Show Reports
HIGH END Munich 2024
AXPONA 2024 Show Report
Montreal Audiofest 2024 Report

Southwest Audio Fest 2024
Florida Intl. Audio Expo 2024
Capital Audiofest 2023 Report
Toronto Audiofest 2023 Report
UK Audio Show 2023 Report
Pacific Audio Fest 2023 Report
T.H.E. Show 2023 Report
Australian Hi-Fi Show 2023 Report
...More Show Reports


Our Featured Videos


Industry & Music News

High-Performance Audio & Music News


Partner Print Magazines
Australian Hi-Fi Magazine
hi-fi+ Magazine
Sound Practices
VALVE Magazine


For The Press & Industry
About Us
Press Releases
Official Site Graphics





Home   |   Hi-Fi Audio Reviews   |   News   |   Press Releases   |   About Us   |   Contact Us


All contents copyright  1995 - 2024  Enjoy the Music.com
May not be copied or reproduced without permission.  All rights reserved.