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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 Phil Gold

  France's Focal, makers of some of the outstanding Utopia and Electra series of high end speakers are bringing their skills to the small A/V market with the Dome two-way mini speaker, which can be stand, shelf or wall mounted and comes as a stereo pair ($750 Cdn), a 2.1 ($1595) or a 5.1 ($2595) configuration. The mini speaker with a 10cm midrange and 2.5cm concave tweeter is flat from 80 Hz to 28 kHz and weighs just 1.9 kg. The subwoofer extends down to 42 Hz. Distributor Daniel Jacques is seen here holding the Dome and its cover.

$25,000 is a lot for a pair of speakers but Vienna Acoustics should have plenty of takers for their new five-driver offering "The Music", named for a painting from Viennese artist Klimt. The Music is beautiful to look at and outstandingly vibrant and musical to listen to. It sounded even better here than on its introduction at CES. A new flat concentric 8" driver is the key to this performance, offering seven octaves of music in a single phase-coherent time plane. Designer Peter Gansterer created a radial-vaned structure cast into the flat cone that produces an enormously stiff flat surface, eliminating time and frequency specific phase shift across the driver. In the center of the driver sits a silk domed tweeter with a large vented pole piece and a neodymium ring magnet. This driver is set in an adjustable cabinet allowing you to first optimize the speaker position for bass room loading, then to adjust the angle of the tweeter to suit the listening position. Below the driver physically (but above it acoustically) sits a Murata exciter, also featured in Reference 3A's exceptional Grand Veena. Bass is provided by three 9" spidercones manufactured for Vienna Acoustics (like the 8" driver) by Eton Germany. The two lower drivers operate in parallel from 18 Hz to 100 Hz, and the third has its own sub enclosure and acts as a transition to the main array. The Music, shown here with Vienna Acoustics' International Sales Director Kevin Wolff is available in a true Piano Black lacquer and a Sapele wood veneer finish and spearheads the top of the line Klimt Series.


I always look forward to the latest introductions from Sonus Faber, who manage to combine form and function in a way few can approach. New for the Montreal show is the bookshelf or wall mounted Auditor Elipsa in graphite or maple finish. $5,800 will buy you the speakers and their wall mounting brackets. Make mine maple!


Montreal's Gemme Audio is going upscale with its new $9300 Katana speakers in a black piano finish, shown here alongside an impressive bookshelf speaker details of which will be announced shortly. The Katana sports a new version of the VFlex Extreme cabinet and exotic Accuton drivers, Alpha Core Copper Foil inductors and Mundorf Supreme capacitors. The cabinet is slanted back to time align the drivers. Gemme claim a flat response from 36 Hz to 20 kHz. The Katona also offers a user adjustable bass tuning mechanism and high frequencies contour adjustment.


System Audio's new Comet gives you a way to customize your speaker to your particular décor. Both the grill and the décor ring are interchangeable and available in a range of colors: white, gray, aluminum or black for the grills and white, black, cherry, maple, aluminum or red for the décor rings. The cabinets are offered in black or white satin and floor and table stands are available. Bruno de Lorimier of distributor KonnectSon Canada shows us just some of the options.

Their Comet combines two features rarely seen together -- a bass reflex and a passive radiator. SA call this a hybrid-reflex, and claim it can produce the image scale and bass performance of a much bigger box. The Comet is flat down to 50 Hz in a modest 14 lb package.


Duevel offer a range of omni-directional speakers and I was particularly impressed by the modest and well-named PlaneTs, which sell for around $1500 Cdn. Not the highest resolution speaker and certainly not offering the pinpoint imaging of some more conventional speakers, the PlaneTs deliver a musical image you can enjoy anywhere in the room.


Avantgarde Acoustic's Matthias Ruff showed his new Duo Mezzo speaker (shown before only in prototype form), a cool $47,250 Cdn the pair, but from the sound of things worth every red cent. That's a trim Ernie Fisher of The Inner Ear wearing the shades and no longer smoking a cigar. Of course the new Avantgarde One battery powered Preamp ($37,500) and One Monoblocs ($45,000 a pair) may have something to do with that...

...not to mention the Brinkmann LaGrange Turntable, long Version ($14,950), Brinkmann 12" tonearm and Brinkmann EMT cartridge ($3675). The Mezzo is a combination of the spherical 2-way horn satellite of the Duo Omega with a powerful Adric horn subwoofer, powered by twin 250-watt amplifiers for the two 12" bass drivers. The Duo Mezzo offers a spectacular 107dB/W/m efficiency, good for the tiniest flea amplifiers.

There are more speakers, but I have to leave some for my colleague Rick Becker to introduce! I will be back with a second installment covering everything else in a day or two so check back here at Enjoy the Music.com.


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