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TAVES Consumer Electronics Show 2014 (Toronto Audio Video Entertainment Show) Report
TAVES Consumer Electronics Show 2014 Show Report (Toronto Audio Video Entertainment Show)
Part 4: Report By Rick Becker

Finishing Up On The 3rd Floor...

Stepping into the first of the two Audio by Mark Jones rooms, I was greeted by none other than Mark Jones, the man. Unlike most of the other rooms there was no rig set up to play music, but gear was on silent display around the sides. A handful of custom vintage turntable caught my immediate attention and Mark walked me through them. First up was a Thorens TD124 with an SME tonearm. Six thumbnail size cork pads replaced the traditional rubber mat and were positioned to keep the LP off the metal platter. The thick wood plinth was a parquet of plywood pieces. Speeds were 16, 33, 45 and 78. Next was a Garrard 401 turntable custom mounted in a thick wood plinth with a Tri-planar 12" tonearm, a new design priced at about $10,000. Speeds were 33, 45 and 78 rpm. The wood seemed to be of a solid block, but was a veneer with a nice ribbon effect on the front side. The display evolved into headphones with Audeze headphones and Allnic amplifiers, a Rogue integrated amp, a pair of Magico speakers that were not hooked up for play, which disappointed many people, I'm sure. What seemed like the piece he was most proud of was a Technics SP10 MkII mounted on a thick, solid plywood plinth with a beautiful Ikeda IT407 12" tonearm. And finally, near the front door there was a Kronos Sparta turntable with two coincident platters spinning in opposite directions, as is the norm for this brand. It was absolutely fascinating to see the vintage turntables in this room. It took me hours to write this single room entry as I continually fell into the "dark hole" researching these tables and tonearms.


Mark insisted I go to the next room where the music was alive and quite well and indeed it was. Louis Desjardins was cuing up LPs on his reference Kronos turntable that predates the Sparta model in the other room. There were a bunch of industry insiders whom I suspect might have been principals in the Tenor Audio company whose 175 S stereo amp (about $55,000CDN) was driving the large Tannoy Prestige Gold Reference loudspeakers that come complete with adjustments on the lower front baffle for rolling off the treble. Decidedly Old School, as was the music from Reunion at Carnegie Hall, 1963 by The Weavers. Yep, we was havin' a hoedown—at least until Louis put on a 1946 recording of Louis Armstrong that changed the mood from foot stompin to toe tapping. People sat and listened to this rig. It was focused, dynamic and transparent in a way that is rarely heard—musicians up front on a recording did not block or obscure the instruments that were playing behind them.  You could listen right through (or around) a loud instrument and follow the notes of a softer or more distant instrument behind them. The Prestige Gold Reference speakers impart a coloration of their own, despite the benefit of their dual concentric drivers and deep cryogenic treatment, but they have a way of drawing you into the music that is unique to large vented cabinets such as this. The furniture grade finish and construction addresses the need of people who can both afford and appreciate them. A magnificent source, superb amplification and a modern execution of vintage speaker design combined to create another of the Best Rooms at this show, not so much for tonal accuracy, but for the way it connected you to the music. Next time I'll bring Mr. Dylan's "Ballad of a Thin Man".


Tom and I returned to my room to unload excess baggage before adjourning to the industry hospitality gathering on Saturday night. Looking out at the half-lit empty office building across the way I recalled Jim Morrison's famous cry:

When the music's over, turn out the lights, turn out the lights, TURN OUT THE LIGHTS!!!

Alas, the Canadians are no better than the U-Stats at conserving energy and minimizing global warming, it seems.


Down at the gathering Suave Kajko gave hearty thanks to all the exhibitors while Steven R. Rochlin of Enjoy the Music.com snapped photos of the crowd for the RMCP and the FBI, respectively... or was that vice versa? (Just kidding, boss... right?) And while Steven prefers Steampunk, Tom and I made some noise with a couple of Steam Whistles.


Before we headed out to the street to find a restaurant, we descended into the parking lot to retrieve our coats from Tom's car. We began to get a little nervous; until we figured out we were on the wrong floor. (That's not his van in the photo.)


---> Next Page.












































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