Montreal Audio Fest 2017: Arrival

The calm before the audiophile storm.
Leaving the monochromatic rain of Canada’s Wet Coast, I boarded a flight at 9 a.m. Thursday from Vancouver, British Columbia eastward bound in search of colour. Two-thousand, three-hundred miles, and five hours later I was jolted from my in-flight reverie of movie watching by the big bounce of 240 tons of Airbus A330 introducing itself to a runway at Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport outside Montreal, Quebec. The sun was shining brightly as I lifted the window shade, and took in my new surroundings. Everything looked tres jolie.

I’m here to cover the Salon Audio Montreal this weekend, which is my first time at the show, and my second time in Montreal. Although, while disembarking the plane I calculated how long it had been since my first visit, and became rather melancholy at the passage of so much time, so I took solace in a pint at the airport bar while waiting for my ride into town.

Cellist extraordinaire Vincent Bélanger soon arrived to shuttle me, and after a few stops to attend to some business we made our way to the Hotel Bonaventure in downtown Montreal to check in, and take stock of what was happening as manufactures, and exhibitors prepared for Friday’s opening.

Art Dudley models my latest specs.
Things were pretty quiet overall, so we headed to the hotel bar to avail ourselves of some food, and refreshment after a long day of travel. There I ran into Art Dudley of Stereophile who took a shine to my glasses, and show organizer Sarah Trembly who shared a laugh with us in-between last-minute preparations.

Even Cloutier, and Vincent Bélanger at the Hotel Bonaventure.
After dinner we went down to check out the Audio Note UK room where Mario Binner  – ghost that he is – seemed to appear out of thin air, and proceeded to build out a TT-2 DeLuxe turntable while Vincent hauled out his cello to practice some of his new set pieces for the show. Bélanger, along with Audio Note Capo di tutt’i capi Peter Qvortrup, will be helping to launch the company’s new label – Audio Note Music – with Bélanger’s latest effort Pure Cello this weekend, so check back for an interview with the two.

Bélanger getting in tune.

Blink, and he’s gone. Mario Binner hard at work prepping a TT-2.
As I said my goodnights, and headed back to my hotel room I heard some powerful bass rumbling the walls, so I peeked into the Audio by Mark Jones room where Raphael Pasche of CH Precision was tweaking a CH system fronted by a Kronos turntable, and feeding Focal Sopra No.3s. He queued up some more EDM with a smile before I left, so I’m looking forward to hearing more from this system over the next few days.

Late-night listening session at Audio by Mark Jones.
That’s it for now, but tune in tomorrow when I’ll be filing as much as I can from the floors of the Montreal show which is hosting more than 90 vendors.

Bonsoir mes amis.

–Rafe Arnott

About Rafe Arnott 389 Articles
Editor of InnerFidelity and AudioStream


  1. The Conerent speakers were incredible..I thought one of the best at the show..powered by low powered tube amp..3.5 wts…nice job Frank!..

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