Montreal Audio Fest: Day Two, the wall

Something wicked this way comes: Koetsu Jade Platinum on Thales Simplicity gold tonearm at Wynn Audio.

I had started to hit it.

The wall.

The mental, and physical barrier you can find yourself pushing against (or in my case leaning against), at Saturday around 1 a.m. when you’re finally back at your hotel room desperately trying to make sense of the hundreds of photos, and the chicken scrawl that passes for my handwritten notes on bits of paper, and business cards after a day in Montreal at the Salon Audio. This is usual for moi. It comes from covering an audio show all day, and then committing to the required evening drinks, and dinner that accompanies every show (the real reason I cover the high-fidelity circuit: hanging with profoundly interesting, and talented people).

Baby it’s cold outside.

So it was at this late hour as I chugged water, and downed Advil to bring you – our loyal readership – the days events seen through my slightly unfocused eyes. This isn’t going to be post that has a lot of words in it. Usually we have several people covering a show so that no one person is always forced to file every day. But for Montreal, it’s just me, therefore if we want to bring you the coverage this show deserves, it may have to be slightly abbreviated. Bear with me. I’ll be serving up plenty of coverage in the days to come when I have time to sit, and write something that makes sense. In the meantime, here’s Saturday’s skinny.

“…got it, got it, want it, need it.”

Vinyl is alive, and well in case anyone was wondering, or had concerns. There are several LP vendors at the show, and all were doing swift trade throughout the day every time I passed by. There were even CDs being sold, and those seemed to moving at a brisk pace as well. So those who may be heralding that the end is nigh for the shiny, little silver discs may want to re-think their position.

Behold: The next big thing from AudioQuest.
Kevin Wolff has a gold-plated record brush for you.

Kevin Wolff from AudioQuest was showing off the company’s new self-grounding record-cleaning, anti-static brush – and with good reason: The brush is designed to complete a grounding circuit when held, which is actually something I’ve not come across before, and when he demonstrated it, the damn thing actually delivered on the goods. $26 CAN at your nearest AQ retailer, or online.

Just… what…? Oh right, the amazing Tidal Sunray loudspeaker: $185,000 CAN.
Not to be trifled with.

Wynn Wong was all smiles in a killer cashmere sport coat as his Karan Acoustics, Thales, Goldmund, and Tidal Audio system effortlessly flexed the walls in his large salon-type room. Once again Wong had pulled out all the stops, and brought a truly world-class hifi system to impress.

Audio by Mark Jones was throwing down the serious iron courtesy of CH Precision (pictured  – M1 stereo amplifier – $51,000 CAN), and Kronos Audio. 
Kronos Pro turntable ($38,000 CAN), Lyra Etna cartridge ($13,000 CAN), and Black Beauty tonearm ($8,500 CAN).

Another thoughtfully curated system with real visceral impact came courtesy of Audio by Mark Jones who turned to CH Precision out of Switzerland for the heavy lifting, Kronos for the source, and Focal for the finish.

One of the undisputed kings in high-end audio: Lyra Etna.

The late afternoon was spent gearing up the video side of the weekend (which will be edited, and posted next week) with some beautiful sessions in the Audio Note UK room featuring Vincent Bélanger playing alongside his new LP Pure Cello, followed by drinks with political junkie, and high-fidelity maverick Peter Qvortrup at the hotel bar.

Audio Note UK’s Peter Qvortrup, and cellist Vincent Bélanger confer.

The evening was spent unwinding at a wonderful restaurant in downtown Montreal, where some equally wonderful red wine was consumed before I finally got back to this laptop to pound out this message from the front lines of audiophilia. Once again, I hope you enjoyed this brief reportage from Montreal. Check back tomorrow for Day Three coverage, and again, thanks for spending time with my frantic scratchings.

Le Speakeasy.

About Rafe Arnott 389 Articles
Editor of InnerFidelity and AudioStream


  1. Gotta second the AQ Brush, everyone that plays records needs one.

    And Holy Crap Rafe, stunning photos, you are goood!

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