SSI 2013 Montreal HI-FI Show Report


SSI 2013 Montreal HI-FI Show Report - Day Two

Import HiFi Room

Probably my favorite overall room so far, not necessarily the best sounding room of the trip but great gear, lots of choices with multiple systems setup, and great hosts. They allowed me to connect my iPad via Bluetooth to their smaller system, with Vincent audio electronics powering Aurum Alton VIII. Then on to the big system with the Aurum Titans and they gladly tossed in my only HDCD I had, Tool`s Lateralus. The depth and detail was astonishing, the bass was not quite up to par, however this was in a massive room. Unreal dynamics and detail, and the speakers were drop dead gorgeous.


Bryston came out big this year with a full suite of speakers amps and other electronics. James Tanner was on hand (literally) playing back tracks with the BDP controlled by his iPhone. The large Model T Signature ($7495) with out-board passive crossovers were fed by a 28BSST /side. The sound was dynamic and clean with no hint of strain or issue. The bass was full and accurate over a wide range of tracks. James seemed pleased with the results as was most of the attendees judging by the smiling faces exiting the room.

Gershman Acoustics

First room I hit yesterday, but my pics did not turn out. Came back today and the sound was even better. They were using Quad electronics (on LVC pods) to power the big Gap828 speakers ($25,000). These are time-aligned with a Dynaudio tweeter, Audux midrange and custom woofer. Smooth sound with clear highs.

Brodman Acoustics

Nice guys playing unreal looking speakers. Works of art that feature either a single or multiple tweeters as the only front firing driver. Exceptional clarity and imaging despite side mounted mids. I heard the VC7 ($25,000) with Electrocompaniet electronics. They also agreed without question to playback some Tool, and well not the speakers forte (too much midbass and distorted guitars), it was fun nonetheless. I only offered it up as a joke thinking they would usher me out of the room, once I mistakenly called them German (they are Austrian) they almost did toss me out!

Simplifi Audio

The Simplifi Audio room had a multi-room setup with DSpeaker's room correction device with Gradiant and Klangworks Speakers. The Gradiants were on during the demo I heard with the DSpeaker being switched in and out with noticeable improvement. The Gradient Revolution was playing in small untreated room with great improvement by way of the DSpeaker system. Shown but not playing when I was in was the Klangwerk line of speakers from Switzerland. Very high WAF from these designs.

Klang - $2000 - $8000


Dynaudio had relatively small speakers filling a large room with beautiful sound. Amazing bass from the small bookshelves. On display were some wireless speakers. DACs were from T+A Dacs.


MBL had a very popular room, and for good reason. The sound was fantastic and the omni-design made the speakers disappear. Not that you would want these beauties to be hidden. At least I wouldn't. All MBL electronics and this cool reel-reel machine sitting off to the side.


Naim had tow rooms setup this year, the small room had the music interface devices (from DACs to netwpork players to the all in one Uniti). The sound was off while I wa sin that room as the huge Ovator-s800 active loudspeakers were playing in the other room. These were powered by a stack of Naim gear and feature a very cool driver called a BMR (balanced mode radiator) $75,000 for the speakers alone. Not including the piano moving crew required to install them in your home.

Resonessence Labs

This was the big surprise room for me of the show so far. Best sound I heard all day, and that says a lot! This room featured small Westlake Audio speakers being driven by a prototype Resonessence class A amp and pre-amp was the Invicta Dac/Preamp/SD card player ($4000). The sound was very real and very good. As well they also were showing there $800 Concero DAC with DSD and async-USB. The company is run by the former Operations Director of ESS Technology. So these guys know a thing or two about DACS. Turns out they operate less than 50km from my home. And to think I had to hop on a plane and fly over 3500 km to find this out. They are on my list of products to hear in my own system. Again, it needs to be repeated, best sound on day 2.

Tannoy with Primacoustics

In a huge room were two beautiful point-source coaxial speakers from Tannoy the Definition DC10a. The electronics were Linn, and the huge space was treated by Primeacoustics for less than $1500 retail. On day one the sound was nothing special. By day two that changed and the room was dialled in. Just one of many rooms to feature room treatments, they were by far the most treated that I could see. And to good effect.

Wilson Audio

Wilson was showing their Alexia speaker ($48,500). This was my first time hearing a Wilson speaker, and it was breathtaking. The dynamics were incredible and the bass was perfect (they also had Primacoustic bass traps). VTL amps provided the power and the sound was intense.

Day 2 done have seen most every room and will be back for one last day on Saturday. The show is until Sunday but I was unable to stay the whole time, however I managed to hit almost every room. One thing had surprised and disappointed me about this show, no electrostatic speakers.

Jared Rachwalski

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