Grant Fidelity
were strutting their fabulous $3'750/pr Pure Audio Project open-baffle Trio 15TB speakers to great effect. As good as it was at Taves 2014, I thought it did even better in Montreal. The presentation was wide, deep and engaging and offered some of the least digital-sounding digital playback at the show. Perhaps the sweet glow of tubes on all processing and amplification fronts made the major contribution. The musical performance versus price ratio coming from this room was phenomenal. New for the 15TB was an option of different tweeters including the ESS Heil, and new to the speaker line was a fresh open baffle sibling, the Trio 10 Timeless Morel. Designer Ze’ev Shlick, teammate Thomas Sulentic and Grant Fidelity head honcho Rachel Zhang did themselves proud.

Audio Passion were running a pair of $20'000 JM (Jean Maurer) loudspeakers with an Airtight ATM-1S integrated at $8'995, Resolution Audio Ampli Integre C50 at $5'799, Music Centre at $8'299, Aqua Hifi digital array at $9'000 for the transport, $6,900 for the La Scala Mk II converter and $3'499 for the La Voce converter. Analog was provided by the $5'000 Kuzma. Sound in this room was very transparent with tightly focused images. Should I say it was passionately executed?

Kimber Cable teamed up with PS Audio and Neat to make some mighty fine music through the  Motive SX-1 speakers. The PS front end has earned a strong reputation as one of the best in the business, and the Neat product have been consistently lively fare. This combo took advantage of the smaller room to produce sound with quick paced kick and verve.

Maison du Son and TriCell matched Marantz electronics, a PM8005 integrated, a NA8005 Network player and a SA8005 SACD player to a choice of Chario speakers, Constellation floorstander or Syntar standmount. This was a room that was the epitome of civilized refinement with excellent soundstaging.


Bryston were belting out the tunes in their room with the big Model Ts and the delicately muscular horsepower of a pair of their 7BSST amps. Not surprisingly, digital and pre were also Bryston. Static displays fully lined the room, showing the depth of their sizeable product line and included their new and affordable bouncing baby Mini A. Always nice to see respected homegrown product in action which is intelligently engineered and always performs above its pricing weight.

Designer Zoltan Mikovity was making some wonderful music through his $10'995 Soltanus Acoustics fullrange electrostatics. The digital front end consisted of Integris CDP, $4'199 Auralic Vega DAC and $1'949 Aries streamer. Analog  was provided by a $4'695 VPI Prime and Soundsmith Zephyr MkII cartridge with a $7'299 Whest Audio PS30RDT phono stage. For amplification he brought out a blast from the past, the venerable Threshold 400A. Sound here was big open and refined, with ample bass weight to satisfy. This was a real treat for the panel lovers.

The Gershman room has always been a critical and audience favorite where sound never disappoints. Montreal proved no exception. The lovely Mrs. Gershman posed in front of her equally lovely Grand AvantGrands and later took time to acquaint me with some of their new magnetic levitation products, a set of feet in two weight categories100 or 40 lbs/set of 4 at a reasonable $359 for the set, as well as some cable floats. She also showed me some rather attractive hanging wall treatments which looked considerably more décor friendly than the more industrial approaches.

Audioquest and Audioville teamed up in the larger St. Pierre salon with a pair of what looked to be the B&W’s exceptional 802s. Doing duty on the pre and amplifier front were the tubular duo of Conrad Johnson ET5 and the ART amp. It was a pleasure to see and hear these classic names playing in full glory, wired of course with Audioquest. Digital duty appeared to be an interesting assortment of Apple, Bryston and SOtM USB interface and power supply. Also available for listening was their new Nighthawk headphone on the other side of the room, as well as an assortment of other phones with Audioquest upgrade cabling.