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The four 6moons musketeers of Canada: Glen Wagenknecht, Paul Candy, David Kan, Frederic Beudot

The King Edward hotel venue of the event in downtown Toronto/Canada

The existence of the 2011 TAVES is nothing short of a leap of faith on the part of the organizers and participants. It has been about a decade since Toronto last hosted a major event of this type. Despite high hopes, the obvious concern was whether or not the renewed effort was justifiable. They built it but would anyone come?

As opening day at the posh King Edward Hotel progressed, the answer was yes. By mid Saturday the crowds pouring in elevated that answer to a resounding yes! They came, they heard and they enjoyed. Although billed as an audio video do, there was a definite emphasis on the audio portion, with a strong proliferation of the high-end ranging from established names to ambitious prototypes that showed tremendous promise. There was a cornucopia of product with such a wide variety of price ranges and musical styles that it would be hard to imagine any audiophile not finding something to tantalize them at a budget they could afford. Something for everyone then.

Since there was so much to cover in the two days I attended, the best I can do is give the briefest of comments on standout products. My greatest fear is that a manufacturer will come away short changed in the process especially since there was more good sound than I have encountered en masse compared to any prior exhibition. I also played the consummate window shopper and listened with my heart first without examining the price tag. Two reasons for that. First, these excursions are the stuff of dreams. Second, listen without prejudice. Who among us would not have a moment of joy to discover that which satisfies the soul and then to find it either within our means or something worth the reach? So with all due apologies in advance, I'll share only a few small musical moments.

The hotel's reception

Event registration was on the 2nd floor

Paul Candy with Mike Hamelin of Audio Eden | Frederic Beudot and Paul

Paul and son with Ron Sutherland | Rickey Yan of Ovation which he started with Mike Hamelin years ago next to Paul

Tucked away close to the entrance was one of the most delectably dangerous locations at the venue. Mr. Wu of Woo Audio had a long table of headphones and his tube headphone amps as well as his sparkling new DAC available for listening.

Jack Wu with his father in the background

And whoever posits that the future of high-end audio looks dim simply doesn't sow the right seeds.

This hardware was partnered with a catalogue of acclaimed MA recordings from producer/engineer Todd Garfinkle who was standing alongside with his software displayed and available for sale.

Once you sat down, the temptation was to stay. When I finally did, it was with a few new CDs tucked away.

Next door anti-resonance tweaks were well represented, with the favorably reviewed Black Ravioli dampers generating a good amount of interest.

In the next booth was a delightful little offering from CEntrance, a DACmini with a small pair of active desktop widebanders that sounded much bigger than their size would have predicted.

Michael Goodman of Centrance with the DACmini just reviewed in these pages

On the main floor there were serious efforts to demonstrate the effectiveness of audio/visual presentations as well as the integration of streaming in the channeled multiverse plus seminars to educate and demystify. Stalwarts like PMC, Paradigm, Totem and Monitor Audio were paired with heavyweight electronics from Bryston, simaudio Moon and Arcam to prove that good and loud could coexist in audiophile-based stereo/multichannel systems.

Bryston & PMC

Monitor Audio

simaudio Moon

Totem Acoustics