Being a big player with a wide product base means that individual good things sometimes get lost in that crowd, especially under the rigours of show conditions designed to impress the masses. I chatted with Paradigm designer Jayson Conroy about his new Prestige 85F floorstanders. Looking quite elegant with aluminium cones and metal domes, they clock in at $2'149 each, not outside the average consumer range. They  were being used in a multi-channel configuration with the Anthem D2v 3D processor ($10'499) and The Statement M1 mon block amps at $3'799 each. They sounded like they had strong potential. Would love to get to know them better.

Audio Excellence were drawing a heavy crowd with the $2'500/pr Spatial Hologram M 2 Turbo series dipole speakers supported with the Wyred4Sound stable of M amps ($2000US/pr) and DAC-2 DSD ($2'549), Symposium and Audioquest products. The sound had major finesse and warmth with the hallmark huge soundstage that these dipoles bring to the equation. A spectacular and relatively inexpensive setup that satisfies the sonic and financial abilities of a broad range of audiophiles. Plus the small form factor of all the components opens up room possibilities beyond the traditional audiophile man cave. Short list stuff!

Frank Fazzalari’s Coherent Audio was soothing attendees with their coaxial 10BE loudspeaker. It mates a 10" woofer with a 2" beryllium hornloaded tweeter. At 96dB efficient, it takes very little to make them sing and powered by the Tsakiridis Devices 20-watt Orpheus monoblocks ($5'995), they had detailed dynamic nuance,with broad imaging and respectable kick and extension.  Enjoyed this room in previous years. Was good to be back.

Yamaha collaborated with local audio shop Bay Bloor to pair the much-praised Golden Ear Triton  One with their A-S801 integrated to prove it had the chops to make the flagship loudspeaker sing. At 100 watts per channel, it sports an internal Sabre DAC. While it may not have performed as well as the nosebleed performance tier, it did a creditable job of conveying the music for its mere $1'000 price.

Charisma and Update TV and Stereo paired this year to offer one of those rarer moments of refuge at the show with a system assembled around the delicious little SA (System Audio) monitors. An intimate  listening experience as opposed to bombast assault. Mr. Li proudly debuted his gorgeous Amboyna wood-bodied Charisma Audio Reference 1 MC cartridge ($2'175) with ruby cantilever mounted on a Well Tempered Amadeus MkII ($3'278). Other new products displayed were the new upscale Codia 3000 rack and his new house brand Cabriolet speaker stand. The Cabriolet post height can be adjusted in 2" increments from 24 to 28 inches via threaded metal rod. Neat trick. Some very civilized sound coming from this room.