The Coherent room found a lovely pairing with the 2wpc Triode Labs and their model 15 Neo BE speaker fronted by Audio Note gear and the highly regarded Baetis Audio server source. The $14'000 coaxial design has demoed well at prior shows and this time was no exception. The 2 quality watts proved sufficient to make enveloping music, attesting to the 99dB efficiency of the speakers. For those of more robust amplifier persuasions, the designer made sure that the NEO BE acquits itself equally well with considerably higher horsepower. Two smaller models are also available for those of good ears but thinner wallets. Mr. and Mrs. Fazzalari were gracious hosts and Mr. Joe Makkerh of Baetis was on hand to field server questions.

The DVL room had brought out a lovely pair of Magico S7 at around the $64'000 mark surrounded by high pedigree Viola and CH components and a dazzling Kronos table. It marked its place quite effectively in the dream hardware category, showing vast soundscapes and intricate detail.

Mr. Laleff of Euphoria Speaker Design trotted out his 4-way Tarim loudspeaker at $11'200 Cdn basking in the visual and sonic glow of luscious Atma-Shere OTL tubes. Seating was limited yet audiences settled in for extended stays.  

George Klissarov of exaSound Audio Design proudly demonstrated his highly regarded DAC and music player via a powerhouse Pass amp and the planar might of the Magnepan 3.7is. At US pricing of $3'499 for the e32 DAC, $3'849 for the e38 DAC and $1'999 for the Play Point Network Audio player, these constitute attractively priced efforts that are easy on the eye and miniscule of girth. The demonstration room may have been small but the quality of soundstage and delicacy of dynamic scale produced were huge.  

Focus Audio were located in a generously proportioned room which served them well. Their offerings were of the 'go big or go home' variety. Their Master 2 BE loudspeakers at $45'000/pr stood tall visually and sonically. Fed by four Focus Audio amps at $50'000 using the stunning Metronome Technologie CD and DAC at about $90'000, the quality of playback was effortless. The presentation was relaxed in analog fashion and could shift scale from intimate to bombastic in a heartbeat. This was a shortlist contender for best of show.  

In the Foldback Sound/Summit Hifi room, Jon Finnigan of Foldback Sound was having a huge amount of fun showing the Nola Brio in Trio and Quad versions, the difference being  either a single or a pair of subwoofers. Priced at $3'500 and $5'000 respectively, they are designed to be relatively unobtrusive in size, voiced for those wanting all the audiophile niceties of big soundstage, good dynamic range and wide uncoloured frequency bandwidth. They proved smartly engineered and superb sounding with their Audio Analog Maestro CD source and 200wpc Nuprime integrated/DAC. Nola have a strong reputation and this little mini 2.1 or 2.2 setup may be the perfect choice for their prospective audience.

Richard Kohlruss of Asona manned the Hegel room. His modest display was comprised of the Rost integrated at $3'500, Mohican CD at $5'500 and the new Amphion Argon 3 LS speakers at $5'200 (all Canadian pricing). The parts complement number may have been small but Hegel and Amphion are top drawer performers at their price points and were worthy of extended listening attention. 

KEF/VPI were definitely going for a no-holds-barred approach in their attempt at top dog status. The voluptuous shiny aluminium Muon beauties looked and sounded every inch their $225000 price tag. The VPI Titan and phono stage at $54'000 hosted analog. Amplification (if I recall correctly) was supplied by some very musical Hegel monoblocks. This was obviously intended as a demonstration of flagship audio in extremis and the sound was excellent as intended. The proceedings made for a superb analog versus digital showdown using identical recordings. Analog proved the unanimous choice of the audience.