I was pumped about this year's Montreal Audio Fest, the city's 30th consecutive audio show, for a couple of reasons. First, I was pumped because I was covering the show for Stereophile with the estimable Art Dudley, and, second, because after last year's debacle that saw the show being unceremoniously cancelled by then-fest organizers/owners, the Chester Group, then resurrected by previous and self-re-instated show organisers, Michel Plante and Sarah Tremblay, the event's rapid revival was proof to me that the Montreal audio show still has legs and a purpose.
Stepping off the 10th floor elevator into the warm environs of wafting musical melodies and people chattering gleefully about all matters audio-related, I immediately felt at home. Audio shows are an extension of my natural habitat—these are my people, audio is our thing—and I was in the mood for some hedonistic audio fun.
The first system I listened to contained a modern mix of the ultra new and the old: a Lumin U1 network music player ($CDN7500)/Auris D1D DAC ($CDN3000) conbo feeding a tube-based Auris Piano Preamplifier ($CDN3000) and a pair of push-pull Auris Forte 150 mono amplifiers ($CDN20,000/pair), so-numbered not for their power output, which is rated at 100Wpc (impedance not stated), but for the type of tube they use—the mighty KT150.
Speakers were the Delta ($CDN9000/pair), made by the long-established French company Triangle, a brand whose speakers are known to forsake some midband warmth for a more tactile, clean, and lively sound, such as the one being reproduced by this setup.
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