MONTREAL AUDIO SHOW 2018

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Art Finishes Up His First Day in Montreal

Art Dudley  |  Mar 25, 2018

A number of interesting seminars were scheduled for this year's Montreal Audio Fest, and while show-coverage commitments usually prevent me from attending such things, I made it a point to take in the first portion of Why Tubes by VTL co-founder Luke Manley. He made a great case for tubes—not that he had to, either for me or for the other people in the standing-room-only audience—noting that "tubes are linear voltage amplifiers that don't require much correction" and offering insights into the distinctive ways in which VTL's engineers put them to work.

 

During his seminar, Luke Manley also noted that he and his wife and business partner, Bea Lam, don't own a television set or a home-theater system, preferring to just listen to music at home.

Art's Day 2 in Montreal, Part 1

Art Dudley  |  Mar 27, 2018

On Saturday morning, the Montreal Audio Fest seemed to get crowded in the blink of an eye: One minute I was stepping out of my room in the Hotel Bonaventure, the next minute I was excusez-moi-ing my way into one SRO room after another. I confess that, for one very brief moment, I wished I was back with the howling old owl in the woods.

Homesickness was dispelled the moment I heard the system in the first of three rooms sponsored by Motet Distribution of Toronto, this one featuring Triangle Australe speakers ($CAD5500/pair), driven by a VTL S-200 stereo amp ($CAD17,500) and 5.5 preamp ($CAD11,200), with a laptop and an iFi Macro portable DAC/headphone amp ($CAD780) as the source. The system—and the chairs in the room—were set up for very nearfield listening; I'm not a soundstaging junkie. but I couldn't help being wowed, and ultimately entertained, by how far I could hear into a recording of de Falla's Spanish Dances.

 

I entered the second Motet room just in time to catch the end of an Alison Kraus track—which sounded fine: open and clear, if just a little more upfront than I like. That was followed by a Pat Metheny-Charlie Haden track in which the double bass boomed just a little, although the music was otherwise compelling, especially when Metheny's soloing became more and more chromatic and then seemed to veer beyond the song's home key. The system was a pair of Triangle Magellan Quatour loudspeakers ($CAD26,500/pair) plus a pair of VTL MB-450 III mono amps ($CAD26,500/pair). The line-level preamp was a VTL TL-6.5 II; I did not make note of a phono preamp, but the music source for this room was a lovely late-'80s Roksan Xerxes with a Roksan Tabriz tonearm.

Sunday Afternoon at the Montreal Show with Art

Art Dudley  |  Mar 28, 2018

Three final notes: The first is a thank-you to the always-great Luke Manley, who proved so difficult to photograph in the ill-lit conference room where he gave his presentation (see my Friday coverage) that I had to hunt him down and ask him to strike an appropriate pose in the hallway, thinking I could Photoshop him into place. But that proved unnecessary.

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