It seems acceptable to be fashionably late. But can you say the same about being fashionably early?
Canada has had a relatively low per-capita death rate from COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and when you adjust for population size, Canada currently boasts one of the highest percentages of single-dose vaccinations in the world. Despite these successes, provincial governments across Canada are still maintaining strict lockdown measures, in the hope of avoiding a fourth wave of coronavirus outbreaks and unnecessary deaths. But these lockdowns have kept many businesses closed and countless people out of work.
When the Paradigm Founder Series 100F loudspeakers first arrived at my house in two boxes, a couple of things immediately popped to mind. The first was that the boxes were much bigger than I thought they’d be, since this isn’t even the largest model in the line—the 120H is. The other had to do with the finish they came in, which I first read on one box: Black Walnut. I dislike almost all black-colored speakers, so I thought, Why did they have to send me them in that finish?
Italy’s Sonus Faber just released its newest speaker line: Lumina. The lineup comprises the floorstanding Lumina III, priced at $2199/pair (all prices USD); the bookshelf Lumina I for $899/pair; and the center-channel Lumina Center I for $699. They are all available in Walnut, Wengè, and Piano Black finishes. It’s only a three-piece series right now, but because there’s a jump from I to III for the main speakers, it’s obvious that Sonus Faber has allowed some wiggle room to produce a Lumina II, which could be another bookshelf or floorstanding model, and perhaps even a Lumina IV on top of it all. Time will tell.
At the 2019 Toronto Audio Fest, to be held October 18 to 20, Simaudio will publicly display for the first time its new Moon 680D DAC-streamer, which is priced at $9000 (all prices are USD). On October 2, however, I visited product manager Dominique Poupart at the company’s factory in Boucherville, Quebec, Canada, to see the first 680D that came off the production line and learn more about it. I felt it important to go there because Simaudio has long been known for producing some of the best-sounding digital-playback products in the world.
Hegel Music Systems’ founder, Bent Holter, has such a deep knowledge of electronics that when he speaks on the topic, it’s easy for him to get so in-depth so quickly that what he says flies right over most people’s heads. I’ve seen it happen to others, and I’ve experienced it myself -- eyes glaze over.
A few days before I boarded the first of two planes that would take me to Tokyo, Japan, to cover TIAS 2016, the UPS deliverywoman arrived at my door with two big brown boxes and one smaller one. The country of origin was marked clearly on all three: France. Only one company sends us products directly from there -- Devialet.
On May 20, Lenbrook Industries brought a group of journalists to Ottawa, Canada, so PSB’s Paul Barton could show them the acoustics lab at Canada’s National Research Council (NRC) and explain what RoomFeel technology is and how it applies to headphones he develops there. Barton has been going to NRC since 1973, the longest of any speaker designer.
On March 9 I received an e-mail from the Chester Group (CG), which is based in the UK, saying that the annual hi-fi show in Montréal had been cancelled this year, but the organizers promised to attempt it again in 2017. It was scheduled for March 18 to 20. In that same e-mail, they cited a lack of exhibitors this year as their excuse for letting everyone down so close to the show dates. What a blow to the Canadian hi-fi scene, I thought. But less than one day later, I received an e-mail from Michel Plante saying that it was still on. They were both right. I’ll explain . . .
If you read “Shunyata Research and the Power-Cable Tryouts -- Part 1” when it was first published in early January, then you will know that I am about a month behind with this article. In that first part, I wrote that I installed Shunyata Research Venom PS8 power distributors, Venom HC power cords, and Venom Defender noise suppressors in my system and that you should “check back for an update toward the end of this month to find out how it all performed.”
When I first talked to Shunyata Research’s Grant Samuelson back in May 2015 about the company’s products, I could sense that he initially thought I was a power-cord skeptic -- someone who didn’t believe cords or conditioners could make a hint of difference to the sound of a system. It was probably because he could hear some hesitation in my voice when we started talking.
What’s in a name? When it comes to selling goods today, pretty much everything -- brand-name recognition is crucial when it comes to connecting with buyers. This is something CEO Mauro Grange stressed at the press event held at his corporate group’s Manhattan-based townhouse on November 19, 2015. I attended the affair, as did about 15 other press members, who were mostly from outside North America. Also on hand were a handful of key distributors and dealers.
Hans Wetzel pulled a Jeff Fritz-inspired move when he was at High End 2015, which was held in Munich in May. The moment he learned that Hegel Music Systems was replacing the H300 integrated amp-DAC, which he owned and used as a reference, with the H360, which the company was debuting there, he made the decision to sell his -- and did so lickety-split. He wanted to have the latest and greatest from the brand whose stuff he owns, like Jeff. So the day after he got home from High End, the H300 was out his door.
Focal's Sopra No2 loudspeaker was one of the main highlights at High End 2015, held last May. In fact, I picked it as one of my five favorite loudspeakers when I wrote "The Best of High End 2015 -- Loudspeakers," which appeared on SoundStage! Hi-Fi in June. Shortly after, I was able to secure the first review pair to land in North America. The Sopra No2 costs $13,999 USD/pair.
Go big or go home. It’s a well-known saying in the United States that, according to answers.com, originated in Southern California as a slogan for a motorcycle exhaust system. I had no idea. I asked Mauro Grange if there was an Italian version of it, and he said no -- but he said he certainly knows what it means!
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