Cuttin-Edge, On-the-Spot Reporting

September 28-30, 2012

All prices in Canadian dollars unless indicated otherwise

Product Coverage Gallery 2

Companies featured in gallery below: Focus Audio, Grandinote, Capriccio Continuo, Reference 3A, Kudos, Ceol Audio, Opera, System Audio, Paradigm Shift, exaSound, AIX Records, GutWire, Synthesis, Calyx Audio, Usher Audio

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Product Coverage Gallery 1

Companies featured in gallery below: Paradigm, Bryston, Elipson, Bel Canto Design, Cary Audio Design, Blue Circle Audio, ELAC, Naim Audio, Air Tight, PrimaLuna, Bose

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Opera Audio’s Linea Classica -- Beautiful Speakers for a Beautiful Price

When I entered the Opera Audio room here at TAVES, nothing really jumped out at me. While readers may imagine that covering an audio show is a vibrant, almost electric experience for audio writers, that's pretty far from the truth. Going from room to room methodically copying down equipment information, I think it's fair to say that actual sound quality becomes something of an afterthought unless it's glaringly apparent that the sound is shockingly good. Or bad, for that matter.

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The Model T: Balls-to-the-Wall Bryston

Canada's Bryston Limited is a company legendary for power amplifiers, preamplifiers, and more recently, digital-source-type products such as the BDP-2 digital player and BDA-2 digital-to-analog converter. Now the company is jumping headlong into the loudspeaker market with the introduction of their first product. Named the Model T, its starting price is $6495/pair for the passive version with an internal crossover and a standard finish. Premium finishes increase the cost, as does the option for an external passive crossover or an external DSP-based crossover, the latter option creating a fully active solution. A stand-mounted version as well as a center-channel and subwoofer (both passive and active) are also in the works. Obviously, Bryston is optimistic and thinking ahead.

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Cabasse’s Avant-garde CinéOle

The French get a bit of a bad rap. There was Napoleon Bonaparte, the Corsican who developed the eponymous complex. There was the Great War, where France endured almost 1.4 million military deaths. And finally there was the Second World War, where the French were overrun by a failed artist with a God complex and a bad mustache. Militarily then, things have not always gone well for the western European nation. Yet they are renowned for their cheese, their fashion, their new wave -- indeed, for almost the entirety of their cultural tapestry. Taste in the finer things seems to be part and parcel of being French.

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The Limited-Edition Tribute: Near-Perfect Paradigm

I'll cut to the chase and tell you now that Paradigm's new Tribute loudspeaker is the company's best looking and, from what we could tell at TAVES 2012, best sounding loudspeaker to date. In the case of the former, that might not be saying much -- a little over ten years ago most Paradigm loudspeakers were pedestrian-looking rectangular boxes. Beauty wasn't their thing. It's only recently that they've really upped their styling, and the Tribute is a great example, particularly the Dark Garnet Gloss finish, which is gorgeous. But in terms of sound, that's saying a lot. For decades, Paradigm has consistently produced speakers that perform far in excess of their price.

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A $6500 Television. From Bose.

"The discoveries made by our engineers were so profound that when the end result was first demonstrated within Bose, the reaction was nothing short of astonishment." So reads the literature that accompanies Bose's new VideoWave II "entertainment system." Also known as a television, the second-generation VideoWave screen is a two-product line comprising a 55" model priced at $6495 and a 46" model at $5495. With a 1080p, 120Hz LED display sourced from Samsung and an array of 16 individual speaker drivers enclosed along all four sides of the 6"-deep, wall-mountable device, it struck me as an interesting, if grossly overpriced, product.

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