The Montreal Audio Fest/Salon Audio Montreal Audio Fest is gearing up for its 32nd edition from March 22-24, 2019 at the Hotel Bonaventure. On the heels of the first successful Toronto edition of the event, which took place last October, there will be plenty of new goodies to see.
This year's event, free for those who wish to attend (though registration is mandatory), will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Woodstock Fest, which was all about peace and love. Some of the best albums from 1969 will be made available to exhibitors, from Led Zeppelin's "Led Zeppelin 1" to Jethro Tull's "Stand Up" and The Beatles' "Yellow Submarine. And the overall look and feel of the show will celebrate the generation, complete with bell bottoms, flowers in the hair, round glasses, and peace and love signs.
The organizers expect to welcome more than 5,000 visitors to check out the latest audio gear from more than 300 participating brands through exhibitor partners that include manufacturers, distributors, and retailers. Sound systems of all kinds will be on display, ranging from those that cost $1,000, to aspirational systems up to a million bucks for those with deep pockets.
At the Toronto event, organizers Michel Plante and Sarah Tremblay touted the focus on "better audio" from companies like Yamaha, Totem Acoustic, Motet, Bryston, and more. In addition to welcoming people from the industry, the event was also open to the public so current and budding audio enthusiasts could explore and experience gear, and meet with local retailers and brands. About 3,300 people pre-registered, while others showed up to register on-site. A second annual event is planned for later this year. "We were overwhelmed by the response," Plante told WiFi HiFi after the event.
Some of the hot products on display in Toronto included the Focal Elegia headphones, Kirmuss Audio record cleaners, Totem Acoustic's new KIN Play powered Bluetooth speaker, and the 9-foot Bryston "T-Rex" speakers.
So what can we expect to see at the Montreal Audio Fest later this month?
Tri-Cell Enterprises will not only be showcasing new products but will also use the event as a launchpad for six new audio brands that will be added to its distribution portfolio: Alluxity (electronics from Denmark), Fezz Audio (tube amplifiers from Poland), Odeon Audio (loudspeakers from Germany), Tune Audio (horn loudspeakers from Greece), Audio Solutions (loudspeakers from Lithuania) and Cube Audio (full-range loudspeakers and drivers from Poland).
In addition to launching these new brands, Tri-cell will also showcase new products from existing brands it represents, including Transrotor, Soulution, and Aesthetix.
Tri-Cell will occupy rooms 1221, 1222, and 2409, Westmont-5, 1310, and 1327.
Cube Audio speaker
Paradigm Electronics Inc. will showcase its new Persona 7F and Premier 800F, 600C, and 100B loudspeakers and Defiance X12 subwoofer in the Montréal 7 room. Anthem, meanwhile, will demonstrate its STR and MRX Series electronics in the same room.
The Persona 7F beryllium loudspeakers will be paired with electronics from Anthem, including the STR Preamplifier and STR Power Amplifier. Paradigm will also offer a multi-channel demonstration featuring Premier 800F, 600C, and 100B speakers and Defiance X12 subwoofers paired with Anthem's MRX 720 audio/video receiver. The entire Paradigm Persona Series, it should be noted, is entirely designed, engineered, and crafted in Canada. The Paradigm Persona B retails for an MSRP of $14,000/pr.
Also at the event will be Paradigm's Premier Speakers, which boast X-PAL aluminum tweeters, use compact, powerful neodymium magnets and superparamagnetic ferrofluid cooling to maximize power and durability. Lightweight and rigid carbon-infused polypropylene woofer and midrange cones deliver a high degree of accuracy, clarity, and smooth, uncoloured frequency response, says the firm. Perforated Phase-Aligning (PPA) driver lenses-an innovation also found in Paradigm's flagship Persona Series - .actively blocks out-of-phase frequencies to smooth output without colouring the sound.
The Premier 800F (MSRP $2,498/pr.) is a 4-driver, 3-way bass reflex floorstanding loudspeaker. Drivers include a 1-inch X-PAL dome tweeter with a Perforated Phase-Aligning (PPA) lens, a 6.5-inch Active Ridge Technology (ART) surround midrange driver with a carbon-infused polypropylene cone and a PPA lens, and two 6.5-inch ART surround woofers with carbon-infused polypropylene cones. The Premier 800F features an on-axis frequency response of 50-22,000Hz, a low-frequency extension of 27Hz, and 92dB sensitivity.
Paradigm Persona 7F
The Premier 600C ($1,249/pr.) is a 6-driver, 3-way passive radiator, bass reflex center channel. Drivers include a 1-inch X-PAL dome tweeter with PPA lens, 4-inch midrange driver with an anodized aluminum cone and PPATM lens, and two 6.5-inch ART surround woofers with carbon-Infused polypropylene cones and two matching passive radiators. The Premier 600C features an on-axis frequency response of 66-22,000Hz, a low-frequency extension of 40Hz, and 94dB sensitivity.
The Premier 100B ($998/pr.) is a 2-driver, 2-way bass reflex bookshelf. Drivers include a 1-inch X-PAL dome tweeter with PPA lens and a 5.5-inch ART surround woofer with carbon-Infused polypropylene cones and PPA lens. The Premier 100B features an on-axis frequency response of 84-22,000Hz, a low-frequency extension of 50Hz, and 90dB sensitivity.
As noted, Anthem will showcase its STR Preamplifier, which offers robust connection options, advanced control, and refinements in a single, easy-to-use component which includes automatic room equalization and bass management through Anthem Room Correction (ARC). Features include a USB audio input, D/A conversion, MM and MC phono inputs, and customizable bass management for seamless integration with mono or stereo sub outputs. It provides balanced output for all channels including two subwoofers. The Home Theater Bypass function, which allows convenient operation when combined with a home theatre system, is engaged when the unit is in standby, and supports two subwoofers as well as the front channels (through XLR or RCA connections).
The STR Power Amplifier offers 400 Watts per channel into 8 ohms with both channels driven, with a continuous 2-ohm capability of 800 W per channel. Each channel has a dedicated toroidal transformer and 16 bipolar output devices to deliver a continuous and reliable supply of pure, clean low-noise power. The STR Preamplifier retails for $4,999 ea. and the STR Power Amplifier for $7,499 ea.
Anthem STR Preamplifier
Additionally, Anthem will showcase its MRX 720 ($2,599), which includes seven channels of amplification, 7.1.4-channel processing, and a rear panel input complement of seven rear HDMI inputs (including one with MHL support), three optical, two coaxial, and five stereo analog inputs. It has two parallel HDMI outputs (including one with Audio Return Channel). MRX receivers include support for the latest UHD video formats. For hi-res audio enthusiasts, there are premium-quality differential-output D/A converters with 32-bit conversion and sampling rate-optimized filters. All MRX receivers include an Anthem Room Correction microphone and tripod.
MartinLogan will demonstrate its Neolith and Renaissance ESL 15A hybrid electrostatic loudspeakers in the Montréal 8 room. The Audiofiles, a group of women with a passion for audio, through an initiative first launched at last year's event, will be offering demonstrations in Suite 1204. The Audiofilles have designed a system incorporating a pair of ElectroMotion ESL-X loudspeakers, and have events planned for every day.
The Neolith ($104,999) features one of MartinLogan's largest electrostatic radiating surfaces, 35% larger than the Statement E2 electrostatic loudspeaker; along with two substantial woofers. The front-firing 12-inch mid-bass woofer boasts an extremely low moving mass relative to its size. On the back of the Neolith is a 15-inch bass woofer playing beneath 60Hz. Neolith's exclusive advanced-topology Vojtko Crossover uses hand-selected components for optimum power handling.
MartinLogan will demonstrate Neolith electrostatic loudspeakers paired with electronics from Moon by Simaudio, including their monophonic 880M Power Amplifier, 740P Preamplifier (with 820S Power Supply), and 780D v2 Streaming DAC. MIT provides cabling throughout the system.
Martin Logan Renaissance ESL 15A hybrid electrostatic loudspeaker
Also in the Montreal 8 Room will be the Renaissance ESL 15A ($32,499/pr.), which features a 46 x 15-inch Curvilinear Line Source (CLS) XStat electrostatic transducers with advanced microperf stator technology, ultra-rigid AirFrame Blade construction, and dual 12-inch low-distortion aluminum cone woofers in a PoweredForce Forward configuration powered by dual 500 Watt Class-D amplifiers and controlled by a 24-Bit Vojtko DSP Engine with ARC (Anthem Room Correction). It will be shown paired with electronics from Esoteric, including the F-05 Integrated Amplifier and N-05 Network Audio Player. AudioQuest provides cabling through the system.
Pickering, ON-based distributor Kevro International will be showcasing products in several rooms throughout the show, which will mark its first event since signing on Rotel (after a 20-year break in distribution) and Roon as new brand partners. Additionally, the company will be showcasing the fifth-generation Monitor Audio Gold Series for the first time in North America at the show.
With Roon as one of its newest partners, Kevro will also be holding four seminars for both dealers and consumers on the Friday and Saturday of the show, talking about the performance advantages, ease of use, and overall compatibility that Roon provides.
Motet will be showcasing new audio products from PMC, Hegel, Luminary's, Stillpoints, XLO, Triangle, VTL, Music Hall, Auris, Trio-Art, Hifiman, iFi, and Dekoni throughout five venues at the event, Among the highlights will be the North American premiere of the new flagship Fenestria loudspeaker from PMC.
PMC Fenestria loudspeaker
Kanto will showcase its TUK high-end powered speaker at the event, which was first shown at the 2019 CES this past January.It features a newly-designed Air Motion Transformer (AMT) tweeter for high-frequency resolution and clarity, complemented by an aluminum concave-cone woofer and a 65 watt-per-channel amplifier. It provides high-quality wireless Bluetooth music streaming with Qualcomm aptX HD, plus analog and digital audio inputs. The phono preamp accommodates any turntable.
Wolf Audio Systems will debut its new Alpha 3 Server with Flux Capacitor card, geared at discerning audiophiles who want to integrate their existing media collections, including tunes on disc as well as hard drive, into their modern systems. It combines digital media management and playback into a High-Fidelity Audio Server (HFAS) with built-in capabilities and future-proof hardware. It starts at US$5,995, and will be shown at the show by Canadian Sales Representative Jerome Fragman.
Other brands that will have products and technologies on display at the Montreal Audio Fest include Audeze, Audio Technica, Bluesound, Bowers & Wilkins (B&W), Bryston, Definitive Technology, Dynaudio, Flexson, Furman, JBL, KEF, Lutron, NAD, Pioneer Elite, Sennheiser, Torus Power, and Yamaha Canada Music. See a full list of exhibitors here.
At top (L-r) Michel Plante (right) and Sarah Tremblay, organizers of both the Toronto audiofest and Montreal Audio Fest, gear up for the Woodstock-themed Montreal Audiofest, which takes place at the end of March.