Toronto Audiofest 2018 Show Report (Part 2)
Continuing my show coverage…
The most visually pleasing room I saw (overall), belonged to our friends at Charisma Audio. This setup looked and sounded great, with the beautiful Audio Space LS5/9 Ebony monitors, Audio Space monoblocks, and Well-Tempered Lab’s stylish new Amadeus 254 turntable. As at previous shows, there were two complete systems, this time each sitting on a stunning Codia Diagon rack. Unfortunately I only saw Bernard Li briefly on Saturday, and we missed each other when I was at the Charisma room on Sunday; we will follow up – especially about Charisma’s brand-new Musiko tonearm!
‘Most promising startup’ surely has to go to Saturn Audio, a partnership between two well-known gents from my area, Gilbert Yeung of Blue Circle and René Evans of Mystic Audio. A full (and impressive) Saturn system was on display, with the 601 amp, 501 preamp, 201 DAC, and 103C power filter. In conjunction with a Lumin U1 streamer/L1 music server, and driving PMC’s Twenty5 24 speakers, the sound was smooth and very musical. I only wish the photos did justice to how good this system looked! (note: I’ve added a stock photo that shows a little better how the backlit Saturn Rings look) The components are so elegant and clean.
Tri-Art Audio had a great presence at the show, despite having to battle an ant infestation in one corner of their room! Steve and Simon’s creations looked and sounded amazing, as always. Check out the large version of the turntable photo, and notice the details. Same with their large speaker, look at the nice bracing and the wire routing they employ. So well done. They also had a table on the second floor, showing off smaller speakers as well has headphone amp systems. These guys make just about everything!
Reference 3A is an iconic and now-Canadian speaker company. They had a superb room, with the floor-standing Taksim and the large stand-mounted Reflector on prominent display, supported by Copland electronics, Gutwire cables and Merrill amplification. Tash Goka is one of the real statesmen in our industry, and always approachable. It was good to talk with him again.
Hardcore tube/vinylphiles Coup de Foudre of Montreal treated us to another wonderfully musical room, featuring the big Omega full-range speakers, and amplifiers from Leben, Line Magnetic and Unison. Great stuff.
Audio By Mark Jones
American Sound of Canada had a large room, featuring Avantegarde horns, Sonus Faber, Aurender, Phasemation, Shelter, MBL, Jeff Rowland, Esoteric and Transparent Cables.
Last, and certainly not least, was my very pleasant discovery of Markham’s Mike Tang Audio. Mike is a talented designer and engineer, and his tonearms looked superb! The transcription length arm utilizes no bearing – the arm floats between two magnets at its pivot point. WoS is looking forward to reviewing one of his arms in the near future. Stay tuned.
Wall of Sound extends our congratulations to Sarah, Ben, Michel and the entire organizing team behind this show. Along with the tireless exhibitors, you gave us a really excellent show, which had to be a Herculean effort to accomplish. Showgoers not only got free admission, but a glossy program, a meditation CD, and a shopping bags courtesy of Wynn Audio, and Blue Cross. We are grateful. Thanks and we look forward to next year!
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Hi Noam: I believe the BBC design noted was the LS5/8 -not 5/9 ?
Damn, I missed MJ’s Magico/Lux. room. How did the Magi(co)’s sound ?
They were listed as LS-5/9’s on Charisma’s sheet. They’re very new- just received BBC certification in the last 6 mos.
The Magicos sounded effortless, as usual. I was only able to spend a minute or two, our lunch was getting cold and we had to hit the road back.
Hi Noam: I looked at the back of the speaker, and it read: LS5/8.
The reason I looked is that a (haven’t-seen-in-ages)friend has a substantially larger model, but forgot whether it was/is a ‘8’ or ‘9’ designation. Since his loudspeakers are substantially larger, it must be the 5/9 model.
Graham make these BBC models as well. Their 5/9 is the size of the Charisma speaker I saw at the show. The Graham 5/8 is a much larger speaker.
The speakers Charisma had are done by Audio Space. Bernard is their North American distributor.