Tri-Cell with Executive Stereo
(Joseph Audio / Vivid Audio / Acoustic Solid / Berkeley Audio Design):
Tri-Cell Enterprises paired up with long-standing audio dealer Executive Stereo in a modest room. Ed Stone, owner of Executive Stereo was there demonstrating the compact yet high performance system. The system was anchored by a HiFi Rose RA180 Reference Integrated Amplifier (C$9,995_.
The system was paired to a few sources including:
An Acoustic Solid 113 Bubinga turntable with Sorane TA1 arm and Hana MH (MC) cartridge (C$5,999.99)
As well as a Playback Designs MPS8 Dream Player SACD/CD with Stream X2 (C$37,500) or alternatively, a HiFi Rose RS150B Reference HiFi Network Streamer (C$6,995). A Berkeley Audio Design – Alpha DAC Series 3 (C$13,950) with Alpha USB interface (C$2,590) was also in play. The speakers were the Joseph Audio Pulsar 2 Graphene (C$13,650/pr) and a pair of Vivid Audio Kaya S12 (C$8,500/pr) were also on standby. Cables were by Cardas Audio.
While in the room, we heard the Joseph Audio Pulsar 2 Graphene’s with the Playback Designs MPS8:
This rather diminutive system sounded relaxed and musically sweet. It has a smooth and enthralling liquid clarity with succulent tone and mesmerizing imaging. My friend, A.S., mentioned to me that it was one of his own favorites of the show and I would have to say in terms of compact systems, this was perhaps my favorite, as well.
Altitudo Audio (Gold Note, Aesthetix and Triangle):
One dealer we came across, Altitudo Audio, was demonstrating fine brands from both Tri-Cell Enterprises and Motet Distributing. Though there were a pair of PMC Finestria loudspeakers, which we would have loved to hear, they were not in active play, given some issues with the rooms floor bounce.
However, we were soon to be entertained by the Triangle Magellan Cello 40th (C$21,500), from France, which they demonstrated on two different amplifiers:
- A Gold Note P-1000 (C$12,000) with PA-1175 (C$11,500). This pairing sounded both sweet and delicate, with a very open and airy presentation and tight, chest pounding bass.
- An Aesthetix Mimas integrated (C$9,750). Now, as good as the Gold Note sounded, to my ears the Aesthetix was the better pairing, bringing some additional warmth, additional texture, and richness to the sound. The demonstration track here was Chubata Africa, by Roland Tchakounte; if you haven’t yet heard it – make sure you give it a listen!
We were thrilled that we had the opportunity to stop by.
Audio Note, U.K. Ltd.
Audio Note had a system setup around their AN J/D Hemp loudspeaker (C$9,000), with the Audio Note SORO (Phono) (C$9,000) amplification.
The sources were the AN TT-Three, complete set with Arm Three and 10 I cartridge as well as PSU 3 for a total price of approximately (C$20,000). The digital source included the CD Zero (C$4,000) with DAC 1.1 (C$6,000).
Listening to the Toccatta And Fugue symphony, the system sounded impeccably revealing, with amazing staging, image placement and tonal delicacy. Brass was also lovely with the system sounding just a touch lean but understandably so, given the very modest size of the AN J/D loudspeakers. And a live presentation by Vincent Belanger, backed by this system demonstrated how lifelike the system sounded.
(Thorens, Mission, Audiolab, Revel, Mark Levinson, JBL)
Erikson Consumer had a few systems being demonstrated and we were able to hear two of them during our visit to their rooms. The first system was a quite modestly priced that featured the new heritage tribute Mission 770 loudspeakers ($6,500/pair), with Audiolab amplification 9000A (C$3,499) with 9000 CDT digital sources (C$1,749) and DC Block 6 power conditioning ($649). The source was the Thorens TD1500 turntable ($3,699). The system was very enjoyable with a good bit of life to it.
The second system we heard was a Mark Levinson by Harman with Revel F228 BESIL loudspeakers (C$14,998/pr). The Mark Levinson components included: No 5105 TT ($8,999); No 5805 Integrated ($12,449) and; No 5101 Streamer/SACD/DAC ($7,499).
Listening to the Yuri Honing Trio play their take on Walking on the Moon, the percussion sounded wonderful, the drums, cymbals and sax presented with precision, warmth, and exciting sparkle.