Audio d’occasion had some attractive product. Canadian Atoll Electronique were unveiling their new MS 100 music server paired with their flagship PR400 preamp, ST 200 Streamer/DAC, DR 100 CD and AM400 amp. This was a very nice match into a pair of Spendor A9s. This was more British sound done well.

Audio Note had a lovely classic minimalist display. They have a good track record of squeezing convincing sound out of these hotel rooms and this held true also at this show.

Audio Shop were hosting a visually striking combination of McIntosh electronics and table mated with a pair of Vienna Acoustics Beethoven Concert Grands. Acknowledged for their composure and civility, they made an interesting pairing with the green glowing powerhouse Macs.

More McIntosh green glow was to be found in the Stereo Plus and Design/cable and Son room where Mac electronics and disc player plus Marantz network player and table were proving potent and punchy into a pair of Totem Elements while the smaller Fires sat alongside. On different days the Fires got their turn to sing. The combinations were dynamically fearless and clean in best Totem tradition.

Gemson had a pair of JL Audio D108 entry-level subwoofers ($1'079/ea. in ash) making music instead of explosive bombast. They were demonstrating the unobtrusiveness and seamless matching with Dynaudio main speakers afforded by their versatile crossover and sub feeding an AVM integrated when dealing with real musical content. This was a nice touch that proved deep bass and musical content could be achieved in a small form factor and without compromise. Yes, the bombast was easily available but the D108 showed musical foundation.

Acoustic Technologies could be found in two locations, the main listening area in room 1221 and a table display on the lower level for cables and accessories. The main setup consisted of a column of Accuphase components flanked by a column of EMM Labs DAC, Manley phono stage, Oppo and Apple. Turntable was a Dr. Feickert Analog Woodpecker sporting a Dynavector XX2, and the speakers du jour were the upscale Audio Physic. The sound was quite enjoyable and I went back on several occasions. Off to the side was another interesting rig that I never managed to hear in action, matching a Peachtree and Fostex combination with a pair of KEF LS50s. Analog chosen for this display was a bright red TEAC TN-300.

Audiophile Experts were showcasing the Devialet integrated/DAC feeding a pair Audio Physic Scorpios. This was a fair sized room but the high detail and responsiveness came through unimpeded. Both brands did well at the show and this proved a very nice pairing.

Richard Kohlruss in the VMax Services/Asona room was showing his Hegel products to great advantage along with his QAT music server. The tiny Italian Diapason Micra III speakers sounded huge and authoritative when I arrived, doing a fine job filling the room with life-size images. On another day the gorgeous red Triangle Quartet held sway, sounding as good as it looked. Nice matchups here, which were both impressive and intimate.

Import HiFi had a sizeable area with several adjoining demonstration areas for their French electronics and Davis Acoustics speakers including the MV One widebanders. The Davis Acoustic product looked like it would deliver the goods and press has been excellent. The BC Acoustique electronics likewise looked promising with their EX-362D offering 80wpc in Class A Unfortunately the rooms were working against all that potential. Despite that, you could still catch glimmers of what all the products might be capable of so they certainly deserve a listening session.

Tri Art/Avatar Acoustics were widely visible in several locations, with static displays in the Canada Pavilion and operational displays amongst the headphone gear tables and in a dedicated listening room for their new open-baffle loudspeaker. The company has an extensive range of products running the gamut from turntables and arms to digital sources, amplification and a broad line of speakers all utilizing beautifully crafted woodworking with series names like Pebbles and Bam Bam. Despite the tongue-in-cheek names, these are seriously engineered musical offerings. The inexpensive little bamboo-encased Sprout DAC was quite intriguing and at the opposite end of the scale, the brand new $3'400 flagship Bam Bam 5.0 Open Baffle was wowing the crowds. Sadly I missed cellist Vincent Belanger’s live performance here during the show. It would have been the icing on some very musical cake.