Tri-Cell Enterprises Inc.
had a number of successful room collaborations that shone. In their Transrotor/Audiovector room were a number of excellent Audiovector speakers running in range from $1'300 Cdn to $3',200 for the top-line Avantgarde SR6 powered with the ever sonically succulent Unison Research Unico. The big SR 6 is built with all the quality befitting a flagship design. Situated neatly at the affordable $2'300 point was the new QR3, showing a wealth of sophistication and detail from its driver complement, including a well-executed Air Motion Transformer plus substantial dynamic swing and fast, deep bass. This one caught my attention so keep an eye on the man in the mirror. That’s designer Mads Klifoth and he may have found a product that reflects your deepest desires at a price you can afford.  

In Tri-Cell's collaboration with Joseph Audio and Wells Audio, the spotlight was on the Joseph Audio $14'700 Perspective and $7'400 Profile floorstanders. The Profiles offered a healthy dose of the Joseph Audio signature—relaxed, effortless and expressive—all finished in a rather charming burgundy coating. The Perspective upgraded all parameters by measured steps in driver complement, sophistication and elegance of finish. The Josephs performed with distinction.

The Unison Research/Opera Loudspeaker collaboration showed an all Unison based system with their new Max 2 loudspeaker. Every experience I’ve had with Unison Research has been unfailingly musical, emphasizing the emotion of the performance, and Tri-Cell's effort was no exception. The beautiful Opera loudspeaker stood majestic on the sidelines but did not get air time during my visit.  

In Tri-Cell's Vivid room, Accustic Arts had electronics duty on their gorgeous, gracefully curved red-hot beauties long with support from EAR for transport, DAC and on the analog front, Charisma supplied the MC cartridge for the Oracle Delphi VI MKIII. Oracle’s new Origine table was also on display. The Oval B1 Decade speakers make a strong visual statement and were a nice sonic match up in the room. Executive Stereo’s Ed Stone was hosting.  

Designer Knut Skogrand of Skogrand Cables had assembled a Triangle Arts system around a pair of lovely Venture Ultimate loudspeakers, cabling by Skogrand of course. The 2015 TAVES show brought a lot of accolades his way and this year should prove no exception.  

Venture Audio had their majestic $74'000 active Quantum 8 flagship loudspeakers flexing musical muscles in a large room. The Venture Audio VP200D Pre/DAC and VP100 at $60'000 and $32'000 phono stage were supplying analog support for the gleaming Triangle Art turntable mounted on a Krolo Design stand. Venture Audio’s Njoo Hoo Kong was hosting a convincing listening session when I attended, with a full run of Ravel’s Bolero rising from a soft whisper to massive unbridled climax. This was full-on dream ear candy for anyone willing to sit and enjoy.

VK Music were on the floor with a series of smartly done kits for those who like the bigger toys but find the cash outlay daunting. If you’re somewhat handy and not afraid of tackling a project with some assembly required, these looked to be a nice route to go.  

Wynn Audio had some 'smaller' fare in a side room with some lovely Tidal loudspeakers and Goldmund equipment but for the big room brought out the Tidal Sunray loudspeakers and an array of Tidal and Goldmund electronics. Their equipment has always played impressive at every show I’ve attended and they pulled out the stops with this stuff of dreams assemblage, making it a short list contender for best of show. I stopped asking about pricing particulars when the number $1'000'000 came up in conversation. State-of-the-art aspirations are a tall order and Tidal's Jorn Janczak, posing beside his lofty towers, was well equipped to be counted a contender.  

Yamaha have been quietly been throwing their hat back into the ring of extreme HighEnd aspirations of late. They were debuting their highly anticipated NS-5000 loudspeaker with their top AS-3000 integrated fronted by their CD-S2100 CD/DAC source and a laptop file source. The 3000 has been drawing considerable praise in the community but this year Yamaha’s new loudspeaker got the attention. The NS-5000 has been seven years in development, perfecting the all Zylon array of drivers which are reputed to have the lowest driver coloration of any material. Comments in the corridors were universally positive and the sound quality was superb. The speakers hit at about $15'000/pr with stands, making them one of the lower-priced ultimate flagships at the show and with a total system price hovering at the $30'000 mark, one of the cheapest dream systems. This was a short list room that competed head to head against some of the biggest and best.

And finally, we come to the last (but far from least) exhibitor at the show. Will Tremblett of Zavfino 1877 Phono was back with a very reasonably-priced collection of cables and accessories. His top drawer OCC silver power cable clocks in at a mere $800 against the competition and have drawn a following in Europe. His turntables start at about $5'2000 depending on finish, look well engineered and aesthetically gorgeous. TAVES wanted a marriage of art, fashion and audio under one roof and here was all of that wrapped up in a single package.  

And that, folks, was TAVES 2016, run through at breakneck speed from A-Z. You’ve experienced it as I lived it. If there’s a square inch you don’t see, it’s on the cutting room floor. Was the show a success? Based on attendance figures, the answer is yes. The organizers seem to have found a sweet spot formula that pleases all parties. Even more people flocked to TAVES 2016 than the year prior. Was the High End well represented? I would have loved to see more of the heavy hitters of course, as well as the smaller innovative entrepreneurs breaking out of the enthusiasts mold to rise to the role of groundbreaking manufacturers. That is something for the future to bring. But in the here and now, the exhibitors that came to the show did the industry proud, putting their hearts and their best musical feet forward. Kudos and thanks to them all.  

And now we come to the end, lights dimmed, displays dispersed, performers and audience gone home. But if the show curtains are drawn, it is only for a short while. All parties are merely taking a deep breath, a moment's pause and some well-deserved pats on the back. Soon, the planning will begin to build it again bigger and better, to look forward into what new frontiers the next 12 months will bring, to see what will entice exhibitors and audience once again. So, don’t lament the passing of TAVES 2016. It sleeps like the Phoenix. 2017 will be coming on fast!