The Best of Montreal Audiofest 2022

As Gomer Pyle used to say: “Surprise, surprise, surprise.”

That’s what I wanted to say after Montreal Audiofest 2022 wrapped up on March 27. From what I could glean while covering the show for our SoundStage! Global site, the three-day hi-fi show had about 60% of the exhibitors it had had in 2019—the last show before the pandemic shut it down. That drop in exhibitors didn’t surprise me because no one expected that manufacturers, distributors, and retailers would be clamoring to display at hi-fi shows. Many of them have had great sales over the last two years without trade shows. Yes, the pandemic lockdowns were, on the whole, beneficial to hi-fi.

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The Best of Florida Audio Expo 2022

Florida Audio Expo 2022 was held from February 18 to 20 at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Tampa Airport Westshore in Tampa, Florida. The city and hotel have been home to the Florida Audio Expo since the inaugural show in February 2019, and from what I’ve been told by the show organizers, it will stay that way for the foreseeable future.

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Doing Our Due Diligence: Room Gain Revisited with the Stenheim Alumine Two Loudspeakers

On January 15, we published Diego Estan’s Stenheim Alumine Two loudspeaker review on this site. Diego’s review was extremely positive: “The Alumine Twos’ midrange and treble reproduction was, without question, the finest I’ve ever heard in my room, providing spot-on tonal accuracy combined with transparency that was second to none—I could hear the recordings so clearly it was uncanny.” But Diego also highlighted the inability of the small Swiss speakers to generate enough low bass—something his in-room and our anechoic measurements corroborated. However, when he paired them with his dual SVS SB-4000 subs, Diego experienced the “best sound” ever in his current room.

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"Licorice Pizza" and Post-Pandemic Hi-Fi Shows

A day before I sat down to write this article, I did something I used to do every week, but haven’t done in two years—I saw a movie at a theater. It was Licorice Pizza, written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, who has previously made some films I’ve really liked—Boogie Nights, Magnolia, Hard Eight, and Punch-Drunk Love are the ones that spring to mind.

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Quebec Double Feature—Simaudio, Followed by Triangle at Centre Hi-Fi

At the end of last month’s article about my trip to France to visit speaker maker Focal, I stated that “I’ll travel to pretty much any company of any size, even if it’s in the middle of nowhere, if it means that I can learn something new about the hi-fi industry.”

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The 2021 SoundStage! Network Products of the Year—in One or Two Sentences

Today is the day of the year that many of our readers—and our reviewers—anticipate the most: the day we announce our SoundStage! Network Products of the Year.

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From Focal to the French Riviera—How I Was Floored Twice in France

For about 25 years, I’ve made it a point to visit every hi-fi company that will open its doors to me. Some of those companies—Paradigm Electronics, Axiom Audio, Simaudio, Totem Acoustic, Verity Audio, Benchmark Media Systems, Blue Circle Audio, Classé Audio (when its products were still made in Montreal), and the now defunct Audio Products International, to name a few I’ve been to—are or were about two to five hours from my home by car, so, by my standards, pretty much right next door. But others have required a plane trip—sometimes within North America, but oftentimes overseas—which I’m almost always happy to take.

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Sonus Faber, Evolved—World-Class Loudspeaker Excellence in Italy

Sonus Faber was founded in 1983 by Franco Serblin, in Vicenza, Italy, although Serblin, who left the company in 2008, had been making speakers prior to that. One of his most memorable creations, the Snail, debuted in 1980—an all-in-one satellite-subwoofer system named after the way it looked.

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Bryston: How a Devastating Death Led to a New Lease on Life

On Saturday, September 26, 2020, Brian Russell, Bryston’s president, died in his sleep. He was 68 years old. For the hi-fi world, the news of his death came primarily from James Tanner, VP of marketing for Bryston at that time, through various online outlets. In a post on the Canuck Audio Mart forum on September 28, Tanner wrote: “I worked with Brian for over 45 years and he was the most kind and caring individual I have ever known. He came across as a rough gruff bear of a guy but deep down he had the emotions of a teddy bear.”

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SoundStage ! Network Product Awards: Less Confusion at the Hi-Fi Store When You Know More about Our Tiers

On August 15, we published a report that highlighted the EISA 2021–2022 award winners for that organization’s Hi-Fi and Home Theatre Audio subgroups. EISA stands for Expert Imaging and Sound Association, a group of 60 websites and print publications spanning 29 countries.

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