Canada’s NRC: A Forthcoming Look at Its Role in the Advancement of Canadian Loudspeaker Design

The NRC connection

In 1980, at the age of 16, I bought my first stereo system, which was centered on a pair of PSB New Avanté loudspeakers. It was through PSB’s product information for those speakers that I first learned of Dr. Floyd Toole and his work at Canada’s National Research Council (NRC), in Ottawa. Dr. Toole, an electrical engineer and a renowned acoustician, conducted seminal research in acoustics and psychoacoustics at the NRC in the 1970s and has published extensively in the field. PSB’s founder and chief designer, Paul Barton, was introduced to Dr. Toole by Ian G. Masters, who was the editor of Audio Scene Canada magazine at the time, and who had published some of Dr. Toole’s writing. Barton began R&D work at the NRC under Dr. Toole’s mentorship in 1974, a relationship PSB was not shy about in their product information.

Read more ...

How I Define “Oligarch Audio”

Last September, Futureaudiophile.com featured an article by writer Steven Stone titled “Oligarch Audio Is Not the Same as High-Performance Audio.” Stone opens his article with a humble disclaimer, noting that although the term “oligarch audio” has been ascribed to him by his publisher, he takes no credit for it. This term, insofar as I can find, first appeared as a title of an article Stone wrote for Audiophilereview.com in 2014, so he may well have coined it.

Read more ...

The 2023 SoundStage! Network Awards for Outstanding Achievements and Products of the Year

For over two decades, we’ve presented our annual awards for Products of the Year at around this time of year. The 2023 award recipients have been culled from the product reviews written over the past year on SoundStage! Hi-Fi, SoundStage! Access, SoundStage! Ultra, SoundStage! Simplifi, and SoundStage Solo. (SoundStage! Australia announced its own awards for Products of the Year on December 6.) Our product awards are divided into three main categories: Distinction (formerly called Individual Awards), Outstanding Performance, and Exceptional Value.

Read more ...

Simaudio’s Moon 791 Streaming Preamplifier: Uncompromised

Comprehensive reviews of high-end, feature-rich hi-fi products may require 3000, 5000, even 8000 words to adequately describe the product’s performance and features. I appreciate that, as do many of our readers. Although video reviews are growing in number and popularity, in-depth written reviews will undoubtedly continue to thrive alongside. And while article length in itself has proved not to be an obstacle, a pitfall inherent to all detailed reviews is the potential obscuration of salient features or aspects of performance by protracted coverage of features and attributes of lesser import.

Read more ...

Spectacular-Sounding Systems in England and Denmark—Purifi Audio Revisited

At the end of September, I traveled to England to attend UK Hi-Fi Show Live 2023, which was held from September 29 to October 1 at the world-famous Ascot Racecourse. There, I met up with UK correspondent Jonathan Gorse, who wrote three articles for SoundStage! Global to cover the show. On October 1, I hopped on a plane to Billund, Denmark, where I was joined by SoundStage! videographers Chris Chitaroni and Jorden Guth. We visited several hi-fi companies in that part of the country and shot some videos for our YouTube channel.

Read more ...

Digging in the Dirt

I found it awkwardly stuffed between a Mormon Tabernacle Choir recording and an LP by the likes of Burt Bacharach or Herb Alpert. It was a copy of A Hard Day’s Night—the American pressing from United Artists with the caution-sign red-orange cover and a different track listing than the UK version. The black disc was naked inside, pressed thick in early-1960s fashion, its surface replete with tiny marks and scratches. Within its grooves lay a dozen jangly teen pop ditties preserved in glorious monaural sound. On the front cover, the cheeky black-and-white closeups of the band’s mop-top hairdos had faded to a dusty gray. The crusty, worn sleeve had suffered sufficient abuse over the past 60 years that only the bottom edge still held together—the others had split apart entirely. Oh man, I thought. Score!

Read more ...

Evaluating a Stereo System’s Sound with a Single Song

As followers of my personal social-media pages know, I post something almost daily (Doug SoundStage Schneider on Facebook, Doug Schneider on LinkedIn). Sometimes I’ll deliberately choose a provocative topic that’s sure to stir up emotions to spur a lively discussion. Anything about MQA, analog versus digital, tubes versus transistors—these and such other topics fire audiophiles up. Other times I’ll choose a product, a company, or a person to write about. I recently wrote a complimentary post about Taylor Swift’s success on Facebook, for instance. Occasionally, though, I’ll post a question simply to get people’s thoughts and opinions on a subject.

Read more ...

Canadian Hi-Fi Trilogy: Axiom Audio, Bryston, and Magnum Dynalab—All Under One Expanding Roof

First came Axiom

Colquhoun Audio Laboratories Limited and Axiom Audio, its sole brand at first, were founded in 1980 by Ian Colquhoun. In 1983 the company moved from its place of birth, near Toronto, to Dwight, Ontario, about 150 miles north. This is where Colquhoun (pronounced co-hoon) grew up and where he and his company remain.

Read more ...

The Best of High End 2023

I can’t say for sure that the annual High End show in Munich, Germany, is the largest hi-fi show in the world, because I know that there are a couple of very big shows in Asia, but I’ve never been to them. I can confidently say High End is considered the most important hi-fi show in the world. What gives High End that status is that it attracts an enormous number of exhibitors and attendees from around the world.

Read more ...

The Best of Montreal Audiofest 2023

This feature has been a longer-than-normal time coming. Montreal Audiofest 2023, which Jason Thorpe and I covered for SoundStage! Global, ran from March 24 to 26. We typically run an article highlighting the show’s best products on the first day of the month following the show. But two days after Audiofest, I flew to England to visit Monitor Audio and Vivid Audio. So there wasn’t enough time for me to write a best-of-show report in time for publication on April 1. My backup plan was to write it up in time for May 1. But almost as soon as I got home from the UK, I got sicker than hell. My doctor told me that it was only a bad cold, but the damn thing lasted almost three weeks, and I didn’t want to do much but lie in bed.

Read more ...

More Articles ...