I was beyond excited and not a little nervous to exhibit our new speakers at the Marriott Rive Gauche (once called the PLM Saint-Jacques and alledgedly the most modern hotel in the World when it opened) after a thirty year hiatus. I will be forever grateful to Jean-Jacques Capello of Point Musiques for hosting and demonstrating our new Microphase Audio Desigh SAT MK2 to a knowledgeable audience. I was quite chuffed to see them mesmerised by our minuscule speakers...
But this article is all about the other exhibitors and fantastic products, from the oldest players and classic designs like Pierre-Etienne LEON to the revolutionary Devialet.
Vincent Brient, the talented French designer of DACs and music servers was presenting his d1-serverwhich can work from a hard drive or as a streamer then onto a DAC like the Totaldac d1-core, or the more upmarket Totaldac d1-twelve-SE. Amplification was courtesy of "Integrated Signature" from the US based Absolare, a hybrid design of valve preamp and solid state power amp generating 2x200W. The horn speakers were not for the faint hearted and behind next door to our own minuscule speakers, we had to fight some serious sound levels! It looked more like a Japanese DYI design than a finished product, butthey did shake the walls even though they were not the sweetest or more accurate design at the Show... WAF = 0 as well...
Point Musiques - Ocellia - ConceptS - Gold Note - Artec - M.A.D - Kelinac
Jean-Jacques Capello was presenting four different systems, all designed to provide the best musical experience for a given price point. A Gold Note CD1000 CD player from Italy and a French made turntable ConceptS Sonata were feeding an all ARTEC Ultimate amplification, cables and speaker system. A ConceptS preamp and two 300B Ocellia mono valve amps and an integrated Tosca amp Tosca were driving the amazing and totally unconventional Ocellia Calliope 30 Twin, with Ocellia cables throughout. (read my article about them here: http://www.frenchvintagehifi.com/interviews--reviews/point-musiques-a-musical-afternoon-chez-jean-jacques-capello )
Another system was driving the Kelinac 914MG driven by an integrated Gold Note Demidoff, a CD player Gold Note Favard Anniversary and câbles from Actinote. Finally another system based on the ConceptS 7W integrated valve amp driving the ConceptS Couleurs 94 equipped with a full range 31 cm driver and an integrated 2x50W Artec were feeding the M.A.D SAT MK2
Calamighty Sound - A mecca for all things vinyl
Plus vintage, tu meurs! Mighty it is indeed, with refurbished Garrards, Pierre Clément cartridges, and all sorts of plinths, arms, etc... The enthusiastic founder François Saint-Gerand is a delight to talk too and is passionate and very knowledgeable about all his products and beyond.
Marc Fontaine is an ex colleague of mine at Hewlett-Packard and a very good friend, as we both share a passion for music reproduction and speaker design. He "retired" from HP/Agilent in 2005 to buy Mulidine to continue and expand on the legacy of the original founder Marcel Rochet.
Note the elaborate acoustic panels revovered from the studios of the French National Radio and Television ORTF.
Micromega - PMC
This was an amazing combo of the new M-One integrated amp/DAC, etc with the fabulous PMC speakers, used by Bryston to demo their amps before deesigning their own... So I am pretty happy to report that the M-One make thenm sing beautifully. It was one of the very best demos at the Show....
Metronome Technologies - ASA - JADIS
I will not insult you by presenting Metronome - alledgedly best CD player in the World, and JADIS, alledgedly best valve amplifiers in the World too, but ASA? Never heard of this Atelier de Synergie Acoustique...Et pourtant! There are a lot of similarities with my own designs and the manufacture of the cabinets in solid wood is amazing! The sound is spectacular too...
Gryphon - Pierre Etienne LEON
A mighty association of Danish powerhouse The Gryphon and French legend Pierre Etienne Leon speakers. These two rooms were very well attended throughout the Show. It is a tribute to persistence and good genes to see Pierre Etienne surviving decades of ups and downs but still passionate about designing new speakers and try to achieve the Graal of music reproduction!
Expert Pro, the new top of the range amps from Devialet was displayed here and the Expert 1000 Pro put to the test. Power, slew rate and dynamic range are the main features of this new range. Obviously the Phantoms were playing their part as well...
Davis Acoustics turns 30 this year! And for the occaion they are gifting us with a new speaker called Renoir. Interestingly enough, the 'homemade' 31 cm bass driver is paper based, where the 17cm midrange uses the proprietary woven kevlar cone. Both use Ticonal magnets. The TW20K2F tweeter with double magnet and kevlar membrane takes care of the higher frequencies. Like the top of the range Karla, the system comes in two cabinets, a configuration inherited from Elipson and favoured by many, including myself... Electronics used are an Aura Note V2 and a Gryphon Diablo.
FOCAL - OCTAVE
I happened to visit before the opening of the Show and was privy of the vagaries of the setup. Interstingly enough, there was one position of the Focal speakers (Sopra 3) which gave an amazing image and general rendition. The unknow (to me..) German electronics from Octave were driving the Focals with ease and confidence.
Nautile Acoustique - FISCH Audiotechnik
To be honest, I have never heard of this French brand before... Their coaxial driver is complemented by a super tweeter Townshend. This « Nautile Acoustique by Bel Canto design » electronics were developed by John Stronczer himself. Integrating a DAC and a two-channel Hypex N-Core amp module, they drive the drivers and manage the crossover. Mark Levinson electronics, includingthe new combined server/transport/DAC ML519 and new préamp-DAC ML526, phono preamp double mono ML52 interfaces the EAT turntable to the system. Probably the most innovative speaker at the Show, besides the Phantoms...
Ever since the Chario was introduced decades ago, I have been in love with Sonus Faber speakers, probably the most beautiful speakers on the Planet... And they don't sound too bad either!
Very interesting coaxial speakers from the US 0f A. First time I had a chance to listen to them and I was certainly impressed.
Line Magnetic Audio
oVous avez dit Modern Vintage? Then Line Magnetic is for you! These modern replicas of legendary valve amps and Western Electric speakers are a delight to the eye and a great comfort to the ear! To be discovered absolutely!
Pèle mèle or meli melo...
Ming Da France
Haute Couture audio components in small and affordable packages. To be considered to drive our minuscule Microphase Audio Design SAT MK2...
ATOHM - Trinnov Audio
No need to introduce Atohm and his charismatic founder Thierry Comte, ex Technical Director chez Triangle... The mighty active subs (in black...) were certainly shaking it!
Hifi Câbles et Compagnie
The infatigable Jean-Claude Tornior is still at it after probably four decades in the business under various guises, including Phonophone reviewed elsewhere on this blog. He knows how to design a decent pair os speakers and he is has a great following for his cables...But you know what I think, the best cable is the shortest cable...
Definitely, the vinyl revival is here to stay... Almost every stand had a tyrntable or two or more... Here is a little feast for your eyes as a conclusion to this article. This is obviously not an exhaustive coverage but a glimpse into the products which took my fancy. Thanks for tagging along my journey!
Born in France, well travelled, relocated to Sydney in 1997.