Comments from a Friend & Colleague

Here’s another Montreal show report, from my friend and colleague, Wayne Munie. Wayne is a vastly experienced audio professional/audiophile. Wayne’s professional experience dates back to the early 1980’s as a sales consultant at Audiomusical, a High-End Audio Store in Belleville IL,. He later managed The Great St. Louis Sound Co. in St. Louis Mo, before working with me at Audio by US, back in Belleville, IL. I enjoyed reading Wayne’s take on the show. So here it is…

This was my second visit to Montreal for their Son et Image show. First I must say I truly enjoyed my visit to this beautiful city and its magnificent selection of restaurants. The Salon Son et Image show is a wonderful opportunity to hear a wide range of audio products.  What was different this time from my previous visit in 2007 (beside the change in sponsor, name [formerly Festival Son et Image], and deletion of video games) was the extensive use of iTunes as a source.  While I appreciate and personally take advantage of the convenience of having a music server hooked up to an audio system all my wow experiences at the show involved the playing of a CD or LP. Tube electronics proved to still be relevant in high-end audio; wonderful sound from the inexpensive Peachtree driving Dynaudio speakers, AudioNote, Audio Research, and Mastersound all were among the best sound at the show.

I have been to several consumer electronic shows and their are a few manufactures that always have good sound (Totem and Magnapan), but many manufactures just don’t know how to demonstrate good sound. Good sound is a cumulative result of the recording, playback equipment and listening room. A great system will allow good recordings to give you goose bumps and create an emotional experience.  Good music poorly recorded is disappointing because you expect so much more but playing that music on a boom box only lowers your expectation doesn’t fix the failings of the recording.

The Audes speaker rep was set up in the entry to the Liberty Trading room using Roksan CD player and Mastersound amp and was consistently playing great music as a result I spent more time and more visits to this set up than any other. Great music masterfully presented that’s what we all want isn’t it?

Wayne Munie

2 thoughts on “Comments from a Friend & Colleague

  1. I see why Wayne is a good friend of yours, he has the same passion for High-End audio as you. He mentions a few brands that you currently are displaying. Will you be picking up any of those brands?

  2. Yes and no. A better answer is that in the pursuit of High end sound one learns that it is not just the brands we need concern ourselves with as Wayne alludes to. Certain brands are consistently a part of great sound systems. We chose many for this reason, such as McIntosh, Marantz Reference, NAD & PSB, as detailed in my “Recommended Components” blog. However, it is important to appreciate that each brand has its own sonic character, strengths and weaknesses. Understanding how these mesh toward system synergy is what makes High End Audio an ART not just a job. To achieve this, I have to maintain a very thorough, intimate knowledge of a variety of brands and components. This is why anytime you stop in you see something here that wasn’t before. “I am in constant test mode”. Only this way can I please myself, and therefore, my customer. So the answer is, some that Wayne mentioned we may, others I feel we have something better with our family of brands. We did add Totem, a company that has proven itself for more than 20 years. And though I like Audio Research, I feel we have that more than covered with McIntosh. Maggie’s are an old favorite, so maybe, and I was a dealer for Roksan years ago, so will have to update myself there. But most important is that with our brands now, I can build systems of wonderful musicality in Mid-Fi for less than a grand, Hi-Fi around $1500.00, entry level High End starting for $2500.00 and true Hi-End beginning at $5000.00. Quite frankly, thanks to the industry leadership of many of our brands, my average system for say $3500.00 is stunningly more musical than those I built in the 90’s for $5000, and in the 80’s for $10,000.00. And ironically, the speakers today are smaller and more furniture grade, which people really like, and feel adds quality and style to their homes!

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We carry audio and video equipment by Amphion, Audioquest, Aurender, Auris Audio, Backert Labs, Bluesound, Bob Carver Corp, Cambridge Audio, Clearaudio, Control4, Crestron, Dynaudio, Focal, GoldenEar, Grado, Harbeth Loudspeakers, Hegel Music Systems, HiFiMAN, Kimber Kable, Klipsch, Lehmann Audio, Liberty AV Solutions, Luxman, Magico Audio, McIntosh, Monitor Audio, Musical Fidelity, NAD Electronics, Nordost, Oracle, Ortofon, Plinius, PSB, Rega, Rogue Audio, Salamander Designs, Solid Tech, Soltanus Acoustics, Sonner, Sonos, Sony, Soundcast, Spin Clean, Sutherland Engineering, Technics, Tsakiridis Devices, Totem Acoustic, Triangle and Yamaha.

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