December 19th 2019, over 30 people were present in a rather unique and emotion charged evening. We did have to refuse many who wanted to attend right before the event took place. We did not have enough room for more folks, sadly. Foods, wines ( I forgot to take out the white wine that was being chilled, zut alors ), Very fine Scotch from Roy Hall that now stands as a unique trophy in my sound room, Lily co-organizer with us, quite a few folks from Montreal like the very well known organizer of the Montreal and Toronto Fest shows ( Michel and Sarah Plante, as well as a professional photo and video man ) and Toronto ( I remember Lawrence and Lily), and Isabeau Corriveau from Montreal who amazed and enchanted all with a limitless charm ( a beautiful woman through and through ), and lastly, our Iconic Roy Hall that came especially and uniquely for us from New York. Than add an often misunderstood, somewhat extreme and but very well known Premier Canadian retailer ( Yours truly ), with everybody else...than you have a real event. I did not have too profane, as I let Roy do this for me, and what I fine job he did at doing this for me ( I was humbled by his talent for profanity...joking Roy ! ). Of course we were unbashfully slamming, Roy and I, and also we both share a unique friend that we both love, Ivor T... aka Mr Linn.
It would be very easy to dismiss the system on display, but to dismiss such a system would be your loss. Triangle Magellan Duetto's (OVERALL POYA 2019 winner), an incredible Plinius phono stage, a MH 9.3 table with Goldring MC cartridge, Lumin D 2, one of the biggest bruisers around as amplifier, a Trigon reference amplifier, Nordost Helmdall throughout, and lastly power conditionning by Wireword and iFi with Nordost and iFi QX technology. Even Roy was mightily impressed.
2019 saw 2 such events that were in the extreme (the most successful Audio Note event in April, and this one event. Perhaps both find themselves in the top 4 or 5 SPI events of all our time building these for our clients. As this was being written out, we had quite a surprise that most likely caused and made THIS December 19th 2019 Roy Hall event most likely the last one ever or for a very long time. Its explained elsewhere on this website. Enjoy the photos that were professionally taken and provided for by Motet distribution.
Lastly we take time to thank Lily and everybody that made this show possible... and my crew (Steve, Kris and Roger) were all full hands on deck for this show that helped me organize something quite massive in cost, quite massive in time taken and yes quite massive in love and happiness. As you witness the pictures, sharing the love and music folks, is always a good way to go!!
Vincent Belanger, April 2019 - Audio Note show
Better late than never I say. We barely had 2 weeks to get ready for this first time event, why many did not get invites, why we concentrated on folks who had AN in their DNA ( for the most part ), and we did keep about 7 spots for the public to roam in by RSVP of course. Since so many think this line up is scary, no one from the public chose to venture in to meet either Vincent Belanger, Mario or myself here. Good thing, because it was a tight fit throughout the day for all the visiting brothers. Those that came in were already the converted. We were sort of lucky, the 15 or so that were invited did come. It made it that we were tight as we had to rearrange our main set ups and place the added stock from our main room elsewhere.
Those who say doctors, psychiatrist's, psychologist's, translators, lawyers, specialist's, musicians, business types, technicians, retirees, have no sense of humor, you would be dead wrong... all were giddy and childlike... we all had a great time. This was a highly active show like we used to do them a long time ago. They are very labor intensive, I know this first hand.
The system at hand comprised of Level 3 and level 4 and 5 AN system, including ISIS cables throughout, from power cord through speaker cable, including a specially made AN ISIS power bar. Doing powering duties were an M 3 pre and a rather rare and most outstanding Conqueror Silver Signature. Delivery boy as in speaker, was a HEMP version of an AN-J in a very beautiful finish ( these are the AN-E's little brothers ).
As seen, the AN boy... Mario... follows a clear path of simple is better. Believe me when I state, it pays off.
Below are some of the pics of our event, from what was a wickedly fun and superbly crafted Audio Note system, including pictured is Vincent Belanger playing, Super Mario playing DJ and AN master and... I will leave you guessing as to what I said to Vincent when all 3 of us were pictured... great pic I think. Vincent is blushing for good reason...
The system we had was part ours and part AN UK, and it continued to change till nearly the very last minute before the invitees showed up...and show up they did, short a few minutes after opening time at 3PM... it did not relent until I kicked the last man out... then all 3 of us ended up eating, drinking till midnight at a nearby restaurant... as we had the night before. Friday was clean up day. Less fun, lots of work, our work began when after our AN boys left. Yet again Kris and his mule PA, had to contend with completely reorganizing our store on Saturday. Hours upon hours were taken to make sure all was right.
We did end up with a top 3 sounding system... which made me think while the evening was in full swing, that we would need to call back some of our old purist ways again with our commercial venue. We are now fully operational in this new/old front, but we need to test some more. Delayed by late catastrophic events, and most know why...we need to catch up and formalize our new/old ways.
Considering the lack of time we had to get this ready both Kris and his mule side kick, PA, well worked hard prior and after this event, we did good (( visit our show key for more info )). Why we would like to thank everyone that came and conquered and drank and ate on the house on that day. Our next year, we will have a lot more time to prepare I promise.
Remember, our yearly December AN show is now transferred to a Spring show.
Thanks for making us so happy to be of service guys... the pleasure was ours.
Great shows, or good one's at least, are divided within our walls as either passive types or Oxford types. They share some similitudes, but passive shows are more " plug and play " than Oxford. Where as Passive shows, we have a set idea about what we want to display and tweak on the fly, Oxford displays take up a whole new meaning.
Passive shows can take from beginning to end in organization a few hours for a 3 man crew, and this counts Kris, Steve, myself and Roger. So if you cumulate these, they usually add up to 12 or so hours max. But where real audio shows like the one's that are organized in Montreal, Toronto, New York and elsewhere, many rooms are compromised from the onset and many pro's will do a good enough job around these venues, but on occasion, some other pros don't account for the short changes, and simply dive in and make a wonderful room despite noise and chatter.
Our job is because, we do not deal with the shortfalls of the commercial venues, even a passive show of ours, in our estimation, HAVE to sound better because, in a way, our hands are not tied, therefore, no excuses.
Then when we feel like getting a little extreme, we provide Oxford set ups can last up to 15 hours based on between myself, Kris and adding about 3 hours for Roger. Burn in time is never counted for these shows. Once burn in is to my satisfaction, then we think process. To say we don't have a process down pat, what goes down on these Oxford set ups is the equivalent of a well oiled machine.
What happens in the beginning is that gear will be packed up at home, then brought to our location. That same morning upon delivery, where the Oxford show is about to take place one week or two, we will have Kris start the process of unpacking said gear. BEFORE this is done, we need to make room and decide what is playing on this set up, which means I have decided long ago what I wanted plugged in. So Kris makes room for the set up, and it gets a little messy as you see from the pics below.
Steve will then be asked to take out the cables we need for this, not any cable, but the ones we intend to play on this system. Then he also takes out alternatives for what we have in mind. Kris and I will test once set up is finished, and we will go from there. No need to be an Einstein at this level. As one see's below, its pretty quick, and on occasion, I may even change a component mid way when an idea comes to mind late. In the set up below, we were to use a different CD player and when we set the things up, the aha moment that I had, proved too strong and I had Kris change for a Cary Cd player.
From beginning to end of this process, it took approximately 2 man hours each for Kris and I
System is turned on and warmed up before we start testing, which is difficult when we do not want folks coming in listening to this " surprise system ". Once warmed up and with privacy assured ( if we can manage ), the coup de grace will be on what we may change a few things, here and there, I am looking for a peculiar sound. I will become quite particular at this level, and so will Kris. This process can take up to 3 hours each, again for Kris and I. Steve will be taking care of some background " stuff", making sure our wine glasses and beer glasses are out, that we have enough fresh coffee on hand, cleaning and clearing out cables and other things that were used to test with, so they are kept out for safety and security sake. Also making sure our Stevio stays out of the alcohol is a major point I must say ( making sure no bottle are empty after Steve handled them adds several hours to our work load ;-)
Below, on our Nordost picture show, once our set up was finalized by Kris and I the week before, Bruno came in and started to prepare his show around the system we provided him. So Kris and I provided a very high resolution system, so Bruno can do his job. Bruno was able to demonstrate, what tweaking a system does throughout that May 6th 2017 day. Needless to say, folks were flabbergasted. Shows and demonstration are a critical part of our DNA and should be made available to the public. The reason why we do these. But times do change it must be said,
On the picture below, we both now start with a warmed up system our testing. Within the next 3 or so hours, I will direct Kris to mix and match a sound I want. Kris will do that part himself as I wander off and help Steve out ( no, not with drinking wine, that comes later ! ). No matter where I am, even in the washroom with the door closed, I will know if it's the sound I want. Sure is a self inflated affirmation ;-), but there is some truth to that. Kris does have a say here as well by the way. Below, notice the amount of cables we used just for this Oxford set up, and yes, both Kris and I decided to tweak our cables till the end of process.
As one see's, one thing that may be surprising to most of our clients, is that I am not centered around " one cable" company does all scenario. Quite the inverse actually. This provides flexibility on what we intend to offer, and certainly expertise on case studies via where cable's matter a lot under different circumstances. We are basically half way at this point. Organizing our shop for the pending visitors also takes place... when the place is chock full, well this is easier thought than done. We tend too all pitch in as the system warms up.
The date arrives, Then our shows begin and we mostly have some fun. But I did not mention one key person that which without him, this would be impossible ! Meet Roger, totally behind the scenes, some of our regulars know him has he does come in on occasion. Roger will take care of our heavy technical issues or anything else for that matter. BUT, he also takes my ideas in marketing these events, and makes these available on line and onto our rather busy and dense website. So, without Roger, no one would really know about these shows AND, lets say, about this very article.
Roger is on his 11th year at my side, Kris is on his over 15 or 16 years and Stevie Wonder is 6 years already. The oldest, but he is actually the super kid in our group. He is also the one that makes the operation click and tick and he is the one that will keep me sometimes focused on more worldly issues, which is a tough job I assure you all folks.
In the picture below, our Audio Note 2012 show was our most complex and intense show ever devised. Even Roger was on hand and on deck to help out. From behind the scenes to end of cleanup, this show took approximately 70-80 man hours for all 4 of us, with no expense spared on our clientele. It was the show to end all shows for us at that time, it was the most expensive show. It was equally supposed to be the very last show.... hmmm.
As we are heading into 2018, we have just had quite the Roksan / Jean Marie Reynaud October event, a quick and clean November Sim Audio/Revel show and what may remain an untouchable December Audio Note event, where we wish our client a farewell and raise a glass together before the December holidays.
As we intend to have an natural end to these events, our December Audio Note tube event may last a while yet but effective now, other than our banner on our website, even this show will go as an implied rather than a full blown announcements from now on.
Lots of work that many business types would deem as foolhardy and unnecessary, buts its a path we enjoyed doing on your behalf for all the years we did these. Only those who attended these events know, that the shows we did were seen as us doing our job, and never once, was anyone ever approached with a sales pitch. That why some business folks would call these events foolhardy. I would call them, dead wrong.
Lets not forget, my team and I are what we eat, both Steve and Kris are hard core audiophiles with many years experience behind them. So am I. Crazy mofo' s we are. So we all come from a particular back grounds that have assured a great success for all our 280 show events.
Note, no pictures of when we clean up afterwards, would not know where to stand, as it takes a few hours for Steve and Kris to reorganize our shop in working order.
I hope most of you who attended these events enjoyed yourselves...a little bit at least. Enjoy the remainder of these while they are still around this 2017 year.
Enjoy yourselves life and your system !
Audio Note new Novembers systems display
December 8th yearly farewell xmas send off will spell a few firsts of a new introductions of Audio Note gear. These December events, we always use our classic AN-E's as the front man for our desired and designed systems. We also tend to use quite elaborate AN gear as well.
This year, we will be using its little brother, the AN-K speaker system. Its imperative that the appropriate AN stands back the AN-k up. Something we will be having of course.
As to having a world class AN source, we will be using a AN 4.1 x Cd player. Clearly one of the best in the world. Have not decided where we head on the analogue front.
As to amplification, well, let it be said that we will be reasonable, something we are not usually on those days. We will be using one of the most used amplifiers that AN uses at show fest. The AN OTO SE Signature. One of the best in the world. We may opt to use my baby, the AN Meishu as well. God audio can be viciously fun. Either way, the one that will not play, will be used in shop for the remainder of the week following December 8th.
Cables will of course be all Audio Note, from the Lexus to the Sogon and across those in between models. As far as AN goes, on that day, other if I pull a switch on amplifiers, it would be one of the most affordable AN systems to date.
Novembers AN system, Kris will be building a real affordable AN system around the AN P1, M1, Aqua DAC, but for a week, Tannoys REVOLUTIONs 8F's will be used. After our full week is done, then we will also be using a coup de grace with a very special and classic model called the TRIANGLE Antal EZ.
Of course, AN cables will be power for the course.
She begins early on Saturday the 10th of November. Our AN display ends on the 24th. No appointments necessary.
We finish off our 2018 with JMR
Should there have been a brand that has closely honed in its careful attention to its sound and design detail in general, JMR would be on top of many list. Extremely well know on the Euro front, it still makes people think aloud here on this side of the pond. The feedback is all good, no surprise really.
Already in high mileage mode here with us, our JMR models have already acquired 2 main shows at the OXFORD Reference level : In October of 2017, mated with our ROKSAN BLAK series, and in May, our second NORDOST show. As Bruno ( Nordost master of ceremony ) privately said to me privately... "the speakers are really good". This man has listened to a lot of great speakers in his day. We concur.
Even our very own Kris is likely to buy a pair of 7K JMR Cantabile. Kris is a prickly listener.
For the better part of January, 2 French brands will be highlighted within our walls.