|2008 Festival Son & Image
"But the very last room I visited at FSI, one of the small ones on the 12th floor belonging to Montreal dealer Coup de Foudre, delighted me. In some ways—particularly the overall balance and the sheer accessibility of the music—this was the best I heard at the Show despite the system's affordable price. ProAc's Response D Two stand-mounted speakers were driven by a Leben 28Wpc CS600 tubed integrated amplifier (not a brand I am familiar with), with the source either a Clearaudio turntable or a CD player whose name I can't decipher from my notepad's spider scratchings. Just as I was about to leave, John Marks walked in and played for me a CD-R of tenor Brian Cheney singing the aria "Che gelida manina," from Puccini's La Bohème. This had been recorded at the microphone comparison sessions that I had reported on a year or so ago. Despite the system's modest pretensions, I was transported back to New York's SearSound Studio in the best way. A delightful end to my visit to the Montreal Show and proof that you don't necessarily need to spend big bucks to get big sound."
"At a price substantially lower than these stellar offerings—although not quite entry-level—was the room featuring ProAc D Two speakers driven by the Leben CS600 integrated amplifier. This just seemed to me like a well-balanced system in every way: sound quality, with equipment that's not over-the-top in price but offers solid value, and has an elegant appearance. I was quite taken with the retro look of the Leben CS600 ($5000, EL34 tube-based, hand-built in Japan, with point-to-point wiring) which just oozes quality in a way that recalls the classic Marantz components."
|"Montreal retailer Coup de Foudre had several rooms at the show. My favorite two shared with Tone Imports featured Leben HiFi's CS-600 integrated driving a pair of ProAc Response D Two speakers while the other sported a pair of Audio Physic Virgos driven by the lovely EL84-powered Shindo Labs Montille & Aurieges preamp combo. Patrick was also impressed with how natural and sweet this rig sounded. The turntable was Clearaudio's new Performance and digital was via Audio Aero. Speaker cables were the Auditorium 23 which I own and quite enjoy. The little Montille had no difficulty with Patrick's Linkin Park LP. I don't think you could rattle the windows with this system but it sure conveyed the musical message. On static display was 'the one that got away' Leben CS-300X I reviewed a few years ago. I would have bought that amp if I could have afforded it at the time. Man, I miss that little gem."
2007 CES And
"What's that?" I was pointing
to EMT's JPA-66 Varia-Curve Full Function Preamp
(price TBD). I was hypnotized by its VU meters,
but Tone's Jonathan Helpern had something cooler
to show me.
"It takes four different phono
inputs, different phono equalization curves, a scratch
filter, and a subsonic filter. Are you guys ready
for some mono?"
Seconds later, we were listening
to a 78rpm 10" single of Frankie Lyman. It sounded
great. "Yeah," Halperin said, "and this was a jukebox
copy, so it got played to bits. That scratch filter
Wes Phillips & Jon Iverson
2005 CES And
usually the largest and the most visual items in
a hi-fi system and there are plenty of new models
displayed to catch everyone's attention. I was drawn
to John DeVore's room to hear his new Gibbon Super
8s. I own, and adore the original Gibbon 8s but
couldn't believe the sound coming from the same
size enclosure. Using elements from his top-of-the-line
Silverback speakers, John has created something
very, very special. Paired with beautiful, handmade
Shindo Laboratory tube electronics, the sounds coming
from that room were the best Ive heard at the show.
A pair of Super 8s will retail for $4,000-$5,000
depending on the finish."
"The DeVore Gibbon
8 speakers, coupled with Shindo amplification, provided
excellent, very musical sound. The Gibbon 8s are
two-ways that retail for around $3000. The Shindo
amplifiers have also been identified by the 6moons.com
gang as exceptional, and I think they are onto something.
I heard excellent sound, with sweet detail, on Bizet's
Carmen. I would be interested in hearing more from
Shindo, my time and Shindo's interest permitting."
DeVore Gibbon Super 8 fed with all Shindo electronics
was one of the most palpable and engaging systems
I heard this year.
I might have completely missed this remarkable
system if not for the urging of longtime friend
and Connecticut audio dealer Jonathon Goldman. For
the first few minutes I sat in front of this engaging
system from DeVore and Shindo, my jaw was on the
Vinyl was demodulated by the $19,800 Shindo 301
player. A modified Garrard 301, improvements to
sound staging, noise floor, low level detail and
pitch stability were achieved by upgrading the platter,
bearing, plinth, tone arm, cartridge and isolation
feet. Next in the chain was the $7500 Shindo Monbrison
Preamplifier, which uses 7 NOS tubes, amorphous
core moving coil step up transformers, point to
point wiring, and all vacuum tube rectified and
regulated power. The $9500 Shindo Cortese f2a is
a 10-watt stereo single ended amplifier that uses
a Siemens F2A pentode output tube originally manufactured
for Klangfilm professional studio and theater applications
and is said to offer full output after 10,000 hours
of continuous use. Finally, all this valve magic
was released into the room through the exquisite
voice of the DeVore gibbon Super 8.
Big, fast, detailed bass. Clear, clean, articulate
treble. Palpable, believable, and in-the-room midrange
voices. I spoke to both John DeVore and Jonathan
Halpern about a closer look at this highly synergistic
and superbly musical system. A complete system review
is in the works."
The Best US Debut
of Japanese Amplifiers was in the Devore Fidelity/Shindo
Laboratory room. John Devore was showing his Gibbon
Super 8 loudspeakers, a very nice sounding high-efficiency
two-way design. They were being powered by the gorgeous
Shindo Monbrison tubed preamplifier and the Shindo
Cortese F2A 10 watt pentode SE amplifier, as explained
by Jonathan Halpern, Shindo's North American distributor.
We heard truly gorgeous sound from two companies
whose products were new to my ears.