2023 Toronto Audio Fest – PART 3

Altitudo Audio – Audio Physics, Gold Note, Aesthetix and Synergistic Research

The dealer Altitudo Audio had a standard sized hotel room that was glorified with some fine gear, a number of those brands coming from Tri-Cell Enterprises, as the distributor. While there, we heard the Audio Physic MIDEX ($18k / pr) driven by a full Gold Note stack.

The Gold Note stack included the P-1000 MkII preamplifier ($12k) into the Tube-1012 buffer ($9k) paired with the PA-1175 Mk2 power amplifier ($11,500) and PSU-1250 ($9,500). Sources were by Aesthetix, with digital using Aesthetix Romulus Eclipse CDP ($20k) and analog using Aesthetix Janus Signature phonostage ($18k) mated to a Gold Note Mediterraneo turntable ($9K) and Machivelli cartridge (extra).

Listening to classical the sound was impeccably liquid and coherent. On the track Hope by NF, there was deep, extended, and controlled bass with a shockingly large and deep soundstage amidst a warm and smooth presentation that possessed ear pleasing detail. With Big Wolf Band’s If I Ever Loved Another Woman, the top end was tame with sonorous bass. The guitar strings sweet while the bass guitar was rich and taught. A system that was very enjoyable and soothing to listen to.

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AudioNote (U.-K.) :

There was a modest but still well sized room dedicated to a full AudioNote UK system. Over the years, I have truly come to appreciate the simplicity and classic beauty of AudioNote systems and this year was no different. The system itself was simple in terms of the number of components.

At the core of this AudioNote system was their Meishu Phono Tonmeister 300B tube integrated amplifier ($24k) which though having what might sound like minimal power – 8 Watts per channel – was producing a soundstage with delicacy, dynamics and detail that was finessed, sweet and liquid. The loudspeakers employed were AudioNote’s high-sensitivity AN-E SPE HE standmount loudspeakers, finished in a high-gloss makassa ebony ($18,500), with their well known blue mid-bass drivers adding just the right level of interest. For the digital source, AudioNote was using their own CD4.1x CD player; while the analog source was the AudioNote TT-Three with PSU 3 & Arm 1 with IQ2 cartridge ($25k). Listing to Eric Dolphy’s Miss Toni on vinyl, I heard wonderful tone, tempo, and timbre. The cymbal possessing an uncannily real sense of sparkle and shine.

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Audio by Mark Jones – Clarisys, CH Precision et LINN

Mark Jones was found once again at the Toronto Audio Fest. When we arrived at his room, it was just bustling with visitors. The buzz seemed to be around a relatively new addition to the Audio by Mark Jones product stable – a full ribbon loudspeaker from a company called Clarisys Audio. Clarisys Audio products are designed by a global team and manufactured in Vietnam. I was told that it is a Swiss and Vietnamese collaboration. The Clarisys Studio Plus full ribbon panel loudspeaker ($66k USD) was that being demonstrated, it uses neodymium magnets in its double-sided 5-foot-high panel.

The electronics paired to the Clarisys Studio panels included a CH Precision L10 pre-amp ($76k USD) with a CH M10 stereo power amp ($104k USD) and a CH P10 Phono stage ($76k USD) that was connected to a LINN LP12 Klimax with Kandid ($36k). The loom was by AudioQuest including power conditioning.

Listening to Nina Simone’s Little Girl Blue on vinyl demonstrated the ability of the Clarisys Studio Plus panel loudspeakers to reach deep, the piano sounded open and natural, and Nina’s voice was inflected, delicate and finessed. This presentation by the Clarisys Studio was simply beautiful.

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Vinyl Sound – Wharfedale, Mofi, BAT, Hifirose,
Dr. Feickert, OMA – Fleetwood Sound Co., Thorens

Vinyl Sound was hosting a couple rooms at the show. The first room combined Wharfedale Dovedale loudspeakers ($9,999 / pr) driven by a Balanced Audio Technology (BAT) VK-3500 Hybrid amplifier ($15,995) with VK-90 Tube preamplifier ($19,995). The digital source was a HiFiRose RS130 Network Transport ($7495).

The analog was a Dr. Feickert Woodpecker – Deluxe Pack with intertia platter and 10-inch arm with Cardas cables ($12,490) with Koetsu Black MC Goldline cart ($4,495). An Isotek V5 Aquarius System Link Power Conditioner ($3,999) and Cardas Clear Cygnus Speaker Cables ($2,490) were also being used. Listening to Ghana by Donald Byrd on vinyl, the presentation was laid back, warm and inviting, with a succulent midrange and feathery top end, if just a little reticent, while the bass was nimble.

In the second room, Vinyl Sound had put together a system to showcase the Fleetwood Sound (by OMA) Deville Loudspeakers ($21k to $25k) atop Fleetwood Sound Stands ($2,090) and amplified by an Accuphase E-4000 integrated amplifier ($15k).

A most interesting Thorens TD-124DD turntable ($20,500) was serving as the vinyl source in this room. I loved its heritage look. The cabling was all by Furutech..

Conclusion :
I hope you have enjoyed these highlights of the 2023 Toronto Audio Fest, across Parts 1 to 3. Watch out also for my friend Anthony’s coverage on TED Publications to get a fuller picture of what we saw and heard. I’m sure you’ve found some golden nuggets to dig deeper into, as I have. Until next time – farewell and always – happy listening! ♫♫♫
George de Sa