Its amazing how busy we have been here at MHVR the last few months through the holidays. We had a vinyl record distributor suddenly cease operations, forcing us to start looking for other suppliers and even sourcing direct from labels and manufacturers. Demand over the holidays was very high and yet we were plagued with a strike from Canada Post and all other carriers were struggling with the increased load resulting in delays. We just started planning to attend the Montreal Audiofest show in March and that’s when we realized it is time to sit down and report on the Toronto show – from way back in October. So, time flies and in order to get this done we are going to break the report into small posts so we can actually accomplish what we want to do.
This is the first time Audiofest has been held in Toronto, and with it also came the demise of the TAVES (Toronto Audio Video Entertainment Show) show. There was a very different feel for the Audiofest show over TAVES as Audiofest hearkened back to the older days of two channel audio shows we used to know and love, while TAVES was gearing more towards a technology showcase similar to CES – both great shows, but different. TAVES blew us away when it first got started downtown Toronto at the King Edward Hotel – amazing location, a huge number and variety of dealers and manufacturers, and so easy to get to being in the core of the city via the Toronto Transit system. The shows now are in the suburb areas instead of the downtown core and although cheaper to hold a show, I am fairly certain the number of attendees is lower with the lack of easy transportation. Montreal show thankfully is in a great location.
I had a plan when I went to Audiofest in Toronto, and that was to see, touch, and listen to as many turntables as I could (and also see what albums dealers were using to demo equipment). Thankfully, turntables were making a strong showing and I was quite pleased with most if not all of the analog music I heard. At the end of this short series I will be giving out my unofficial awards for the show such as the “Best Room Design”, “Best Overall Sound”, “Most Interesting”, “Worst Sound” (kidding, don’t want to be sued), “Money No Object Dream System”, “Best Demo Song”, “Prettiest Equipment” and anything else I can think of.
First up, a family business with a very interesting man named Mike Tang and his wife hosting a small booth at the show. From the very short time I talked with him, I could see that Mike is a very humble guy and has a huge passion for audio and turntables. I did some research on Mike after meeting him, and found that he specializes in tuning turntables to exact specifications, sells a niche product that is very well priced that you place on your turntable cartridge, and custom makes turntables and tonearms, and is also the Canadian distributor for an international speaker manufacturer among other things. He has been mentioned in a couple of well known audio magazines. Mike and his wife were kind enough to take a picture for me below. Please visit Mike’s website at https://www.miketangaudio.com/ if you want a better idea of what he offers. I hope to see Mike at the Montreal Audiofest in March.
Next up, a turntable from a company that may be less well known in North America but, wow, they make great sounding turntables – I would use the word refined to describe the sound their turntables produce. “Thales” based in Switzerland and manufactures there as well, I believe is more well known for their tonearm design which is supposed to maintain the cartridge tanget to the record and reduce tracking error.
I was fortunate to attend a very interesting information seminar that an engineering design representative from Thales put on at TAVES the year before – I now have a new appreciation for the engineering that goes into modern turntables – no wonder they sound so good. I would be very proud to own one of their turntables and should I ever have the means I hope to – the entry price is not low, but the value this table offers is high.
Are you a little on the older side and have a fondness for analog meters, glowing blue and green displays? If so, you probably love the McIntosh equipment as I do – Made in America, a long history, a great reputation, stunningly beautiful, amazing sound. This is yet another favorite of ours at Must Have Vinyl Records. I think I went back to the McIntosh room 4 times? This is the kind of equipment that excites, makes you dream, and fuels the passion for audio.
When it comes to the rooms they have at audio shows, you get a wide variety of room sizes, some very spartan rooms, some rooms where you can tell they really wanted to make an impact. Case in point on the latter is the Yamaha room. I am a big fan of Yamaha, an engineering based company that offers great equipment that the average person can afford. Well, Yamaha went all out for the show and their room was fantastic – you could tell that they were trying to make a big impression and it worked. It was head and shoulders above any other room – well done Yamaha.
Finally, since I wanted to have another turntable for you to admire before I end this post, we have a beautiful, modern turntable from a great Canadian company “Oracle”. They have been making turntables since 1979, so they have alot of experience. Their reputation in turntables is envious, they manufacture in Canada, and I believe they are excellent value for the money if your passion is analog music. You may begin to realize that taking product photos is not my forte, but trust me when I say this turntable is a beauty in person. Although not shown here, Oracle has introduced some more affordable turntables recently which I did listen to and for the price they were amazing. I recommend you look up Oracle on google and see what they have on offer, you may find your dream turntable.
Ok, so that is all I will talk about now. Please check back in awhile for the part 2 of our Audiofest 2018 show review!