Its hard to believe its that time of year again – time flies! Must Have Vinyl Records spent the weekend visiting Toronto Audiofest 2019 looking for the best turntables and audio equipment. The show was held at the Airport Weston same as last year. Its a good venue with lots of large to medium size rooms, some good open concourse area on floor 2 and 3, and then the smaller rooms from floor 11 up to 15. The only continuing issue with the show is that it is a bit too far out in the suburbs and not easy to get there by transit. Way back when the TAVES show first started it was located in the core downtown and attendance was really strong due to the ease of getting to the show.
The show is free and all they ask is that patrons voluntarily play the raffle to help offset some of the costs of the show. This year they had 2 systems worth $2000 and $10000. I can assume as of the writing of this, that I did not win anything unfortunately – both systems had turntables as part of the package.
On the main level, they had something different this year, Sim Audio sponsored a stage with a harp player – unfortunately, I actually never got to hear the harpist play – everytime I was in the area she was leaving – too bad, I bet it sounded great! I like it when sponsors go the extra distance at the shows and do interesting things like this.
I will start the audio tour of the show off with one of the premier audio companies in Canada – Bryston – Based in Peterborough, Ontario, Bryston has built an amazing reputation super high quality and reliable audio equipment – they are so confident in what they make they have a 20 year transferable warranty, and they have great customer service attested to many audiophiles who have dealt with them. Their equipment is not cheap, but if you buy quality it can last for years – a good amp from Bryston is still a good amp 15 years later. Buy Bryston with confidence – oh yeah, also their resale value is excellent as well just one more reason to buy.
You can check their website out here: Bryston Audio
In the Bryston room they had some very large tower speakers – you might be thinking that they would not have pinpoint accuracy with all those drivers – you would be wrong. Listening to a Willie Nelson track, the sound was focused and coherent, great soundstaging and imaging – very very nice – but you need tall ceilings! Overall, Bryston is a no brainer to buy. They also recently released a new turntable a few years back that we would love to demo one day.
Moving on to the next room, I was pleasantly surprised to see an mbl Audio room. They are not a regular at the audio shows we attend, but it was a treat to sit and listen to this mid-range system from them. Their omni-directional speakers have always been a favorite of mine (it reminds me of the demise of Mirage Audio one of our favorite Canadian speaker brands who also pioneered bipolar/omni-directional speakers). mbl is definitely in the realm of ultra hi-end but honestly, if you have the means, this would be a great choice if money is of no concern to you. What these speakers do is provide an “almost live” feeling – I can attest that orchestral arrangements on these speakers sound eeirly like you are at the live venue – but that’s what we are shooting for in high-end audio, yes? I want to thank mbl or their distributor/retailer for taking the time to put on a display at this year’s show – much appreciated and a joy to listen to.
You can check out their corporate website here: mbl Audio North America
Moving from a premiere European brand to a premiere American brand with a solid and envious history in hi-end audio, we arrive at the McIntosh room. No other audio equipment that I know of pulls you toward it like it has its own gravity – the alluring green and blue glow is like a light to a mosquito hypnotizing you to come closer!! Here is another example of a company that survives in a difficult industry with products that literally have you drooling. They also recently introduced several new turntables a few years back which look and sound fantastic. There is nothing in the audio world like McIntosh – highly recommended. I remember at the TAVES show at least 5 years back, they were playing the Pink Panther theme by Henry Mancini – the sound was so good they had a sea of audiophiles piling out into the hallway wanting to see what system was sounding so fantastic – I still remember it today – awesome music on an an awesome and beautiful system.
If you have the funds, run to your nearest dealer.
You can check out their amazing line of products at their corporate website here: McIntosh Labs Homepage
At every audio show I have attended the Wynn room always sounds fantastic. I can’t see anyone being disappointed with a system from Wynn. Wynn is a high-end audio distributor in North America, carrying ultra premium brands. I remember a few shows back I gave the Wynn room the best sound of show. At that particular show, a very well-off young gentleman bought their flagship system at the show when he heard how amazing it sounded. If you are looking for real quality sound, you should contact them.
If you are interested I have attached the link to their homepage: Wynn Audio
Below I took some snapshots of miscellaneous turntables from Music Hall, Rega and Thales. One interesting thing I noticed at Audiofest this year, is that more rooms were demoing their music on vinyl than digital – it seems like vinyl continues to gain in popularity. In my opinion, and that’s all it is, vinyl sounds better, smoother, more pleasing to the ears than digital – many people claim they can’t hear a difference, so its all personal preference. Given that you are here reading this, I assume you are a vinyl lover as well and might agree with me.
All this talk about audio equipment and turntables! I feel like I need to stop here and go listen to some vinyl records! I just got a new Enya album which I plan to demo and post on our youtube channel – I will post the link here once it’s online. Thanks for taking the time to read my show report and look for part 2 coming soon.