The Trenches: Analog Emporium

Anthony Kershaw finds analogue heaven in Southern Ontario

Analog Emporium
117 Maplewood Ave
Hamilton, Ontario

The Analog Emporium is located in a beautifully-renovated Victorian home in Hamilton, Ontario. The store is owned and operated by Matthew Brazeau, who represents such stellar analogues as Verdier, Rega, and Wilson-Benesch, as well as electronics from YBA, Naim and Copland. Also on hand are speakers from Meadowlark and JM labs (Focal), cartridges from Benz and Grado, and cables from van den Hul, Audioquest and JPS labs. The Analog Emporium is a blessing for all of us in Southern Ontario who are addicted to the sound of the black disc.

Tender, gentle, quiet - owner Matt Brazeau is none of these! Actually, Matt is one of the true tell-it-like-it-is brigade. If your thing is audio sycophancy, you may have to look elsewhere. However, if you want a truly invigorating analogue experience, Matt Brazeau is your man.

A visit with Matt does require a little patience coupled with a well-developed sense of humor. He has an opinion on just about everything in audio - like all true audiophiles. These opinions are usually well thought-out and, often, very funny. Some of the humorous and descriptive quips Matt has shared lately are: "Sound by the pound" and "Music through a mattress" - both opinions referring to a recently-hyped American speaker system celebrated on the Internet Usenet groups.

By virtue of his product line, Matt is most definitely in the Euro-design camp - with a little home-grown flavor thrown in. He deigns to sell a few highly-regarded CD players, but refers to the software as "the anti-Christ"! Here, analogue rules.

Happily, Matt is very kind and will go out of his way to ensure customer satisfaction. He is, at times, helped by his charming wife, Shelley. She is the artistic side of the firm - all the store interiors are her concept. As such, the two listening rooms are well appointed, and display the music, and equipment, beautifully. In fact, two of the finest systems I have heard have been at the Analog Emporium. Surely, not a coincidence.

Along with sales, the Analog Emporium has a first-class repair and rebuilding center. Presently, Matt is refurbishing and modifying original Quad ESL and Acoustat X speakers. My brief view of the refurbished Quads initiated drool! Yes, they are exquisite. Turntables from Michell and Oracle are also scheduled for modification.

Interestingly, Matt has agreed recently to be the distributor of the new single-ended amps from Canadian upstart company, Foundation Research. Watch this space for an upcoming interview with Foundation Research designer Edward Wolkow. Attached to the interview, will be a review of Mr. Wolkow's initial effort.

Along with great equipment, Matt always has plenty of vinyl and accessories on hand. Whether a novice or true devotee in the world of analogue, a visit to Analog Emporium will be an edifying, enlightening, and most of all, musical experience. As the store is by-appointment-only, I include the phone number: 905-544-9981.

Copyright©Anthony Kershaw, 1997