I was invited this week to a friend's party celebrating 40 years in the audio business as well as five years in her new location and a very special birthday. Three birds with one stone. To Toronto I was called, to Toronto I flew.
The celebration was magnificent. The celebrant, Angie Lisi, has been in this crazy business 40 years, owned and operated several of the very best high end stores in Toronto, including Angie's Audio Corner (12261 Yonge Street, NE corner of Yonge and Stouffville Road), which recently merged with her other superb store, American Sound of Canada. What a powerhouse of the very best in high end audio.
Angie represents Audio Research Corporation, Focal, Jeff Rowland, Boulder, Bergmann Audio, Sonus Faber, Esoteric, Avantgarde, Sutherland, Bel Canto, Transparent Cable, Audioquest, Phasemation, Meridian Audio, Rega Research, Basis Audio, Audio Physic, Questyle, to mention a few! Recently acquired: Brodman Acoustic and EgglestonWorks loudspeakers.
If you're an audiophile old or new and in Toronto, you should treat yourself and make the pilgrimage to the corner of Yonge St. and Stouffville Road.
The party was very well attended. Few audio businesses have such loyal customers as Angie. Even the competitors show up for Angie's parties. People flew in from all over as well as a throng from Southern Ontario. Reviewers (incl. Audiophilia, The Inner Ear Report, and Stereophile), newspaper music columnists, distributors such as Don Rhule of Kimbercan, Vince Scalzitti from Tri-Cell Enterprises, and manufacturers Jim Thompson from EgglestonWorks, who flew in from Memphis and Trevor Doyle of Massif Audio Design, maker of gorgeous exotic wood stands and racks. And talking of superb stands and racks, HRS was also in attendance. It was also great to see Ron Harper of RJH Audio and Leslie Gizur, longtime Toronto sales professional and Rega setup man extraordinaire. If I missed you in all the excitement, please forgive me and post up a comment. Thanks.
Angie feeds her friends well. The food and drink was wonderful and plentiful, including great wine and coffee -- what other retail store do you know that has a wine centre and a wine fridge, with Nespresso downstairs, and a full service espresso machine upstairs? And candy bowls everywhere!
The other main course was the incredible music and sound. I heard the new Eggleston Works Andra Viginti Limited Edition Loudspeakers, Sonus Faber Cremonese Loudspeakers, Jeff Rowland Model 925 monoblocks, Bergmann Audio Magne and Galder turntables, and other wonderful speakers by Audio Physic, Avantgarde Acoustic and Brodman Acoustics.
Angie has a superb sales force, incredibly patient, knowledgeable and kind, including Leyland, Arnold, Ashraf, and the maestro of analogue setup, Jody Hickson. Any of the gang can point you in the right direction and get you the perfect piece of kit for your setup, but, of course, every one wants to bend Angie's ear. I've not met many in this business who understand the idea of equipment synergy like Angie.
Jody gave me a superb and very effective demonstration of MQA -- not only did the setup honour the sound differences, but his explanation of the phase shift correction MQA delivers and its effect on timing was very clear and coherent for this most non techie of musician. Sold! But, under the right conditions. I did hear a demo recently that was almost unlistenable. Certainly nothing to do with MQA. As always, expertise makes the difference.
Folks popped in casually through the late afternoon and evening listening to the great kit or the three live music stations -- Deen Peer, bass, a jazz trio and a string quartet. Audiophiles and music lovers (Angie, BTW, has a superb collection of vinyl and CDs for you to peruse in addition to a dedicated headphone section upstairs) looked through vinyl bins, sat in the many comfortable listening chairs and generally had a wonderful time.
Congratulations, my friend, on your very special birthday, the five year anniversary of your latest store, and, of course, for your amazing forty year anniversary in the avocation that we all love so much.