Michael Levy of Alta Audio arranged for Merrill Wettasinghe, the head of Merrill Audio Advanced Technology Labs, to bring his Veritas Monoblock amplifiers to my home to audition them with Mike’s Alta Audio amazing stand mounted FRM-2 speakers in a home environment. We also had the opportunity to compare them to my reference Hephaestus Harpocrates SE monoblocks.

Wettasinghe, Levy and Karl Sigman from Audiophilia all took part in our listening sessions. This was my first meeting with Wettasinghe and his products and I was very curious to hear how they stacked up against my reference. The Harpocrates amps are miniscule ‘giant killers’ and weigh in at 3.5 lbs each and have been my reference amps for about a year. The Veritas are about three times the size of the Harpocrates and weigh 33 lbs each, almost ten times as much. Both are class D amplifiers.

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Due to a move to the west coast, Audiophilia will be unable to cover the 2014 TAVES show. We’ve covered them all since inception. It will be much missed for the TAVES show always presents the best of the audiophile world in one of the loveliest of settings, Toronto, ON. As such, if you are in the area or even a flight away, the show and its exhibitors will not let you down.

The show is run exceptionally well. This year, the location as has changed to the Sheraton Centre Hotel. I’ve not been there before. I loved the previous location, the King Eddie Hotel for its class, grandeur and solid rooms. Plus, the Sunday buffet is the most renowned in Canada. I’m sure the TAVES team has the Sheraton hopping and the location will be just as well thought out.

Highlights include: over 300 brands of consumer electronics; free seminars – topics include audio, video and digital photography; a ‘New Technology Arena ‘ (3D Printing, Replicating, Oculus Rift, Tesla, Mind Control Devices + more); ‘Jolt!’ Art Gallery curated by OCAD U, York University, Centennial College and the Brockton Collective; and, of course, a dedicated Portable Audio / Headphone space.

For more information about TAVES or to purchase tickets, please visit the TAVES website. Tickets are $22 for a one-day pass and $30 for a three-day pass. TAVES runs from Friday, October 31st to Sunday, November 2nd.

Sheraton Centre Hotel
123 Queen Street West
Toronto, ON


Waves Audio, through their consumer division, MAXX are working to place Waves’ Grammy winning sound enhancing technologies into consumer products like speakers, tablets, phones, laptops and more. They are currently in products by Oppo, Dell, Asus, and LG.

They have partnered with Denon and are now in their HEOS multi-room sound system and the Envaya Portable Bluetooth speaker system.

With the Heos system, Denon is going head to head with the wildly popular SONOS system (review forthcoming).

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After the recent successes of the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest (RMAF) both in the real world and electronic, and the onslaught of press and manufacturers tweets, Facebook posts and LinkedIn articles (Audiophilia’s included), of course I was excited. Bloody excited. It seems that my effusive comments about the recent shows to Audiophilia writers had their audio juices flowing. Last year, I was joined by Karl Sigman. This year Karl is joined by Henry Wilkenson. Together, with the invaluable help from my significant other, we were chomping at the bit to cover the show for our readers.

The Air Canada flight was blessedly quick. It’s amazing how quickly you can travel across this vast continent. A tomato juice, a movie and a snooze, and we were here in beautiful Denver. I always get a buzz from seeing the Rocky Mountains after a prolonged stay on the Canadian Shield — the vast area of Eastern Canada made up of forest and granite. This time was no different. Well, maybe a little. This time, we were continuing our journey west and not retuning to Toronto. Audiophilia West, as I call it, will be in the beautiful British Columbia capital of Victoria. As my twin says every time I get off the plane for a vist, ‘welcome to Paradise’. He’s not far wrong.

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Beethoven – Complete Fortepiano Concertos [3 CDs – 200 mins]
Arthur Schoonderwoerd - Fortepiano / Cristofori
Alpha 820 (reissued 2014)

The five piano concertos have a special place in Beethoven’s oeuvre; all were completed during the earlier part of his career, over the period 1795 to 1809. Yet this 3-disc boxed set (comprising material originally released between 2005-8) makes a couple of claims to surprise those of us who hold these works dear. Firstly, that there were actually SIX piano concertos – based on the fact that Beethoven himself arranged the lone Violin Concerto Op.61 (1806) for fortepiano to a commission from the famous Clementi, who published much of Beethoven’s music in England (amongst a panoply of other achievements). The second claim is that, by performing these concertos on the type of fortepiano for which they were originally written, backed by a period instrument orchestra of authentic composition and size, the music is heard completely afresh.

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There are several reasons why I got involved in reviewing these headphones. First, I gifted my trusty Grado 125 headphones to the son of my colleague Karl Sigman. Karl and his son Jason came over for a visit and Jason let it be known that he wanted to get Beats headphones for a birthday present, because ‘they are cool’. Peer pressure was a powerful motivator for the soon to be 12 year old. I asked Jason to try the Grado 125s. He was mesmerized by the sound and it was a joy to see his reaction. ‘Dad, I have to have them.’ After the visit was over, I called Karl and told him I wanted his son to have the headphones and it was my gift to him. I now had to replace them. What to do?

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One of the highlights of the high end audio season takes place this week in the beautiful city of Denver, CO. The Rocky Mountain Audio Fest. And, what a Festival it is. In fact, I describe it as the Rolls Royce of audio shows.

If you’re like me, the moment an audio show closes, I’m Jonesing for the next one. As such, my anticipation is for Friday mounting and I suggest to all our readers near and far to attend this amazing show.

Denver is a perfect host city. Clean, safe, great food, cheap car rentals, great airport, excellent arts and the wonderful Rocky Mountains on your doorstep. The show will have almost 200 rooms, focused on two channel audio and ‘CanJam’, the foremost headphone/computer music/mobile audio show in the world. The show is supremely well run, and filled with very pleasant, very passionate audiophiles. Live music, seminars, well-treated rooms, accessible elevators, restaurants, meeting places, good coffee add to the show’s great quality.

So, the final countdown begins. See you all there. Audiophilia will be well represented with five staff members.

Watch for Audiophilia’s detailed, walkabout coverage 9:00 a.m. the morning after the show closes.

Rocky Mountain Audio Fest

Denver Marriott Tech Center Hotel
October 10-12, 2014

Register here.


Oct 1, 2014. Walter Hall, Toronto, ON — What a pleasure to attend the opening concert of the 2014/15 Women’s Musical Club of Toronto’s Music in the Afternoon Series. These concerts continue to present the very best Canadian and International chamber ensembles and soloists.

Our treat today was the Toronto debut of Trio Wanderer, a piano trio founded in 1987 by three aspiring French musicians at the Paris Conservatoire. We’ve waited a long time to hear them, but in the interim they’ve won numerous competitions, recording awards, and have been invited for residencies in Aachen, Germany and Copenhagen. A busy teaching load both as the Trio and as individuals fills their busy schedules.

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