Regular visitors to the Toronto or Montreal Audiofest have come to expect something unique and special at an Audio Note UK exhibit: a live cello performance by the company’s music ambassador, Vincent Bélanger, who plays his instrument while accompanied by instrumental music played back by an all-Audio Note system.
As usual with one of these demos, Vincent was sitting center stage, in front of an Audio Note system. This one included an 8Wpc, class-A, zero negative feedback Meishu Phono 300B Tonmeister integrated amplifier ($24,000), a CD4.1x CD player ($22,000), a TT-Three/PSU3 turntable with 3/II tonearm and IQ3 moving-magnet cartridge ($25,000), and a pair of 97.5dB-sensitive AN-E SPe/HE in a high gloss Makassar finish ($18,500/pair). Even the cabling was by Audio Note.
I’ll begin by echoing the main comment I heard from guests reacting to the live / recorded (on CD) playing sessions: “It all sounded live!”
When a sound system can deliver a close approximation of the tone and presence of a live instrument in the same room, that’s pretty mind blowing. And it’s what I heard in the Audio Note room.
With playback material sans Vincent, on both CD and LP, the Audio Note system produced sound that was warm, dynamic, tactile, and intimate. An electronic version of music composed by Vincent had good texture and low end extension, while instruments were clearly defined in their own space across the exhibit room.
When I closed my eyes, it felt as though I was seated front-row at the recording session. Unbelievable!