From Focal to the French Riviera—How I Was Floored Twice in France

For about 25 years, I’ve made it a point to visit every hi-fi company that will open its doors to me. Some of those companies—Paradigm Electronics, Axiom Audio, Simaudio, Totem Acoustic, Verity Audio, Benchmark Media Systems, Blue Circle Audio, Classé Audio (when its products were still made in Montreal), and the now defunct Audio Products International, to name a few I’ve been to—are or were about two to five hours from my home by car, so, by my standards, pretty much right next door. But others have required a plane trip—sometimes within North America, but oftentimes overseas—which I’m almost always happy to take.

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Sonus Faber, Evolved—World-Class Loudspeaker Excellence in Italy

Sonus Faber was founded in 1983 by Franco Serblin, in Vicenza, Italy, although Serblin, who left the company in 2008, had been making speakers prior to that. One of his most memorable creations, the Snail, debuted in 1980—an all-in-one satellite-subwoofer system named after the way it looked.

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Bryston: How a Devastating Death Led to a New Lease on Life

On Saturday, September 26, 2020, Brian Russell, Bryston’s president, died in his sleep. He was 68 years old. For the hi-fi world, the news of his death came primarily from James Tanner, VP of marketing for Bryston at that time, through various online outlets. In a post on the Canuck Audio Mart forum on September 28, Tanner wrote: “I worked with Brian for over 45 years and he was the most kind and caring individual I have ever known. He came across as a rough gruff bear of a guy but deep down he had the emotions of a teddy bear.”

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SoundStage ! Network Product Awards: Less Confusion at the Hi-Fi Store When You Know More about Our Tiers

On August 15, we published a report that highlighted the EISA 2021–2022 award winners for that organization’s Hi-Fi and Home Theatre Audio subgroups. EISA stands for Expert Imaging and Sound Association, a group of 60 websites and print publications spanning 29 countries.

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From Grounded to Getting Going Again—the SoundStage! Video Team Finally Gets to Focus on Paradigm's Founder Series

On March 6, 2020, I flew from Canada to the UK with our video team to create video content for the InSight, Shorts, and Icons series on our YouTube channel. While we were there, we visited three hi-fi companies in five days: KEF, Vivid Audio, and PMC. You can find the videos we shot during that trip on our channel. But now, looking back on that journey, it’s surprising it even happened—and so were the things that happened along the way.

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Rich Guys and Reviewers Running Amok in Hi-Fi

Hi-fi has always been a hobby for people with extra money to spend. But it was in the 1990s that the prices for some of the equipment got, as one designer succinctly described it to me, “stupid.”

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Throwing My Hat into the YouTube Ring with "SoundStage! Real Hi-Fi"

YouTube videos aren’t new to the SoundStage! Network. We first started publishing videos on our YouTube channel over ten years ago, and our SoundStage! InSight series, a YouTube playlist that profiles companies through their products, began seven years ago. We followed it with other series with industry-leading video production values, such as SoundStage! Shorts, SoundStage! Encore, and SoundStage! Expert, and we now have more than 180 videos on YouTube. If you haven't already done so, subscribe to our YouTube channel to be notified when we post a new video.

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Not Your Father's Sub-Sat Stereo System—Anthem, Vivid Audio, KEF, and NAD Together

In hi-fi, a typical subwoofer-satellite, or sub-sat, stereo system consists of a subwoofer and two small main speakers. Nowadays, this is also known as a 2.1 system—for two speakers, one subwoofer. The main speakers reproduce the highs, the midrange, and some of the upper bass frequencies, while the subwoofer delivers a bit of the upper bass and all of the deeper bass.

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The Four Surprising Reasons Why Some Reviewers Rail Against Measurements

The SoundStage! Network began publishing in 1995. By 1999, we had started expanding, adding more sites to the network, and we inked a deal with Canada’s National Research Council (NRC) to measure speakers in their anechoic chamber and publish the results. The NRC’s anechoic chamber and associated lab facilities were world-famous then—and still are today—because that’s where Dr. Floyd Toole initially conducted his groundbreaking loudspeaker research (in the 1970s and into the 1980s) that correlated listening impressions with objective measurements. Toole’s research is considered by many to be the most comprehensive body of work ever produced on the subject and was so influential that it helped to build and shape the Canadian loudspeaker industry.

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Cleaned Up, Rearranged, and Improved—My 2021 Reference Room and Stereo System

On December 16, 2020, I posted the picture below to my personal Facebook newsfeed with this caption: “There are valid reasons why I don’t often post pictures of my listening room—this reviewing gig can get a little out of hand sometimes.”

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