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Montreal Audio Fest 2019 | Celebrating Twenty Years of Michel Vanden Broeck Designs

Montreal Audio Fest 2019


TENOR / KLIPSCH … by Rick Mack, monoandstereo.com


Every time when I get close to Tenor equipment my heart would race because if you put a gun to my head right now and ask to buy a preamp and an amp, they would be the Tenor 350M HP Mono blocks and the Line 1 Preamp. Easier said than done because they run close to $300,000 CAD for the set. (Price List Here). I’ve been working on fattening up my piggy bank for a few years now, and so far I’ve only been able to buy the Phono 1 Preamp, a fantastic piece by all account and you can find my review HERE.

Of all the speakers I have heard the Tenors with, they have always sounded wonderful, save may be at last year’s Toronto audio show when they were paired up with the KEF Blades. That didn’t tickle my fancy, and I have heard them sounded much better, including in my own house. But never have I ever imagined that they would be paired with a pair of Klipschorns!!

I do not like using the term “Best Sound of the Show”, because the very definition of it is elusive and poor defined. More often than not it is just about preaching personal taste rather than objective evaluation base on a standardized set of criteria. And what are you listening to anyway? One particular piece of gear? The turntable? or the system as a whole? Anyone who claims to be able to do proper equipment evaluations is in way over his head, at audio shows, it is nothing but quick impressions and discovering new products. 

But based on the number of speakers I have heard the Tenor’s with (over 10 and counting), I am very comfortable to say that they are the Best Sounding amp and preamp to me personally. They have a natural realism and unveiled presentation, combined with high contrast and a wide dynamic range. Paired with the Klipschorns, they were just making live music. They had very little sound-staging to speak of due to the nature of the Klipschorn’s iconic but ancient design, but the tonality I heard on JD Souther’s song “New Kid in Town” was simply the sound of live music or a perfect combination of realism and seductiveness. I want to own the Tenors so badly!

The Klipschorn needs no introduction, except they are Klipsch’s re-issue of the original classic. Price at $ 26,000-, it would be pretty difficult to convince me to buy a pair of the reissue when I can find the original for about $ 7,000 on eBay or Audiogon. I still own a pair of 1st generation Klipsch La Scala in my living room. But I’m sure somebody is buying the reissues as Klipsch are still making them. 

I hurried out of the room without lingering around too long, if I do I may just plunk down 300Gs on the Tenor and put my kid’s college savings into jeopardy. Not a good idea. But I swear to you, the day will come when I will own a complete Tensor setup. For now, I try to keep myself away from visiting Mark Jones, who is my ski buddy other than for skiing, the more I visit him the more I run the risk of buying them. Audio by Mark Jones is the Tenor Dealer for Eastern Canada. 


The following is an email that I wrote on the Tenor / Klipsch room review monoandstereo.com by Rick Mack  …


Everyone's journey as an Audiophile is certainly very personal.  

For most Audiophiles, their system's capture the recording studio experience perfectly - where everything has order and decorum.  

Playing in a band, I find the stage experience to be quite different from that of a recording studio.  Lively, dynamic, fun - but not as focused by audiophile soundstage standards for certain!  I like both quite honestly - it just depends on what I am in the mood for.  Think of one as a formal sit-down dinner where as the other is simply a less formal dinner party with all of your friends in attendance,  

I started this journey 13 months ago looking for a pair of high efficiency speakers to run on a pair of vintage Tenor OTL 15s that I had purchased for the Tenor museum collection - just to see what all the fuss was about on this seminal Tenor first creation from 1999 .  At 103 dB (the new ones are 105 dB), the 1974 mint condition Klipschorns I found allowed me to play everything I owned at any volume in a 20 x 30 foot room - with only 15 watts per channel!  This combination opened my eyes to the musical options available to us as Audiophiles and, as well, introduced me to the sound of live music in the home.

By happenstance, Dick Tuerlings, Managing Director at Gentec  (Canadian Distributor of Klipsch), and I met at the Toronto Audio Fest 2018.  Dick and I have known each other since the late 90s but really just through mutual admiration at shows.   Similar to Rick’s comment below, Dick was also conflicted with the Tenor / Kef presentation in the auditorium size room in Toronto and suggested Tenor and Klipsch should do something great together.  This was at about month 10 of my very positive Klipschorn experience so I had little wonder whether we could do something great together .  (Dick says it was my idea to do Montreal, and given how great it was, I certainly take full responsibility for that - now!  But the room was very much a collaborative effort of Gentec, Klipsch USA and Tenor - and no doubt about it - Dick and his Team made it all happen - so thank you very much!!

The Tenor / Klipsch Montreal Audio Fest 2019 experience was fully intended to be about live fun music - the kind I experience and very much enjoy on stage.  Many do not have that opportunity so Tenor and Klipsch felt compelled to bring this experience to Montreal this year - which is exactly what we did!  So Rick, thank you for noticing!

The feedback we received was so inspiring.  The best response during the show was from a member of the audience thanking us for our presentation.  I asked him what he liked most.  His response was:  "it sounded like ….. LIFE”!!  Gets no better than that from where I come from!

In closing, being an Audiophile is a journey.  I just hope that everyone realizes that hearing a stage performance is part of that journey and way more fun than you can possibly imagine.

cheers

jim fairhead, 

president, Tenor Inc.

PS …

The following is a short iPhone video taken after the room was 99% setup…  


The next video is the Irish Pub the Tenor & Klipsch team went to Wednesday night to celebrate the successful setup by having some pub fare with live music …


Finally, to top it off … after dinner this motley crew below decided to have a private listening session Saturday night DJ’d by Paul Belair, Sales Director QC for Gentec.  Kliscphorns/Tenors really reached “ club level” volume measured at 122 dB without any distortion (or damage) at all!  Martin Lefebvre, Sales Manager of Oracle contributed this photo to memorialize the fun we were having - just before the disco dancing started …


Further links of show …

The Best of Montréal Audio Fest 2019


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