UHF Magazine

Le Festival du Son et de l'Image 2004 runs in Montreal from April 2nd to 4th. Click to visit each of UHF's live reports. Each report will appear early the next day.

Festival Preview

Day 1 (April 2nd)

Day 2 (April 3rd)

Day 3 (April 4th)

Just a bit later this year

     At one time the Montreal show was held in early March, typically around March 10th. But March in Montreal can be tricky. More than 10 years ago, the second day of the show was hit by what American television was referring to as "the storm of the century." Of course Montrealers have seen worse than that, but even so the storm did little to pump up show attendence. Our then assistant editor got out of her house by climbing out the window, because her door was totally snowed in.
     Relax. If you come to Montreal for the show, the forecast indicates you can leave the snow shovel at home and bring sun block instead. And that's just the way we like it.
     By the way, holding the show later means that the Sunday teardown period for once doesn't coincide with the Oscars...which in any case were held earlier this year.
     The show's formal name is Le Festival du Son et de l'Image. It's the 17th version, if you count the one back in 1984 (the only one at which UHF didn't exhibit, by the way). It is arguably the largest North American audio/video show open to the public. Check the lineup at opening day, in our picture of last year's opening day!
     We are here again this year: room 317 at the Delta (the main venue).

The venues
    The downtown Delta hotel (the one on President Kennedy Avenue, not the one south on University) has long been the main site for the festival. It is ideal, too. The building was originally intended to be a condominium complex, though the original developer went bankrupt. this means the walls aren't the usual cardboard and Masonite blend (we're barely exaggerating). Even more interesting is the fact that most rooms don't have parallel walls. The shape discourages the formation of standing waves, which are the acoustical bane of exhibitors trying to make their products sound presentable.
     The downside? Exhibitors mostly unload in the parking garage, which has one elevator. A change of elevator is needed to get to the majority of the exhibit floors (about 12 of them in all.
     Large as the Delta is, the Festival long ago outgrew it. So the hotel across the street, the Hilton Four Points, has been added, for the fourth year in a row. It is considerably smaller than the Delta, but it has a good supply of large rooms, which some exhibitors require. And the exhibitor rates are lower, since it is assumed that visitors will do the Delta first. And perhaps never quite making it across the street.
     The two hotels are right downtown, where they are easily accessible by the Métro, or--if you're staying downtown--on foot.
     Oh...one useful hint. You don't feel like joining that lineup at the Delta? You can also register across the way at the Four Points, where you'll probably breeze through.

Our show system
     Since music is so much a part of our existence, we have lots of it in our room. For the first time we will be using an SACD player, the Linn Unidisk 1.1 (our new reference, by the way). The preamplifier and amplifier will be from Van den Hul, and will be borrowed from our sister site, The Audiophile Boutique. The speakers will be the Reference 3a Royal Virtuosos, scheduled for review in issue No. 70. Cables will be Pierre Gabriel, and the AC filtering (badly needed in a downtown hotel) will be an Inouye SPLC.
     Drop by and have a listen.

So here we go...
     We do expect our own room to be rather busy, but there are three of us at the show (Reine, Albert and Gerard), and we will take a bit of time to get a look around. Our digital camera will capture some pictures, and an iBook will be used to create the daily reports and upload them to our site.
     Right here on the UHF site, you'll be able to visit the Festival without leaving home. You'll find the links at upper left And right through April 17th, the show pages will include specials from The Audiophile Store. One more reason to drop by..