‍        Well, it’s over, the 2023 edition of the Montreal Audiofest, and by any standards it was a huge success. Exhibit rooms and hotel rooms were sold out, and attendance may have been the best ever.

‍    It may be significant that, with the pandemic receding in popular perception, compulsory masking was dropped, and only a few attendees and exhibitors wore them. That made it easier to socialize, though the previous year I was surprised by how many people recognized me despite the mask. It’s the eyes, I suppose.

‍    I can’t claim to have seen absolutely all of the show, because some rooms are difficult to get to. On the first day, exhibitors may not have finished setting up, and on other days they may have partied enthusiastically the previous evening. Some choose chat over music. And there are always rooms too crowded to get into. I make a mental note to get back to them, but sometimes I don’t.

‍    For me, the tone was set by the first room I was in, which was destined to be one of the best ones.

‍    That speaker is the Stenheim Alumine 3 from Switzerland. It’s expensive, around $45,000 for a reason that isn’t immediately obvious: as its name suggests, its cabinet is not wood or MDF but aluminum. The recordings played had a lively presence that contrasted with the lifeless sound of all too many expensive systems. It was a good start.

‍    It was no doubt inevitable: the Montreal Audiofest was the first we have attended that did not use a single CD player as a source. We saw, as you probably did, the news that, for the first time in many years, LPs are outselling CDs. A number of exhibitors were in fact using turntables for their demonstrations. The others were streaming…from their own music libraries or from an online service, such as Tidal.

‍    But there was a less familiar streaming service, one not yet available in Canada (but coming soon), namely Qobuz.

‍    That’s it in the image. Quobuz, like Tidal, is a streaming service without compression, claiming resolution up to 24 bits and 192 kHz. We don’t yet know the cost.

‍    But we do know that it will face stiff competition. The world’s top streaming service (if their numbers are to be trusted) is Spotify, but Apple Music now has a no-extra-cost hi-res option, and may in fact have the world’s largest song catalog. And there’s now another service at no extra cost, Apple Classical (which we will review in our next issue).


‍    UHF Magazine, before it was a magazine, was a broadcast production company. We still have some great tape machines from those days. We’re keeping one, of course, but three of them are for sale. You’ll find them on the Hardware page of our Audiophile Boutique, along with remote controls and service manuals.

‍    The Technics 1500 was the best in its class, with super mechanical design.

‍    We also have blank tape for these magnificent monsters, and we’ll be listing it shortly. We’re talking about brand new bulk tape, Canadian-made, in factory-sealed boxes. Let us know what you need.

‍    We’re also doing inventory on associated gear: Dolby noise-reduction units, and professional-grade condenser microphones. They’ll be listed shortly, and we’ll be adding more products as well.


‍    Our new headquarters are high above the city of Montreal, and we have a view we could charge visitors for.

‍    Our new digs are large, but not as large as the three-storey house that was so long our headquarters. That meant we had to get rid of a lot of things (two containers’ worth), and we need to go through our packing crates and find everything. Our main computer, an iMac, is once again connected to the network. Our other computer, the one used to fulfill orders, is not. But it should be back up soon.

‍    We have thousands of dollars in orders waiting to be shipped, and we’re eager to get them to you. We’re advancing with all deliberate speed.


‍    We’ve been receiving great comments on our 101st edition of UHF Magazine. Oh, some of the praise was for having got to a hundred issues, but also for having packed it with so much information…information you’re unlikely to find in other publications. We included in-depth articles on audio sources, on analog audio, on digital, on streaming, on acoustics, and on the nature of high fidelity itself. You can buy an issue or even subscribe by clicking here.

‍    But what about issue No. 102? We’re hard at work on it.

‍    We’ll have more in-depth articles about Class D amplification (if you read about it two or more years ago, you’ll want to update). We’ll have a lot about the use of high-density chips in audio, and the new generation of high-frequency power supplies.

‍    We’ll have a surprising revelation about home cinema (it’s something we should already have known about, but better late than never).

‍    And now that Daniel Craig’s final appearance as 007 is out , we’ll take a new look at the way that the Bond franchise has used music as a highly effective marketing tool.

‍    As usual, music titles will mostly be live links to online clips.

‍    Of course we’ll have equipment reviews, including one that will astonish you. It astonished us.