SSI 2014: Canadian HiFi

I took the the red eye from Los Angeles on Thursday night and arrived in Montreal early on Friday morning. After an hour and a half getting through customs and baggage claim AND another hour in a taxi to the Hilton Bonaventure Hotel in downtown Montreal, there was not time to grab a shower before the show started…and it continued until 8 pm on Friday evening. I used to have the energy to sustain myself for 24 hours but not anymore. I’m sure there were passersby that noticed me sitting with my eyes closed for more than a few minutes. It was a very long day but as usual the Canadian audiophile community was very engaging.

The founders of the show, Michal and Sarah, sold the show to the Chester Group (the UK based company behind the New York Audio Show, which will be held this year in the fall in Brooklyn) and I wasn’t sure what to expect. Sarah is still the person on the floor and is always extremely helpful. Being the late arrival, my tables were at the end of the last hall but people managed to find me. Right away a couple of AIX customers and long time readers of this webpage came by. They introduced themselves and were thrilled to be able to meet Dr. AIX…it was indeed my pleasure to chat with them and share some information.

It turns out that they had both acquired the HD-Audio 2013 Blu-ray sampler the year before and had come back on the final day of the show to purchase a copy of “Nicci Gilbert and the Soul Kittens” only to discover that it was sold out. These two gentlemen waited the entire year to come by the AIX Records table and secure the only two copies of the disc year…they weren’t about to be aced out again (why they didn’t just purchase a copy via the website? I didn’t ask).

The show feels like a local show in spite of the fact that a lot of people drive up from the Northeast part of the U.S. I met folks from Connecticutt, Massachusetts and New York as well as Canadians from Quebec City, Toronto and Ontario. And it’s a very good show. The Hilton is not a tower hotel. The audio rooms are therefore easy to access on the main two floors with the bigger rooms down the escalators one level. That’s where I am…although today Sarah moved me to a much better position just round the corner from the bottom of the escalator. Thanks Sarah.

I had a chance to stop in and visit with my good friend Peter McGrath, the director of sales at Wilson Audio, in his room. It’s a sparse room with two Sasha speakers and a single red chair. He played some of his recent recordings, which were exquisite…as always. He records four channels and doesn’t playback the rear channels when he sets up his demo rooms. I wish he would. Peter is tremendously skilled at recreating the sound of a live performance space with his miking technique. But it would be even better with the rear channels turned on.

I’ll talk about day 2 tomorrow. I’m pretty beat tonight and looking forward to a good night’s sleep. Cheers.


Mark Waldrep, aka Dr. AIX, has been producing and engineering music for over 40 years. He learned electronics as a teenager from his HAM radio father while learning to play the guitar. Mark received the first doctorate in music composition from UCLA in 1986 for a "binaural" electronic music composition. Other advanced degrees include an MS in computer science, an MFA/MA in music, BM in music and a BA in art. As an engineer and producer, Mark has worked on projects for the Rolling Stones, 311, Tool, KISS, Blink 182, Blues Traveler, Britney Spears, the San Francisco Symphony, The Dover Quartet, Willie Nelson, Paul Williams, The Allman Brothers, Bad Company and many more. Dr. Waldrep has been an innovator when it comes to multimedia and music. He created the first enhanced CDs in the 90s, the first DVD-Videos released in the U.S., the first web-connected DVD, the first DVD-Audio title, the first music Blu-ray disc and the first 3D Music Album. Additionally, he launched the first High Definition Music Download site in 2007 called A frequency speaker at audio events, author of numerous articles, Dr. Waldrep is currently writing a book on the production and reproduction of high-end music called, "High-End Audio: A Practical Guide to Production and Playback". The book should be completed in the fall of 2013.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *