(All prices are in Canadian dollars unless otherwise indicated.)
The Lemay Audio room comes with a sweet story and a giant killer.
First, the sweet story: François Lemay, Tenor Audio founder and now owner of Montréal manufacturer-retailer Lemay Audio, remembers the moment vividly, even though it happened nearly 50 years ago, when he was a budding audiophile in his early twenties. “I was shopping for speakers when I heard my first pair of Dayton-Wright electrostatic loudspeakers,” François told me. “They were incredible, like nothing I’d ever heard, and I promised myself I’d own a pair when I could afford them.”
Unfortunately for Lemay, by the time he could afford them, they weren’t being made anymore. “Michael Wright was a brilliant inventor, but he often got the raw end of the deal in business.” Lemay confided. “He had to stop building them.”
Lemay never forgot his dream of owning a pair. Instead, that dream grew into something even more magical. Not long ago, he decided, with his engineer friends, to rebuild a pair of the iconic XG-10s to modern specs. He and his friends were so pleased with the result that they decided to design and build a reimagined, state-of-the-art version of the XG-10, which would use 3 boxes of panels of electrostatic cells instead of the original model’s one. Fittingly, the new model was named the Hommage. Only 10 pairs have been built. François intended to unveil one pair at the 2022 Montreal Audio Fest to Wright’s widow, Betty, who apparently was thrilled that François had taken such a keen interest in her late husband’s work. The speakers made it to the show, but Betty couldn’t make it due to health reasons. I’m sure it would have been a moment to remember.
All is not lost. Thanks to François, who brought his dream to the show, visitors were treated to some amazing sound.
This is where I segue into the giant killer part: The system, comprised of the Dayton-Wright Hommage speakers ($58,000), a Tenor Audio Line 1 preamp ($160,000), two Tenor Audio 350M monoblocks, a Roon-core Baetis Audio server ($15,000), a couple of Lemay Audio Type GR Research active subwoofers ($10,800/pair), cables by Inakustik and Silversmith Audio, and stands by Modulum Audio, delivered some of the most natural-toned and textured sound I’ve ever heard. Vocals were out of this world, as was the delineation of the soundstage. François told me he hates when there’s an instrument in a mix he can’t identify. Here, it seemed I could hear every violin string being bowed. It was uncanny.
Now look closely at the photo, at the half a million dollars worth of equipment, and what do you see?
The DAC is an iFi Diablo, retail price $1300. François, who has tried $20,000+ DACs and fancy R2R ones, swears by it. Crazy, right?
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