RMAF 2015 Best Of Show

Audio Note UK and Vincent Bélanger win the AudioStream RMAF 2015 Award for palpable presence.

David Cope representing Audio Note UK and cellist Vincent Bélanger know how to put on a show. Unlike other live versus hi-fi silliness contests I've sat through in the past, the point here is passion. Passion for music and specifically Vincent Bélanger's passion for the cello.

"The cello is the most colorful instrument."
That's what Vincent said about his 200-year old instrument and he went about putting his cello where his mouth is. I had the good fortune of sitting directly in front of Vincent and his cello so I got to feel the full power and glory deep in my chest stirring up emotions I didn't know where laying there dormant.

Now, some audiophiles may look at the above photo and fret over the room, the lack of room treatment, my position in relation to Vincent's cello, the lack of any equilateral triangle relationship, and how people can't really tell the difference between a 200-year old cello and a kazoo when testing blind.

What I know, for a fact mind you, is a hi-fi is not a cello. Therefore the notion that a hi-fi will sound exactly like a cello is ludicrous. You may as well mount your steed and head off in search of the nearest windmill if you want a fairer fight.

What we want our recordings and hi-fi's to do is deliver to our ears and brain a reproduction of a cello being played that removes the recording and hi-fi from the experience. A seemingly simple goal, making the mechanics of reproduction evaporate in front of our ears is the beauty and beast of hi-fi.

You'll want a copy of Vincent Bélanger's upcoming album Pure Cello which you can pre-order from Vincent's Indiegogo Campaign.

Venere 2's picture

I have to agree with Vincent; the cello is a lovely instrument in the right hands. It goes without saying Vincent is great.

One of my favourites is a singer cellist named Jorane. She is from Québec, so maybe she is not that well known in the USA. I lose myself in her music all the time. She is worth discovering! Don't fret over the poor quality of this youtube video, it will give you a taste of what she does.


jim tavegia's picture

is where ever there is the opportunity to sit in front of a real instrument and just listen. Every recording we all have was a replication of an event. The one who placed the mic decided what you are hearing. What mic? What mic pre. Did he use tape at 30ips and was the recorder properly maintained? Digital at 2448, 2496 24192 or DSD? How much did he EQ his recording to suit his likes and dislikes.

What you heard was the real thing and that is the benchmark, nothing else. These are the moments that make these events special.

DH's picture

I heard a solo cello concert in a fairly small space. No electronics. I was sitting about 20 feet from the artist.
Amazing sound. The detail, the sound of the natural reverb. Unlike listening to a stereo system. I'm sure the best reproduction could only come close to that sound.
But that's okay, as Jim said above, even just the mic placement can make a recording sound totally different than what was heard in person, even if the playback is a "perfect" reproduction of the recording. There's a place for both.

cliffjumper68's picture

Michael, I finally got up to Denver on Sunday and kept an eye out for you on the floor but realized half the people there look just like you :). So many fun demo's and I discovered the great pairing of Mr. Speakers Ether's (I am now $1500 lighter) with the Schitt stack (yaggy/rog). I hope you had fun too, cheers