Dealer Spotlight: Bliss Acoustics

By Bruno de Lorimier

There’s an impressive, new destination for audiophiles and music lovers that you may not have heard of in the city of Ottawa, Canada. That’s because they only officially opened a short while ago, in the summer of 2022. If you’re in the market for some serious, high-performance, hi-fi gear, you have to add Bliss to your list!

Bliss Acoustics is a labor of love for Dragan Reljic, a lifelong audiophile and music lover. His home-based business is located in an area referred to as “The Glebe”, situated near The National Historic Site and the Rideau Canal. His mission is to provide one-of-a-kind, personal experiences while representing some of the finest audio brands on the market. His collection of beautifully crafted, impeccably designed, analog and digital components includes both well-established and up-and-coming brands that share one commonality: changing the landscape of the musical experience. 

I first met Dragan in person last summer when Nordost VP, Michael Taylor, and I traveled to Ottawa to perform our two-day intensive Certified Nordost Specialist training, during which Dragan received Nordost’s highest level of intensive product training. Both Michael and I were greeted with a warm welcome and given a tour of the facility. Up until that point, I had never seen such an impressive and extensive in-home setup. In no less than four, very tastefully designed listening rooms, Dragan had an impressive number of products on display, hooked up and ready to be demonstrated. All the hits are waiting for you to hear when you visit Bliss: Nordost, Alluxity, AudioNec, Audio Vector, Aurender, ClearAudio, Dynavector, Focal, The Gryphon, Harbeth, JSIKORA, Karma, Kroma Atelier, Leben, Luxman, Magico, MSB, Nagra, Naim, Pilium, Shindo, Riviera, Vivid, and more!

Even though he is a relatively new hifi dealer, he is far from a novice to audio! Dragan has been around music from a very early age, and he will impress you with the knowledge he has cultivated over the years. Throughout high school and university, Dragan DJed at student clubs and alternative venues. Initially, he was a guest DJ and volunteer, doing it for the love of the music rather than the money. Then, as a side project, he started making “First Date Tapes” which developed a cult following. Those soon evolved into Encore Tapes of The Comedy Cafe, the second-largest standup comedy club in London, that he enthusiastically started managing during his studies.

In the beginning, despite his love for music, Dragan pursued a different career path. Born in Sarajevo, he began studying veterinary medicine and earned his first degree as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. He subsequently moved to the UK and completed his masters in London at the Royal Veterinary College. Then, about 30 years ago, he moved to Canada where things became a little more academically and politically complicated for him to pursue his Ph.D., encouraging him to take a different path.

With his experience bartending, DJing, and managing clubs in his youth, Dragan figured, why not do the same here? A new era began when he started running a very nice brewpub in the 90s, followed by an Italian restaurant in the ByWard Market, Mamma Grazzi’s, which he ran for over 25 years. As a side business, he also began investing in real estate, renovating, renting, and selling properties…all the while never losing his passion for high-end audio. 

Bliss Acoustics: The Best Of Toronto Audiofest 2023 Award (

Dragan had often entertained the idea of procuring personalized high-end experiences for music enthusiasts in the nation’s capital, and it was thanks to the amazing support and the blessing of his wife Anastasia, a devoted music lover in her own right, that beautiful Bliss Acoustics was founded in the summer of 2022.

If you are a hi-fi enthusiast, please give Dragan a call and make an appointment to visit him. I can guarantee that you won’t be disappointed.

Bliss Acoustics

20 Third Ave

Ottawa, ON

K1S 2J6

Phone: (613) 415-4475



Dealer Spotlight: Speaker Shop

Curating Audio Excellence Since 1977 in Buffalo, NY

by Amy Hansen

In the heart of Buffalo, New York, there’s a place where music enthusiasts find solace—a haven called Speaker Shop. For over four decades, this establishment has been more than a shop; it’s a testament to a passion for sound and a commitment to delivering the best audio experience.

Established in 1977, Speaker Shop has been an integral part of Buffalo’s audio landscape, evolving alongside the ever-changing world of sound technology. Stepping into Speaker Shop isn’t merely stepping into a store; it’s stepping into a legacy—a legacy of expertise, knowledge, and an unwavering dedication to quality audio.

On my recent visit, I stepped into a vibrant retail space alive with constant activity. Customers continuously coming and going, assisted by engaged staff, creating a bustling symphony of activity.

Speaker Shop curates a collection that caters to diverse tastes and preferences. They’ve got you covered with brands such as Wilson Audio, Magico, MSB Technology, Aurender, Luxman, Hegel, McIntosh, Nordost and more. 

What sets Speaker Shop apart isn’t just the impressive array of audio equipment but the passion and expertise of its staff, Guy, Ed, Paul and Mike. The team comprises enthusiasts deeply entrenched in the nuances of sound.  Whether you have a cherished pair of vintage speakers that require repair or you’re seeking something new, Speaker Shop is dedicated to meeting your needs. If you’re a seasoned audiophile or a newcomer seeking advice, their enthusiastic team is ready to assist you by sharing their expertise and aiding in the discovery of a sound setup perfectly tailored to your preferences.

For those in Buffalo seeking to elevate their sonic experience, Speaker Shop isn’t just a store—it’s a destination. It’s where music aficionados find their sonic haven, where every visit promises an exploration of the endless possibilities of sound.

So, whether you’re on a quest for the perfect speakers or simply looking to immerse yourself in a world of audio bliss, Speaker Shop stands ready to be your guide on this melodious journey.

Speaker Shop

3604 Main St

Buffalo, NY 14226


Nordost Playlist – December 2023

Nordost products are designed to allow you to enjoy your favorite performances as they were intended to be heard. All of us here are passionate about great music, and want to share our passion with you. Each one of us has our own style… We listen to a wide variety of artists and genres but, in a way, we appreciate them all. We thought that we would share a few of the songs on our own personal playlists with you each month. Some may be classics, some may be brand new, some may not even be to your tastes, but we hope that there is something here for everyone.

Here are some of the songs that we will have on rotation this December.

You can now listen to our monthly playlist here:  TIDAL  | SPOTIFY  |  QOBUZ

  1. Red Flags — Brittany Howard — Red Flags 
  2. Abban-dono — Mina — Dilettevoli Eccedenze N.2 
  3. Ring My Bell – Christmas bell version — Discohen — Ring My Bell (Christmas bell version)
  4. Harvest Moon – Original Mix — Dear Humans — Harvest Moon 
  5. Little Bird — Annie Lennox — Diva 
  6. The Strangers — St. Vincent — Actor
  7. Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me — Dolly Parton, Elton John — Rockstar
  8. Down in the Willow Garden (with Rufus Wainwright) [From “Norah Jones is Playing Along” Podcast] — Norah Jones, Rufus Wainwright — Down in the Willow Garden (with Rufus Wainwright) [From “Norah Jones is Playing Along” Podcast]
  9. Murder On The Dancefloor — Sophie Ellis-Bextor — Read My Lips
  10. Going Home — Alice Coltrane — Lord of Lords

Music to Help Set-Up and Understand Your HiFi System

Evaluating your system can be a daunting task. When relying solely on your own ears, a lot of questions may circle around your head and cloud your musical judgement: Am I using the right tracks? How do I know how these songs are intended to sound? What is this piece supposed to tell me about my system? 

At Nordost, we understand your frustration, and we’re here to help!  Below, we will take you through a number of tracks that you can use to help fine-tune your speakers, assess how your components interact, and just see if you are getting the most out of your system. This music has been carefully selected to illuminate specific aspects of system performance and will hopefully prove to be an invaluable tool to further aid you during your system set-up, or to just simply enjoy! 

Yanvalloux — Markus Schwartz and Lakou Brooklyn (Frantz Casseus) — Equinox  

The opening bass line of this track acts as the perfect gauge of bass weight, pace, and pitch. It allows you to instantly hear the impact of changes in speaker position, and shows the balance of bass weight against texture, attack, and articulation. If you listen to the opening bars of this track as you shift the speaker forwards, backward, or sideways, you’ll quickly gain an appreciation for the significance of even the tiniest adjustments. As the track builds, the ability to hear both the shape and rhythmic complexities of the rapidly fingered bass is a sure measure of critical mid-bass clarity. 

From the Soundkeeper Recordings album Equinox (SR1002) by Markus Schwartz & Lakou Brooklyn. Production, recording, and mastering by Barry Diament. Copyright Soundkeeper Recordings 2010

Leaves Me Wondering — Eleanor McEvoy — Yola

This is a beautifully recorded and deceptively simple pop song with a minimalist arrangement and a refreshing lack of studio fills. What makes it so revealing of your system’s performance is the relationship between the deep, measured bassline and the clear, focused vocal that drives the song. The key here is the balance between the expressive, emotional immediacy of the voice and the weight and attack in the bass. If the bass is too heavy, it slows the track and trips it as it reaches that upshift; too light and it robs the voice (in fact, the whole song) of presence and impact. Instead, the bassline should be present and bold, but never dominant. It should support the rhythmic shifts and phrasing of the vocal. When you get the immediacy and directness in the voice right, the bass will be just where it should be.  

From the album Yola (Mosco EMCD1) Produced by Eleanor McEvoy and Brian Connor ISRC CODE ISRC-IE-ABB-01-00009 Pub. BMG Rights Management (UK) Ltd. (Worldwide except Ireland) E. McEvoy IMRO/MCPS (Ireland) Copyright Blue Dandelion/MOSCO 2001 

Vivaldi – Cello Concerto RV419, 3rd Movement, Allegro — Davide Amadio (Cello), Interpreti Venziani — Vivaldi in Venice 

This small, baroque ensemble is recorded live in the San Vidal Church in Venice. The acoustic is open and very wide, with considerable space on either side of the band, which is placed on a riser, with a dispersive back wall close behind. The result is a clean acoustic, with plenty of air and height, a natural depth perspective that places the harpsichord behind the orchestra, and a real sense of distance between it and the solo cello. However, the real magic in this track lies in the immediacy and energy of the playing, the contrast between the bowed cello and the plucked, pizzicato passages, the range of instrumental colors and textures. Small, but perfectly formed, this is a natural recording that captures the energy, texture, and vibrant harmonics of these acoustic instruments, as well as the verve and precision of the players. The tonal separation of the instruments should be as apparent as their spacing, while the harpsichord should jangle, not grate. 

From the album Vivaldi In Venice (Chasing The Dragon, VALCD008). Recorded and produced by Mike and Francoise Valentine. Copyright Chasing The Dragon 2018 

Cole Porter — Too Darn Hot — Clare Teal with the Syd Lawrence Orchestra — A Tribute To Ella Fitzgerald 

Here we have classic big-band action from the Syd Lawrence Orchestra, supporting Clare Teal in an arrangement of the equally classic Cole Porter number, Too Darn Hot. Double-banked, they let fly with presence, power, and dynamic range to burn. The band plays it straight, beautifully balanced against a vocal that gives just enough of a nod to Ella, without trying to beat her at her own game. Big band is always a stern test of system dynamics and headroom, and this track is a perfect example of that. 

From the album A Tribute To Ella Fitzgerald (Chasing The Dragon, VALCD003). Recorded and produced by Mike and Francoise Valentine. Copyright Chasing The Dragon 2016 

Your Colour — Calypso 

A simply beautiful track captured in a single, unrehearsed take, featuring the fragile vocals and poised playing of the young but outrageously talented Calypso – and yes, that really is her name. The slurred diction (especially on the opening lines), emotive phrasing, and widely spaced piano notes are an acid test of speaker toe-in and rake angle. The voice should be focused and clearly defined in space, even if the words aren’t, while the placement of the piano notes should add to the song, not hold it back. Be prepared to work with both speakers until you get close, at which point tiny angular adjustments of just one speaker will lock the recording in space, giving it an achingly natural sense of pace and flow.

Recorded and produced by Chris Binns/Primary Acoustics – all rights reserved. 

Kote Moun Yo? — Markus Schwartz and Lakou Brooklyn (Trad. Arr, Markus Schwartz & Monvelyno Alexis) — Equinox  

Complex, Haitian-inspired percussion patterns and instruments play against bass, trumpet, and guitar. From the opening conch call to the diverse percussion, the live-looped drum tracks to the sparse guitar and trumpet lines, this is a test of any system’s rhythmic and musical integrity, transparency, and focus. The dense, overlaid drum patterns and upright bass require low-frequency agility and clarity, testing the system’s ability to keep pace with the sharply drawn melodies played on the solo instruments. This track should have an infectious, toe-tapping quality. If it doesn’t, you know there’s something wrong… 

From the Soundkeeper Recordings album Equinox (SR1002) by Markus Schwartz & Lakou Brooklyn. Production, recording, and mastering by Barry Diament. Copyright Soundkeeper Recordings 2010 

If You Had A Heart — Eleanor McEvoy and Damon Butcher — Forgotten Dreams 

Here we have Eleanor McEvoy’s familiar voice once again, but this time exposed in a pared-back recording accompanied by guitar and piano.  This is a deeply emotional song and performance that, on the best systems, should have an almost reach-out-and-touch realism to it – a quality that’s even more apparent on the direct-cut LP. 

Jennifer Kimball / Eleanor McEvoy / Henry Priestman pub. EMI Blackwood, From the album Forgotten Dreams (Chasing The Dragon VALCD006). Recorded and produced by Mike and Francoise Valentine. Copyright Chasing The Dragon 2018 

Georges Bizet — Habanera (from Carmen) — Rosie Middleton (Mezzo Soprano), Debbie Wiseman (Cond.), National Symphony Orchestra — España 

Bizet’s most popular opera, and arguably one of opera’s most popular songs— the Habanera from Carmen will be familiar to all. What this track brings is a full orchestra, captured in the large hall at Air Studios, with a well-developed sense of acoustic space. Add in mezzo-soprano Rosie Middleton, standing in the heart of the orchestra, and you have a verifiable test for sound staging and height differentiation. Middleton’s voice should be clearly placed amidst, but above, the surrounding strings, and in front of the winds.

From the album España (Chasing The Dragon VALCD004). Recorded and produced by Mike and Francoise Valentine. Copyright Chasing The Dragon 2017 

You can find these tracks included in Nordost’s System Solution Set-Up and Tuning Disc Set.

To help you get the absolute most from your system set-up, this set also includes:

  • Essential channel and phase checks.
  • Multiple pink and white noise signals for speaker/room diagnostics.
  • Sophisticated LEDR tests to optimize speaker placement.
  • System maintenance tracks (De-Gauss and Burn-In)
  • Low-frequency tones specially designed and configured to map room modes and aid speaker placement or subwoofer positioning and integration.

The Perfect Turntable Upgrades

The resurgence of vinyl has taken the audio market by storm. In the past decade, turntable purchases have seen a steady increase worldwide. In the US, turntable sales have risen almost 13% in just one year.1 While the UK saw sales rise by almost 20% during Covid.2

Just like any hifi lover, vinyl junkies are sure to want to make the most out of their purchases. If you’re looking for an easy upgrade to elevate your listening experience even further, premium audio cables are the way to go.

Premium audio cables allow you to hear what your components are truly capable of. When the source of your system is a turntable, both tonearm cables and power cords make a profound difference.  Never heard a cable demo before? Don’t worry, here’s what to expect when you switch out your standard tonearm cable and power cord for an audio-specific option: 

Tonearm Cable

  • Enhanced clarity – Experience a significant improvement in clarity and transparency from your music.
  • Precise sound staging – A wider, more accurate soundstage makes performances sound more realistic and increases your engagement with the music.
  • Reduced signal degradation – Low-capacitance tonearm cables protect the delicate signals carried by a tonearm lead. 
  • Noise reduction – Proper grounding (like Nordost’s revolutionary grounding solution) eliminates noise typically introduced during signal transfer so that you hear every last detail available on your record.

Power Cord

  • Decrease in background noise – Improvements in the design of connectors, solid core conductors, and shielding all reduce the electrical noise and interference that can impact audio performance, even accounting for a perceived increase in volume. 
  • Increased dynamics – Better defined high, mid, and low frequencies, as well as an improved transient response, amplify system dynamics and make music more engaging. 
  • Wider soundstage – Clean power leads to a more expansive and enveloping soundstage, lending to more realistic system performance.  

When you’re looking for that cable upgrade, why not choose one of the most highly respected, high-end audio cable manufacturers in the audio world? Our extensive range of tonearm cables and power cords ensures that you will be able to find the perfect upgrade to your vinyl rig, no matter your budget.