This is sort of a survey of show reports out there. There are others, but the other ones I was able to find seemed to be either random, really short, or just silly ‘feel-good’ reports, or, well, they seemed to be one of those three kinds [YMMV. I didn’t find them all. Didn’t look for them all, just the ones that I go to. Might have missed some good ones.].
Our Ultimist RMAF 2013 report [in progress, *sigh*] is a fierce advocate for the industry and all of its gear. It is even a more fierce advocate for gear that Ultimist sells. This does not require any lying about how magical, lovely, great, awesome things sound but instead vigorously attempts to describe how, why and where everything perfectly fits into the audiophile universe [yes. yes. I know. I *said* it was in progress :-)].
Our RMAF 2013 report on the Audio Federation blog here is, as always, concerned with the ultimate listening experiences. Annoying aspects of the sound means being distracted from having an ultimate listening experience. We don’t like that. Here we are always exploring brave new worlds of music reproduction, seeking out new lifelike sounding gear, and new civilized ways of talking about sound; boldly perusing the ultimate music experiences that have never been [or not near as often as we all would like] experienced before.
JV’s show report over at AVGuide / TAS / The Absolute Sound / HiFi+ is very closely aligned [how close? read here] with what we heard at the show (with the caveat that we all have our personal preferences that come out in the reports a wee bit). This makes me feel a little like we are not living up to our underground publication status
But, seriously, we are not relativists. Each room has one and only one sound, whether one likes it, loves it, … or not. Show reports should endeavor to accurately report about that sound so well that a person reading the description should be able to determine whether they would like it, love it, … or not. Our reports are no where near good enough yet – but someday…
The Stereophile RMAF 2013 report as is usual has all the information about the names of things and what they cost. Invaluable [and though they make mistakes, they correct them quickly].
Lately, though, Jason Victor Serinus over at Stereophile has started adding more negative comments for many rooms. However, he really fails to differentiate between rooms that committed several atrocities as opposed to those that committed atrocities only rarely. Strangely, the few rooms where he wants to give the Nobel Peace Prize to should really be brought up before the Haig on War Crimes charges. There should also be a rule that one should describe in the same level of detail what was actually right about the rooms, if anything [and if there is nothing, you could do what we do and say nuthin’. Nothing!], as well as what was wrong [I also have a problem with being able to do this consistently. I’m trying to do better!].
The AudioCircle RMAF 2013 show report does not rate things based on sound so much as but uses a kind of social litmus test involving similarly subjective attributes like how cool the gear looks, how cool the exhibitors are, and how cool the room vibe is. Not to be a jibe, these measures are much more closely aligned with marketplace success than the actual sound of the room [to our way of thinking, this is unfortunate]. So, although they cloak the whole thing in audiophile buzzwords, that is not where this report has value. This report is really probably the most important show report for people in the industry to read.
The Dagogo RMAF 2013 Report, this one by Jack Roberts, was one of those reports where someone wanders through what they think are the coolest rooms at the show, finding something nice to say about each room. [This report did remind us that the Coincident room this year did sound quite good. Oops. Added. And thanks]. These kinds of reports kind of reflect what a ordinary everyday audiophile does and sees at a show. So from that perspective it is a good reminder for some of us who have been to too many shows, and it is good for those who want to know kind of what it is like to wander kind of aimlessly though a show [which is what we did for the first few shows until we got frustrated with missing those special ‘wildly hyped’ rooms that everybody said were so great after the show. They weren’t by the way – but we didn’t know that until we started going to all the rooms and making sure we heard them for ourselves. Still regret missing HP’s room at the Alexis Park when he had his big Alons there].
Clement in the Stereotimes RMAF 2013 report takes a lot of photos of the exhibitors [as well as gear] and that is its own kind of fun if you are a people watcher [and who ain’t?]. Funny, he thought the smaller Volti room ran a poor second to the big Volti Vittora speaker room as did we [as opposed to some feel-good reports where you can read that they liked it just as much].
Audio Matters RMAF 2013 show report is written by a young audiophile who has a number of ageist comments to make during his report [but a lot of his generation seem to have similar issues with older folk, that they are superior beings just by the virtue of the newer release date of their smartphone, so what’s new. See, two can play at this game ;-)]. For me, it is nice to read an outsider’s perspective. Don’t agree with much of what he says, but that doesn’t matter, to me, as much as getting some insight into what it is like for a young person to attend these shows.
Then we have the friendly insider’s report at Part-time Audiophile RMAF 2013 show report. Most professional show reporters try and maintain some distance between themselves and everyone else, otherwise it is too easy to start playing favorites, or feeling sorry for your friends, and in general not wanting to harm the friendship by reporting what their room or gear really sounded like. The Part-time Audiophile report tries to walk that line of trying to say perceptive things about the sound but still be part of the ‘good old boy [and girl] crowd’ of exhibitors. Their show report then is really a ‘feel good’ show report done really well.
Audio Shark’s RMAF 2013 show report is exactly like what you might hear from one of your audiophile friends at supper during a show. Liked some rooms. Not some others. A very personal interpretation of what the show was like for them. [agree that Emerald Physics rooms often sound more like music than most, but I think they actually sounded better, more even top to bottom, more of a whole, in previous years at RMAF (yeah, and back when they cost half as much. As did just about everything else in high-end audio, to be fair).].
So, that’s that. A lot of fun stuff to read, peruse, ignore, whatever…. 😉