[our room with the Acapella Audio Arts Cellini speakers. Notice how the shadows on the ceiling look like ‘kissing horns’? ]
This year we took videos of the show – a virtual tour of THE Show Newport.
This was inspired by Mike Fremer’s GoPro videos of Munich a few years ago. As I watched those at the time, I was ‘glued to the screen’ – trying to get a feeling for what it was like to actually Be There.
I used my Nexus 6 phone for the video. Hardly CNN quality but it did the job amazing well. As I watch the later videos, they really do look just like the show does to an audiophile attendee [albeit with acute audionervosa – hopping to room to room like that – *most* attendees are not quite that bad :-)]
I have just a few general observations to make.
When we started going to shows 15 years ago about 30 to 40% of the rooms sounded really bad. Now about 2 to 5% sound bad. [not that bad-sounding rooms don’t still get best of show – same as it ever was :-)].
On the other hand the number of rooms going for ‘the gold’ , to be the best systems ever heard, has gone from 2 to 5% to 0. CES used to be the best place to hear these kinds of systems, and a few of us at RMAF tried to do this as well. Maybe it is because the systems earning best of shows are, well, seemingly randomly selected [so what’s the point of trying? ]. Or maybe exhibitors are trying, unconsciously or not, to keep the price down as the economy is still causing a severe drag on the growth of our industry. Or maybe with CES in decline, there is no ‘one show to rule them all’ anymore so where do we show this ultimate attempt at high-end audio? [this describes our plight. Plus we lost our big room at RMAF several years ago, and the small rooms just suck for this kind of approach – not enough seating is one of many, many reasons].
There are still a few rooms with vinyl and they DO sound more like music. Computer-based audio, however, is continuing to improve. Vinyl makes it easy to make a system sound like music, but optimizing the poop out of a computer-based system does help. 😉
This is usually an upbeat show and it was again this year. People smile. Say hi. Say thank you. Kind of nice, actually. We do recommend people try and go attend this show, though we have been there the last three years and may skip next year for a change.
I used to talk about the sound in each room, but not going to do that this year. There are many reasons why – one of which is that we then just blend in with all the others who voice their opinions, our particular experiences, passion and attention to detail not counting for much in such a noisy environment. Maybe next show. But for now I think we will do better by picking up the lines that consistently, in several different configurations, sound better than others and putting ourselves out there in support of these brands.
Shows are really just one huge party of like-minded audiophiles – you get to visit your choices of 100+ ‘homes’ where they are playing music for you to enjoy. They are really, really fun and I hope our videos help inspire people to attend more of them.