Today it was time to complete the photography of THE SHOW at the St. Tropez.
Although there were quite a few rooms at the THE SHOW show, it was still only about 50 – 60% of the CES show in the Venetian. It would be even less, but many exhibitors had two room suites, which I count as two rooms, whereas all rooms at the Venetian were single rooms.
A few conclusions:
* There was less traffic at THE SHOW than last year when it was next door to CES at the Alexis Park. More of the exhibitors at THE SHOW might consider showing next year at the Venetian if there were not a steady stream of horror stories coming out of the Venetian.
* There was more traffic for exhibitors who were near other exhibitors. There is a big advantage to the dense clustering of rooms – for exhbitors who want traffic and attendees who want their feet to be less flat [show organizers are you listening?].
* The sound at the THE SHOW at the St. Tropez was about the same as last year: Cogent wasn’t there, unfortunately, but this year there was us in the Audio Note room :-), Kondo sounded better than last year, and Kharma transitioned from CES to the show as well. That said, given if one had the same exact systems at THE SHOW and RMAF – I think they would sound better at RMAF. *Why* that appears to be, I do not know.
* The sound at CES was… well, it has always been mixed, as well, with a few nuggets amongst the average and ‘trying hards’. I guess it was about the same, given the steady increase in quality we see year after year at most shows. For me, the rooms I thought were the most tempting were the Lamm, Hanson, and Audiomachina. Neli’s faves were the EAR room (featuring the new Marten ‘Bird’ speaker) and the Lamm room.
* There were a number of rooms I did not get to hear – Rockport for example, Rives is another, who were not playing music when I was there – and my visits were fleeting in rooms where it did not appear to be a reason to stay longer.
* Lamm did play their one working ML3 on one of the Wilsons and Neli got to hear it for quite some time. Hopefully I will be able to *extract* the juicy details 🙂 But, to summarize, she liked it – it appears to be SIGNIFICANTLY better than the ML2.1 in ALL audiophile attributes, especially control of the speaker, dynamics, and transparency.
* The Venetian really, really doesn’t want exhibitors in their hotel rooms [in the tower] – presumably thinking that they all should be in the regular exhibit rooms [levels 2, 3 and 4] – and they make this obvious by seemingly treating the exhibitors very poorly. The regular exhibit rooms are decent sized rooms but with movable walls – that are hard to the touch but hollow and so not as substantial as the rooms in the tower. Given the opportunity variety of systems in those rooms – I did NOT hear any significant universal problems with the sound in these fabricated rooms.
I am not sure why there are any exhibitors in the tower except that someone must have thought that the systems would sound better up there. They might – but it would be a more level playing field if everybody was in one place or another. The Munich show each Spring is in an environment similar to the regular exhibit rooms – and they seem to manage it. Anyway, my point is that perhaps everybody should show just on the lower levels.
* Next year we, Audio Federation, will likely have our own room, with most probably a 100% Audio Note system fronted by different speakers [what is that, a 99% Audio Note system? :-)]. It will be an upscale system – with kind of system and setup and optimizations that people have come to expect from us who have attended RMAF or visited our website – a demonstration of the kind of sound we have been getting by pairing Audio Note with other brands of equipment [Audio Note equipment really does work well with others]. This year the rooms sounded darn good – but it was a collaborative effort and none of the collaborators really got to optimize the system the way they really wanted it – we certainly didn’t.
* About 2500 photos were taken. About the same as HE 2006 [which was about 2700 – I mistakenly used Windows to count the photos and counted the RAW images as well as the ordinary images] but about 1/2 the number of closeup photos. Getting a shot of every component was just looking to be too much work for 4 days – and so I tried to just photograph components that we have not photographed before or were somehow different from previous years. Each system of every room that I was able to find I photographed – although some have people standing in front of the system acting as kind of semi-intelligent, interactive, wandering room treatment components.
* The show report…. *sigh* … will be forthcoming. Really. But first we have to find a way to get home, and right now we are tempted to just wait for Spring.