The Mixibitors at the Montreal FSI 2006 Show

Top Secret ASCII-encoded message dated: 4/20/2006

Under no circumstances may this information get into the hands of hotels or nervous exhibitors.

It is only through the utmost care and stealth, and the slience of you, the reader, can the Mixhibitors live on to create uber systems out of what they consider to be the crude parodies found in rooms at high-end audio shows throughout the world.

As a reminder: The Mixibitors are a group of fanatical audiophiles who live to form sudden, temporary teams very late at night at various shows in order to, with the utmost care and subterfuge, move components from one exhibitor’s room to another’s (usually large) room, mixing and matching the very best components to create Ulimate Systems and, thereby, the Ultimate Listening Experiences. Finally, in the wee hours, they must, with their last ounces of strength, return everything to their original rooms and systems, verifying that everything works as well as it did the previous day, as well as appears the same (this year, they almost ran out of the synthetic dust they use to sprinkle over everything to replace the dust that was displaced during all the moving – it was a dusty show).

Exact numbers of the Mixibitor membership are only available on a need to know basis. And since nobody does need to know this, nobody knows just how many there are in the world. There have been cases when groups of them, unbeknownst to each other, have hit a show at the same time. In cases like this there have been only minor dissagreements about what uber systems to build – it being obvious to everyone but the exhibitors themselves – and it has often been observed that more substance abuse than normal occurs under these circumstances.

This show was a nice change for Mixibitors, as there were not an excessive number of widely unbalanced systems in Montreal. But Mixibitors will be Mixibitors, so the itinerary went like this:

The big WAVACs from the big Verity Lohengrin room went down to the big Avalon Eidolon Diamond room, replacing the VTL amps. To replace the WAVACs there was a fight to see if it would be the new Berning monoblocks or the Nagra solid-state amps. As usual when there is a tie like this in the voting, the lightest component wins – so Berning it was. Not to take this lying down, the Nagra contingent moved the Nagra amps down to drive the gigantic Pierre Gabriel speakers.

And, well, that was it! It only took about 20 minutes for these senior system-swapping experts – with a lot of milling around of the Mixibitors who had nothing to lug from one system to another. And the results, they say, were mixed, but if it is one thing they tell me over and over – if you don’t pay the price of having to move these hernia-indiucing works of art – you don’t get to hear, or hear about, how they sound.

Hey, I just wonder how they don’t get caught lugging someone elses mega-buck equipment to and fro late at night. Or maybe it is when they do get caught that they decide to recruit the catchers as new members. Guess I might just start strolling shows late at night, seeing if *I* can be the one to catch them in the act and get to hear these Ultimate Systems.

The Montreal 2006 Show Report

The photos of FSI 2006 Are *Almost* all up on the website. There are 1000+ photos up already, of a little more than 45 rooms. Still have about 10 rooms to go.

Edgarhorn side photo
The Report: So far only photos.

Each of the 2400 photos is checked for focus and clarity and content. The ones that make it past this check are each Photoshop’ed. by hand.

The Photoshop’ing process involves cropping most photos to remove extra stuff that doesn’t add to the picture while leaving in context. Sometimes this is just ceilings and empty walls, sometimes it is eclipsed components or someone’s face who may not want to be embarrased by having their mug shot plastered all over the web. This reduces the size of the photo so saves dwnloading time by people viewing the photo.

Then the lighting situation in the photo is then modified a little, if necessary.

The photo is then saved in the high-resolution format: usually 1500 pixels wide for landscape and 1400 picxels tall for portrait orientations.

The photos for each room are then arranged in order: room pictures, speaker pictures, rack pictures, component pictures, and finally static display pictures.

They are then added to a HTML page and given the once over to remove photos that are too similar to each other.

Finally some text describing the brands of the components in the room is added and a thumbnail photo is created and added to the master ‘table of contents’ page.

Still to do:

Adding some text for each picture in place of the placeholders ‘The’ ,”This’ etc. The placeholders were there because setting the default text color in Frontpage is not always sucessful and black text on black background is awful hard to edit, much less read.

Writing a script to automatically generate the lower resolution photos from the high resolution photos, and their associated web pages. This requires some manual labor with Photoshop, because it is a little stupid, but it does the best job quality-wise of rescaling images of any tool that I am aware of. Certainly better than Java.

Then… finally… the real show report with the… commentary.

This year the hard-hitting comments will be outside the main photo montage pages. This is because some manufacturers like to link to our pictures – and the pictures are meant to be of archival quality, so we are good with that. And it is not their fault that the person setting up the room with their stuff made noises instead of music. Then again, maybe their stuff sucks… 🙂

In any case – this is the apprach we will take this time. It is the approach we have taken before – and I guess we will see if people (you!) like this approach or the CES 2006 approach better.

OK, back to work!