California Audio Show-why I hate audio conventions
I decided to check out the California Audio show today- had one particular room i really wanted to listen toand was the main reason I drove to the show, as in past shows their rooms have always sounded great. I thought to myself, if their room sounded good again, I really have to consider buying a pair of their speakers.
I went into the room, and saw the owner whom I have met and bought from many years ago when he had a small retail shop. His room was empty, so I figured it was a great chance to play my own CD I brought. I asked if it was ok to play my CD, he said yes, and took out the Diana Krall CD and threw mine in-
My CD played for no more than 1 minute, and he came back into the room and put the Krall CD back in----The CD i wanted to play was a track of the Kate Bush Aeriel CD, not some gothic death metal -I guess as in my past experience, all too many exhibiters seem to want to demo their gear with music they prefer, not what the public may be interested in. While I understand, you want to play what may make your gear sound best, but in my specific case and I suppose others, I do not choose what I buy based on whether it sounds good playing Diana Krall tracks.
This gets me to my point, all too many shows I have been to, the manufacturers play the same CDs, the same genre of music over and over----It is like each show is Co-Sponsered by Diana Krall. ---While I own her entire catalog, there is more to music than hers---you would never get that from the shows I have been to.
The show itself in all seriousness was worth going if any of you are in the area--
Some standout rooms were the Music Lovers Audio of Berkeley room --the Wilson Watt/Spectral one in particular. They played both CDs/and LPs and they actually played a nice mix of music---while I was there, older Santana on LP, and Talking Heads on CD-
I concur about the big Music Lovers room. Just one correction: they had Wilson Maxx speakers in there. They often have the same setup in their big room in Berkeley as well. Also agree that the Electrocompaniet room was very good sounding. Other standouts for me were the D'agostino room and the very surprising Brodmann Accoustics room on the 4th floor.
Regardless of whether you dig her music/style/hair/piano playing/voice/whatever, Krall's music is very well recorded. I like some of her music, not all, but if I want to show off my rig, the first thing that goes on is Temptation from Girl in the Other Room. Recordings like that would sound great on an old transistor radio! Exhibitors just want to present their systems in the best light possible, so they're going to pick the best recorded stuff to play at shows. I'd do the same thing if I was trying to sell merchandise.
It's true that one bad apple can spoil the whole barrel. But not this barrel. In my group's opinion this was a great show. This show proved time and time again you don't need to spend 300K to build a great system. I talked to a lot of people, made some excellent contacts , and heard some great music. I saw rooms hosts playing everything people asked to hear. Even handing them the volume control. When does that happen! This is an audio show for anyone who dreams of improving their system, even if they have yet to win the lottery. I hope we all understand if us audiophiles don't support audiofests like this, they will be no more.
Elizabeth, if it were not for the 'middle aged farts' hi end audio would not exist, as its business model would have long ago put all the hi end vendors into bankruptcy. It will be interesting to see what happens as the 'twenty/thirty somethings' move into middle age knowing nothing but what the great Apple provides. Maybe Apple is planning a 'ihiend' wherein all your music is in their 'cloud'. Long live the middle farts!
Justlisten, I've had similar experiences at dealers. For demo purposes some of the CD's I take along are very poor sound quality and the dealers hate it when I play them. I don't do it to make their systems sound bad, it's just that some music that is essential to me happens to sound terrible and I need to see how their equipment handles it because there's no better sounding version of it. A dealer one day told me it was okay but asked that I change it if another customer came in. My own system is set up for a decent balance between revealing and forgiving so I can enjoy most of the music most of the time and is compromised in some ways but I like it. If I was a seller at a show I'd play slam-dunk stuff too but as a buyer like you it's a different story.
A huge thank you to Constantine and all the vendors who showed. I have to second the opinion that this was the best show for me also. It was very possible to end up in a sweet spot seat so necessary for giving many setups a fair shake. Vendors were MUCH more easily approachable with less pressure that what you discussed had to be condensed. Even fellow attendees seemed to have their guards lowered in interacting with each other. Two of the most enjoyable low pressure days of listening to cool sounds. By far more rooms "did it" for me than didn't. That's never been the case. Long live California Audio Show!
How about a little Barber on the side with that Krall followed by a dash of Pidgeon & Cole. On the flip side I always get introduced to a ton of new music at the shows, the European vendors usually have some cool material.
Buconero, I have to agree with you. Lately, my wife suggested that I think about a career change and get into hi end audio. I explained that it ain't what what it used to be 40 years ago. Today, HT, so called hi-rez (yeah, sure) and PCs and Apples are it.
I am glad that there's enough of us out there to keep this niche hobby alive.
If you play the right material you won't have people Talking over your demo! Play something with compression and magically some people who think such music can't Be improved via high end systems disappear. They're wrong on that point, but it's not worth arguing Over it.
You can't blame dealers/mfgrs for wanting their Demos to sound lovely; the old adage, you aatract More flies with sugar than vinegar, is true.
OTOH, I find people are most impressed with A rig when they hear their genre of music on it.
I hope readers look past the title of this post so they can see the positive views many of us have about this show. Perfect? Nope. But from talking with Constantine I can tell he wants this show to exist for all of us.
This is evident in that many people actually did play their own music. Many rooms were full of enthusiastic listeners. And, overall, I did not hear one word or message of gloom that haunts CES.