The CES can be interesting and lots of fun for an audiophile, but don't go with the expectation that you will hear great sound. Many of the audio systems -- even the better ones -- are stuck in hotel rooms that are far from optimal for good sound reproduction. However, you can still get an idea of what's new, setups, etc. After you attend, you may not care to go to another CES, but I encourage all audiophiles to attend at least one major show, if only as a learning experience.
Sdcampbell is correct about the sound at CES. However, it is a great learning experience to speak to the designers and importers as well as meeting other audiophiles. It's about the only chance to see this much equipment and software in this short period of time.
Think of it as a social event rather than an opportunity to hear the best high end sound has to offer.
There is also the possibility of making a great buy on something you always wanted. I've bought equipment at below dealer cost from tired exhibitors that didn't want to drag their gear back home. This is especially true for overseas exhibitors offered US Dollars in cash and no expense of return air shipping back to their country.
After the show each day there are groups of people that team up and dine together. Some of the most memorable nights of my life have included dinner parties with audio names that frequent these posts. As you might imagine, some have personalities as outrageous as their equipment and often the mix of two or more at the same table make for an unforgettable experience.
You should go! I went to my first C.E.S. last year, and the range of high end products is amazing. Like Sdcampbell said, most of the rooms have dreadful accoustics, but you can still make a comparison about relative sonic signatures, and just the way the actual gear looks vs. photos is worth the take! Plus the people (some living legends are there!) and info will greatly improve your audio savvy as well as learning about forthcoming gear and projects WAY AHEAD of reports in audio mags. Plus, there's never a dull moment in Vegas! Sorry "Big Apple" residents, but the city that never sleeps is really Las Vegas, NOT New York! Don't forget that there are TWO SHOWS...the C.E.S. and the EXPO (formerly called the SHOW). Anyone know if the EXPO will be held at the Tuscany again this year?
You definitely should go to the CES--it is fun and you get to see equipments from other countries that would never get to the dealer's showroom. Also, you get see a lot of new video and telecommuication gadgets.
This will be my fifth trip and have already got my airplane ticket. I can't wait.
To expand the topic a little, what about the smaller Montreal show as an alternative? Sure, there's not the same low priced buffets and hotels as in Las Vegas, but wouldn't things be a bit less hectic and addictive in Montreal? Also, apart from the show itself, isn't that city is just as licentious as LV, but in a more cultivated, European way? Just some idle thoughts on *which* show....I agree they're all a lot of fun for those who want to explore equipment more than, say, music, although even at best you're fighting crowds for an off-axis or obstructed seat in a usually acoustically non-optimal room run by often exhausted and cranky personnel. (Although some of the designers can be available to chat.) But it's marvelous because the attendees are at least as esoteric as the gear.
Fatparrot- The SHOW or the EXPO will be at the San Remo this year. Next to the Tropicana and across from the MGM Grand.
Too bad. While I agree that the hotel rooms at the Alexis Park are horrible for the CES exhibits, I thought the Tuscany had some excellent large rooms. I've stayed at the San Remo and thought it was a dump, so I have no expectations that the environment there will be flattering to the exhibits. Too bad - I think the big Kharmas are going to be a The SHOW driven by the Tenor amps. Last year the Kharmas were driven quite impressively by Lamm monos. I'd listen to that system in the parking lot.
Last year was also my first show, and first trip to Vegas, and to say it was well worth it is a great understatement. Albert is correct ... it is more of a social event than a serious audition. Go and enjoy!
Here is the real truth:
Even if you won't like CES in LV you'll(i bet) love Las Vegas just by itself or you can even try your fortune there:^)
P.S. It seems to me that we(audiofiles) are being ignored by the hotel builders and we should clearly state to them that we want hotel rooms treated and designed for proper acoustics:^)
The Montreal show is a better show if Stereo is your thing. Plus the fact for Americans its about a 35% discount on everything due to the dollar. Great deals and a World Class city.
One more thing. Bad sound at a show due to room is such a cop out. Why do some rooms sound great and some sound awafull. .
Its the gear. Plain and simple. Mostly due to lack of synergy and bad choices of associated gear.
Stop blaming the room. 90% of people have no better a room to work with at home.
Bad sound = bad set up and bad gear.
Like I said if every room sounded bad then I would agree.
Things like booking the room one day in adavnce so you can make the best of the situation.
Nothing like walking in a room 10 minutes after the show starts and its not ready yet.
What's the montreal show?
I haven't been to the CES Show before, but have been to Las Vegas quite often for a bigger show - the National Association of Broadcasters Television Show - that typically draws 110.000+ television people. I do plan to go
to the CES show - in large part - to see what sort of new equipment is coming to the market in th months ahead.
That's one of the really great features of these trade shows - is to actually see working equipment long before it arrives at dealers or is written up in various trade or enthusiast magazines. I would deffinately say - GO FOR IT.
Also, if you live in a cold weather climate, you will appreciate the warm desert weather. WAY BETTER THAN ANYTHING IN CANADA!
With respect to whether it is worthwile to attend CES, one point I don't believe has yet been mentioned is the fact that the porno film convention tends to have it's conventon in Vegas during the same time period as CES, at least they did last year. So Dennis - if you're really a "menace" - you should have ample opportunity to get in trouble! Last but not least, CES also runs through the NFL playoffs - watching a playoff game in Ceaser's is great fun. Last year I saw Bucs-Eagles and Jets-Raiders. Almost got into a fistfight - but that's another story...
Montreal, as noted, would be colder outside than Las Vegas. But the men (and women) are more urbane and handsome than in Nevada, imo. And the dessert sun is a bona fide health hazard. ; >
I don't know about the currency advantage for show purchases though. What's the deal with bringing equipment across the border? Tariffs? Damaging inspections for weapons of mass destruction? (Don't even think about an ion tweeter or a funky MBL radial; you'd wind up in Cuba....)
Well just give me my health hazard desert sun! Hey, I moved from the cold, dreary northeast, to the wonderfully sunny and warm Arizona desert. Got tired of shovelling snow until April, and freezing my arse off 'til June. IT IS SO DAMN NICE to see the sun EVERY DAY unlike seeing it on an average of once every three days. Also, there are quite a few people in Montreal and Quebec that have a HUGE ATTITUDE problem towards Americans.
Ill be at CES again this year, but the montreal show last year was 3 Hotels thick !! with nearly every room used.. Its probably the best for 2 chn music around, although there is some HT rooms.
If your are into Tubes and 2 chn setups.. the Montreal show is the one to see..plus they have great bars, restos and clubs and of course, renounwed for the beautiful woman !
Fatparrot If they are like you no wonder people would have an attitude.
Montreal is the premire 2 Ch show in North America.
Well Natalie, once again your charm and warmth shine on! And speaking of attitude problems....
Any idea when/where there will be current info posted for the 2003 Montreal show? The link above is still about the 2002 show.