The Hub: California Audio Show

If you're in one of the parts of the US sweltering through record high temperatures, you have another reason to attend the California Audio Show in Emeryville, near San Francisco this weekend: high temperatures are forecast to be in ... the SIXTIES??

Here in Florida, that's January weather. A chilly January, at that.

Constantine Soo, the affable major domo of Dagogo, has brought a big-time audio show back to the west coast. California hasn't hosted an audio show since the last Stereophile Home Entertainment show, way back when? In the last century? At any rate, it's been a while.

Left-coast manufacturers, retailers and audiophiles have long bemoaned the absence of local shows. Earlier this year, Constantine realized that no one else was going to produce a show in California, and decided to tackle the show himself.

Despite an economic outlook best described by the intensive care phrase "cautiously optimistic", regional audio shows are having a banner year in 2010. The California Audio Show follows the first editions of Axpona and the Capital Audiofest, and repeat appearances of AKFest, Can Jam and the Lone Star Audio Fest. Yet to come this year are the seventh Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, and a number of specialty shows including the Carolina Can Fest and Carver Fest.

It could even be argued that the shaky state of the economy has contributed to the current run of successful shows. Maybe you can't afford new gear, but for the cost of a movie you can at least see it, hear it and play with it. But that's a topic for another day.

For a first-time show, Constantine's done a terrific job of attracting an interesting group of manufacturers, distributors and dealers,as the exhibitor list shows. The list runs from Aaudio through Ypsilon-- maybe ZYX will show up to complete the alphabet.

The major players include Krell, Linn, Parasound, MartinLogan, MIT, and the Harman brands: JBL, Revel and Mark Levinson. The highest of the high end will be represented by Magico, YG Acoustics, Win Analog, VAC, Consensus and Audio Note, amongst others.

Many long-time audio show favorites will be exhibiting, including Legacy, Audio by Van Alstine, Fritz Speakers, Glow Audio, Graham Engineering, Eminent Technology, Kubala-Sosna, SOTA, KR Audio, Sonist, Salk Signature Sound, Harbeth and Quad. Cutting-edge products from Resolution Audio,Digital Audio Denmark, Korg, Wave Kinetics and Emerald Physics should be very interesting.

We look forward to a great California Audio Show, one hopes the first of many to follow. There should be no shortage of great sound at all price levels.

Hilton Garden Inn San Francisco | Oakland Bay Bridge
1800 Powell Street, Emeryville, CA 94608
Tel (510) 658-9300
Fax (510) 595-1914

Friday, July 30, 2010 – 9am to 6pm
Saturday, July 31, 2010 – 9am to 6pm
Sunday August 1, 2010 – 9am to 4pm

Ticket: $10 per person (all 3 days)
Cool! I'll be there Saturday Morning.
I spent the day at the show - my first - and I had a blast! I've always wondered what a 6 figure system might sound like, and now I know.

Glad you enjoyed it!

Any other attendees out there?
I spent my entire Friday there and had a great time.

For the price I thought that the Tonian Labs new Classic 7.1 1B was hard to beat, and I'm not a big fan of ribbon tweeters.

I also had a great time talking to Mike Zivkovic and the Clearaudio reps while listening to Mike's Ingenium. This room was always packed with baby boomers who brought along their records. Good times, and some of these guys brought in some rare recordings too. I could have easily spent another day hanging out in just this room.

I was disappointed that Kara didn't have her 50A mono amps on Friday. I'll have to catch up with her again at the RMAF.

There were several astonishing and expensive configurations, but I typically only stick my head in, look around and get the Hell out. Really, I could send my nephew to Stanford for almost 2 years for the price of that VAC S! I'm not the slightest bit interested.
Thanks for the report.

Different folks, different priorities....;->
The Kronzilla amps in the Consensus room were sweet. 100 wpc SET, for a cool $32k a pair. The tubes were these big foot-tall things that cost a cool $2k a pair...I thought that room was one of the best sounding of the show.

I'll give the nod to the Tonian room. I was most excited to hear Tonian speakers after reading so much hype about them, and they certainly did not disappoint. The speakers were a brand new model and quite large in cabinet size, but paired with a $50 Magnavox cd player and a $300 Audiolab integrated, the sound was amazing! Surprising bass, and a huge sense of realism, naturalness and palpability.

Thanks for your take on the show.

We'll have our room-by-room coverage up in the next few days, for those who weren't lucky enough to have attended the show.
I was one of the hosts in the Profundo/Cardas room and all I can say is we were really busy for the entire show. Our smaller room quite often got to standing room only but everyone was nice about it. Great turn out!

The attendees were a fun crowd and many brought along their own music - which we gladly played. Most of which was on vinyl, but a good share on CD too.

Constantine was the perfect host, often checking in on each of the rooms, trying to be sure we were all ok with the show and all. At one point, I had stepped out of our room, into the hallway to sort myself out a little and glanced down the hallway to see Constantine offering to help an exhibitor move some speakers out of the elevator. The man was a blur!

Great show!

I would love to hear comments from attendees that visited our room. Soundscape Audio & Video room 1203. We showed the Genesis G7.1F speakers driven by Parrasound JC-1 400W mono block amps, Parasound D-200 Universal player, JC-2bp (new model) stereo preamp. We premiered the JC-3 ($4000 tba) phono preamp, with a Clear Audio Champion table, Rega 250 Quint and Grado Blue ($110. The wire Genesis speaker wire and interconnect along with Nordost Valhala and Odin AC cables.
Our other room premiered Martin-Logan Ethos Electrostatic speakers, Martin-Logan Motion speakers for center and rears and the Sherwood Newcastle R972 AV receiver, also wired with Nordost cable.
Please comment on the room. Thanks.
We premiered the JC-3 ($4000 tba) phono preamp
Correction: It's $2000. I have been in frequent contact with Parasound and John Curl about this unit since day one.

Dealer disclaimer.
My wife and I spent all three days at the show and fully enjoyed every moment of it. Day 1 was spent going from room to room to get a rough idea of what each room was like. Day 2 I was alone most of the day so I spent more time in the rooms I really enjoyed. My favorites were the Audio Image room playing the King speakers; the Legacy Win Audio room; and the Tone of Music room. Day 3 we were only there a short time so it was mainly one last look around. Thanks to Constantine Soo and staff for a wonderful show. Looking forward to California Audio Show 2011.