Which Show to Attend?

I am looking to purchase a new/used set of speakers in the $5000 price range and would like to listen to as much as possible at an upcoming show. I noticed the RMAF is coming up in Oct. and the Home Entertainment Show is in Jan. Is this the same as the CES which also has the same dates and is also in Las Vegas. Which would give me a chance to hear the widest range of speakers?
CES/T.H.E. Show (not HES) will have more to hear. RMAF is smaller and easier to navigate, and it's attended by smaller manufacturers. Often many of the same manufacturers who attend RMAF will attend HES, but not all will.

CES/T.H.E. Show are held the same weekend at different venues in Vegas. You'll get a flavoring for how the speakers sound, but the demo rooms are seldom ideal. At least you'll be able to narrow your search and arrange a more controlled demo later.

I don't believe T.H.E. Show and HES are the same event, but I could be wrong.
Jig, I believe the HES you are referring to is really The Home Entertainment Show (aka T.H.E. Show).

CES is kind of a three-part extravaganza--at least as far as audiophiles are concerned. The "Zoo" is at the Convention Center and adjacent hotels. It is for a large variety of consumer electronics. Everything from game players, TVs, cameras to car audio and HT in a box systems. Any high-end audio manufacturers that are listed for that vicinity are generally tucked away in widely separated hotel rooms and are only interested in meeting with dealers or potential dealers. Frequently they only have their items for show and tell, not to listen.

The vast majority of high-end audio equipment set up for listening is at two separate locations. One location is still part of CES. Last year it was several miles away at a hotel called Alexis Park (AP). There was a free shuttle between AP and the Zoo.

The second location for high end audio is T.H.E. SHOW which is a separate event that runs concurrent with CES. It started as somewhat of an outlaw show and has grown. In 2006 it was held in a hotel (The St. Tropez)adjacent to AP.

The AP and St. Tropez locations were adjacent to each other and therefore it was easy to wander between the two. Both had many, many rooms to visit and it was almost overwhelming.

Be advised that CES is a trade show and not open to the general public. I am not sure about admission requirements for T.H.E Show. If you are elligible to register for CES you need to do a couple of things in preparation.

First, know that hotel rooms fill very fast and I think it is the only event that fills every room in town. Two, start a rigid exercise regimen for legs and upper body. You will have many stairs to climb since both hotels are a series of separate two-story buildings. I think visiting every room is the vertical equivalent of climbing Mt. Everest. You will need upper body strength to carry all the literature available.
i have visited the Alexis Park and St. Tropez hotels many times.

it is not that difficult to visit all of the rooms if you bring your own CDs and listen for egregious faults in the sound at each room.
the show and ces are a bit of a circus....for the money you're spending, working with a local dealer for an in-home demo is far better.
Not to add more confusion, but there is the HE show (often referred to as the Stereophile show). It's held in the spring. This last year it was in LA. Don mentioned the CES at Alexis Park. This is the high end segment of CES, but the Alexis Park has been torn down. The High end will be at the Venetian. The other thing to be aware of is CES, while it means "comsumer electronics show" is not for consumers. It's really for manufacturers and dealers, though more and more consumers go. CES does not really enforce what they claim to in terms of making it industry only.
Ohhh Nooo Richard, say it isn't so. I liked Alexis Park. It was so, so, well--funky. I enjoyed the relaxed, no-casino atmosphere and the sunshine and fresh air between rooms. And it was so convenient to wander between there and T.H.E. Show.

Sure the rooms were not great for audio demos but I have never been in a room that was. Unless, of course, you had worked your magic.
I pretty much agree with Jaybo.

Years ago, I heard what at the show was one of the best speakers. Later, I had the same speakers set up by the local dealer next to an other brand of the same price. The difference was night and day. The "show" speakers lost!

My point is that you can use your experience at a show as a guide, but don't use it as your final decision.

Regarding utilizing the services of a dealer to hear speakers, I recently wrote a bit of a personal rant on this topic in one of my speaker threads.

I'm interested in a new (or used) pair of relatively high sensitivity, easy to drive loudspeakers. There are about six possibilities on my list, none of which can be heard in Southern California for several reasons, one being the absence of local dealers.

So, while working with a dealer is a good idea, there are clearly times when it's not possible to do so, and in these circumstances shows like CES or T.H.E. Show offer the opportunity to hear speakers that are minimally distributed.
Unfortunately it's true. I liked the atmosphere too and the rooms were really no worse than many hotel rooms. Bad dimensions, bass boom, hard walls (can be a good thing depending on your neighbor), it's pretty much par for the course. HE show in LA was different, very good room dimensions and not much of a bass problem, but that's extremely rare.

I am concerned at the Venetian they will pack us in every single room and the halls will be jammed with too much noise to listen to anything. We'll see. First year at any new venue is a challenge. It usually takes 3 years or more to work the bugs out.