Music at Hi-Fi shows...


Well-known member
Nov 17, 2008
Ok, technically this should probably be in the "Shows" forum but that seems to be largely ignored so thought I'd try here.

I've been sorting music for one of our rooms at the Bristol Show later this week and must admit it's quite a challenge. For the first time we're using a USB stick as the source through a Naim UnitiQute (as discussed in another thread) so I can't play visitor's CD's. This is a concern to me as I always try to be as open as possible at shows and avoid some of the pretentiousness that can be part the Hi-Fi industry, no timed demo's or locked doors, play any material etc. (sometimes these are necessary of course depending on type of demo)

The material is where the problem lies, you'll never please everyone! Now what I'm wondering is this; do I stick 200 tracks on the USB, including a large variety of good music of varying quality (this is how it's looking at present) or trim it down to 20 or so fantastically recorded pieces that will really show off the system? Most people won't spend more than a few minutes in the room so will not listen to much more than a couple of tracks anyway.

The thing that stops me taking the "perfect tracks" approach is that variety will be limited and it's something I've always hated at these shows that when you go from room to room you hear one tinkly piano after another - which doesn't really tell you much at all about a system. Very well recorded music can sound good on almost anything. On the flip-side I don't want to limit people's first impressions of the system based on walking into the room and hearing something less than impressive...

Basically my question is: What do you expect from a Hi-Fi show demo? Do you want "normal" music that you may listen to at home to be played or only the highest quality recordings to really show what systems are capable of? (these may be the same things of course - I'm generalising in presuming people will have plenty of music they like to listen to which was never fantastically recorded in the first place)

It's not really for advice as such, just general interest in what the public hope to get out visiting a show like this - we inevitably trim the selection of music down a little as we go depending on what seems popular, I've always wondered if people really like listening to all the solo piano/cello/violin pieces that seem prevalent at these events or indeed want more variety?


New member
Feb 4, 2011
Basically my question is: What do you expect from a Hi-Fi show demo? Do you want "normal" music that you may listen to at home to be played or only the highest quality recordings to really show what systems are capable of?

It's simple, really. At a demo I want to hear music that I know well (and like) sounding better than I have ever heard it before. That could be a mixture of well-known classical pieces and selections from the most successful rock/pop albums of the last 4 years. Hearing music that had obviously been chosen to make it easy for the system to shine would just leave me wondering what it would sound like with one of my own CDs.


New member
Nov 24, 2007
Lots of people today download their music from itunes at 256kbps, so just take your iphone with you and plug that into a speaker system you may want to buy that way you are listening to YOUR type of music at 256kbps.

I wouldnt buy speakers because they sound great with a well recorded piano if im never ever going to listen to piano music... If ac/dc is what you listen to downloaded from itunes then listen to that via your iphone, that will give you the honest sound that you will hear in your own home.


Personally, I'd ignore all the classical stuff - I never listen to it anyway. I'd want to hear stuff that I listen to regularly that I know, rather than something which might sound amazing but I have no frame of reference to.

I've been thinking about this recently though as I'm in the market for a new amp and so have been listening to things more carefully, and reckon the following will be coming with me:

Metallica - S&M. Any system that can cope with this has got to be good.

Pink Floyd - Momentary Lapse of Reason. A really underrated album that is brilliantly produced

Adele - 21. Just got this and am blown away by how good it sounds. Great tunes too.

Queen - A Day at the races. In particular, Millionaires Waltz - during the solo the guitar just goes super wide and immense - not a bad test if you ask me. which you did. so there!

Probably some Stone Roses and maybe even some Venetian Snares or Pendulum just for fun!

the record spot

Clare Newsome:
maxflinn: a bit of "dido" might be nice too

Wasn't sure re Katie Melua, but now I know these are wind-up suggestions

Well, y'see, you say that and then a quick listen to katie Melua's "9 Million Bicycles" CD single shows it to be an incredibly well produced three-track disc...sorry!