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What was the show like? Hopefully going to do some shows in the future. Been to the Bristol show, then there's the Wam show how does it compare and what's the vibe. Obviously the Bristol show is for the big boys. The Wam show has lots if individuals.
Went for the first time today. I enjoyed it . More laid back than Bristol, bigger rooms, better food , less crowded. Bit of a maze though. I was very impressed by the Devialet Phantom and the Teddy Pardo set up. Enjoyed an interesting seminar with chap from Russ Andrews. Got quite deep and philosophical!
The subject was ' What are you listening for?' Taken 2 ways ,why do you sit down and listen to music and when you listen what are you looking out for or analysing? Why do we chase the ultimate system and does it add to the enjoymeant of the music? Does the music get lost in the chase for ultimate 'sound' ? There was some discussion about Russ Andrews stuff but that was by the by.
For what's advertised as a (the?) National Audio show, there was a marked lack of major brands: no sign of the likes of Marantz, NAD, KEF, B&W, etc, and those actually there (such as Naim and Linn) were buried away in tiny rooms as part of a dealer's exhibit.
So, too many products packed into minute spaces, such as 'demonstration rooms' with just four seats and our noses almost touching the speakers, while others had huge rooms criminally underused. And whose bright idea was the use of sound-killing high-backed 'executive' office chairs in rows for some of the demonstrations?
As a means of hearing some stuff you'd never heard, or never heard of, the show was mildly diverting, but too much on offer was stuff you'd never want to hear again. Add in the unimaginative 'hi-fi' music choices, and presentations ranging from the non-existent (just music played with no clue what equipment we were hearing) to the brash and aggressive, rubbishing the competition, not to mention the way people (both visitors and room staff) talked all the way through the music in loud voices, and this was hardly a great advert for the state of the hi-fi industry in 2015.
OK, I'm sure some enjoyed catching up with old friends and having a chat, and I saw several of the well-known reviewers there, but to one visiting a show like this for the first time in many years, the whole thing seemed rather off-putting, amateurish in its presentation (considering it seems to be organised or at least sponsored by a trade organisation) and exclusive. And when I say 'exclusive' I don't mean luxurious, but in the sense of those not 'in the know' feeling as excluded as I did.
Honestly I'm not sure what this says about the hi-fi industry, or its ability to attract newcomers to an interest in good music reporduced well: the last time I went to a show was in Bristol some years ago, and that felt a lot more user-friendly and attractive to me.
On the plus side, the show over the weekend did offer a good opportunity to compare lots of pairs of headphones in the area near the entrance, but the rest of it seemed to be all about a confused layout, unfamiliar names with eye-watering price-tags, and backslapping for mates while the rest of us hovered on the fringes hoping to get some attention from the 'salespeople'.
Not good, and for the money (plus the time spent travelling to its rather isolated location) a pretty poor show.
I enjoyed visiting on the Saturday, but it was eye-opening. Very little of what I heard inspired me and some of the astronomically expensive kit was nothing special at all.
The real stars for me were Kralk Audio, Magnific Acoustics, Russell K, Melco, Luxman, Triangle, Linn, Onkyo (their affordable direct drive turntable was shown with a TEAC headphone amp and Denon headphones), and Arcam. The Roksan gear was totally uninspiring - even their new top of the range Blak series kit with the Darius S1 speakers.
I attended the premiere of the Queen Studio Master vinyl set. The remasters were being pushed as something amazing, but they truly aren't. I've heard the tracks played sound better than that, and the catastrophically expensive Roksan/Ortofon/Bryston/PMC system being used was turned up too loud for the room and sounded quite rough IMO.