Trying to decide if the train fare (~$70 round trip) is worth it to attend. Is this a consumer friendly show? Can one just walk around and listen without the hard sell? Never been to a show of this genre before. What else goes on besides the demos? Thanks for all insight!
I doubt you will encounter any hard selling. Most exhibitors are there just to get their products in front of and heard by self-selected audiophiles. Furthermore, even though most exhbitors do not use timed/scripted demos, they do like to keep the music going. So there isn't much opportunity to "qualify the customer" and "close the sale." You will be able to wander around, go into exhibit rooms, and in most cases ask to hear tracks you have brought in. Brief tracks, and usually subject to veto if it is deathmetal thrash or Olivier Messaien... .
Friday afternoon there is a seminar/panel discussion about hi-resolution audio, etc. Friday afternoon at 4:00 there will be a live classical violin recital by Arturo Delmoni. However, on Saturday there are no planned attractions other than the demo rooms and suites, and the table-top displays in the trade-show area. This show is short, only two days, and small, only about 30 demo rooms. So please don't go if you are expecting 100 demo rooms and some very large, ballroom sized setups.
That said, there should be some interesting rooms. Look over the exhibitor list at www.axponanyc.com and see if anything interests you, and don't be shy about phoning exhibitors to ask what units they are bringing, specifically. The demo rooms are not huge, and so most will have only one front end (though many will have both analog and digital), one set of electronics, and one pair of speakers. So don't assume that just because a company is showing, they will have the specific product you want to hear.
If you gave each room only a 5-minute visit, that would be almost three hours, right? But what usually happens is that some rooms have no interest and in others you spend 15 minutes.
One nice thing is that you get to meet and chat with fellow audiophiles.
AXPONA hopes to have a longer, larger NYC show in 2012.
Hope that helps.
Thank you for your informative response. I'm still on the fence given the smallish size of the show and the travel cost. I don't know why, but Amtrak fares keep changing from day to day. Now a round trip is up to $80. I can't be there Friday for the seminar and recital. Were they on Saturday it would be a no-brainer to attend. I may wait until next year. Thanks again. Best regards.