New York Show Starts Friday 4/13
"New York, New York, It's an Audio Town!" After far too many years without a large-scale audio show, New York City is about to get a taste of what regularly enriches the lives of audiophiles in other major centers around the world. The first, hopefully annual New York Audio and AV Show, brought to you by the same Chester Group that mounts audio shows in the UK, Australia, and Sweden, and by T.H.E. Show USA, takes place in Park Avenue's grand Waldorf=Astoria Hotel at 301 Park Avenue on Friday April 13Sunday, April 15.
The New York Audio and AV Show expects to showcase more than 100 brands. A good 70 exhibitors will demonstrate some of the finest hardware and software money can buy. Since exhibitors will first be able to begin set-up at 5pm on April 12, some are preparing for a mad scramble to the finish line.
The Starlight Roof banquet room on the hotel's 18th floor will serve as the none-too-shabby registration area, and also host seminars, vendor exhibits, and musical performances. Vendors include some of the usual suspects: Chesky Records, MA Recordings, the Cable Company, Lavry Engineering, and May Audio Marketing.
"The venue alone is worth the trip," says industry veteran Bill Leebens, who is helping organize the show. "The lobby and ballroom are absolutely breathtaking. And I don't know anywhere where you can see so many contenders for audiophile state-of-the-art in one place." At least not anywhere East of Denver.
The quality of the performers is an extra temptation. Elio Villafranca, sponsored by Miyajima Labs; Amber Rubarth, Louise Rogers, and Valerie Joyce, all sponsored by Chesky Records; Attention Screen, sponsored by Stereophile; and Jessy Tomsko will hold forth in the Starlight Roof room during show hours. After the exhibits shut down on Friday and Saturday nights, Burmester will set up a mere half-million dollars worth of gear for a DJ system on which Bill Pfeiffer will spin platters, hopefully without splitting eardrums.
Speaking of sound levels, the potential good news about sonics in the hotel's 12 large-sized meeting room suites on the 18th floor is that the walls are solid plaster rather than air-walled. That means better sound for attendees who will be up for sampling what many of the big boys and girls have to offer. Keep a special eye out for Sony, who will introduce their new SS-AR2 loudspeaker; MBL; Scaena; KEF, showing the Blade speaker; Legacy and Ayon; Simpli-Fi; Lessloss and Kaiser Acoustics; GTT Audio and Video (YG Acoustics, Soulution, Kubala-Sosna, Brinkmann); Innovative Audio (Wilson and VTL, plus a special meet-the-manufacturers room), High Water Sound (Cessaro and Tron); AudioArts and more.
A host of hotel rooms on the 15th floor, some big enough to do justice to TAD's large speakers, will await the remainder of the exhibitors. Andy Singer will dem his post-relocation line, including VAC and Verity, and Miyajima-Lab's room will include classic Quad ESL-57s. Walker Audio's state-of-the-art Proscenium Black Diamond III turntable, paired with Burmester gear, promises to be another special draw.
Seminars sound extra juicy. On Saturday and Sunday mornings, John Atkinson will moderate hour-long "Ask the Editors" panels that bring together Stereophile's Michael Fremer, Stephen Mejias (Saturday only), and Art Dudley; The Absolute Sound's Alan Taffel, HiFi+'s Alan Sircom, Tone Audio's Jeff Dorgay, and Electronic House's Grant Clauser (Saturday only). That's a lot of knowledge and energy to fit into a single hour.
On both days, attendees will also be drawn to "Michael Fremer's World-Famous Turntable Set-Up Seminar;" an equally juicy "I Want To Take You HigherThe Present and Future of Digital Music Delivery and Playback" panel, moderated by Audiostream.com's Michael Lavorgna (Saturday) and HDtracks/Chesky Records's David Chesky (Sunday), that will include Channel D's Rob Robinson, Light Harmonic's Larry Ho, MOG's David Hyman, David Chesky, and Playback Design's Andreas Koch; Alan Sircom's "The State We're InRebooting High-End Audio"; and Jeff Dorgay's "Making Audio Reviews More Meaningful." I'm especially curious about the last one, since, according to the write-up I received, "meaningful" seems to be equated with "concise."
As you may well imagine, there was a lot of discussion about the best location for the Chester Group's first New York show. The Waldorf=Astoria was chosen after Leebens recited New York's 12th and 13th commandments: "Manhattanites shall not go to the burbs" and "People of the burbs, get thee to Manhattan." (The 11th commandment, in case you're wondering, is: "Thou Shalt Retire to Florida.")
Given the Waldorf=Astoria location, registration fees are a little higher-ended than at many other shows. Advance online registration brings a discount. Note the show hours: 38pm on Friday (check the websiteFriday hours will be extended if advance registration continues at a fast pace), 10am6pm on Saturday, and 10am5pm on Sunday. I'll betcha anything that Sunday in New York City will not be a slow show day. No matter what the temperature outside, expect this to be one hot show. And as always, Stereophile's writers and editors will be blogging live from the Show.