The New York Show Starts Friday April 12
What, another audio show? Yes, barely three weeks after the close of Salon Son et Image in Montreal, and five weeks after AXPONA Chicago, the UK-based Chester Group's New York Audio Show gets underway. Running April 1214 in the New York Palace Hotel (455 Madison Avenue at 50th Street), the show promises perhaps the largest numbers of seminars and live music events of any current audio show in the US.
The NYAS promises 40 display rooms from 13 dealers and 27 manufacturers/distributors, a Headzone filled with gear from nine companies, one marketplace room with lots of goodies, and two extremely juicy "Attraction Rooms" (see below). Among the 250 brands at the show, look for at least one product launch, VPI's direct-drive Vanquish! turntable, whose unique arm is mainly composed of epoxy. Another highlight is sure to be found in Innovative Audio's two rooms, where recording engineer Peter McGrath of Wilson Audio Specialties will hardly need coaxing to share his superb high-resolution master recordings.
Seminars, We Got Seminars
This is one show that puts equal emphasis on music and equipment. For starters, take a look at those "Attraction Rooms." The Spellman Room, jointly sponsored by PMC Loudspeakers, Soundstage Direct, and The Sound Organisation, plans a series of "From Studio to You" seminars with major mastering engineers. Events include an exciting session where Prof. Clive Davis and recording engineer Jim Anderson compare Patricia Barber mixes, other sessions with Barber co-engineer Darcy Proper, an inside look at the recording of Lori Lieberman's CD, Bricks Against the Glass, and, in the early evening, a performance by Lieberman herself.
Not to be outdone, the Garrison Room's Classic Album Sundays offerings include Michael Fremer's ever-popular, immensely entertaining turntable seminars, and Classic Album Sundays listening sessions where founder Colleen "Cosmo" Murphy will host sessions that complement talks about the history of great vinyl albums with uninterrupted, mobile phone-free listening on a superb system. Last but not least are the room's two screenings of Last Shop Standing, a movie which discusses the rise of record shops, the short-lived demise of vinyl, and the rise of CDs and new technologies.
"There's no one who's going to be wandering around, wondering what they might do next," says Christina Yuin, show publicist and high-end audio veteran extraordinaire who knows the industry inside out. In addition to the above, she points to the New York Audio Show's 11 different seminarsno repeats!scheduled over the course of the three days. Stereophile readers who have followed Art Dudley as he's dismantled and remounted countless components will flock to his joint seminar, with TONEAudio's Jeff Dorgay: "Virtues of Vintage: Audio Gear from the Early Days Of High Fidelity." Of later vintage are seminars from Channel D's Rob Robinson and AIX Records' Mark Waldrep that address the digital download end of things.
Seminar presenters also include Sound & Vision's Brent Butterworth and HDTracks' David Chesky. Cable debunkers may wax ecstatic over Dan Foley's "Cutting the CordWill Bluetooth Replace Audio Cables?" And folks in both subjectivist and objectivist camps, if such absolute camps truly exist, will delight as Spiral Groove/Immedia's Stirling Trayle and cyber-security computer specialist Steve Hurd introduce The SLOEMusic Foundation, which has yet more luscious listening in store.
Thanks to Chesky Records, there's additional entertainment. Schedules had not been finalized at press time, but there were hopes of performances, on the 4th floor foyer, by Amber Rubarth, Valerie Joyce with Andy Ezrin, and Louise Rogers.
Not to be outdone, KEF America sponsors jazz guitarist Fabrizio Sotti on Friday from 9-10pm in the "Hubbard 2" ballroom. Free passes to Sotti's celebration of his new album will be available in the KEF suite.
Present and Future
Yuin is hopeful about the acoustics in the Palace. Only one active exhibitor is in a large, air-walled space, and individual exhibit rooms are staggered over multiple floors for optimal sound.
Contacted in the UK, Roy Bird, Honorary Chairman of Chester Group Exhibitions USA LLC, addressed his vision for the New York Audio Show. "I believe that the only venue and location to properly represent high performance audio to new audiences is a hotel like the Palace, which presents the right environment and image for the products on display," he said. "We also have some genuine and unique attractions that will attract a new and vibrant market. And in a further attempt to reach beyond the traditional audiophile audience, 70% of our advertising budget targets non-audio publications and media."
The New York Audio Show has already publicized plans for its third annual show, in 2014, again at the Palace. On April 2, Bird announced that he has been in contact with organizers Richard Beers of T.H.E. Show Newport Beach, Michel Plante of Salon Son et Image, and Steve Davis of AXPONA. Beers, Bird, and Plante agreed that scheduling the next New York Audio Show for April 2527, 2014 would work best to ensure that there was at least one month between their three shows. However, Davis had announced on March 29 that the second installment of AXPONA Chicago was scheduled for the very same weekend, April 2527, 2014.
Bird also promises a new series of smaller, exclusive Chester Group high-performance shows backed by "completely new and major media (not audio)," launching in November. The Chester Group is also re-establishing its steering committees, composed of manufacturers, distributors, and retailers, to address ongoing issues that include show dates.
NYAS seminar star Art Dudley will join Stephen Mejias, Ariel Bitran, and John Atkinson to report their thrills and discoveries at the show as they trip the life fantastic while traipsing between exhibits and seminars. Here's hoping for the skinny on what Patricia Barber's engineers have to say, and how successful presenters are in getting New Yorkers to slow down and listen to the music. Stay tuned to Stereophile.com as the fun begins.