Press Play and Listen
I'm not sure what readers expected from this, and I certainly wasn't sure what to expect, which is why it was an attractive idea. Yes Nash ended up liking what he heard, but for those cynical enough to think he was just being polite, I'm here to tell you first hand that he was excited by the experience, and his enthusiasm was genuine.
As it should be, because I think everyone who was listening with us, in each and every room, would agree that the music was satisfying. The first note from the Vivid speakers in the first suite got him excited, and that excitement grew as we heard each new system.
But there was no guarantee that this would be the case. We weren't paying him (or anyone in this venture). In addition, manufacturers agreed to cooperate voluntarily, and certainly had a lot to lose in a situation that they had little control over. Graham speaks truths, some very uncomfortable (his song "Chicago" anyone?), in his music his banter on stage and in person, so it would be absurd to think he would spin his reactions at CES.
From the beginning, Nash made his criteria clear: he would listen for the emotional and artistic intent of his songs. In addition, at one point he mentioned his Lowden guitar from Ireland, and that he listens for that familiar sound as we go from room to room. He also focuses on his voice. You can see by the photos that he took the listening very seriously, playing each track through to the end.
There were several other exhibitors I wish we could have visited had time not run out: Jeff Joseph, T+A, MSB . . . We passed by the MBL room at one point and Graham wanted to take a look at the Radialstrahler mbl 101E Mk.II speakers on display, immediately drawn to their odd appearance. But alas, there was a demo going on so we listened a bit and moved along.
As you can imagine, making progress through a crowded show with someone like Graham can quickly bog down with requests for photos, autographs and stories. Nash was always interested and engaged and never turned anyone away, and in fact made an effort to greet everyone in the room or hallway. At the close of the day we were just about out of the Venetianright at the glass doors in factwhen one more couple spotted him and asked for a photo. With a smile he stopped and started arranging everyone.
In the end, he reminded us that listening to music is not a race or sport. Yes we all have preferences, but if you leave your ears open, good sound can take many forms. Nash clearly demonstrated that he not only knew what he was hearing, but more importantly how to listen.
And he liked it. Is that so bad?