Yet Another Show: TAVES Starts Friday in Toronto
The Toronto Audio Video Entertainment Show (TAVES) launches its second annual three-day show on September 28 in downtown Toronto's historic King Edward Hotel. Produced by Canada HiFi's publisher/editor-in-chief, Suave Kajko, and his partner, Simon Au, and "presented by Porsche," TAVES promises multiple exhibit rooms in which between 65 and 70 exhibitors, over 80% of whom are manufacturers, will display approximately 274 component brands and media from 26 recording labels (CD, LP, and Blu-ray).
"I'm pretty excited about the preponderance of manufacturers, because they tend to have more elaborate set-ups and bring a lot more product with them," Kajko told Stereophile.
Exhibitors will get a sonic boost from the King Edward's larger than average hotel rooms. Because of the building's age and construction, sound dampening between rooms is superior to that in new facilities, and ceilings are an impressive 10'8" high. Kajko has also done his best to spread exhibitors out in the 100% sold-out show.
Among TAVES' highlights will be the display, in the King Edward's historic Sovereign Ballroom, of a 2012 Porsche Carrera S sports car outfitted with an extremely expensive Burmester audio system. Burmester also has a special display awaiting Saturday attendees. Another exhibit from MK Sound, Marantz, and LG promises a state-of-the-art Home Theater system. No show premieres have been announcedthese seem to be saved for the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, which opens a mere two weeks later, on October 12, a mere 1506.9 miles away in Denver.
A distinct draw for the average consumer is the diversity of exhibitors and product categories. "We're trying to distinguish TAVES from other shows by introducing product categories other than audio and video," says Kajko. "We're making it into more of a consumer audio show. We consider ourselves very lucky, given that this is only the second edition of the show, that we have several new categories, including automobiles, security and lighting systems, and even new commercial products such as LG's mirror and glass TVs. And we're super-excited that Porsche is our major sponsor, because that has enabled us to connect the categories of entertainment and automobiles."
For entertainment, on early Saturday eve, multi-lingual and multimedia electronic pop, urban, and rock diva Cindy Gomez flies in from Germany to, in Kajko's words, "do something definitely out of the ordinary." For Neanderthals such as myself who don't know Cindy Gomez from Rand Paul, Ms. Gomez made history of sorts when she became the first artist to debut in a mobile game on no less than 40 million mobile handsets worldwide.
Kajko has invested in advertising on three major radio stations, and is enticing people with contests that include radio giveaways of 10 different Paradigm products and TV giveaways of Totem Acoustic loudspeakers. "We are not promoting the show only to those already interested in A/V," he says. "We want to reach out to the main consumer market so they can discover the various high-end products and brands, and realize there's so much more to audio and video than what you can find in a big box store." Such as Cindy Gomez.
While Kajko declined to predict attendance in advance of the show, he expects to attract far more than the impressive 3000 attendees who showed up the first year. Given that he has invited several well-known TV personalities to participateNorth American technology expert Marc Saltzman will present a daily seminar designed to introduce people to the realm of digital music file playback, and one of Canada's top interior designers, Yanic Simard, will host daily seminars on entertainment rooms and interior design that culminate in the giveaway of a half-hour entertainment room design consultationhe will surely reach beyond the circle of the already-initiated.
Nor will Saltzman and Simard be the only seminar presenters. This year's offerings have jumped from four to ten, and cover both audio and TV. Mark Waldrep of AIX Records and iTrax.com will discuss "The Future of Music Entertainment," and others will educate people in the realm of TV purchase and calibration. Thanks to Nordost and support from Moon, KEF and Stillpoints, TAVES is even bringing in the UK's Roy Gregory, European Editor for The Audio Beat.com and founding editor of Hi-Fi+ magazine, who will lead folks through the intricacies of set-up and system optimization.
"It's a very young show," says Kajko, "and we still have plenty of work to do. I believe we have the potential to turn TAVES into a major North American show in the next few years."
Robert Deutsch will be blogging live for Stereophile from TAVES.