The 2011 SSI: a Show of Shows

It was a really good show. That was the opinion of the people I spoke to at the 2011 SSI, including veteran as well as first-time exhibitors, and members of the public. Even the Trade Day, which in the past was not very popular, was busy enough that it felt like it almost could have been one of the public days. The Lifetime Achievement Awards ceremony was extremely well-attended, as the above photo illustrates. There was a kind of back-to-the-basics feel to the show, with a strong emphasis on music presented in two-channel stereo, and almost nothing in the way of surround sound. (Sorry, Kal!)

There were few video demos; the two 3D projectors that I saw did not impress, the images being on the dim-and-blurry side. (Yes, this was with the glasses on.) If you were a videophile, I think you'd have found the show disappointing. But if you were a fan of high-quality reproduction of music, there was a wide range of products to pique your interest. There was also quite a bit of live music, serving to remind us of what it's all about. I had a great time, and so, I believe, did John Atkinson and Art Dudley.

Making a show like SSI a success requires skill and a lot of work; both of these were in evidence from show organizers Michel Plante, Sarah Tremblay, and their staff. The major advantage of show hotel Hilton Bonaventure was that once you'd arrived at the entrance to the show, you did not have to take any elevators: you could just keep wandering and eventually you'd hit all the exhibits. The room acoustics, while not always ideal, were about as good as you could expect in a hotel. I always enjoy meeting fellow audiophiles, and the ones attending SSI—Anglophone and Francophone—are some of the most passionate followers of the hobby in the world.

And for once it didn't snow!