Assessing T.H.E. Show Long Beach 2019

See the smiling woman in this photo with a dazed-amidst-all-these-rooms yours truly? Meet T.H.E. Show’s fabulous Director of Social Media and Marketing, Emiko Carlin, a former classical pianist and musician whose 3000 songs include some #1 pop singles. I don’t know how this dazzling woman comes across to others, but for me, discovering Ms. Carlin was like meeting an old friend.

Clearly Carlin has many friends. While I don’t know how many show attendees arrived due to her heavy social media campaigning, I do know that virtually every younger person to whom I posed the question, “How did you hear about this show?” replied that they had found it online. Turnout numbers won’t be released for a while, but I would say, given the small size of rooms and the somewhat manageable spread over six floors, that attendance was ideal. Had 2000 more people showed up, the congestion at elevators, in halls and dining areas, and in lines outside rooms would have been too much.

This was a moderate-sized show, one that attracted a goodly number of major brands as well as major dealers from the southern California area and beyond. It also attracted a really considerate group of audiophiles and curiosity seekers. People in virtually every room I visited were polite, attentive, friendly, and genuinely interested in what the high end has to offer. And very few of them talked over the music.

Some may lament that T.H.E. Show has shrunk from its heyday in, first, Las Vegas and then in Southern California. I lament that the design of some of the Hilton’s rooms was unfriendly to good sound. Regardless, given the shift in the show landscape and the supreme importance of an audio show in Southern California, I’d say that T.H.E. Show is on the ascent. For which Emiko Carlin as well as Maurice Jung deserve some credit.

Emiko joined Dylan Gardner, Lori Lieberman, and Robert B (Bob Bucciarelli) for a Saturday night concert that was recorded live on a J-Corder reel-to-reel. Expect a vinyl release before year’s end. And, if the seas don’t rise much faster than predicted, expect an even better T.H.E. Show in 2020.

jimwilson993's picture

Had a wonderful time!

MontanaMontanaDana's picture

Well organised, nice venue, and enough interesting demo rooms to keep me occupied for two full days (after which I'm burned out anyway).
Pretty well perfect for me.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

What happened to JVS's facial hair? ....... Make JVS, JVS again :-) ...........

Forgotten Audiophile's picture

If you have one show to go to and you live in the west, RMAF should be that show.

rt66indierock's picture

I had a great time at t.h.e. Show and in Long Beach. I got to spend some time with Emiko too and we have some common ground going forward. I met a lot of nice people and caught up with many friends I've made since the 2016 show in Irvine.

However, the quietest room I found was the empty press room Friday morning 33-36 decibels. Every other room was louder and the noise of the hotel made high frequencies pretty much non existent.

Finally I spent a long time in Room 408 (Ocean Way & AGD Production) because I'm interested in pro version of Alan Sides two way speaker. It was sad to hear audiophiles ask which speakers were playing. Are you even an audiophile if you can't tell which pair of speakers are playing in a hotel room? And of course the usual demo tricks were on the third floor. I'm saddened by the number of attendees who fell for them.

otaku's picture

I really like how you split each room review into a separate post. Makes it much easier to read IMHO

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

Individual posts, combined with our new titling scheme, certainly make online searches easier. In the future, anyone who wants to read all the posts together, in reverse sequence of appearance (which is how you see them now), can use the pull down menu under "Shows" at the top of Stereophile's home page.

Anton's picture

Next year, I will be there.

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

Well, I tried to insert a thumbs up, but this website doesn't seem to like emojis. Clearly, given that I've now hollered yippee three times, it should be clear that I look forward to your reappearance.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

So, you get to meet the legend himself JVS :-) ..........

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

is the legend. Those who have attended shows in years past know. Millions sit at his feet in silent meditation. Those who find these words obscure will have to attend RMAF and find out for themselves. Anton, however, will have to take a deep breath when he discovers the new room rates for RMAF in its new luxury resort setting.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

I was referring to Lord JVS ...... Yes, as you said 'sitting at the feet' could happen :-) .......

Bogolu Haranath's picture

BTW ..... Under the new leadership, budget restrictions are being implemented at Stereophile ....... So, all the Stereophile reviewers attending these shows, are only allowed to stay at Motel-6, use only the public transportation for commute, eat only at the fast food joints, and drink only the city supplied tap water :-) ........

Bogolu Haranath's picture

BTW ....... If he can handle the weight, may be JVS could review the Burmester 909 MK5 amp in stereo or, in the mono configuration? :-) .........

ok's picture

a beautiful scene.. cold people in black turning their backs on lovely pair under yellow light at narrow hotel corridor and all.

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

for calling us a lovely pair. I must say that I can't think of anyone I spoke with at the show who wasn't lovely.

As for the black-clad others in the hallway, which was far better lit than a flash photo reveals, we were hardly the center of attention at a show where most people, save for exhibitors and Stereophile readers, didn't know who either of us was. One interesting aspect of this show was that, while my badge said "Press," it did not identify the publication. With some new exhibitors or employees, it was fun to operate in stealth mode.