The California Audio Show Starts Friday

The sixth annual California Audio Show kicks off this Friday, August 14, 10am, at the Westin Hotel in Millbrae. In a lovely location facing the water and within walking distance of several restaurants, audiophiles and the equally curious will enjoy sound in 29 active exhibit rooms, a "Headmasters" room with 7 exhibits, and 5 more exhibits in the hallway.

This year, show organizer Constantine Soo has engaged as Show Manager Jim Arvantis, an industry veteran whose work with Kenwood and Sony led to a 10-year stint on the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) Audio Board and E-Learning Committee. According to Arvantis, this year's show theme is "Building a Bridge to Millennials and Post-Millennials." (Après le millennial, le déluge?) To back up the show's exhortation, "Join the High Resolution Revolution," attendees under 18 are admitted free—those under 15 must be accompanied by a paying adult—and adults ages 18–24 receive discounted admission with ID.

Along these lines, Neil Young's Pono will conduct the "MP3 Challenge!" at its Display Booth near the CAS Registration table on the Main Floor. Pono staff will be on hand to answer questions, and a PonoPlayer will be one of the show's enticing Prize Giveaways. Balancing that out, Music Rarities and Audio Nerd promise over 4500 LPs for sale.

"We're convinced that most generations have music lovers, and we also know the importance of music to millennials and post-millennials," says Arvantis. "We're trying to make the emotional tie-in. We believe that when new generations of music lovers hear just how good their music will sound, they will gravitate."

All big exhibit rooms on the first floor are booked, and there are some very special seminars in store. On Saturday at 5pm, one of the biggest authorities on speaker design, Andrew Jones, will speak about his new, bargain vision at ELAC. (The seminar repeats on Sunday at noon.) Earlier on Saturday, the great Nelson Pass will come out of hiding to give an exceedingly rare, hour-long presentation. And even before that, another legend, Keith O. Johnson of Reference Recordings and Spectral, will follow the Meet the Editors panel by providing an invaluable, hour-long window into his approach to recording and audio. Throw in a "Digital Audio Seminar" with folks from AudioVision San Francisco, Oppo, Bricasti, and Blue Coast Records, and you have a seminar line-up equal in quality to anything from the far bigger players on the Consumer Audio Show scene.

Nor is Saturday the only day for great presentations. Friday includes seminars on loudspeakers, cables, and room acoustics, with presentations from LRE Audio, High Fidelity Cables, the rumored to be resurrected XLO, WyWires, ASC, and others. The day ends with a master class on room/speaker interface issues with Bob Hodas, who has worked with everyone from Abbey Road Mastering and The Record Plant to Stevie Wonder. Sunday's seminars begin with an 11am presentation on "Audio for Health/Music as Healing, with Dr. Craig Allison.

93 brands, many of them major players and innovators, are listed at press time. I expect major action in the rooms from San Francisco's two dealer participants, AudioVision SF and Elite Audio Systems, and Santa Rosa's new dealership, Lavish Hi-Fi.

In Bill Roberts' Advanced Transduction Exhibit on the third floor, Shanda Lear will appear continuously to perform with a custom karaoke arrangement of her recordings. Angel City Audio will demonstrate the Seraphim Prime loudspeakers that one audio reviewer claimed perform as well as any loudspeaker pair under $40,000. Saturday starting at 5:30pm, Burwell and Sons Loudspeakers, Bottlehead Corp., and The Tape Project will introduce Jacqui Naylor and play tracks from her exclusive Tape Project release, The Number White. Also playing will be a new Tape Project release from Jerry Garcia and David Grisman.

Yours truly will be reporting from the show. You can follow it all at

Constantine Soo's picture

Avantgarde Zero 1 digital active horn speaker will have its North American debut at CAS6. Also on hand will be the Bergmann Magne turntable. Presented by Audiopathways, North American importer of both brands. Let the fun begin!

Allen Fant's picture

I look forward in reading your coverage- JVS!