Canada's TAVES Starts Friday

Canada's biggest three-day consumer audio and lots more show, TAVES, is poised to break its former attendance record when it opens in Toronto, Ontario on October 30. Newly reframed as "Canada's Ultimate Consumer Electronics Show," it opens less than a month after Denver's Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, and a mere week before the start of the Westchester County version of the New York Audio Show.

"Close to two weeks before the show opens, we have already sold more advance tickets than we did at last year's show," very upbeat show promoter Suave Kajko told Stereophile. This should translate into far more than last year's 4200 bodies passing through the show gates over the three-day period. It also means that, for the first time, the show will surpass the 100-exhibitor mark.

Perhaps the noteworthy expansion results from TAVES's unique identity as a show composed of two components: "Audio" (at 60% of exhibits) and "Technology and Innovation" (40%). The strategy represents anything but a sell out to mass commercialism.

"We've got to realize that, over the years, the audio segment has tended to market itself only to the audio crowd," says Kajko. "That strategy fails to engage the younger generation, much of which may already own technologically innovative products. So we've introduced a technology component that will bring a lot more young people and families to the show. It may be the initial draw, but once we have people's attention, our audio exhibitors have the opportunity to demonstrate their products to them."

More than 20 exhibitors are new to TAVES this year. Among the show's mix of larger names and small companies, expect what appears to be the first Canadian showing of Martin-Logan's Neolith speaker and Magico's full-range, 3-way S7 loudspeaker with new tweeter, midrange and bass driver. Wynn Audio promises one the show's most elaborate audio set-ups that will include the new Tidal amplifiers, and Skogrand cables will team up with Southern California's Angel City Audio for the world debut of the ACA Seraphim Skogrand Edition loudspeaker. CH Precision, Goldmund, and Venture Audio are among other new exhibitors, while Totem Acoustics returns after an absence of several years.

Aware that many exhibitors favor large rooms, which are usually in limited supply in hotels, TAVES has relocated to the only hotel in Toronto that offers 16 large rooms, the Sheraton Parkway North. It also has room for the show's new product categories: Video gaming, virtual reality, Werewolf, robotics, and 3D printing.

For the first year, visitors will encounter an outdoor electronics playground that includes electric vehicles, personal transportation devices, drones (not over me, please), and remote-control cars. As an additional attraction for families and kids, there are specially designed children's exhibits. Kids will even encounter a two-hour robotics workshop where they get to keep the robot. For parents who dread bringing home a puppy to their children, only to discover that it's the adults who get saddled with the dog walking and poop scooping, the notion of a toy robot that could eventually fold the laundry rather than falling asleep on it could prove very appealing.

The list of technology seminars, which includes, on the audio end, "Digital Music Player Shopping Advice," "Nordost Product Demos," and "Hi-Rez Audio," also features "CoderDojo Markham Meetup" and "Gaming Second Contact Panel (Moderated by Marc Saltzman)." OMG, there's even a "Heroes World: STREET FIGHTER MINI TOURNAMENT!" That sure beats the same age-old, tedious back-and-forths about power cables and double-blind testing that tend to crop up time and time again on audio forums.

Longtime Stereophile reviewer Robert Deutsch will have his hands full with rooms to cover for this website. The first visitor to post a picture of him slumming in the technology section sporting a virtual reality headset wins a prize.