High Fidelity Takes Manhattan

From Tsunehisa Kimura's Toshi Wa Sawayakana Asa Wo Mukaeru (The City Welcomes a Fresh Morning)

As Jason Victor Serinus reported, the New York Audio Show will take place this Friday through Sunday at the Palace Hotel (455 Madison Avenue, at 50th Street) and will host some 250 high-performance audio brands and several interesting seminars.

But the New York Audio Show is not the only audio-related event to take place in Manhattan this weekend. Two major NYC dealers, Lyric Hi-Fi & Video and Stereo Exchange, will hold their own special events, separate from the NYAS. Both events are free to the public and will feature product demonstrations, discounted pricing on demo equipment, and ample time for Q&A with manufacturer representatives.

Friday–Saturday, 10am–5pm: The Lyric Show 2013 will be held at Lyric Hi-Fi & Video (1221 Lexington Avenue). Featured brands will include ADAM, Audio Research, Autonomic Controls, Bowers & Wilkins, dCS, Classé, Focal, McIntosh, Simaudio, Sonos, Nordost, VPI, and more. For more info, click here or call (212) 439-1900.

Friday, 11am–7:30pm; Saturday, 10:30am–7pm; Sunday, 12–7pm: The Spring High-End Audio Show will be held at Stereo Exchange (627 Broadway). Featured brands will include Audio Research, Autonomic Controls, Bel Canto, Bowers & Wilkins, DeVore Fidelity, Kimber Kable, McIntosh, Totem Acoustic, Rogers High Fidelity, Rogue Audio, Sonus Faber, VPI, and more. For more info, click here or call (212) 505-1111.

But that’s not all. As last year, Innovative Audio will exhibit at the New York Audio Show and will also host after-hours listening sessions at their nearby showrooms (150 East 58th Street). These events, free and open to the public, will be held on Friday and Saturday evenings until 10pm. Featured brands will include Avalon Acoustics, Dan D’Agostino Master Audio Systems, Spectral, Transparent Audio, Wilson Audio Specialties, VTL, and more. Manufacturer representatives will be on hand for demos and to answer questions. For more info, click here or call (212) 634-4444.

But that’s not all. Though GTT Audio will indeed be exhibiting at NYAS, demming YG Acoustics speakers with Soulution electronics, Kubala-Sosna cables, and a Luxman DSD-capable DAC, the NJ-based dealer will also hold a special event at its showroom (356 Naughright Road, Long Valley) to introduce YG’s new flagship loudspeaker, the $106,800/pair Sonja. This event, to be conducted by appointment only, will be held on Monday, April 15. Space is limited. Four time slots are available: 12, 2, 4, and 6pm. For more info and to RSVP, call (908) 850-3092 or email av@gttaudio.com.

But that’s not all. If the recent emergence of regional hi-fi shows is due in large part to the decline of the local hi-fi dealer, then why is it necessary to hold a show in New York City—perhaps the one city in the US where just about any component can be seen and heard at just about any time?

It’s a good question. Perhaps this weekend’s events will present some answers.

JasonVSerinus's picture

Ah, New Yorkers always think they're the center of the universe. Doesn't Chicago have enough dealers, both storefront and "in home," for just about any component to be seen and heard at just about any time? And what about the greater Los Angeles area? But does either of these locations allow a showplace for products sold exclusively online, let alone products not yet imported into the U.S.? (Answer: No). And do NYC retailers really carry every valid brand under the sun, or do New Yorkers simply think they're so important that they imagine they do? (Hey, I was born in Manhattan, and raised on Long Island, so I have a right to say this. As for the answer, I don't know. To speak of my own region, I do know, for example, that Pass Labs does not yet have a dealer in the Bay Area, despite being headquartered a number of hours to the North.)

Finally, hasn't JA already noted that there are only certain areas of geographic concentration in North America where he thinks shows can be successful, New York being one, and those areas for the most part have the greatest concentration of dealers?

Your argument, Stephen, also ignores several unique aspects of an audio show:

1. It is a place to hear brands in close proximity that are normally sequestered in separate retail locations, often at considerable distance to each other.

2. It is an opportunity, with the right targeted publicity, to bring far more new people and young people into the fold than can be accomplished by individual dealers who often discourage young people, women, and "sight seers" when they enter their stores.

3. It presents an opportunity to hold unique events, such as the NYAS's seminar with recording engineers or Montreal's "under $5000" and "manufacturer-free" headphone area, that cannot take place in any one audio store over a short span of time. Plus, if there are seminars demos, presenters have a choice of equipment that is not limited by the selection available in any one store. 

4. I also want to add that while a major disadvantage of auditioning equipment at shows, besides the rudeness of a minority of visitors and manufacturers who wilfully forget that other people want to listen, is that equipment has been hastily set up in a hotel room, it's far too often the case that dealers hastily set up and move equipment about in rooms that have not been adequately treated for room nodes and other issues. Ironically, you can sometimes hear better sound at a show than you can at a dealership.

The anonymous albeit ubiquitous deckeda makes some powerful points about shows under my NYAS show story that I hope we Stereophile editors can all discuss over Thursday night dinner in Newport Beach, assuming we can all make it in time.


Stephen Mejias's picture

I haven't made an argument, Jason. I've only asked a question.

JasonVSerinus's picture

I love you, Stephen, and don't want to "argue" in the narrow sense. But in the broader intellectual scheme of things, your question is highly provocative, and a potential position statement. By examining it, and countering it with other questions and facts, I have engaged in what dictionary.com defines as an "argument." (See below). An argument does not necessarily imply enmity or antagonism. 

Dahlink, in New York, when you ask a question, always be prepared for more questions in response ;-)



  [ahr-gyuh-muhnt]  Show IPA

noun1.an oral disagreement; verbal opposition; contention;altercation: a violent argument.2.a discussion involving differing points of view; debate: They weredeeply involved in an argument about inflation.3.a process of reasoning; series of reasons: I couldn't follow hisargument.4.a statement, reason, or fact for or against a point: This is astrong argument in favor of her theory.


an address or composition intended to convince or persuade;persuasive discourse.


audiocaptain's picture

I think the real issue here is how much distance do you want to travel - and - how much time can you spend doing it. In NYC you can reach any dealer in the city within 5 to 10 minutes of the other. In Chicago the dealers are numerous but very spread out. You can take a lot of the day traveling from one to the other. You may as well use your regular schedule to make visits in Chicago where as in NYC you might be able to see, and hear,  more from the local dealers by them showing some extra equipment and arranging for manufacturers to be present on specific dates all scheduled together. 

Also the concentration of residents in a small area can make access much easier (NYC) where as a large area (Chicago) simply does not lend itself to this type of concept. It is much easier for people to gather in one location, be exposed to most all the dealers and products, then decide what dealers, in what areas, best suit their needs.

JasonVSerinus's picture

That, of course Steve, is how you prefer to frame the "real issue." There are, in fact, many real issues. One, which of course you acknowledged when you made it the subject of the Ask the Writers/Editors panel at AXPONA Chicago, is the issue of bringing young people and new people into the fold. Shows do that if and when they're publicized well and with intention, and organized in a manner that welcomes newbies. Again, I point to the innovations from Michel and Sarah at SSI as examples of same.

I am hoping that you and other show promoters will follow their example in the shows ahead. I look forward to the day when the panel that discusses bringing more young people into the fold is comprised entirely of young people, as SSI's panel about women in the industry was composed entirely of women.

As disturbed as I am by this ridiculous rivalry between some show promoters, and the apparent refusal or inability - I'm not about to accuse anyone without seeing all the facts - of the sponsors of AXPONA, SSI, THE Show Newport Beach, and NYAS to work out dates that do not conflict and cause undue stress on an industry that needs all the constructive support and outreach it can get, I wish you and everyone success.

audiocaptain's picture

Hey Jason, 

          I just wanted to point our something that I was told time and time again at this years AXPONA Show. Many people said they were very happy to see the amount of young people present, It was the most they had witnessed at such an event. I exhibited several times at SSI and was always delighted to see the parents with their children in tow. If we are going to bring younger people to our industry, including serious music, we must do the same by innocently and effortlessly introduce them to music and also enjoying it with them in the home. Instead of sending them off to the video games spend time to talk about the period and the composers and what their works represent. Take them to the concerts and bring them to AXPONA and other shows so they can enjoy it with you.

Growing up I was always listening with my family, at a community concert, taking music lessons and enjoying one of the greatest gifts known to humans. We simply need to do the same again and it will take it's course. 

jonahsdad's picture

It's not really their fault.  They are just business people looking to make a buck.  It's not in their interest to indulge the window shoppers, tire kickers and dreamers.  And it shows.  I feel guilty walking into a dealer if I'm not planning a purchase. Shows though, are marketing, They are pretty much not for selling.  So I can go, see and compare on my terms. 

The individual companies complain about the costs of shows.  But what do they do to promote the Hobby?  How do they grow the market?  Is there an industry association?  Got Milk?  How about audio shows are how manufacturers invest in promoting market growth. 

Final thought:  there are too many audio equipment companies.  If they can't afford to pay to play, they really will not be missed.