T.H.E. Newport Beach Show 2011—Summing Up

Have you seen the film The Mole People? In brief, a few hapless archaeologists accidentally find a race of Sumerian albinos living deep underground. At first the Sumerian albinos believe the hapless archaeologists are Gods because they have a flashlight and sunlight, which kills your average Sumerian albino who lives deep underground—it literally burns them up. They are worshiped as Gods. But eventually they realize the hapless archaeologists are not Gods and what tips them off is the fact that the archaeologists show emotion and pain. Sumerian albinos living deep underground do not.

I spoke to Richard Beers, T.H.E. Show’s President about attendance at the first ever T.H.E. Show Newport Beach and he scientifically deduced over 4000. This estimate was based on the fact that he’d ordered over 4000 lanyards, the thing every attendee uses to hang their badge around their neck, and they were nearly gone on Saturday afternoon. I heard people talking even higher numbers but I’ve got no way to verify their enthusiasm.

In any event, this event was a complete, 100%, slam-dunk success. I heard this opinion enthusiastically put forth by nearly every single exhibitor I asked, and I asked almost every one whose room I went in and I went in nearly every room (footnote 1). The attendees I spoke to mirrored this glowing review—Can’t wait to come back next year!

Perhaps my favorite part of the show was seeing one particular family. I really should have taken their picture and noted their names but I kinda felt as if this would be an intrusion, over and over, day after day. The father was tall (I’d say very tall but that’s a relative measure), the mother was soft spoken and their daughter (I believe she was 6) looked liked they were having just the best time ever. Each and every time I saw them. Dad would have his hand ever so gently and lovingly on his daughter’s head, which he had to stoop just a bit to reach with his outstretched arm, or the three would be engaged in quiet conversation or just listening. The Audio Salon room with the Magico Q5s was dad’s favorite. It most reminded him of his system at home.

While I was in the Tannoy room, Eric Engebretson, owner of The Home Theater Experience, shared that his favorite moment of the show came when a little girl starting singing along out loud to “Over The Rainbow,” a selection he’d picked just for her. When she realized what she was doing, she stopped. “Was she about 6 years old and was her father really tall?” I asked, “Yup”, Eric answered. I also saw young couples, more children, some dancing, friends of all ages—I had a very enjoyable conversation with two very friendly audiophiles at the bar about the ups and downs of being an audiophile obsessed—older couples, lots of reviewers, a few of my old friends and a bunch of new ones.

The only people that didn’t enjoy T.H.E. Show at Newport more than likely burned up as soon as they left the building when the sun hit their pasty, sun-and-fun-deprived complexions. Piles of smoldering test CDs lay scattered around the parking lot, the only sign of their remains.

Footnote 1: I’d intended to, and was fairly certain that I would, cover every single room at T.H.E. Show. At some point on Sunday, I realized two things; the Show was closing at 5:00pm, not at 6:00pm as it did on Saturday, and I’d somehow missed a number of rooms, as well as those exhibiting silently in the Catalina Ballroom. I’d like to apologize to those exhibitors I missed and stress that this was simply a very unfortunate oversight on my part.