T.H.E. Show 2021: A Really Fine Show

"We are so proud of everyone who made T.H.E. Show 2021 come to life," texted show coordinator Emiko Carlin about what was the first post-pandemic audio show to take place in North America. "After more than a year of unprecedented losses, this was no doubt a true celebration of audio and musical connection. We are thrilled that 1416 unique attendees showed up to reconnect, and we are delighted that [they] all did it safely and responsibly. As the first audio show in the US to open, and one that had to honor venue attendance caps, we are over the moon with how of T.H.E. Show 2021 turned out. We can't wait for our next event!"

I second those sentiments. I'm so glad that editor Jim Austin decided to take a risk and have Stereophile cover T.H.E. Show 2021. The advantage of attending a small show is that anyone with a two or three-day pass can visit their favorite rooms multiple times over and linger for extended periods of time. For exhibitors, that meant that anyone who was making good sound saw their room full or near capacity during prime show hours.

As always, Sunday was a slow day, but Friday's attendance was remarkably robust. On Saturday, I had to skip a few rooms because they were consistently packed. Just about everyone was extremely conscientious about mask wearing, and the few people who forgot to don them didn't make a fuss when I requested that they put theirs on. Hey, I've got a lot more shows to cover before I make it to the true high endpoint, aka heaven.

I hope these show reports convey how good the majority of exhibits sounded. There were a few unusual ones, with Alex Yoon's Los Angeles-based Wavetouch Audio Antero V2 speaker ($8000/pair) as unique as his comments.

As you can see, the Antero V2 has a sound wave tongue sticking out of each of its drivers. While it can't rival the tongue of Ms. Daisy Mae Doven (pictured below), whose ability to clean out her daddies' remotest sinus cavities is unequalled, the Wavetouch tongue is intended to prevent sound dispersion. Yoon doesn't prefer the deep soundstage presentation of many other speakers, and seeks to place a singer right upfront in the room. It also seems that he prefers the sound of his modified Oppo BDP-95 to that from dCS gear, whose sound he considers dried out.

If you're wondering whose tongue comes with more bite and bark, you may wish to take a listen. To the speaker, that is. If you listen closely every time a UPS or FedEx truck passes by, you'll undoubtedly hear echoes of Ms. Doven, aka The Queen Terrorer of Port Townsend.

Back to T.H.E. Show 2021. In addition to the good sound, it was a mere six or seven city-blocks walk to several really good restaurants in downtown Long Beach. The scene in the street, which was closed to vehicular traffic, was a show all its own. For those who preferred to dine closer to the hotel, T.H.E. Show arranged for four food trucks to be on hand each day. Three cheers for the truck with the Oaxacan burrito. And three fat burrito-sized cheers to Emiko Carlin, Maurice Jung, and T.H.E. Show staff. In the face of many a raised eyebrow and doubting Thomas—even a doubting Serinus—you pulled it off, and well. You boosted many a spirit, affirmed that the High End is alive and determined to thrive, and performed a major service to the audiophile community. Thank you.

Anton's picture

I greatly (GREATLY) appreciate your efforts!

Safe travels home.

Jim Austin's picture

Well done.

Jim Austin, Editor

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

Home safely I am. The big travel trauma was with Ms. Daisy Mae Doven, who is part terrier and part Amazon warrior. Ms. Doven, itching to chase every vehicle that passed us on a pretty quiet but hilly road, was so eager for the chase that, after a car passed, I let go of all three leashes. Up the hill three dogs ran. Heed daddy? Are you kidding?

We've got coyotes all over Port Townsend, and some have snatched small dogs during the daylight. Poor Daddy, worn after days of show coverage, did his best to run up the hill, panting all the way. Eventually, Guy Luvberg stopped and heeded my call. But Ms. Doven and Leo Gleesun, no way. When I got to the fork in the road, I didn't know which way to go until Leo Gleesun wandered back around the corner. Eventually, Ms. Doven sauntered toward me, smiling more broadly than I've seen in a long time. The Devil's got ahold of that dog, Parson Brown, I swear he has. But we all made it home safely, and two of the three are now snoring behind me.

thatguy's picture

I spent the first 18 years of my life near Bremerton and was actually lamenting the other day that once I got my license it never crossed my mind to drive up to the tip of the state. With google maps I'm always looking for places to visit now, but back then things that were outside the normal travels just didn't seem to exist.

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

Port Townsend does not exist. It is a state of mind...


Jim Austin's picture

That's just a rumor planted by locals trying to keep displaced Californians from moving there. It didn't work. :-)

Jim Austin, Editor

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

It's a dry rain. You as a trained scientist should understand that!


avanti1960's picture

good work, thanks for the coverage !
Looking forward to AXPONA.

Julie Mullins's picture


Glad you made it out to cover this! Well done! I'm looking forward to getting back to audio shows, too.