THE Show of Shows Starts Friday

The countdown to the start of THE Show Newport in Orange Country, California has begun. The largest three-day consumer audio show in America kicks off for the public on Friday, May 29 in the newly remodeled Hotel Irvine, with an optional trade day for press and invited guests the afternoon/eve before. With every exhibit space sold out, THE Show Newport promises to keep audiophiles busy with 406 exhibitors holding forth in 150 hotel rooms (including 10 larger suites), up to 25 larger rooms, 80 booths in a 6000 sq. ft. Headphonium Pavilion, and a packed Marketplace.

Richard Beers, President of THE Show and co-arranger with Bob Levi of the Los Angeles Orange County Audio Society (LAOCAS), told Stereophile, "Off the top of my head, I'd say it's a third bigger than last year, including booths. We had to turn away 10 potential exhibitors in the last month."

What Beers doesn't seem to be turning away are pre-registrants. Pre-registration is up from last year. And last year, a whole lotta people attended the show. While figures tell only part of the tale, since new members of the huge LAOCAS get in free, and continuing members receive substantial discounts on admission, it's a safe bet that the combination of new location, positive energy, and product debuts will draw lots and lots and lots of people

Once again, the Newport Show will be a three-ring sonic and sensual spectacular. Outdoors will be a big luxury car show, featuring the kind of over-the-top car audio that populates the vehicles of Beverly Hills and the like. Expect cars from Galpin Auto Sports, MAD Industries, The Source AV Design Group, and Forgiato Wheel Company. That includes some delicious vintage vehicles that will send many an eye popping and iPhone clicking, and what I understand to be a major car audio display from Focal. There will also be premium wine and cigar area, the usual bar and entertainment and eating by the pool, a purportedly "Whole Foods type" sandwich place, and a bevy of gourmet food trucks.

Speaking of entertainment, it will be plentiful. No less than 10 entertainers are featured on the website, including Canada's Anne Bisson, Tony Bennett's daughter Antonia, Blue Coast Records artist Fiona Joy, and Lyn Stanley.

For the serious-minded amongst us, don't think the seminars will be run-of-the-mill, let alone pedestrian. No way. This year, THE Show Newport launches its "Audio University." Many of the speakers and subjects may look familiar, including our own Michael Fremer (Intermediate to Advanced Turntable Setup, Friday at 3:30 pm; and Meet the Editors (Saturday at 11:30am) and Tyll Hertsens (Headphone Measurement, Friday at 11:30am). But with some of the events billed as "classes," who knows what new you might learn?

You'll certainly learn a lot at the exhibits. Aqua of Italy makes its US debut, and Nordost unveils Odin 2 along with Valhalla 2 and Heimdall 2 4K UHD cables and Purple Flare USB 2.0. GIK Acoustics compares the sound in treated and untreated side-by-side rooms, Emerald Physics introduces their lowest price loudspeaker, Zesto Audio unveils their Leto 1.5 preamp upgrade, Aurender shows the new N100H music server/player, JansZen introduces its first active electrostatic hybrid to the West Coast, Questyle shows its new digital audio players, etc. etc. etc. You can read a lot of this on the show website. But what you may not find there are premieres from AudioQuest, Audio Skies, Gamut, HighEnd Electronics, Larsen, Lounge Audio, Pear Audio, PS Audio, Robyatt Audio, and many more.

In the immortal words of Richard Beers: "Richard throws a pretty good party. I'm not sure about audio shows, but I throw a really good party."

You can get everything but the party line right here at in the form of coverage from Herb Reichert, Sasha Matson, and yours truly. Please stay tuned.

wpav's picture

aqua - acoustic quality will be in rooms 1013 (La Scala/La Voce) and 1311 (La Diva/La Scala).