Toronto Show Starts Friday

New location, new features, and a more inclusive, consumer electronics-orientated approach: that's the word on the fourth annual Toronto Audio Video Entertainment Show (TAVES). Now ensconced in the Sheraton Centre Hotel in downtown Toronto, which offers far more large exhibit rooms than did TAVES' former venue, the three-day show opens on Friday, October 31 with four floors' worth of audio, video and consumer electronics-oriented exhibits.

"I am even more excited about this edition of the show than I was for our first year," show co-founder and publisher of Canada Hi-Fi writer Suave Kajko tells Stereophile. "When I first got together with my partner, Simon Au, I proposed a vision of TAVES that was much bigger than what the show has been so far. In fact, it was much bigger and all encompassing than your typical audio show.

"Having always envisioned TAVES to be more of a consumer electronics show that includes a large audio show, I feel I'm finally on the cusp of achieving what I set out to do. While the core of the show is still very much audio and video products, which occupy three of our four floors, our main show floor consists of the most spectacular audio manufacturers and distributors plus a lot of new show features."

On the audio front, Kajko estimates the show will offer some where between 45–50 active audio exhibits, an additional 15 in the Headphone and Portable Audio section. In addition, we can expect maybe 20 others that broadly fall into the consumer electronics category. Many of those products will appear in a New Technology Arena, which will showcase groundbreaking products and prototypes, some of which initially started as Kickstarter and IndieGoGo projects.

"It's really, really exciting for me that these are products that we tend not to see in person," says Kajko. "Here, rather than viewing them online, you can play with them, touch, and listen."

Among the biggest non-audio enticements will be holographic displays from a company in Montreal. These will include a series of glass cubes, each of which contains a fully animated holographic picture. There will also be 3-D printers and replicators.

Again in the 3-D department, expect an advance peak at the forthcoming Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, which will allow you to become fully immersed in a 3-dimensional world. The company, now owned by Facebook, so exceeded its initial crowdfunding goals that it became an "overnight success." At least that's the buzz. Although the first products to employ Oculus Rift won't become available until next May, expect development kits for video games that are sure to be a smash with folks for whom audio only is not enough.

But since it's for audio products that you would probably attend TAVES, keep on the lookout for the show's first-ever dedicated headphone section. Tajko encourages attendees to bring smart phones loaded with music they'd like to hear on headphones. Portable headphone amplifiers and DACs will also be on display.

Estelon hopes to make a big splash with the first Canadian showing of their X Diamond loudspeaker, which will occupy one of the larger rooms at the show. "It's one of those products that will not only have a musical appeal, but also physical appeal," says Kajko of a loudspeaker from a company known for its major lookers.

Not to be outdone, Bowhead will launch the world first 8-way analog active loudspeaker. Paradigm, which is very well known in Canada, will strut its new Prestige series of loudspeakers. In addition, Harbeth promises its SHL5 Plus loudspeaker, and Meridian will demonstrate their new DSP Special Edition loudspeakers. First-time exhibitors include Oppo, while welcome returns include Anthem and Blue Circle Audio.

As for those special consumer electronics features, two video devices that Kajko is particularly glad to welcome are Sony's revolutionary video projector, which was shown in prototype form at CES. The projector sits just 7" from the wall, looks like an A/V cabinet, but shoots a picture up to 147" in size. Kajko also expects two different models of LG's "affordable" curved-screen LED TVs, including a 55 incher that will retail for $3500.

Debuting at TAVES is a digital photography/imaging area, complete with free digital photography seminars. "Bring your camera and learn some new tips and tricks," says its enthusiastic promoter. Then compare the appeal of your photos to the over 100 original pieces of art from Toronto area artists that will be spread out over different show floors in what will be called the Jolt Art Gallery.

"By introducing all these new features, we hope to appeal to a much broader audience than usually comes to your typical regional audio show, and encourage them to open their ears and eyes to the audio scene," says Kajko in summation. If he succeeds, we may be welcoming a host of new audiophiles to the fold. Check out Robert Deutsch's forthcoming photos and reports from TAVES to gauge Kajko's success in achieving that goal.