The Free Republic of Stereophile

I joke sometimes at Home Entertainment Shows, as I regard the crowds jostling one another to enter rooms, paw through bins of records, or get the good seats at the musical events, that "these are my people." The thing is, it's true. I do the same things.

You could work up a Jeff Foxworthy routine: You know you're an audiophile if:
•You've ever carried Wet Wipes in your pocket just in case there's a box of records forgotten in some corner of the jumble sale.
•You've ever stayed awake until 4am because the powerlines were quieter.
•You've ever bought that fourth copy of Rhapsodie Espagnole because you aren't sure whether stamper numbers 1A/1A are better than 1A/2A.
•You carry around a card with the Bach Cantatas you already own on Telefunken because you keep buying Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme when what you need is Wachet! betet! betet! wachet!

The reason I know all of this, of course, is that I've done them too. And that's what I really love about the HE shows, I am among my people.

It doesn't matter where you're from, if you're a hi-fi nut, I have more in common with you than the guy who lives next door to me, the kids I went to school with, or any of my ex-girlfriends. At the HE shows, I get to talk with people who know what a shaded dog is—or how to set up a tonearm. I think those are important, but darned few of the folks I meet ever give 'em a thought.

One thing that gets lost in the chatter on the web is that audio manufacturers and importers fall into this camp, too. Spend time with Jim Thiel or Richard Vandersteen or Dusty Vawter, and I almost guarantee you won't end up talking about their gear, you'll be yakking about records, music, and all the other stuff you hold dear. They too are members of the tribe.

So ask me what was best about HE 2006 and I'll tell you it was meeting guys from the Stereophile Forum like Buddha, who drove from Las Vegas to be there, and Clifton, who brought me some jazz LPs by artists he'd seen me mention as favorites. It was meeting Pete Roth in the Ayre room and the guy whose name I didn't catch, but whose list of great sounding rooms perfectly matched mine (yes, I can still hear!).

The best part of HE 2006 was being among my tribe and realizing just how darn good it is.

Patrick Bedford's picture

Hey Wes,I understand the use of the word tribe as it applies to the audiophile community. I like that idea, but you might want to explain that the subject of your photo is that of the Totem room. Not only did they demonstrate the stunning Model 1 Signature, but also the new TRIBE on-wall speaker system. IMHO the best sounding surround system of the show. No wonder the room was always packed!Richard.

Beto's picture

Right on Wes. One of the reasons I made it to HE2006 was to know which kind of people were involved on this hobby - I found people from all walks of life," bonded together by a common passion that few outside the ""circle"" ever get to understand. But it didn't matter - for a few days"," it felt good not to be an outcast. And it was also a warm and fuzzy feeling to realize how accesible most of the audio ""big shots"" are", including yourselves. Special props to Ray Kimber for being a great gentleman and for a killer DSD demo, and to Stephen Mejias for plastering my face and my audio blog on his at Stereophile. I will definitely try to make it to the next HE in Chicago.

Stephen Mejias's picture

>One of the reasons I made it to HE2006 was to know which kind of people were involved on this hobby Meeting people like you, Beto, is my favorite part of the job. I'm glad to hear you had such a great time at the show. I hope to see you again in Chicago.