NY Audio & AV Show 2012 Wrap

the Waldorf=Astoria lobby

In some ways I do not envy exhibitors. Beyond the harsh realities of stuffing your stuff into a hotel room for a long weekend in an attempt to entertain and/or entice prospective buyers or assuage the hardcore audiophile's delicate sensibilities, there are certain compromises that need to be made. Perhaps the most perplexing is one's choice of music. It can neither be too hard or too soft, too hot or too cold, too big or too small. It needs to be just right.

Some professionals that work in hi-fi work hard to make all of this seem easy. As if they didn't even need to try. One clue an exhibitor knows how to put their best foot forward is when you see them adjust the level for each track they play, carefully clicking their remote or turning that volume knob up or down just a few clicks to best mate musical material with room dynamics. On the other side of the coin we have the seemingly hapless host pumping up the volume, room nodes and ears be damned. Where even something as seemingly innocuous as an acoustic guitar can set off a heart-wrenching unnatural boost turning a note into a mind-numbing node.

By most all accounts the NY Audio & AV Show 2012 was a screaming success. There was a treat laying in wait for the hardened audiophile, music lover, casual listener, vintage gear aficionado, tube luster, power hungry speaker worshiper and more. Attendance appeared to be what one would wish for although I have not seen actual stats. What I can attest to is Friday's registration line wrapped around the 18th floor of the Waldorf=Astoria more circuitously than that snake wrapped around Nastassja Kinski (if you don't know the reference, Google is your friend).

That said, I did overhear two audiophiles walking down the hall when one exclaimed, "Nothing has impressed me" which made me think, how sad. How sad to set your expectations to 11 when all you really want is enjoyment even though you think your taste merits a 10.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, computer audio was everywhere in nearly every room. I saw one or two CD players in use, tons of turntables spinning vinyl along with more iPads, MacBooks and Laptops than at a Best Buy going out of business sale. I was fortunate to get to know more people involved in the business of computer audio, and I also got to know some I already knew better. The questions at the I Want To Take You Higher – The Present and Future of Digital Music Delivery and Playback seminar were for the most part thoughtful, engaging and educational in terms of understanding those issues that interest (or plague) people interested enough in computer audio playback to show up at a show and attend a seminar.

Our music-loving futures are startlingly bright. And the real beauty of computer audio, and our shared hi-fi hobby in general, is the price of admission for true enjoyment is within everyone's reach and the ways and means of discovering and acquiring music is expanding every minute.

To get a more complete picture of the NY Audio & AV Show 2012, visit Stereophile where John Atkinson, Art Dudley, Stephen Mejias and Ariel Bitran cover every angle.

DeFgibbon's picture

And if you DO know the reference, google images is your friend. Well done Michael!

slim's picture

this is just supposed to be a round of acknowledgement for your work (show coverage w/ scyscrapers and everything ...)

Been here infrequently lately (and will be) due to commitments across Europe, but have happily noticed (among others) your presenting new options for SqueezeBox Touch.

BTW: Without even an idea of the connotation, we used to nickname her "Nasti" before she moved to the States ...