altIt’s been a long, long time since Australia had a decent hi-fi show… one where you could actually sit down with only a few other people in a reasonably-sized room, and listen uninterrupted to a CD player, or amplifier, or a pair of speakers, and then move to another room to hear exactly the same piece of music using a completely different pair of speakers…or maybe the same speaker, but with different electronic components… and then keep doing that for room after room, floor after floor… audiophile heaven!

So I have not been at all surprised at the incredible enthusiasm of the response from readers—and also from hi-fi dealers and distributors—to the recent announcement that the Chester Group, in conjunction with Australian Hi-Fi Magazine, Sound & Image Magazine and nextmedia, will be holding the ‘Australian Audio & AV Show’ at Melbourne’s Marriott Hotel, on Friday 21st, Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd in October this year. Like the very successful shows the Chester Group has held in the United Kingdom (such as the UK’s National Audio Show, which we recently covered in our Nov/Dec issue), the show at the Marriott will be a conventional ‘old-style’ hi-fi show, where most exhibitors will set up their systems in hotel rooms (from which the furniture has been removed, of course!), though I am reliably informed that some exhibitors will be using some of the larger spaces available in the hotel, such as the various convention rooms and ballrooms. All the consumer posts on various internet audio forums have been uniformly positive, and a significant number of major Australian audio distributors have already ‘signed on the dotted line’ in order to secure the best rooms in the best locations.

Unlike some previous hi-fi shows that have been held in Melbourne, which have taken place at fairly isolated locations, the Marriott has the decided advantage of being located in the heart of Melbourne’s ‘Theatre District’ and ‘round the corner from Chinatown and Bennett’s Lane, which means that everyone going to the show has the option of making their visit a real event, and either catch a film, play, some music or a musical as well, or just go out to dinner at one of hotel’s restaurants, or one the dozens of restaurants that are within easy walking distance of the Marriott. Justin Bird, of Chester Group, says: ‘The show will offer hi-fi fans the long-awaited opportunity to enjoy traditional room-based personal demonstrations of the world’s finest audio and video products in a relaxed and stress free environment, with more than 50 individual sound-proof exhibition suites that will more accurately reflect how a product will perform in the home.’

Jez Ford, the editor of Sound & Image Magazine, says that the Chester Group’s decision to hold the show in Melbourne was the catalyst in the magazine’s decision to hold the annual Sound & Image Award Presentations in Melbourne for the first time in its 30-year history, with all other previous events having been hosted in Sydney. ‘Synchronising the Awards night with the Australian Audio and AV Show was, we felt, the best way of driving home the importance of our industry, so we could have a dedicated week of exhibition, demonstration and entertainment’ said Ford.

As one of the media partners for the Australian Audio and AV Show, Australian Hi-Fi Magazine will exhibit at the show. I will be on our stand for a great deal of the time over the three days of the show, and look forward to meeting readers, and discussing anything related to audio over the three days. So put the dates in your diary, make your restaurant bookings in advance to ensure a table, and I will see you there!

greg borrowman