Resoundingly Successful Show!

To the satisfaction of everyone—showgoers, exhibitors and the promoter—the Melbourne Audio & AV Show was an outstanding success. Three days of pure high-fidelity bliss. Yes, it was crowded, but not so crowded that you couldn’t have ample time in every room, and get to hear several of the tracks on your favourite CDs—though many of the exhibitors I talked to told me they were amazed at how many of you were storing your music on your iPhone.

I did see one exhibitor putting on a brave face while one particularly insistent audiophile insisted that he should: ‘cue the demo 58 seconds into the second movement’ which would have been fine except the exhibitor was using a DVD player that wouldn’t find tracks and didn’t have a transport/display that allowed this to be easily done, and all the while was listening to a running commentary about how this music was written ‘to commemorate the brutal crackdown on the demonstrators in Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989.’

Almost all the exhibitors had put a great deal of time, effort and hard cash into making their hotel rooms sound as good as possible. Several of Melbourne’s best-known acoustic consultants must be taking first-class flights to their next holiday destinations as a result of the work they put in getting the rooms on the 4th, 5th and 6th floor sounding so fantastic.

But it all paid off because I was stunned at the sound that was coming from almost all the rooms—even those that were demonstrating modestly-priced components—the Orpheus room was a stand-out. Not that everyone was pleased by the show. I was quite bemused reading through the entries into the ‘Door Prize’ competition, which asked showgoers to state, in 15 words or less, why they’d visited the show.

Some required no more than four words: ‘Dragged along by husband’… ‘Because I was forced’... and ‘My husband made me’, several required five words: ‘My father dragged me here’ while one audiophile used his full entitlement of 15 words to say: ‘To help me decide whether I should leave the wife! I think it’s a goer!’ One of my personal favourites was Chris H, who needed only 12 words to tell us why he’d visited: ‘To see how many more crazy people like myself there really was.’

A few people told me in person they were expecting more ‘AV’ at the show, and I have to admit that although some rooms had a video display of some type, most rooms were demoing pure, unadulterated two-channel audio. This suited me fine, but I could see their point. Several exhibitors complained about the difficulties of setting up their room and moving out of it.

So many large boxes to shift and only three small lifts with which to move them! As for the rooms themselves, I thought most were a good size—certainly larger than I’ve seen in many overseas audio shows, but even so, I ran across two exhibitors who arrived to discover they couldn’t fit the speakers they’d planned to exhibit into their rooms. The best news is that I hear The Chester Group has planned a show for Sydney, to be held at the Sheraton On The Park, to run over 19–21 October, 2012. Can’t wait!

Also can’t wait for the ‘new’ Amy Winehouse CD, titled Lioness: Hidden Treasures. It’s reportedly an eclectic collection of out-takes, covers, unreleased originals, alternative versions of already-released tracks and two demos she put together shortly before she died from alcohol poisoning earlier this year. I’m told much of it is ‘remarkably good’, though I’m not sure whether that means ‘for Winehouse’ or just ‘remarkably good.’ But at her best Winehouse was incendiary,
so I am hoping for at least a few gems…

Greg Borrowman