I’m batting 100% this year with regards to attendance at every North American audio show…and thankfully the drive home from San Francisco yesterday evening closes a particularly active month of traveling. I’m glad to be back in Los Angeles and looking forward to a couple of months here before I attend the TAVES show in Toronto and the RMAF is Denver. My teaching responsibilities at the university start in a couple of weeks.
The CAS 2013 finished up yesterday at 4 pm. My wife and I stood behind our couple of tables just across from the registration desk and did a brisk business over the three days in spite of the fact that I left the box containing all of my recent Blu-ray productions in Los Angeles! Thankfully my oldest son went by the studio and managed to FedEx them to the Westin Hotel for Saturday delivery.
It’s always challenging to do a trade show. There’s the travel, the setup and the hours of making the same speech to potential customers. I usually open by asking whether the person has heard of AIX Records and take it from there (thankfully about 50% already know about us). In truth, I actually enjoy it although by Sunday afternoon it does wear pretty thin. You can’t really sit down behind your display tables because visitors won’t want to walk over to engage you. However, standing for 8 hours stretches is very difficult.
Unlike most shows that I’ve attended this past year (DC, New York, Chicago, Montreal, Denver and Toronto), San Francisco is only a 6-7 hour drive from my studio. So I get to load up the car with more products including the remaining copies of our aging “High Resolution Audio Experience” DVD sampler. This is a disc that I made about 7 years ago in conjunction with Intel. It’s a two-sided DVD-Audio/Video disc that contains 29 tracks as well as test tones and information screens. I’ve been including the disc with almost all orders for many years and still have a few hundred left from the original run of 50,000 (Intel purchased 30,000 as giveaways…a very good license deal for us!). I decided to take a box of 100 pieces and give them away to individuals that stopped by the AIX Records table.
I guess you could consider it a subversive trick. Friday’s recipients took the disc home and checked it out in their playback systems. They get to hear what I do and come back the next day and raid the table looking for the full products of the tracks the loved. It works every time!
There were a few memorable moments from the event. Brian and David came by on Saturday and started auditioning various discs. I’m happy to open up a shrink-wrapped copy and introduce someone to an artist that I enjoy. Once the fuse was lit with these two gentlemen it was like an audiophile feeding frenzy! They purchased folk music, jazz, classical, electric and vocal titles. Just about everything passed muster…even the Romanian Folk Music album that I rarely even take to trade shows because nobody ever picks it up. When a couple of audiophiles get a taste of great sounding music, they can’t get enough.
As I usually do when this situation pops up, I unwrapped a copy of “Bad Haggis”, my Celtic, and Latin Jazz electric fusion band featuring the actor/musician Ruben Blades singing in Spanish. It’s the most eclectic product I’ve produced and within seconds of listening to the first track, I had sold both copies!
Then there was Carl. I know he stepped up to the table thinking he would take a quick look and then be on his way. As it turned out, he couldn’t tear himself away after he put on the headphones and ended up with a bag containing a few of our Blu-ray releases. Every time we encountered each other, he flashed a broad smile…which happened a more than a few times.
Then there was James, a man of small stature, curly gray hair and a mouth that would not stop…and a passion for audio that brought him back to the AIX table and into the ballroom where I gave my seminar on Sunday. He’s a member of the BAAS (Bay Area Audio Society) and was on a one-man mission to get to the bottom of the DSD, analog, PCM debate. I enjoyed the energetic discussions and the impromptu seminars that I was dishing out at the sales desk. Audiophiles are a passionate lot and will “discuss” all aspects of their hobby at length when given a chance. He was another individual that had checked out the sampler and came back with two enthusiastic thumbs up.
The weekend was well worth the time and trouble. Constantine Soo of DaGoGo.com put on a terrific show and AIX Records will definitely return next year. What could be better than days full of great audio, introducing new and existing customers to my particular flavor of record production AND evenings of Turkish food with my wife and SF-based daughter in the mission district.
But it’s good to be home and sitting at my machine…finally.