The third annual TAVES (Toronto Audio/Video Entertainment Show) wraps up this afternoon at the Kind Edward Hotel. I attended last year and was very pleased with both the organization and the number and quality of the attendees. Although, I was not really looking forward to hauling 150 lbs of equipment and discs from Los Angeles to Toronto via Buffalo, I must say it’s been a very successful show for AIX Records. There’s something about this show that just feels right.
The TAVES show is a regional show. The focus is on Canadian high-end audio designers and manufacturers. I sat last night with Brian Russell of Bryston at the vendor party and had a nice conversation with George Klissarov of exaSound, a local maker of very high-end DACs (including the first multichannel DSD DACs…the e28). Both of these companies are based in the Toronto area. It’s also not as big and overwhelming as some of the other shows. Attendees can actually get through virtually of the demo rooms in a day. There’s live music, numerous seminars and a few tables selling software. It is also interesting that you don’t see the usual high-end audio mafia press cruising the halls…although Positive Feedback Online did have a reviewer at the show.
My college friend Todd Garfinkle, proprietor of MA Recordings, had his sales tables set up 20 feet across from my area just outside the Vanity Ballroom on the second floor. Traffic was heavy and steady throughout Friday and Saturday. But it was the quality of the attendees that stood out for me. Maybe it’s the weather or the Canadian national sentiment but I thoroughly enjoyed meeting the folks that stopped by the booth. They were interested, informed, curious and many made a special effort to come by the AIX table this year after having purchased some products last year. It was also noteworthy that there were a lot of young people and women walking the hotel. This was not the typical demographic for an audio trade show. Sure, there were lots of “my people” there, but it was very refreshing to meet and talk to such a diverse group of audio fans.
I gave a seminar on all three days entitled, “High-End Audio: From Production to Playback” in a space just around the corner from my sales area. I usually don’t get through all of my Power Point slides and these presentations were no different. I enjoy getting up in front of a group of audiophiles and explaining the importance of good engineering during the making of a record. I’ve talked about this in these posts a lot over the past 6 months. It seems to come as a surprise to audio enthusiasts that the fidelity of a record is almost entirely determined by the production process and the choices that the producer and engineer make through the creation of the recording. It’s not about boa constrictor sized power cords or disc carving machines!
Of course, I showed the relative merits and history of analog tape, vinyl LPs, compact discs, SACDs and DVD-Audio before concentrating on the new world of downloads in both DSD and PCM. I had to crack out the various spectragrams that I’ve displayed on these pages and explain to the group how and why the ultrasonic area of the spectrum can either possess upper partials or noise depending on the format. Eyes, ears and some minds were opened up during the seminars…I hope.
Today, I will be packing up a little early so that I can give my seminar at 1 pm, load the $9 dollar a day rent a car (amazing!) and speed back to Buffalo for a 6 pm flight home. I’ve still got a few midterm exams to grade on the plane and my university commitment early in the morning. I’ve enjoyed the weekend and look forward to coming back next year. However, I am looking for a couple of months of no traveling.