It was cold yesterday on day 2 of the TAVES Show. As I exited the apartment, there were actually flakes of snow falling from the overcast skies. The season starts early here in Canada…and I forgot to bring my winter coat or more accurately a coat period. I have a jacket in the back of my car but as I kissed my wife goodbye and got a last hug from Charlie, the new puppy, it was 89 degrees. My brain and body didn’t register that only 5 hours later I would be confronting winter. I messed up. However, this morning the sky is clear and bright blue as I write this last post from Toronto. That probably means it’s colder than ever.
Saturday is always the best day for traffic at audio trade events. My sales tables are located at the bottom of the stairs just as attendees begin their trek through the halls and floors of demo rooms. I couldn’t be happier as many hundreds of people stopped by and checked out the products that I had spread across the table. I especially enjoyed meeting some of you readers in person…and there were many individuals that made a special effort to attend the show just because I was there. One gentleman read a post that mentioned I would be at the TAVES Show and changed his plans to stay overnight in Toronto rather than return to his home about an hour away. He checked his Sheraton rewards points and stayed at the hotel in order to come by yesterday and attend the show.
Another group already knows about AIX Records. They may have purchased some titles in previous years and are on the hunt for new releases. Sadly, I haven’t recorded a new product in a number of years (it’s very expensive and time consuming…things are definitely slowing down). But these folks do manage to find something that sounds interesting and gladly pick up a new disc or two.
And then there are the tire kickers. After 15 years, I honestly surprised at the number of people that haven’t ever heard of AIX Records. I’m not saying that the mass population knows the name but among audiophiles, I would think we’re a known brand. I explain what I do, encourage them to take a listen, and cajole them into purchasing the Blu-ray sampler disc. There’s nothing like getting a couple of dozen real high-resolution tracks playing through your own system to convince you that AIX is doing something unusual and of very high quality.
The traffic was heavy and consistent all day. I didn’t get a chance to explore other parts of the show so I can’t really share much about the other rooms and systems. I did learn that virtually all of the rooms were playing standard resolution sources such as CDs and vinyl LPs rather than high-resolution files or Blu-rays. Apparently, there was one surround room…but that was really a home theater and therefore doesn’t count in the eyes of an audiophile. No one came up to me about a “must hear” room in the towers of the hotel.
On my way to my to the 4th floor seminar room at 5 pm yesterday, I did poke my head into a few rooms. What I heard was pretty much the same “high-end” sound system…a couple of expensive speakers attached to a couple of large monoblock amplifiers via some very heavy gauge wires playing Diana Krall or Pink Floyd.
I gave another rendition of my “2014: Is This The Year Of High-Resolution Audio” to a packed house late yesterday afternoon. After an hour of explanations, definitions, and charts/graphs, the answer to that question is decidedly no. There is a major effort to convince the audiophiles and even the avid music fan that high-resolution audio abounds, but the reality is a different story. There is very little real high-resolution audio available…probably less than 1000 albums. There are about 4000 transfers of older analog masters to high-resolution containers (still standard definition fidelity). And the rest…maybe 35 millions tracks…are standard resolution CD specification quality. The names may change but the fidelity doesn’t.
I’m only at the show for a few hours today…I have to drive back to Buffalo, board a plane for Los Angeles, and get up early tomorrow to teach at the university. Another fun weekend in audiophileland.