It’s been really challenging to provide endless demos of my recordings through the system we’ve assembled at APXONA with my badly swollen left knee. Yep, my post 7th LA Marathon run may be catching up with me as I near retirement age. It’s not really painful but uncomfortable — it feels like a ball of fluid has filled my knee and refuses to flow away. I’ll make it back to Los Angeles and go back to visit my doctor. I’ve had an MRI but was assured nothing was wrong. This can’t be nothing.
Yesterday, I managed to escape the confines of the Lakeshore B ballroom and drift around the marketplace, the headphone area, and up stairs briefly. The marketplace has the usual vendors selling vinyl LPs, audiophile CDs, and boxed sets. I ran into Kevin from Elusive Disc. He and I have stood behind a sales table many times in the past. He told me they’ve had great traffic of the past couple of days.
Others were busy selling accessories, speaker cables, power cords, and expensive tweaks to unsuspecting audiophiles. As I passed one vendor, I noticed a sort of manifesto about the myths of cables. They had a Q&A list about cable myths. Are stranded cables better than single conductor ones? Does lowering the resistance improve the fidelity of a cable? Can interconnects actually be directional? I read the sheet with interest as I listened to the salesperson shove unending nonsense to the potential customer holding a $500 3-foot USB cable. The marketplace was filled with cable vendors so I imagine they must do a bustling business.
As I wondered through the marketplace ballroom, I couldn’t help but hear the very loud rumbling of the adjacent Seaton Sound room. I haven’t actually been in their sectioned off portion of the large ballroom but their intrusive low frequencies were booming through the soft, moveable wall and disrupting the conversations in the marketplace. I heard from several companies that management and individuals have requested that they tone down their volume — they refused. How polite. Loud isn’t necessarily better.
In the hallway outside of the marketplace where I have my AIX Records sales table, several companies feel they have permission to blast loud music into a common area. I’ve complained about this in the past but nothing has been done. Companies that need to play sound as part of their show plan should be required to secure a closed room. If you’re demonstrating through headphones, as we do, then you can occupy a common area without disturbing your neighbors. The level of sound played by the speaker parts company down the hall and even my adjacent neighbor is rude and inconsiderate. Why doesn’t the show management guarantee that the hallway and marketplace remain areas where quiet conversations can take place? If you want to demo sound, get a room!
When I got upstairs, the hallways were filled with visitors. I only had the chance to visit a couple of rooms before heading back to my demo room. The Aurum Cantus speakers in Room 510 are worth a listen — very clean, transparent sounding although not all of the content selected was of equal quality. Here was a company making great sound AND beautiful cabinetry — highly polished 14 layers of piano like finish. The pair they were playing was $2000 and sounded very good.
I didn’t find any other rooms playing 5.1 surround music. I seem to be the last man standing when it comes to surround music delivery. There were a couple of home theater systems pumping out loud soundtracks in surround (including the previously mentioned Seaton Sound) but the lack of new productions in surround has limited its appeal. Still the people that heard my stuff and the new “JMK” 5.1 surround Blu-ray album were very impressed. I’m anxious to hear back from the 20 people that purchased the “JMK” album and listened to it in their own systems. The degree of active panning and immersive surround mixing on the record is unlike anything I’ve experienced before.
My own 5.1 “stage” mixes are aggressive but remain static once established. I haven’t taken the step of actively moving guitars or percussion in the midst of the track. But John did that and more with his mixes because the parts are synthesized. If you visit the jmksonics.com website, you can audition the music in stereo. But it’s not until you get a chance to listen in full surround that you’ll understand the real magic in this multi-textured music. I’ll have to set up download of a 5.1 interleaved file so potential customers can check out the 5.1 music mixes.
I’m up and getting ready for my last day at the show. Then it’s a race to the airport and a few hour trip back to Los Angeles — and Charlie. He’s going to be so glad to have me back. I don’t think the dog sitter can throw a Frisbee.