Participating in a trade show can be grueling. Yesterday, the second day of the AXPONA 2015 audio show was a long one…but ultimately very gratifying as well. We stopped for big breakfast on the way to the Westin with an additional stop at the Walgreens to pick up a couple of packages of wall hooks to mount the AIX Records sign outside of the Lakeshore B Ballroom. I was hoping that it would help the guys from the magazines find us. No such luck.
Why should I care about getting some of the well-known writers to come by and experience the room? Because they might discover the truly amazing sound that AIX, Benchmark, Oppo, and Revel have been able to achieve for attendees of the show…and write something will find a larger audience. Audiophiles and music lovers…their readership…deserve to know about what happened in the Lakeshore B ballroom.
The power, clarity, dynamic range and efficiency of the Benchmark AHB2 power amps driving the 5 Revel Salon 2 speakers is so stunning that I spent a fair amount of time sitting in the sweet spot late yesterday afternoon listening to long stretches of my own tracks. It’s that good. Everyone that has experienced one of my demo systems commented, “This is the best room you’ve ever pulled together.” And I have to agree.
There was Dave, a passionate 2-channel lover that I met during a stint at the sales table outside the room. He wanted to make sure that the discs on the table contained stereo mixes. He explained that he preferred stereo to surround. That’s when I inquired whether he had been in the demo room or not. He hadn’t. I practically dragged him to the center of the assembled group of chairs and proceeded to play a string of music tracks in both stereo and surround (the aggressive “stage” perspective mixes). It was almost a religious experience…I think I know what a faith healer must feel like. Dave was a changed man. He came up to me after the playback and said, “You’ve just cost me a lot of money!” I saw Dave later that afternoon and he still had the spirit of surround humming through his body.
Then there was the assistant concertmaster of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, another David. He sat through several of the demo tracks including a bunch of classical selections. I played the Mozart Clarinet Quintet, the Haydn Piano Trio, and a Vivaldi Senoia in both stereo and surround. We chatted at the sales table and then he handed me his card (I couldn’t help but notice his job title and email address…Strad549@xxxxxxx.com). We shook hands and he left me with, “I’m so glad that I found you.”
My energy reserves were falling fast as 6 pm rolled around. I actually told Mona, “I’m kind of hoping that no one shows up for the second iteration of my “High-Resolution Audio Demystified” session. After an 8-hour day of standing in the room providing discussion and demos, I was naturally feeling a little tired. My wish was not granted. The room started filling up just after 6 pm and by the time John, Gary, and a couple of very helpful attendees had wrangled a few additional stacks of chairs from the store room behind the ballroom, there were over 60 people fully engaged for almost 2 hours.
Any fatigue quickly faded away. I enjoy being an advocate for high-resolution audio and once again I talked about provenance, recording production, formats, and potential fidelity vs. actual fidelity. And once again, I probably didn’t spend enough time playing music. However, I did cap the evening with one of my finest recordings and left the group utterly astonished. It was a wonderful session followed by 30 minutes of mayhem at the sales table. My lovely wife handled the crush of sales gracefully before we went for dinner once again at the Benchmark restaurant.
It was another successful day. The only glitch was discovering that John had failed to return the key to the room. He was at the airport when I reached him. If that’s the worst that happens, we’ll all be happy.
More than a few people, including another audio engineer, encouraged me to keep fighting the good fight. One whispered in my ear, “Please don’t give up!” I assured him that I won’t.