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View Full Version : I'm not going to exhibit at the September Heathrow Show



Neil McCauley
30-07-2008, 14:58
It’s not just the many £1,000s we pay for a decent room, nor the standing up for hours on end talking happily to (in the main) very receptive, enthusiastic decent folk, nor the hernia-inducing activity of lifting, unpacking and so on. It’s not that, not really.

Moreover the rather happy feeling one gets as a successful exhibitor producing under the circumstances a tolerable-to-good sound is just not enough to compensate for the fact that for myself and many of my colleagues, it invariably ends up as a loss-making situation because when one tracks where the profit comes from (exhibition, internet, word of mouth), the exhibition does not bring in sufficient profit to cover the costs in my direct personal experience.

Obviously my own absence and that of a few others I know will not detract from the generally good feeling to be had by one and all through attending. And I really really want the show and subsequent shows to be a success. And perhaps for some, they are.

There’s no question that meeting customers, friends and family of customers, and so on is a pleasant and in some instances humbling situation. Nothing wrong with a bit of humility from time to time. But it seems to me that show visitors in the main value the experience as a convivial and well deserved day out and not part of the pre-purchase research activity. In the nicest sense, lookers not buyers.

Thus an accountant might take the view, and it’s one I find hard to argue with, that an exhibitor is paying for rash self-indulgence with no measurable return on time, effort nor money.

My own views are as follows:

1. My own view and that of other non-participating exhibitors would change if fresh faces appeared at shows. A influx of new blood. No one it seems, and I include myself in this, knows how to achieve it. any thoughts?

2. Shows as we currently know them are failing to deliver what visitors really want. But what do audio exhibition visitors really want?

3. If they have been asked, then why haven't shows evolved?


Meanwhile ....... http://www.chestergroup.org/index.php?option=com_shows&task=detail&Itemid=31&id=8


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purite audio
30-07-2008, 15:12
I shan't be at Heathrow either, we are off to Milan , http://www.topaudio.it/ haven't been before looking forward to it immensely, perhaps if the UK had only one show a year?

Togil
30-07-2008, 15:34
Is dealers representing brands at shows ( eg Howard showing Harbeth ) a particularly UK phenomenon ? I don't remember any German dealers at the Munich show, I may be wrong.

Marco
30-07-2008, 15:50
Hi Howard,

Interesting thread (as usual). For me shows are simply for going to see what's new and interesting - to keep informed basically. I rarely have intention of buying anything that's exhibited because quite frankly nowadays I never (or rarely) hear anything that's better than my system at home. However, now and again some off-the-wall, non-mainstream stuff takes my eye.

When I attend the next show (possibly Heathrow) I'll be paying attention to any decent computer audio set-ups there, as I need to learn more about that side of things, especially as I intend to have some type of server-based set up in the not too distant future. I also wouldn't mind comparing my Spendor SP100s with your Harbeth Monitor 40s at some stage to see if I'm missing anything - if you're up for that :)

To be brutally honest though, the primary reason I go to shows is to buy new vinyl from the likes of Diverse and Stamford. I usually blow a couple of hundred quid on records as it's very difficult to obtain new vinyl in my neck of the woods, and it's nice to be able to flick through a physical stock rather than order on-line.

I'll come back to you later with some ideas about how things might be improved at shows for the benefit of the punter and exhibitor!

Marco.

Neil McCauley
30-07-2008, 15:53
It's quite unusual in the UK I think. I did this because I wanted the best possible sound and this could only be achieved by using selected products from a combination of suppliers. Only a retailer or a distributor with a range of products has this flexibility.

In contrast my guess is that even the most fanatical of Naim employees, knowing the obvious limitations of their speakers prefer a retailer to exhibit for them. Such a retailer is TomTom audio. No fool he. That's why he uses Kudos speakers in preference to the Naim ones I suppose. I certainly would!


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purite audio
30-07-2008, 15:57
Is dealers representing brands at shows ( eg Howard showing Harbeth ) a particularly UK phenomenon ? I don't remember any German dealers at the Munich show, I may be wrong.

I think the Munich show is aimed more towards distributors/ manufacturers rather than dealers. Munich is very expensive Euros 15k for the room we used.

Marco
30-07-2008, 16:34
Fifteen thousand Euros? Bloody hell! How do they justify that? And is that per day or for the duration of the show?

For that price I presume they unload the gear and set it up for you, and the room you get is the size of a football stadium with gourmet food served and unlimited drinks brought to you on request by helpful, smiling, stocking-clad girlies :eyebrows:

At least that's what I'd be wanting for that bloody price!!

Marco.

Togil
30-07-2008, 17:34
Like these, Munich 2008
http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e151/hansiglock/HiFiShowMunich2008017.jpg

Marco
30-07-2008, 17:44
They'll do, Hans! :)

But honestly, that's a shocking price. I presume it's at least for the duration of the show and not per day?

Otherwise someone's having a laugh! But even then it's still a joke...

Marco.

Marco
30-07-2008, 18:13
I also wouldn't mind comparing my Spendor SP100s with your Harbeth Monitor 40s at some stage to see if I'm missing anything - if you're up for that.


Howard? :)

Marco.

pure sound
30-07-2008, 18:17
Munich is a european showcase/launch point for many of the larger German high end manufacturers. It is largely about export though. The smaller german manufacturers and certainly the distributors who sell within Germany can't afford to or see no benefit in taking part. They used to do Frankfurt but the cost of this is at another level. There is nothing like it here and sadly I don't think there could be now either. Munich serves well enough for Europe. However, the big show in Germany, albeit aimed less at audiophiles & more at general consumers of electronics is the IFA show in Berlin which is simply vast. Crowds gather outside on each of the mornings (it lasts about a week) as if attending a football match. This is where alot of the domestic trade in Germany gets done. Bargains to be had on the final day too as some of the far eastern exhibitors tear down their stands and almost give the stuff away rather than ship it back with them. Its not really about what we'd call serious audio though.

With regard to the UK show, I feel there has been some effective consultation between the organisers and exhibitors. Their marketing effort is improving. They also have a media partner in the form of HiFi World this year (arguably the 2nd best read audio magazine) Hopefully more people will be made aware of it & will come, whether there'll be enough to see is a moot point given the state of the market at the moment.

Howard raises a deeper issue about the relevance of high quality audio to people generally now. I don't think there's a lack of interest in listening to music. Arguably its being listened to more than ever. Its just that the way it is consumed has changed so dramatically. A generation has grown up listening to media players via headphones and perhaps haven't had the thrill that recreating an event taking place in your own room can give.

How any show can attract newcomers, and make the pursuit of good sound exciting continues to be a challenge. The larger manufacturers need to begin addressing it together and soon or their traditional market is going to shrivel to nothing over the next 10 years or so and they'll be fighting over a smaller & smaller cake.

Personally I don't think it can be done by offering ever more outrageously priced trinkets. Real value and truly tangible benefits need to be on offer. They seldom are. Sure, exotic and expensive items will continue to be sold in tiny quantities to those that can afford them but those that can't won't even be aspiring to own it.

It'll be interesting to hear what the participants in a forum need & want from a HiFi show but what'd be more interesting would be to see what might attract people who don't currently have that interest. What would really make them consider going?

I'll be doing this H'row show but it may be the last one I do there for a while. It really is hard to justify the expense. Its more effective to support dealer events.

purite audio
30-07-2008, 19:17
Like these, Munich 2008
http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e151/hansiglock/HiFiShowMunich2008017.jpg

I spent a lot of time at that stand! The small Cessaro's were being used in a little room on that stand with TLA amps from Athens, and as well as the girls you could get a cup of coffee and and a biscuit! 15k for the entire show, Munich makes the UK shows seem rather Mickey Mouse frankly.

Marco
30-07-2008, 19:28
Munich makes the UK shows seem rather Mickey Mouse frankly


I would agree, Keith, and I intend to go one year soon. However, at those prices for exhibitors, the organisers are the ones taking the Mickey!!!

Marco.

purite audio
30-07-2008, 20:11
Marco I agree it is a lot of cash, but there are no shortage of takers, the show had spread to two atriums this year, and there are cheaper rooms/ portakins to be had . Ralph ( Cessaro ) believes it money well spent he picked up four new distributors , took orders for 8 pairs of speakers including two Beta's and a Gamma which he is going to install this winter in Athens .http://www.cessaro-horn-acoustics.com/index_en.html

Togil
30-07-2008, 20:21
The stand was Silent Wire, quite a popular cable in Germany

purite audio
30-07-2008, 20:51
Quite a new company aren't they?

Togil
31-07-2008, 06:59
Yes, I think MBL are using them now

Marco
31-07-2008, 09:06
Ok, some thoughts about how things could be improved at shows...

(None of this applies to you Howard because I don't think you're guilty of it)

Exhibitors

1) Don't play 'wanky' music - namely, audiophile 'tinkly-tinky' crap that no-one except total geeks listens to, or repetitive compilations of pop nonsense you've made up for the show.

2) When a punter asks you to play a CD, do so with a smile and show willingness instead of grudgingly, with a scowl, thinking to yourself: "Oh no, my uber-revealing audiophile pap which trashes anything other than pristinely recorded test discs is now going to get shown up by some 'real' music."

I'm exaggerating of course (well a bit!), but remember that people can only judge how good your system is with familiar music, so no matter how dreadful you think their music is, let them play it!

3) Take absolute care in setting up your system, showing the same fastidious attention to detail that discerning people attending the show are likely to do with their systems at home. That means neat and tidy cables, using proper hi-fi stands, not plonking your gear any old way on hotel bedroom furniture, and most importantly of all, employing the use of good quality mains leads and mains blocks which do something to address the awful mains supply in hotels.

If you're really good you'll use some kind of mains regeneration device to help clean up the supply. Do this and you'll have a fighting chance of making a decent sound, providing your equipment is worth listening to in the first place.

4) Try to suppress the urge to forgo all of the above, dumping everything and setting it up any old way, so you can be first at the bar ;)

5) Unless it's a closed ticket only demonstration, make sure the door to your room is open at all times. There's nothing more intimidating than being faced with a closed door, opening it tentatively feeling you might be disturbing someone, and then being greeted with a stern look by a po-faced exhibitor because you've disturbed him in the middle of a pitch. Keep doors open and be smiley and friendly at all times. You're always going to be 'disturbed' by someone at an awkward moment; it's the nature of the beast, so accept it with a smile.

6) Always make sure that you have brochures/leaflets and up-to-date price lists of everything you're demonstrating, and that there are enough of them, laid out neatly on a nearby table. If you're professional and organised there is no excuse not to do this. People like to have something tangible to take away with them and refer to afterwards. It might help you make that sale.


Punters

1) Don't ask inane questions and waste the exhibitor's time. If you're lonely and have no friends go and find someone else to annoy.

2) Always bring a couple of familiar CDs which will help you judge what you're hearing and don't be afraid to ask the exhibitor to play them. What you get out of the experience is largely down to you.

3) Make sure your mobile phone is switched off before entering a room. It is ignorant to have phones ringing or bleeping during a demonstration. Oh and above all try to have a bath or a shower before coming - B.O is even more off-putting than bleeping phones.

4) Don't wait until the last minute to get to any particular room. Try to arrive at the show early so you have plenty of time to visit all the rooms well within the set timescale, particularly on the last day of the show. The last thing a tired exhibitor wants is people arriving in droves at 5pm on a Sunday evening when all they want to do is pack up and go home. Show some respect and common sense.

5) Don't forget to bring a credit card with you because the car park attendants at shows these days often don't take cash, and this fact is often not very clearly advertised.

6) Don't moan like an old woman about the cost of food and drinks - you're in an airport hotel of a large city that's playing host to a captive audience - what do you think is going to happen? If you can't afford to eat and drink there bring a packed lunch.

Above all have fun! :)

Marco.

Neil McCauley
31-07-2008, 09:36
Ok, some thoughts about how things could be improved at shows...

(None of this applies to you Howard because I don't think you're guilty of it)

Exhibitors

1) Don't play 'wanky' music - namely, audiophile 'tinkly-tinky' crap that no-one except total geeks listens to, or repetitive compilations of pop nonsense you've made up for the show.

2) When a punter asks you to play a CD, do so with a smile and show willingness instead of grudgingly, with a scowl, thinking to yourself: "Oh no, my uber-revealing audiophile pap which trashes anything other than pristinely recorded test discs is now going to get shown up by some 'real' music."

I'm exaggerating of course (well a bit!), but remember that people can only judge how good your system is with familiar music, so no matter how dreadful you think their music is, let them play it!

3) Take absolute care in setting up your system, showing the same fastidious attention to detail that discerning people attending the show are likely to do with their systems at home. That means neat and tidy cables, using proper hi-fi stands, not plonking your gear any old way on hotel bedroom furniture, and most importantly of all, employing the use of good quality mains leads and mains blocks which do something to address the awful mains supply in hotels.

If you're really good you'll use some kind of mains regeneration device to help clean up the supply. Do this and you'll have a fighting chance of making a decent sound, providing your equipment is worth listening to in the first place.

4) Try to suppress the urge to forgo all of the above, dumping everything and setting it up any old way, so you can be first at the bar ;)

5) Unless it's a closed ticket only demonstration, make sure the door to your room is open at all times. There's nothing more intimidating than being faced with a closed door, opening it tentatively feeling you might be disturbing someone, and then being greeted with a stern look by a po-faced exhibitor because you've disturbed him in the middle of a pitch. Keep doors open and be smiley and friendly at all times. You're always going to be 'disturbed' by someone at an awkward moment; it's the nature of the beast, so accept it with a smile.

6) Always make sure that you have brochures/leaflets and up-to-date price lists of everything you're demonstrating, and that there are enough of them, laid out neatly on a nearby table. If you're professional and organised there is no excuse not to do this. People like to have something tangible to take away with them and refer to afterwards. It might help you make that sale.


Punters

1) Don't ask inane questions and waste the exhibitor's time. If you're lonely and have no friends go and find someone else to annoy.

2) Always bring a couple of familiar CDs which will help you judge what you're hearing and don't be afraid to ask the exhibitor to play them. What you get out of the experience is largely down to you.

3) Make sure your mobile phone is switched off before entering a room. It is ignorant to have phones ringing or bleeping during a demonstration. Oh and above all try to have a bath or a shower before coming - B.O is even more off-putting than bleeping phones.

4) Don't wait until the last minute to get to any particular room. Try to arrive at the show early so you have plenty of time to visit all the rooms well within the set timescale, particularly on the last day of the show. The last thing a tired exhibitor wants is people arriving in droves at 5pm on a Sunday evening when all they want to do is pack up and go home. Show some respect and common sense.

5) Don't forget to bring a credit card with you because the car park attendants at shows these days often don't take cash, and this fact is often not very clearly advertised.

6) Don't moan like an old woman about the cost of food and drinks - you're in an airport hotel of a large city that's playing host to a captive audience - what do you think is going to happen? If you can't afford to eat and drink there bring a packed lunch.

Above all have fun! :)

Marco.
Thanks Marco.

All of this makes complete sense to me, and should I hope make sense to everyone who attends audio exhibitions. Meanwhile, how might exhibition organisers get 'new blood' to visit?


---//---

Neil McCauley
31-07-2008, 09:53
Ok, some thoughts about how things could be improved at shows...

(None of this applies to you Howard because I don't think you're guilty of it)

Exhibitors

5) Unless it's a closed ticket only demonstration, make sure the door to your room is open at all times. There's nothing more intimidating than being faced with a closed door, opening it tentatively feeling you might be disturbing someone, and then being greeted with a stern look by a po-faced exhibitor because you've disturbed him in the middle of a pitch. Keep doors open and be smiley and friendly at all times. You're always going to be 'disturbed' by someone at an awkward moment; it's the nature of the beast, so accept it with a smile.

Marco.

This is a perennial problem at Heathrow if you operating in a corridor room. When I was representing Harbeth, LFD, North Star and Funk at Heathrow earlier this year I was most unfortunately right next to the Mcintosh room. When I spotted this on the floor plan I was of course initially rather pleased. Mcintosh is a prestigious brand and in order to get to their room you had to pass mine. Result!

What had not occurred to me beforehand was that Shadow Audio who are I believe the importers would be playing music at ASBO or neighbour-from-hell sound levels. Admittedly this didn’t happen all the time and I feel sure they weren’t trying to piss me off. Sadly though, it did piss off visitors to my continually packed room who, in the middle of subtle and wonderful recordings of Bach, Patricia Barber, Mozart, Christine Collister or whatever would be assaulted not only by a vibrating floor (no easy trick being of concrete construction) but a horrid noise which was – and I kid you not – occasionally louder than the sound in my own room if I kept my door open.

Given that the air conditioning in my room caused interference with the system we were obliged to listen to music at too high an SPL in my room with the door open or listening in a semi-sauna with the door shut to try and keep out the raucous din from next door. And yes, I know full well how intimidating a closed door can be to a visitor. Between a rock and a hard place on this one.

Gentlemen, truth be told – this specific problem tipped the balance of me deciding not to do a show again. Of course I did have the option of taking a bigger room for September this year that is better insulated, but on balance I thought the £4k could be better spent on a holiday on the Canadian Pacific coast. Which is precisely what I and Mrs. P are going to do when the show is on.


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Marco
31-07-2008, 10:12
It might make complete sense, Howard, but quite a lot of it in my experience doesn't actually happen!


All of this makes complete sense to me, and should I hope make sense to everyone who attends audio exhibitions. Meanwhile, how might exhibition organisers get 'new blood' to visit?


That's a difficult one, and it's not going to happen overnight. You have to get younger people, say, in the 20-35 year old bracket 'turned on' to high-end hi-fi instead of buying plastic systems from Tescos.

One thing I would do, and you mentioned advertising elsewhere, is for manufacturers and dealers to start advertising in music magazines such as UNCUT, etc, instead of in hi-fi magazines, because they have a massively higher, younger, target audience and if you can get those people interested in 'proper' hi-fi then you're half way to curing the problem.

Basically what needs to be done is to change the whole image of hi-fi shows from the ground up and make them less 'geeky'. I'm quite sure there are plenty of younger people who would attend but who avoid them like the plague because of their image. I've got friends who are into music, and quite into hi-fi (not like me, though) who think I'm mad going to these shows because they're full of sad old men walking around with carrier bags.

The whole outlook and experience of shows needs to be more up-to-date and designed to appeal to a younger audience, therefore advertising must be slicker and more creative by the organisers, and exhibitors must be more in tune with what younger people want. Hi-fi shows currently have too much of a stuffy, elitist image, and it is that which puts 'normal' people off attending.

To get younger people to go probably means introducing much more in the way of computer based audio and less traditional hi-fi. Crucially, I think there also needs to be more of a music orientated approach to shows, perhaps with some (good) live music being part of the event to encourage younger people to come, then people like you can try to get them into the hi-fi side of things when they visit your room and are blown away by the sound!

Trust me, young people like good sound, too. I have teenage relatives who come and visit regularly and are amazed by how good their CDs sound on my system. They also think that vinyl is cool, and thus so are turntables, so there would probably be a good opportunity to sell younger people a half decent turntable to play their 12" mixes on, providing they play at 45 :)

I've got loads of ideas of what I would do if I was organising these events. In a relatively short space of time they could easily be successful and profitable to all parties concerned but for that to happen a gust of fresh air needs to blow away the dusty old cobwebs...

Marco.

Neil McCauley
31-07-2008, 10:50
Marco. Are you serious about UNCUT? I was led to believe that it was the official journal of SAC - the Society Against Circumcision. I have it seems been grievously mislead as I had concluded it had nothing to do with music.


---//---

Marco
31-07-2008, 10:57
LOL. Very good! :lol:

Btw, your earlier point about Shadow Audio was hilarious (although unfortunate). I'll explain why later. Right now I need to do some work for a change.

Laters,
Marco.

pure sound
31-07-2008, 11:11
One thing I would do, and you mentioned advertising elsewhere, is for manufacturers and dealers to start advertising in music magazines such as UNCUT, etc, instead of in hi-fi magazines, because they have a massively higher, younger, target audience and if you can get those people interested in 'proper' hi-fi then you're half way to curing the problem.





I'd agree with this and would do it if I could afford to. The problem is that these magazines have far higher circulations than any of the HiFi mags and advertising rates are commensurately higher too. I'm surprised more of the larger manufacturers don't do it though. Perhaps even they take the view that a larger number of the readers of a low circulation HiFi mag (people who are obviously interested in hardware) might be swayed by their adverts than would the readers of a music magazine (who perhaps aren't so interested) It would also take a prolonged spell of such advertising for any manufacturers or retailers to really make an impression.



Patricia Barber, Howard? You deserved every decibel!

griffo104
31-07-2008, 16:02
Patricia Barber, Howard? You deserved every decibel!

Having to listen to music like this is the exact reason I've stopped going to shows - it's wrong in every possible way. I've bene to 1 in 8 years and I don't plan going to another.

A shame as these things should appeal to people like me.

Chris
31-07-2008, 16:35
And there“s me, really taking to Ms. Barber“s Night Club since replacing my Black Cube with my P10 and before I couldn“t stand it. Just shows, dunnit.:lol:

StanleyB
31-07-2008, 16:46
Cafe Blue is supposed to be a good test disc.

Mr. C
31-07-2008, 17:04
Keith,

Off to Top Milan as well then, see you there :-)
Then back on the Thursday for setting up at Heathrow, going to be a very busy week!
A lot of changes are planned for the Heathrow show, with a lot of creditable input coming from the exhibitors themselves, over the last 9 months or so a good deal of planning and ideas from the dealers/public/exhibitors have been aired and put into action for this coming show.
It will be more of an event/entertainment for all, then just another 'Hifi show'. I would agree it would be nice to approach either Top Milan or Munich, however it can happen, though it will take a little time. Things are changing for the better, family entertainment/ inside industry events/ genuine competitions with quality prizes/ more reasonable pricing on food and drink / quite areas to chill out in, are all on the cards.
It is starting to come together and will be worth the effort to attend.
We are in the Garros room with a few brand new world class toys being debuted.
Good debate this one

Neil McCauley
31-07-2008, 17:31
"Having to listen to music like this is the exact reason I've stopped going to shows - it's wrong in every possible way"

Not quite clear where the word "having' comes into this? The exit was never more than a few steps way in my room. Anyway ......

Do I detect just a whiff of musical elitism here? I do hope not.

Those of you who attended my room at the show might recall that not only did I regularly invite members of the audience to let me play their own choice of music (some of the heavy duty quality Blue Note Jazz vinyl reissues were terrific) but also what tracks on my own CDs they’d like to hear.

Given that I had a number of repeat visitors and quite a few who told me that in total they’d spent at least one hour in my room, it is relevant to point out that by far the biggest number of requests was for ‘Bye Bye Blackbird’ by Patricia Barber off her ‘Nightclub’ CD.

As for me, I don’t believe I have the authority, arrogance nor temerity to insist that anyone and everyone must listen to only the pieces I want to play. It doesn't happen in my demos and it doesn’t happen at my room at exhibitions either.



---//---

gary
31-07-2008, 18:01
Just a thought but would car mags not be a good place to advertise as a high proportion of young drivers spend a fair bit on car hifi if the link was made between the quality of what was listened to in car compared to the house it may stir some interest

Iain Sinclair
31-07-2008, 19:08
I've never been to a hifi show (or any trade show for that matter). What would encourage me to go? I'm not sure anything would, really. It's hardly an ideal context in which to hear stuff; I'm up in London a fair bit so don't have the incentive of buying rare vinyl; plus I'm not that fond of crowds or queuing up. Maybe free booze would clinch it.

Mike
31-07-2008, 19:22
I've never been to a hifi show (or any trade show for that matter). What would encourage me to go? I'm not sure anything would, really. It's hardly an ideal context in which to hear stuff; I'm up in London a fair bit so don't have the incentive of buying rare vinyl; plus I'm not that fond of crowds or queueing up.


Yep, that's me too!...



Maybe free booze would clinch it.


I like that idea though. :)

Cotlake
31-07-2008, 22:25
3) Take absolute care in setting up your system, showing the same fastidious attention to detail that discerning people attending the show are likely to do with their systems at home. That means neat and tidy cables, using proper hi-fi stands, not plonking your gear any old way on hotel bedroom furniture, and most importantly of all, employing the use of good quality mains leads and mains blocks which do something to address the awful mains supply in hotels.

If you're really good you'll use some kind of mains regeneration device to help clean up the supply. Do this and you'll have a fighting chance of making a decent sound, providing your equipment is worth listening to in the first place.

Marco.

I've been a volunteer helper for 'World Designs' at the last three Bristol Shows. One of the features of the presentation is nothing fancy or unnecessary in the system. Even with diabolical mains supply, good equipment should still perform satisfactorily. The only thing we found effecting our demo was a constant need to adjust motor speed on the Garrard 401.

Thereafter, everything we demonstrated was the basic kit. Certainly we applied good thinking and analysis to component synergy to ensure a correct sound and it was gobsmackingly surprising how many 'best sound at the show' comments we got. We didn't use filters, blockers or anything else, and in terms of equipment support, we settled for the best Ikea could supply :). We just plugged in and played. For me this is the crux. Alot of stuff now marketed is missing something and (in the mind of the supplier and in the ignorance of the receiver) to make it work you have to bolt on all these extras. Surely that is not truth. Good kit is exactly that and you don't need anything supplimental to make it work properly. Oh well, that's marketing and I suppose it generates income, but certainly not honestly generated income. If the kit is right and good, sod the supply, it'll sound right and good. Certainly it will be compromised by the listening environment, but if it sounds good at the show, the potential to sound excellent at home is significant.

Alot of show demonstrations are poorly set up and suffer accordingly. Linn at Bristol in February this year was classic. They were promoting the Keel upgrade to the LP12 and even offered the old style for comparison. The difference was obvious with the Keel as the winner, but, being a bit knowledgable on how to make an LP12 sing, I examined the old style one and without doubt it had been set up incorrectly or, to put it a more pertenant way, off tune. Therefore the Keel option was bound to sound better. Having said that, the total system presentation sounded very poor, but I suspect this is not that big an issue for them. They are a big name in the industry and many 'punters' don't look beyond the ends of their noses (don't actually engage their ears). With clever marketing you can sell sand to the Arabs!

The year before, I did the Naim Experience. They run half hour sessions, lock you in so escape is not easy and then subject you to listening sessions of all their kit working from cheap (to them) to top range. You get a bit of a preamble presentation and then a listen to their music choice. As this happens, the marketeers sit to the side, eyes closed, rocking medatively in time to the music. My friend and I looked around in dismay at the end of each demonstration, as the audiance broke into applause. Even during the sound they got sucked in and went on the foot tapping rap. Oh bollocks, the actual sound was really crap. It left Rob and I just looking at each other in total disbelief, particularly as most of the punters around us had been totally sucked in. Hmm, marketing is a powerful but potentially seriously dishonest tool. And that was the case. What Rob and I had at home sounded far better and more real than the Naim presentation at a fraction of the cost. However, the average punter, sucked into the system has not explored further from what they can hear on the high street and are therefore listening in total ignorance. It's all a shame but does indicate that fundamentally, apart from a few exceptions, the industry is corrupt. It continues to sell and promote products that really don't provide quality or realistic sound.

Personally I think I've arrived here through my own DIY journey. It seems to me a shame that those who are constrained in audio ability are limited to what the dealer offers and can easily be misled. Having said that, if they don't actually have the ears to hear, what can you expect! The marketing company will always be the winner. That actually is an interesting point. In my experience, those who have discerning ears are the ones who eventually reject the industry and move over to DIY which satisfies their need for true and accurately reproduced sound.

Yours controversially,

Greg

Marco
31-07-2008, 22:35
Great post, Greg. That's exactly why you were invited here! :)

Rest assured I will get back to you tomorrow, probably in the evening, as I have a pretty busy day.

Let's just say I agree with some but not all of your points ;)

Right, I'm off to listen to some tunes before bed...

Laters,
Marco.

Sand Dancin Donkey Walker
31-07-2008, 23:59
the marketeers sit to the side, eyes closed, rocking medatively in time to the music.
Yours controversially,

Greg

A couple of years ago I quite unintentionally upset the guy demonstrating the, I think Quadra-sphere stands, the wobbly ones, by asking him very politely to stop jigging like he needed to pee or some such like every time he put his stand in place unless he had either a medical condition or the DT's. No too sure which. Joking apart it was a very poor, cheap and obvious trick to try and do, he did ensure he sat at the front of the room just to make sure all present could see him, during his act. Just showed lack of respect to every one there as far as I can see.
Well it amused me in any case. In fact I was more distracted by his antics I didn't really consider listening to the music being played or the effectiveness or not of his stand.
Things like that do amuse me on occasions - little things and little minds - that will be me then :scratch:

Andy - SDDW

Night shift madness must have gripped me. I was originally posting a reply to Greg's whole post but got sick of the effort so posted the above instead.

Neil McCauley
01-08-2008, 10:06
Keith,

Things are changing for the better, family entertainment .........


I think it’s going to take more than a bouncy castle in the (extended) car park, free ear defenders for visitors to exhibitors using Linn or Naim or cheap burgers to get the fresh blood this industry needs.


---//---

Neil McCauley
01-08-2008, 10:17
Things are changing for the better, family entertainment ..........

On a more serious note, in 32 years of retailing I have yet, even once, to come across a family that sits and listens to music as a group. In fact, even two people listening together in the home is very rare in my experience.

Listening to hi-fi in the home is in the main a solitary male-orientated experience.

The point being that these apparent initiatives by the organisers seem to me to be focusing on boosting the quantity rather than the quality. 'Footfall' or 'Traffic volumes' are part of the lexicon of even novice exhibition organisers, let alone battle hardened ones.

To hope that through a process of osmosis one or more enlightened family members will drag an initially reluctant family member into an exhibitor's room with the hope that enlightenment (or an epiphany) will surely follow is, frankly, hopelessly and recklessly naļve.


---//---

Marco
01-08-2008, 10:20
Howard,

You doom and gloom merchant you! :lolsign:

Out of interest, what did you think of some of the ideas I put forward earlier?

(I will get to Greg's points later).

Marco.

jandl100
01-08-2008, 11:03
A couple of years ago I quite unintentionally upset the guy demonstrating the, I think Quadra-sphere stands, the wobbly ones, by asking him very politely to stop jigging like he needed to pee or some such like every time he put his stand in place unless he had either a medical condition or the DT's.

Tee Hee - nice one, Andy. I remember suffering that nitwit's antic's too - but his stand-thingy did seem to work, to my ears anyway.

I must confess that I enjoy most hifi shows hugely, and I go to every one that is in sensible distance (for me, that's a couple of hours drive each way) - it's always nice to see what will be hitting the used listings in a year or so. ;) So, no, they are not a huge success for the exhibitors in my case.

Yeah, you guys, you should be more tolerant of other folks tastes in music - some people actually like that Barber/Krall crap and would choose to listen to it in preference to your fave choons (whatever they may be). Must confess, though, that Howard's room at LHR last year was one of my faves if only because he chose to play some classical and was also most happy to play my own Loreena McKennitt CD! :) In fairness, though, it's very rare these days to find an exhibitor who is not willing and interested to play my demo discs.

For me, Shows work very well - not sure how to get the Great Unwashed in to them though. I suspect that the idea of advertising hifi in non-hifi, populist mags would be a great way to start. Perhaps a group of dealers or manufactureres could get together and make a joint effort to amortise the costs?

Togil
01-08-2008, 12:10
Once many years ago I asked "you know who" in the ATC room to play one of Dave Wilson's violin sonata recordings, he obliged but after one minute he asked me to take that rubbish out again and proceded to play some heavy metal for some Japanese trade visitors who'd just come into the room :lol:

griffo104
01-08-2008, 14:52
"Having to listen to music like this is the exact reason I've stopped going to shows - it's wrong in every possible way"

Not quite clear where the word "having' comes into this? The exit was never more than a few steps way in my room. Anyway ......

Do I detect just a whiff of musical elitism here? I do hope not.

Those of you who attended my room at the show might recall that not only did I regularly invite members of the audience to let me play their own choice of music (some of the heavy duty quality Blue Note Jazz vinyl reissues were terrific) but also what tracks on my own CDs they’d like to hear.

Given that I had a number of repeat visitors and quite a few who told me that in total they’d spent at least one hour in my room, it is relevant to point out that by far the biggest number of requests was for ‘Bye Bye Blackbird’ by Patricia Barber off her ‘Nightclub’ CD.

As for me, I don’t believe I have the authority, arrogance nor temerity to insist that anyone and everyone must listen to only the pieces I want to play. It doesn't happen in my demos and it doesn’t happen at my room at exhibitions either.



---//---

Howard, my comment wasn't specifically aimed at you. I've made the mistake of purchasing Ms Barbers cds - at least 2 of them and the music is exceptionally bland, lacking in any real soul. If I want to hear a jazz/blues singer then there are plenty far better than her.

'Having' is appropriate. If you ask most genuine music lovers what they most dislike about hifi shows most, if not all of them, will mention the poor quality of the music being played and not everyone is happy putting on a cd taken by a punter. I've been refused a few times at shows, expecially if it might be something normal people would listen to.

I've been to demos you have out on at shows and I have enjoyed the music in general.

However, I don't wish to sound elitist, but describing an album as a good 'test disc', as someone else has earlier in this thread, demeans the musical content of it in my experience. Music is about enjoying it not testing a hifi.

jandl100
01-08-2008, 16:33
describing an album as a good 'test disc', as someone else has earlier in this thread, demeans the musical content of it in my experience. Music is about enjoying it not testing a hifi.

The demo discs I take to Shows are usually of exceptional sound quality (imo), but also tend to be among my fave CDs for musical enjoyment - the latter being an important test criterion as far as I am concerned.

Lots of folks do indeed enjoy those bland Barber/Krall/Snorah Jones discs ... and they can have excellent sonics so are 'impressive' in a demo situation. I fondly remember having one of my Loreena McKennitt CDs openly sneered at by an exhibitor - who quickly replaced it with an entirely forgettable Rebecca Pidgeon CD and sat back in smug satisfaction as if expecting me to be amazed at the superiority of his musical taste :mental: .... ah, Happy Days!

StanleyB
01-08-2008, 17:00
Lots of folks do indeed enjoy those bland Barber/Krall/Snorah Jones discs ... and they can have excellent sonics so are 'impressive' in a demo situation.
Add to that list Katie Melua and Joan Armatrading. Very fine recording detail that only the better systems can resolve, and the best ones can reproduce with flair and genuine emotion. If that's not considered enjoyable music that is also suitable for demoing systems, then what is?

John
01-08-2008, 17:31
I rarely go to shows as with a lot of people I find them to be crowded sometimes impossible to get into rooms, the sounds I hear generally not so good and just feeling overwhelmed by the whole experience. I rather spend my money going to a concert or buying an album

Neil McCauley
01-08-2008, 17:34
Frankly if it were down to me {which it wasn't entirely) I'd have selected The Detroit Cobras, Buddy Guy, Richard Thompson, The Who, Sugar, Ian Mathews, Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, Jefferson Airplane, Beach Boys, Walter / Wendy Carlos, the Magnolias, and very much more. Please note, no Jazz. However ......

When I was engaged by Podium loudspeakers to kick-start their Global operations, I collected questionaires from a total of 417 visitors over 2 shows; 1 in Manchester and 1 at Heathrow. Among many other factors that I sought answers too, when it came to musical tastes in order of preference (selection included 'Roots', Rock, Middle of the Road, Blues, etc}, Jazz came out as the number #1 choice in first place in 57% of the replies. All the rest accounted between them for just 43%.

I'm unaware of any other exhibitor attempting in this way to determine the musical tastes of visitors.

Please note: I was not asking what types of music they wanted to hear at the show, rather what genres they listened to at home. Frankly the Jazz outcome amazed me. That was going to be my next set of questions, had I decided to got to the forthcoming Heathrow September show which I'm not.

And what did I learn from this exercise? It’s simple. Never, ever try to second-guess the thought processes, aspirations and motivations of anyone who has any interest in listening to any of my systems.


---//---

Mick Parry
02-08-2008, 10:04
Chaps

I have been to three Hifi shows and that is enough to last me a life time.

The place is filled with bored reps, all stuffed into small rooms totally unfit for the purpose of demonstrating their products. There is a contest to see who can turn the volume up the loudest so no one can hear what is being said in the room next door.

The visitors are just sad nerds and only a small percentage have any intention of buying anything other thancrappy LPs or Cds that normal shops are too embarrassed to stock. Oh they like walking out with a plastic bag stuffed with pamphlets just to show how environmentally conscious they are.

I have wittnessed dozens of conversations where some boring nerd is firing the same daft questions and coming up with the same daft comments identical to another sad nerd who was there 15 minutes previous.

The reps are bloody bored out of their brains putting up with this bunch of drongos and who can blame them. All they are doing is counting the minutes when they can go to the bar and describe the dimmest nerd they had to tolerate.

I am surprised that the shows have lasted as long as they have done. They are a total waste of space.

Regards

Mick

Marco
02-08-2008, 11:00
The visitors are just sad nerds and only a small percentage have any intention of buying anything other than crappy LPs or Cds that normal shops are too embarrassed to stock.


LOL. Mick, please count me out of that description!

The diversity of music sold (on vinyl) by the likes of Stamford and Diverse is actually rather good, particularly at the Manchester show. I've bought loads of excellent jazz titles there. The London one though tends to be full of audiophile pap.

I hope you're enjoying the sunshine, old chap :)

Marco.

jandl100
02-08-2008, 12:54
Chaps

I have been to three Hifi shows and that is enough to last me a life time.

The place is filled with bored reps, all stuffed into small rooms totally unfit for the purpose of demonstrating their products. There is a contest to see who can turn the volume up the loudest so no one can hear what is being said in the room next door.

.....

Regards

Mick

You gotta laugh, sounds like you could be a founder member of the Grumpy Old Gits Club, Mick. :)

Yes, you describe perfectly the worst aspects of some Shows - but they can also be events full of interest and well-planned and -executed, not to mention enlightening, demos. Howard P has run a few of those. Many other exhibitors do so as well. As with anything, you have to be prepared to tolerate a smattering of the worst (which can then be avoided) in order to identify and enjoy the best.

I find the Shows run by Chester Group are generally good to excellent, these have now thankfully replaced the increasingly lacklustre HFN event at Heathrow. They tend to concentrate on higher end kit and there are quite a few a year scattered around the UK.

Marco
04-08-2008, 08:41
Agreed about the Chester Group shows. I thought the one in Manchester earlier this year was excellent. The Bristol show (which is probably the biggest) is total crap - too much mainstream mid-fi nonsense.

Marco.

lurcher
05-08-2008, 07:03
Frankly the Jazz outcome amazed me.

Remember though that there is a huge range of music that falls under that catagory, its not all bowler hats and red noses :-)

alb
05-08-2008, 07:26
Frankly the Jazz outcome amazed me.

Yes, and this result was from people (audiophiles) who were sufficiently interested to visit a show.
Take a similar sample from joe public on the street and the result will totally different.
The pitifully small jazz section in many high street music stores suggests that relatively few folks enjoy it.
People do look at you with suspicion when you tell them that you like a bit of jazz.

Togil
05-08-2008, 07:44
What other form of music repeats in a self-conscious way the same old boring tunes ? :scratch:
The only one who did it with style imho was Django Reinhardt

alb
05-08-2008, 08:02
What other form of music repeats in a self-conscious way the same old boring tunes ?

No, i think there's plenty of good stuff out there, even if it takes some finding.
The problem with the term Jazz, is that it conjures up images of an over enthusiastic bunch of pensioners playing forgettable five minute solos.
That's how i used to think of it.

Marco
05-08-2008, 08:08
Nick's right; Jazz is an extremely diverse musical genre and therefore cannot be pigeonholed under one specific style.

For me, it's a mood thing - when I want to chill out and relax Jazz is often what I choose to listen to - not the plinky-plinky 'elevator' stuff, though. That's definitely for the 'cardigan and slippers' crew ;)

Marco.

lurcher
05-08-2008, 08:47
What other form of music repeats in a self-conscious way the same old boring tunes ?

Well, the entire classical field could have that said about it. They do tend to play the same tune more than once.

Togil
05-08-2008, 09:10
Yes but it's the self-conscious bit. When I hear someone play Beethoven I'm thinking of Beethoven. When I hear someone play I Got Rhythm I'm not thinking of Gershwin. The exception might be Glenn Gould.

lurcher
05-08-2008, 09:38
Yes but it's the self-conscious bit. When I hear someone play Beethoven I'm thinking of Beethoven. When I hear someone play I Got Rhythm I'm not thinking of Gershwin. The exception might be Glenn Gould.

Ah well, takes all sorts, normally I am just thinking of the music and no particular person.

I always liked the Yelowjackets version of "I Got Rhythm"

Actually, I have thought about it for a bit longer, I don't understand at all what you mean by "self-conscious", have you a particular example of this?

Cotlake
05-08-2008, 21:07
Any form of modern popular music beit pop, rock, reggae, garage, rap, modern folk and all the others including derivatives are highly repetative and furthermore most simplistic in their musical melody. It all started with the Beatles...yer,yer,yer.

If you like to listen to it (I do), that's fine. Likewise it is fine with classical and jazz which IMHO have far more variances in melody, volume, key and tonal presentation than anything modern and popular.

I like modern and old and listen happliy to both but don't suggest that jazz and classical are repetative in comparison with modern stuff. That's nonsence. Both those genre's have far more variation on an original theme (tune) both verse by verse and in complex. Furthermore you get shed loads more melody/theme variation.

Marco
06-08-2008, 07:54
Indeed. Listen to rap or hip-hop - inane repetitive drivel (well, that's my opinion :))

Marco.

Togil
06-08-2008, 09:34
It still seems to me that no other form of music apart from jazz takes an old tune which is then used by the individual jazz artist to express his/her own personality in a mostly embarrassing way - unless you do it really well like Django or Oscar Peterson

Primalsea
06-08-2008, 11:28
I read once that Rap is to music what Etch-a-sketch is to art.

Some rap is quite good but most of it seems to be about popping caps in peoples ass's, being a gangster & getting shot.

Having roll models like that it's no wonder we have social issues and a whole bunch of people who think it's intelligent to speak in a complete inarticulate way.

lurcher
06-08-2008, 12:03
It still seems to me that no other form of music apart from jazz takes an old tune which is then used by the individual jazz artist to express his/her own personality

Well, other than Rock, Blues and Folk.

Marco
06-08-2008, 12:09
Having roll models like that it's no wonder we have social issues and a whole bunch of people who think it's intelligent to speak in a complete inarticulate way.


Precisely; most of it to me is just banal nonsense and promotes the already rife dumbing-down of the English language in our society. And when white guys try to rap it's even more ridiculous.

Besides that, I like to hear people singing in music with good voices - rap and hip-hop just aren't on the radar as far as that's concerned!

Marco.

Neil McCauley
06-08-2008, 12:39
I wish I'd never mentioned the Jazz thing earlier in this thread.

Should have mentioned Blues instead!

Hey, that rhymes. Now what?


---//---

Steve Toy
06-08-2008, 12:45
Well now you've mentioned blues...

This is preferable to jazz.

Neil McCauley
06-08-2008, 13:23
Ah ha. Now then.

Would anyone here like my highly subjective buyers guide to Buddy Guy, Johnny Winter, John Mayall, Mike Bloomfield, Peter Green?

If yes, I'll do my best. Promise!

Not sure when though. I'm off to Alaska in the not to distant future. And no, not a home demo - even though Alaska is, what we say in the trade "an undeveloped market"


---//---

snapper
06-08-2008, 14:02
Would anyone here like my highly subjective buyers guide to Buddy Guy, Johnny Winter, John Mayall, Mike Bloomfield, Peter Green?


---//---



Yes please.

Especially the album The Turning Point.

A couple of us here are getting together at the weekend,and as usual at these meets,I always make up a compilation disc or 2 and a couple of these artists feature.

Togil
06-08-2008, 15:02
And "The Live Adventures of Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper "

Iain Sinclair
06-08-2008, 18:54
I fall into bed, pull my silken sheets up tight
I got to keep my strength up, got to do a show tonight
I'll have a cup of coffee while I'm taking in the news
No need to have a shave cause I'm gonna sing the blues

Well I think I'll get a massage maybe lose a little fat
So I'll have to go downtown in my brand new Cadillac
My valet comes and dresses me, I light a big cigar,
Because I like to look like Nimrod when I'm riding in my car.

Can blue men sing the whites
Or are they hypocrites for singing woo woo wooh.

And now it's getting near the time I gotta make the scene
I change out my dark grey mohair suit put on my dirty jeans
The band comes round to pick me up I holler Hello Boys
I gotta mess my hair up, I'm gonna make some noise brrrrrrr

Can blue men sing the whites
Or are they hypocrites for singing woo woo wooh.

Oh Lordy
Somebody help me

Bonzo Dog Band

snapper
15-08-2008, 15:12
Would anyone here like my highly subjective buyers guide to Buddy Guy, Johnny Winter, John Mayall, Mike Bloomfield, Peter Green?

If yes, I'll do my best. Promise!




---//---


:confused:

gary
15-08-2008, 15:23
Why it seems patience is something you are good at David :steam: :lolsign:

Neil McCauley
15-08-2008, 16:56
Yes please.

Especially the album The Turning Point.



In my view, concurrently the most a-typical and yet essential of the 17 CDs I have by JM. A very odd (for the time) line up i.e no drummer. but it realy works due to extraordinary musical dexterity of the bass man - Steve Thompson. Allegedly it's "a live, all-acoustic affair" - but I think not. Sounds like a Fender electric bass to me. No matter though 'cos the music and recording are first rate. The transition from analogue to Cd has been done tastefully and with all my vinyl and digital copies there is a consistency and at face value you'd be hard pressed to define a preference.

The remastered digital is worth the effort because of the 3 extra tracks which, most assuredly, are not filler!


---//---

Neil McCauley
15-08-2008, 16:59
:confused:
And your point is what precisely sonny? Hmm?


---//---

Neil McCauley
15-08-2008, 17:09
And "The Live Adventures of Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper "

In a nutshell, possibly the most accesable and one of least self-indulgent of his many recordings. But it is a tad bland compared to, say, "Super Session". If you like 'white boy duz da blooos' style, this is essential. Usually a few bargains on ebay. First place to try. "Live At the Waldorf" is more engaging, more satisfying and yet for many, overlooked and unknown.


---//---

Marco
15-08-2008, 18:28
And your point is what precisely sonny? Hmm?


Sonny? I'm sure David will love that! :lolsign:

Marco.

snapper
16-08-2008, 08:43
And your point is what precisely sonny? Hmm?


---//---


Ma point,faither?

I was awaiting your review.

Back in the 70's an older work colleague suggested I buy this and I wasn't disappointed.

In fact I put the track "Room To Move' on a compilation disc that I recently gave to Marco and Gary.