October is a special month in high-end audio. Every year the biggest consumer high-end show in the country happens in Denver. The Rocky Mountain Audiofest is also home to Jude Mansilla’s annual CanJam. The event is where we all congregate. The passionate and enthusiastic crowd was better than ever.
The show keeps growing every year. This year show featured 42 vendors showing everything new that will be introduced shortly. It also is a time for the community to get together and hang out. This year was no exception. The dinners I attended were usually 15-18 people every night.
We had the chance to catch up with some very special friends and meet some new and exciting people as well. The bond this community has is unlike anything else I have ever experienced. The camaraderie and general love and friendship we all have for personal audio is getting stronger each year that I have been affiliated with the sector.
If you want to see what all the fuss is about check out a local meet or a regional show. The next event that I am attending is the NY meet on November 15th in (get this) Stamford Connecticut (does this make it a Tri-State Meet?).
The NY meets are always well attended and this year’s Fall meet should be no exception. Our NY members always show up in full force to support the community. The vendors attending are all listed on the meet page on Headfi.org located here http://www.head-fi.org/forum/newestpost/729371.
The Alpha Prime (which Guru Michael Mercer reviewed last month) along with MrSpeakers himself (Dan Clark) will be in attendance. Michael Mercer went nuts over it for good reason and anyone in the Tri-State area can experience this wonderful product.
Vinnie Rossi will be there introducing his new LIO design. This astonishing modular amplifier is priced and built to your specification and will be making its world premiere shortly. Priced from $ 2500-$6000 based on your choice of design options – this is a must-hear product.
Louis Choco form Omega Speakers also has teamed-up with Vinnie Rossi and will be showing his magnificent Omega Super 3 desktop – also being reviewed this month in Headphone. Guru by Dubstep Girl. In addition, Jack Wu will be there showcasing the very exciting Woo products and also showing his new portable tube prototype design. The Headfi.org thread above has all the vendors attending. In addition, some members will be showcasing their individual rigs.
The reason this is exciting is because you get to meet the people you see and talk with on the Internet. This is a fun way to bond with people and put a face to the people we converse with on the forums. This is also the way to get to hear those new products you may have been thinking about and lusting for to make sure they will be exactly what you want for your system.
Getting involved with the community is a more fulfilling way to get the most out of the hobby. The people we meet in this hobby are all passionate music lovers. They get the best out of what the hobby has to offer. The gear, while always exciting and fun, is secondary. The message I always seem to get out of these meets is that the music is why we are all here. The idea that we can get so much access to the music in today’s world is what makes our hobby so special.
The ability to carry so many albums portably is what makes this hobby unique. You can’t get this type of gratification in any other hobby. The ability to get so passionate and meet so many people with similar interests makes this very special. If you’ve never attended a regional meet or show it is an absolute must for you to get the most out of the hobby.
Meets are easy to organize. The first one I organized was back in January 2010 at my home. I had over 20 people attend that meet and most are still very close and have become very good friends. It was also the time that Dr. Fang Bian came to my home with his wife while in NY, and a cherished friendship has grown and developed through the years. How exciting is that? If you want to get involved you should make the effort to organize a meet in your area.
Since that time of organizing my first meet I have organized two regional shows in two different cities. Last year we did the California Audio Show in San Francisco and this year we did the Capital Audiofest in Washington DC. Both of these shows were chances to meet different people in two different parts of the country and it was exciting for me to meet and enjoy the camaraderie.
The greatest enjoyment we all get is to share our experiences and what makes music so important in all our lives. With all the new technology now available and coming to fruition the hobby is getting more enjoyable. The growth explosion is still in its infancy. Two channel audio and home theater systems are on the decline while personal audio keeps growing .
Are you ready for this? Something very exciting and HUGE has come. Buckle your seat and strap in, get your favorite headphones and DAC’s ready because there is a very big TIDAL WAVE coming. The next big thing is music delivery is here! The idea that we can now stream high quality audio to our smart-phones and home systems is incredible. Tidal http://listen.tidalhifi.com/ is a new monthly subscription service that delivers CD quality lossless (FLAC) music to your iPhones, Android devices and tablets, or to any computer. The monthly fee is $19.99 and the library and is enormous. If you purchase a 128G IPhone 6 or any android phone with similar storage, you would be able to download up to 300 albums (all lossless) from Tidal for portable and personal use. This new service I predict will revolutionize the music-industry as we know it. The sound quality on high-end systems is fantastic and works so well that it had me listening until the wee-hours of the morning and many sleepless hours.
Since the time spent with Tidal has been limited (as it was just released) next month’s column will have more information on the music service and a detailed report on what Tidal is all about. “Impressive” is an understatement. When you get a chance, head over to Tidal website (listed above) and try it free for 7 day to see what all the fuss is about.
I would like to challenge everyone to do two things in the next month and please let me know if you accomplished this in our comments section. The first is to get out to a local meet and experience it, and the second is to actually make a difference in the community and organize an meet or gathering and report back on it.
Better yet write about it and take some pictures. Share your experiences with us at Headphone. Guru and we will publish it on our website. Get involved with the community and experience everything this hobby has to offer. Until next month Listen ON!
Frank started his journey in high-end audio in 1978 and was quickly hooked. Frank’s passion for music and great sound reproduction is stronger than ever. His main focus is with high-end headphones and portable related gear. He is a regular Head-Fi.org contributor and is a co-founder of Headphone.Guru.