Guide: “How to do a Show” – New York Audio Show 2014
This entry was posted on Saturday, August 16th, 2014 Authored By: Robert Entenmann
Organized by the Chester Group, will be held at the classic New York Marriott Brooklyn Bridge Hotel. The NY Show is a perfect opportunity for new and veteran hobbyist/enthusiasts alike to experience some of the finest audio equipment currently available to consumers. As the owner of a high-end audio boutique in Manhattan’s diverse market, I would highly recommend coming to the show with a strategy. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with a “buy a ticket and go” mentality, however, if you want a pleasurable and perhaps informative experience, then I would advise the following… Make sure to come to the show with a prioritized list of what you’d like to see.
In the past I have attended shows, frantically attempting to see each and every room, and always come up short. Even if I did surmount my goal, it would be more of an exhaustive than efficacious process. For tube-guys, make note of the rooms where tubed equipment will be on display; and the same goes for those of you who are of the solid-state persuasion. Hand-select the brands that are a top priority and spend time in those rooms, ask questions, and most importantly, listen! Being conscious and adopting a quasi-rhythmic flow as you move from room to room will prove indispensable in the overall show experience. The mind/body always responds better to music when it’s focused, calm, and open.
Before I digress into a Cartesian quandary, I’ll return to the simplicity of time. Spend a fair amount of it in the rooms that showcase equipment that is a priority to you. This is particularly important, because something trivial such as walking into a room where a song you dislike is blaring can be enough to disenchant you from listening further. If possible, try to find the sweet spot in the room. Find the center; stay away from the rear wall, and the front row if it’s positioned too close to the speakers. To this effect, your location in the room and the amount of time you spend listening will greatly impact your ability to listen critically insofar as the system’s full potential is concerned.
First impressions are lasting, so listen for the wow factor. Simply put, the “wow factor” is deduced by sitting, listening, and whether or not you say, wow! There should be a sense of immediacy in which the music compels your spirit. If you have to convince yourself why a system is good, then it probably isn’t. The convincing phenomenon occurs all too often when systems with legendary names and audacious price tags disappoint. So if you find yourself walking into a room, which is markedly superior to a room with equipment far more costly, do not second-guess your sonic compass. A sound explanation for this counterintuitive experience is acoustic synergy and set up. Without getting into depth, the aforementioned factors are glossed over too often in the Hifi Industry. Throwing money at a system is not necessarily a means to a desirable end, hence a well executed $150K system can sound significantly better than a poorly put together $500k + system.
In light of the “wow” factor, a few critical elements should be listened for once you’ve found your positioning in the room. The primary of which is a full-bodied presentation. In a way, you can liken this to a wine tasting. One with too much tannin and not enough fruit and oak won’t be pleasant and may come across as unbalanced. The same holds true for music but with different terminology. If a system doesn’t have the right blend of highs, mids, and lows than it may come across as lean or bright. There can be a number of factors that cause this perception: a. the room itself, b. acoustic synergy between components, and c. the setup. You’ll know the correct blend when you hear it; the ears never lie. Then if you choose, you can begin to listen for proper imaging and sound staging. Remember, whatever you do, don’t forget to enjoy the music!