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Definitely the best show I have been to. Some memorable moments:

- Meeting up with old friends from previous shows, and being able to put faces to forum names - priceless.

- The Flash convinced that Ed and I had swapped name badges.

- The Friday evening curry - an excellent evening catching up with some of the early attendees, and great food.

- Mucking in during the Saturday setup - the first time I have spent time disassembling a bunk bed at an audio show.

- Auditioning the suitcase systems. So much variety in approach, and so much quality sound produced by those tiny systems - an awesome effort by all that took part.

- The feedback from attendees during the show on Sunday. You never know how well or badly your system will sound until the show starts.

- The several moments during the day when a visitor was gobsmacked on realising that my systems were DIY. The best of those went something like:

"What system is playing?"

"System A."

"What are they? Naim?"

"No, my own design, home built"

<Sound of jaw hitting floor>.

Priceless.

- The Sunday night curry. A much bigger group, more great banter, and the curry was even better than Friday.

Thanks to all that took part in the weekend - already looking forward to the next one!

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10 hours ago, bencat said:

And an added huge thanks to Barry for doing the charity bring and buy and the personal sales  he worked so hard and I never saw him get a real break to visit the rooms , hope this was just me being wrong and that Barry got to see and hear lots but he worked his back side off all weekend and raised a very respectable sum for charity .

Thanks Andrew , Phil (hifinutt) gave me a break , I like to take photos of the systems but it was so busy I gave up after 3 or 4 rooms I returned to my shop :D

I make sure Saturday that I get my music fix , although a visit to @Maverick and @aejoker can result in an extended stay Drinking  Pack Smiley

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Posted (edited)

Here are my main impressions, as a newbie solo exhibitor -

Exhibiting is very different to just visiting - not much time to see other systems, unfortunately. Even with most of Sat being free (I finished set up by about 1.30pm) you cannot see much as most systems do not get finished until much later, or doors are closed as they are helping others etc. As I was not in the brochure I was worried nobody will come to my room so wallpapered the vicinity of the room in posters. Managed to talk to TonyJ, HapHazzard, The Sony Guy, Steve 57, the guys in the other two big rooms (not the electro-stats), couple more guys, listened to some headphones, and had a few visitors all of whom were really nice people. Made the speaker stands and went to bed at about 2.30.

The show day

The flow of visitors starts almost instantly after 10am and never stops. I was told there was a queue to the room for part of the day.

·         90% of people cannot answer the question ‘what music do you like’. People that can are weirdos

·         Many people said this exact phrase: ‘these small ones do not have the right to sound that’, pointing the B&W MM1s. Most said another similar phrase about the three speakers in general

·         About 5% of people left the room quickly (and politely)

·         A few people stayed for 30min or more. A few returned, some more than once (?). Most spent 10-15 min going through my ‘demo’ sequence which was 3-4 of my tracks + visitor's own choice.

·         90% of people liked/were surprised with the MM1s. 60% of people liked the AVIs, 10% of people disliked them. 20% of people liked the Genelecs.

·         5-10% of people asked if there was a sub hidden in the room

·         People who talk/argue while others are listening can be allowed into the room but need to listen from the bathroom (door closed)

·         If you are solo, there is no time to eat, drink or go to the bathroom, not to mention visiting other rooms

Then at abt 3pm the flow just stops. It took me about 40min to breakdown, pack and make good the room.

The 2 teenagers

One of my biggest likes from the show day was the visit from 2 teenagers. I think they came with their exhibiting or visiting father, not sure. I saw them just after 10am looking lost and shy in the corridor, so I invited them in. I had no idea what kind of music they may like and they were very shy to say, so I just played my usual. I think they liked it and spent at least 30min listening with interest. I really liked them, and I really liked the fact that there were teenagers at the show. We are a dying breed, so need young people in the hobby! Then to my surprise, a couple of hours later they came back, and this time stayed for even longer. They were really nice and showed interest in discovering new music. I think this was one of the most important impressions (and hopes!) from the show – the lack (but not complete lack) of the next generations at the show.  I would love to find out who they are.

The Sony Guy

My other big impression came from my room neighbour, The Sony Guy. I just finished setting up and walked into his room to see him puzzled over something. Turned out he needed an extra cable which I happened to have so he was relieved and after getting sorted he showed me around. I was very surprised to find a complete top range quadrophonic dream system from the 70s. Not only it was interesting because I have never heard quadrophonic (it was one of these unattainable things I heard about in my youth time), but it also was all original, complete and in pristine working and cosmetic condition. This set must be 50 years old now, so will turn 60 soon which I believe will officially qualify it as ‘antique’. I think it is unique in its state of completeness and preservation and I could easily see it displayed in the Design Museum or Science Museum. It was absolutely amazing to see that set up! The Sony Guy himself is also passionate about his music and the whole hifi thing in general. Thanks for the beer, too!

The headphone heaven

Another amazing surprise was when I walked into the ‘headphone heaven’ room. I am a big fan of high quality sound and one of the options of getting it is using high performance headphones. So when I saw a whole table full of top-range magneplanar headsets with amps and all - not from a dealer, but from a private collection of a young guy! - my jaw dropped. Not only the guy knows and has it all, he is happy to show it to others! Thanks a lot!

The D&D and the ‘modern’ thing

The single specific product that I wanted to see at the show were the D&D speakers. And I was not disappointed. Powerful, clean sound, room tamed. Compact and modern.

This is where I want to digress into the whole ‘modern’ thing. I do love the ‘traditional’ hifi, but as an owner and an affectionado I intend to keep at the front end of it in terms of acoustic engineering and electronics technology. And this is in the things like the D&D, Grimm Audio, Kii3, Smyth Realiser or simply modern AV receivers or multiroom wireless systems that the technology is advancing. Would love to see this stuff embraced by future exhibitors. Although this stuff is much more likely to be found at the commercial shows as they are current products.   

The electrostats (and the others I did not see)

There was a lot of stuff that I did not see because I did not need to see it. For example, the Quad electrostatics. I know they sound absolutely fantastic, so I did not go to see them. I only tried to see what I did not know, given the limited time of an exhibitor.

The big systems

The things that never stops to amaze me is all the big systems people manage to bring. As a dweller of a small flat this is not something I can have, not to mention bringing it all and DIY making (!) this stuff to the show. I hope one day I can indulge in this.

The DIY actives

The other big interest for me were all the DIY actives as I am very attracted to making some myself one day. Not sure if I saw all the systems but all I saw were very interesting, sounded great and the owners were very nice knowledgeable people who I would love to learn from.

The Comradery

This is absolutely special.

So, thank you to the organisers, visitors and all the exhibiting nutters that we are! As I said before, this is a unique event not found anywhere else, I believe.

Have we met?

Now, please tell me if we met! Apart from a few exceptions (BanditPilot, Tony J, SonyGuy, HapHazzard, Lurch, Bazzer, NoPiano, Bobovox, Knipester, Steve57, Darius) it is all a complete blur in terms of trying to connect the faces with names and nicknames. So, if we met, can you please remind me how so I can try to place you?

Edited by AlmaAtaKZ
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21 minutes ago, AlmaAtaKZ said:

The DIY actives

The other big interest for me were all the DIY actives as I am very attracted to making some myself one day. Not sure if I saw all the systems but all I saw were very interesting, sounded great and the owners were very nice knowledgeable people who I would love to learn from.

You will find the DIY community on the forum are all approachable, knowledgeable and helpful - one of the great resources that we have here.

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28 minutes ago, AlmaAtaKZ said:

The 2 teenagers

One of my biggest likes from the show day was the visit from 2 teenagers. I think they came with their exhibiting or visiting father, not sure. I saw them just after 10am looking lost and shy in the corridor, so I invited them in. I had no idea what kind of music they may like and they were very shy to say, so I just played my usual. I think they liked it and spent at least 30min listening with interest. I really liked them, and I really liked the fact that there were teenagers at the show. We are a dying breed, so need young people in the hobby! Then to my surprise, a couple of hours later they came back, and this time stayed for even longer. They were really nice and showed interest in discovering new music. I think this was one of the most important impressions (and hopes!) from the show – the lack (but not complete lack) of the next generations at the show.  I would love to find out who they are.

I have to confess they were mine!

Thanks so much for being so friendly and welcoming, you were the highlight of the show for them, both personally and your system.

I do try and get the next generation interested. Thankfully, due to my HiFi addiction, my sons don't really stand a chance of avoiding this.

They are both interested in discovering new music and my son Ollie (the one with the floppy blonde hair) plays the drums and is always on the lookout for new styles. I did pop in later to try and thank you, but the queue meant that I couldn't get any where near you! My only regret is that this chance meeting is going to cost me a fortune in Kazakhstani Chocolate....

Thanks again, your approach and kindness is inspiring.

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Posted (edited)
30 minutes ago, Funkpig said:

My only regret is that this chance meeting is going to cost me a fortune in Kazakhstani Chocolate....

No chance - it is not available in the UK. The ones I gave out were flown in by my visiting friends. But if you know someone high in the supermarket world, we can try to become the UK distributors and make a fortune.

Thanks for your kind words!

Edited by AlmaAtaKZ
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It is available on eBay and is ordered! I'll send you some if you like.

BTW, I should have mentioned that Peter let the boys in for free, so he is definitely doing his bit in introducing the next generation.

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6 minutes ago, Funkpig said:

BTW, I should have mentioned that Peter let the boys in for free, so he is definitely doing his bit in introducing the next generation.

Now that is one smart decision there, massive Kudos to Peter for that 👏👏👏

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Super Wammer

Hi @AlmaAtaKZ We met and you came in to my room on Saturday night when my Digital active system was working . I also went to your room to have a listen and was really enjoying the music and your demonstration switching over through the three different speakers. Sadly TonyJ and Ed arrived to do the judging and as I had already made up my mind which of your speakers sounded by far the best (B&W's) I knew that I would not be able to shut and say nothing and this would be unfair on Tony and Ed so I said I know which ones I like without saying which and left.

It was always my intention to come back later but a few drinks and lots of rooms and then few more drinks and I failed to get back . Sadly when my system blew up and I had to switch to my suitcase system for Sunday and as you say if you are on your own you have no chance to get and hear things . I would have liked you to hear my suitcase system as once it was set up with real stands it sounded very good indeed.

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59 minutes ago, AlmaAtaKZ said:

yes, these are the ones

Now they would do very well in the charity sale , unless I eat them first , which is highly likely :)

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56 minutes ago, bencat said:

Hi @AlmaAtaKZ We met and you came in to my room on Saturday night when my Digital active system was working . I also went to your room to have a listen and was really enjoying the music and your demonstration switching over through the three different speakers. Sadly TonyJ and Ed arrived to do the judging and as I had already made up my mind which of your speakers sounded by far the best (B&W's) I knew that I would not be able to shut and say nothing and this would be unfair on Tony and Ed so I said I know which ones I like without saying which and left.

It was always my intention to come back later but a few drinks and lots of rooms and then few more drinks and I failed to get back . Sadly when my system blew up and I had to switch to my suitcase system for Sunday and as you say if you are on your own you have no chance to get and hear things . I would have liked you to hear my suitcase system as once it was set up with real stands it sounded very good indeed.

Yes, remember that!

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It certainly was a great show. Bohemia and I met loads of nice people and talked music and HiFi for hours and listened to some wonderful systems, large and small.

we are impressed at the amount of work done by the exhibitors to set up such great systems, and play great music. Lots of new music (to me) and old favourites. The Elvis Presley track "Fever" seemed to be played and enjoyed a lot!

A huge thank you to all those who took the risk of playing my Captain Beefheart Cd on their hifis. In spite of Lurch's response to my saying I could’nt wait to hear it through the Ushers (You'll wait a bl**dy long time!) I did manage it finally when he was absent!  It really sounded great too, I loved the sound of that system.

Bohemia and I are inspired by the show to consider seriously the prospect of being exhibitionists next year with a 'suitcase system', although the prospect of room alterations is frightening. I hope we may enlist the help of strong men.

we are looking forward already to next year. By the way, what a way to end the weekend with the curry night!  Great fun, great food, great company - what more could one wish?

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