The California Audio Show is my first "small" regional show. My previous adventures in audio show-going have been T.H.E. Show in Newport Beach, and the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, so the idea of attending a slightly less strenuous show was definitely appealing. To use a running analogy, 40+ rooms is still not quite a sprint, but possibly more like a 10k or a half marathon than a full-on marathon? Not that I'm doing much running this week, seeing as minor foot surgery has left me limping a bit (good timing on my part, no?).
Mal and I arrived at the Westin on Thursday afternoon to the usual Thursday flurry and contained chaos. Actually, not that much chaos; show organizer Constatine Soo was looking cool and calm in spite of the cell phone glued to his ear. My first impression as we made our way to our room was "Wow, this show is already sounding GOOD." Set-up and warm-up was in full swing and I had to resist the urge to follow the music like Toucan Sam following his nose. It helped me to remember that set up was going on, which is second only to "there's a ground loop, time to re-route the cables" on my list of Audiophile Things I Do Not Find Fun. "Kirsten, I'll move the speaker two inches to the left, and you tell me how it sounds" is not my favorite. So instead, I dropped my stuff in our room and went in search of the bar. Time to peruse the room list.
It's a great list of exhibitors, and one that's bound to give attendees a pretty good sampling of what's available in mid- to hi-end hi-fi. People always ask me before these things, "What are you looking forward to hearing?" and I always respond "All of it!", which I'm aware sounds like a cop-out answer. But it's true. Shows can be a weird, weird listening environment, and I love it when I get pleasantly surprised by a component or a system that hasn't impressed me in the past. I always look forward to hearing old favorites, finding something new, and giving everything a good listen. At this show, I'm also lucky enough to have opportunity to hear great live music from Blue Coast Records' recording artists, as well as the 2PM At CAS concern series: Friday brings the Steve McQuarry Jazz Quartet, and Saturday a string trio featuring musicians from the San Francisco Symphony. Not a bad way to spend the weekend!
[Kirsten and Mal are walking the aisles, stalking the halls, and still in search of a damn fine brew. In the meantime, enjoy some more of Kirsten’s photoblogging!– ed.]