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Athens 2014: Rise of a Monopoly?

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HamletI was preparing the opening piece for this year’s Athens audio show and for some weird reason Shakespeare’s Hamlet was a returning thought. In Act I, Marcellus says “something is rotten in the state of Denmark”, and the same goes for the state of Greece.

Last year, there were two audio shows, both organized by local audio magazines and only a short distance apart. You might have read the coverage of the bigger one on Part Time Audiophile; there were some very interesting rooms and no doubt about it. That show will not take place this year, for many reasons, and what was the smaller show last year ended up being the only audio show for 2014 (excluding the dedicated Headphone Festival that ran earlier in October).

Being the only gig left gave the “Sound and Vision” show the opportunity to grow in terms of participants. Speaking with the organizers, I was told that they booked more than 65 rooms and over 200 brands, a credible number if we were to add the total number of last year’s two shows.

Is this a good thing? Monopoly, besides being a fun game, is not an ideal scenario, except maybe from the consumer’s point of view. Audiophiles will have one major show to attend, instead of a pair of fragmented ones, and more brands to discover in just one weekend. Fewer nights off, less expenses and more systems packed under one roof.

The entire event will take place in the Athens Ledra hotel, on several floors along with rooms dedicated to the “AV thing”, which sounds more like a CES than a High End Munich if you ask me. And since I am not deep into home cinema and the latest in flat curved screens, reports will focus on the best sounding, most interesting and exotic audio systems during the next weekend.

Stay tuned!

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