This is a personal appreciation on the part of your Part Time-Audiophile team, self-projected from Geneva to the Warsaw Audio (and Video) Show (WAS). This was our second serious escapade in the last two years. We have a lot to share with you of our experience since then.
People tend to wrap a show report with “last, but not least”, but we’d rather kick off with “first, not least” to underline the fact that so many things had changed from last year which impacted this year’s Show. This “first”, while not related directly to our commentary, gives a fair summary of the evolution of this show: a new special (deluxe!) venue (the National Stadium reporters’ booths, with actually decent acoustics), inexpensive European flights into Warsaw (notably Wizzair) driving prices on other carriers, better transport facilities (Metro), dedicated bus shuttles, better organization and logistics, and overall visibly higher quality of all available information.
It all seems to be too good to be true, but we experienced it — and have no complaints! Coming from Geneva, we could cheerfully say that everything worked with Swiss precision. Due in no small part to Adam Mokrzycki’s dedication to the event, he expertly facilitated all matters in this tripartite coalition of exhibitors, public and the press. Adam has run this show (with a skeleton staff!) for 19 consecutive years now.
As to the Show itself and our memories: in short, there’s too many to recall from all the wild and wonderful gear, exhibitors, the innumerable brands and all the great people we met. Even though we tried to cover separately some showrooms, we did not see and hear everything. We must have missed as many worthwhile showrooms as we had visited, shuttling between the three venues of the Show.
General comment: this was a very professionally-oriented show, with hardly any families with children, and no pets around (most likely prohibited, we did not think to enquire). What we both observed in comparison to last year’s show was a more “matter of fact” attitude of all concerned, even slightly tense or stressed. We could feel that much was at stake, as if this year’s show was to be a Noah’s Ark?
Judging by the exhibitors’ rank, international standing and number, and the mainly professional multinational public, the WAS may be on the verge of becoming the main European video/audio show, second to none in importance.
What surprised us most? Overwhelming popularity of on-ear and in-ear headphones and monitors, with the associated amps, DACs and cables. The tendency to show speakers as the final or ultimate point of audio judgement, rather than to expose the inner workings driving the speakers. The relative paucity of US brands in the overall show-terrain, and the unexpected presentation of Swiss esoterica.
We shall do our best to report on the inevitable and already programmed WAS’16 with a view of not only discussing the latest gear, but also the general atmosphere and the synergistic functioning of tripartite system mentioned above.
We cap off this wrap-up with a collage of images from the event, showing the wide and eclectic mix of equipment design on show. Just how socially acceptable some of these designs are … we leave to the judgement of others.