Smiles greeted me from a number of manufacturer representatives as I headed into HiFi Centre for the second, and final day of the inaugural Vancouver Audio Festival. Seems those tasked with room demos had been making “genuine, and positive connections” with attendees, and were enjoying the more intimate nature of the show. Dedicated audiophiles were already checking gear out when when I arrived shortly after 10 a.m., and rooms starting slowly filling up for demo sessions not long after.
The mood was upbeat, and I saw a group of teens checking out headphones together, and high-fiving each other during a break in their listening. I have to say, this vibe was refreshing as I’ve attended more than my fair share of hifi shows the last few years, and the mood in the halls of hotels during show hours can sometimes be off-putting as you overhear extremely negative conversations regarding gear, and set-ups.
Nothing of the sort here in Vancouver, as attendees on both days seemed genuinely thrilled to have so much quality kit at their disposal. With crowds at a steady pace throughout the venue on Sunday, there was always room to get a seat for listening, and not feel like you were being elbowed out of the way by people jostling for a position.
With five separate, and distinctly different-sounding rooms set up for the festival (and two dedicated headphone areas), it seemed attendees had enough to choose from both sound-wise, and price-wise to keep them engaged for quite some time, as I noticed most stayed for al least an hour to listen, and shop.
HiFi Centre owner Igor Kivritsky told me that the shop plans to make the festival an annual event, and that he was very pleased with the turnout, and positive feedback from customers. Look for detailed room reviews in the coming week, as well as photo, and video coverage.