Vancouver Audio Festival 2018: Saturday sunshine crowds ’em in

Through the looking glass with Gryphon.

What a difference a day makes.

In the weather at least, because despite going from a torrential downpour to blazing sunshine, and blue skies, there was no difference in the turnout at the Vancouver Audio Festival. Saturday’s dawn broke with yellow rays of warmth slanting through my bedroom blinds, and a smile that spread slowly across my face as I became secure in the knowledge that the onslaught of greyness that has plagued the Wet Coast this spring seemed to finally be at an end.

Devialet impresses.

Showered, dressed, and fresh faced, I motored across the Granville Street Bridge from my house in Kitsilano with the car windows down as I headed to the Eastside downtown core where Hi-Fi Centre was playing host to the Audio Festival. Arriving early, I looked to the street from the showroom floor, and could see people putting hands above their eyes to block the bright sunlight as they tried to peer through the Centre’s windows to see if they could get into the shop early, and get their audiophile on.

Kevin Wolff of Bowers & Wilkins likes to play it loud.
Coverage of the Vancouver Audio Festival is brought to you by Hi-Fi Centre.

Gulping down my coffee, and bobbing my head as owner Igor Kivritsky cranked the album Zanaka by Jain, which I’d not heard previously, but proceeded immediately to add to a personal Tidal playlist on my iPhone, I wended my way around the large store rooms checking out each system as company reps took turns pumping fresh tunes through the air – stretching their transducers, amps, DACs, and turntables metaphoric legs before the crowds started to hit the floor.

Headphone happiness.

With people from 70 years old to seven years old streaming through the doors the entire time I was in attendance, and more 20-somethings asking about vinyl, headphones, Devialet Phantoms, and DAPs then I could shake a camera at, I once again was impressed at the variety of demographics represented in those attending the Festival. At one point while taking in a McIntosh, and Klipsch-based system, I took time out to personally demonstrate how to drop the needle on a Pro-Ject Classic turntable to a small child who was fascinated by the spinning vinyl contraption that was within his reach, but not his understanding. Hopefully I helped create an analog acolyte for life.

Come crowd around.

The overarching vibe to the entire scene Saturday was one of positivity, interest, wonder, and a desire to discuss, and share stories around the act of listening to music, which to those jaded souls such as myself who have taken in a large number of audio shows over the years, was an incredible breath of fresh air.

Check back for room reviews, and a short film in the coming days as my coverage of this little slice of Left Coast audio continues.

–Rafe Arnott

About Rafe Arnott 389 Articles
Editor of InnerFidelity and AudioStream