It’s really happening!
The team at Audio Advice have done the impossible. In just four short months of summer (North Carolina summers run about nine months), they’ve pulled together one of the most professional and competitive audio shows I’ve ever been to. Just wait till next year, when all mistakes (though few) are corrected, and more innovative steps are made to improve what’s already proven to be in just two days a successful show.
Reporting by Eric Franklin Shook
Check out our Audio Advice LIVE 2022 preview article (linked here) for a comprehensive look at Audio Advice LIVE’s location, schedule and attendee resources — if you’re still on the fence about attending.
Ahead in this article, we look at what happens behind the scenes before a show, the who’s who of a show, and the what’s new of a show, and cap things off with a special keynote speaker.
Ahead in the following week, our complete and full show coverage begins with single exhibit reports, that dive deep into what’s new, and what sounds great. Do hang around for that.
Set Up Day, The Day Before
It takes loads of hard work (and cash) to put these shows on successfully. So Jameson Mourafetis, Cassidy McNierney, and myself arrived early on Thursday to gather a lay of the land, and lend a hand where possible. With work gloves in hand, we headed straight to the bar(s).
While the systems were being uncrated, finishing touches applied to all the fine details, it became clear that our best position was to remain out of the way, and with the public, to spread the news of the upcoming audio show weekend.
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Day One Begins
We’ll meet again
Don’t know where, don’t know when
But I know we’ll meet again some sunny day
Keep smiling through
Just like you always do
‘Til the blue skies drive the dark clouds far away
It’s been almost three years since many of us have gathered in the name of audio to celebrate the experience of hi-fi listening. Since then, we’ve done well to remain as close as technologically possible to those in our industry, those we didn’t realize in the before times to be as important and influential to our hi-fi experience, and those whose memory is a reminder of how important our congregation and fellowship is around the globe.
Pictured above, Mark Sossa of Well Pleased AV, and Kevin Jackson of Innuos. Not pictured, but represented by Black Cat Cable record bag in Mark’s hand, Mr. Chris Sommovigo who recently passed away, but remained in our thoughts throughout the first day of the show and we expect many to come.
There are small ships, and there are big ships, but the best ships are friendships.
A lot actually.
Just after making the rounds of the upper half of the show on day one, (floors 16,15, and 14 in that order) we found ourselves with breaking news in our hands. New products from ELAC, SVS, Cambridge Audio, and McIntosh Labs were making quite the splash among the attendee chatter.
Reported highlights are as follows.
- Over 60 of the world’s top home theater & home audio brands with suite-after-suite of immersive demo rooms
- KEF will be bringing their flagship Blade Meta One Speakers & will partner with Epson to feature a full home theater setup, as well as two 2-channel setups
- Bowers & Wilkins will partner with Sony in an immersive home theater demo & will also have a 2-channel setup featuring the new 800 Diamond series speakers — all of which need to be heard to be believed! If you have not experienced this new series, which was years in the making, you will be in for a treat! They’ll also display their iconic Nautilus speaker in one of their new Formula 1 colors, which is a true sight to see.
- MoFi Distribution will offer the US debut of several brand new components featured in a 2-channel audio system approaching $500,000. This system will feature the Piega Master Line Source Loudspeakers, which are one of the physically largest speakers we have ever seen, the BAT REX 500 mono amps with the REX3 preamp, an exotic new rack from Finite Elemente, and Isotek power conditioners.
- MartinLogan will show off their legendary Neolith Speaker System as well as a Statement 40XW home theater system. This 7 foot tall, 40 driver home theater speaker is something you must hear!
- Sony, JVC, & Epson will demo several of their brand new projectors in fully immersive home theater setups. We will also have a massive reference home theater demo room featuring the Sony GTZ380, RBH reference speakers, & Trinnov Audio
- McIntosh will be set up in several rooms and will demo a 70 driver McIntosh XRT 1.1K speaker system paired up with a huge stack of McIntosh gear including their massive 1.25KW mono blocks and C2700 tube preamp.
- Sonos rarely exhibits at shows but will be at Audio Advice Live. Experience their latest flagship products & home theater offerings with a 5.1 home theater setup.
- Focal Naim: Experience the Focal Naim 10th Anniversary Edition consisting of Focal Sopra N°2 loudspeakers featuring a concrete finish on the side panels and a tin-coloured front panel. A range of Naim electronics powers the loudspeakers: the NDX 2 music streaming device, combined with the NAC 282 and NAP 250 DR pre-amplifiers, all complemented by HiCap and NAPSC power supplies.
- Qobuz will have a heavy presence at the show as the official streaming partner
- US Debuts from Piega, HiFi Rose, Mark Levinson, SVS, Klipsch, and more!
- Explore a dedicated Headphone Experience room featuring top-of-the-line headphones from Audeze, Focal, Mark Levinson, Sony walkmans, a complete gaming setup, & more!
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The Keynote Speaker
At the end of day one, with a standing-room-only auditorium, featuring the new Klipsch Jubilee loudspeakers functioning as public address system for the day, Audio Advice CEO, Scott Newnam took the stage to spirited applause.
Though the show had already been going for several hours, it was this overview of Audio Advice’s past, present, and future presented by Newnam that felt like the true start of the show. I hope this becomes a regular part of every Audio Advice LIVE for years to come.
Day one in the books, we again headed to the bar(s) to celebrate the beginning of a successful new journey.