I've already told you that I plan to be at the upcoming (July 28 - 30, 2017) CAS7 Hi-Fi show (California Audio Show 7), to be held at the Hilton Oakland International Airport hotel. This is just one of the three Hi-Fi Shows to be held in California this year. The first was the Los Angeles Audio Show (LAAS), in June; now comes this one; and it will be followed by the T.H.E. Show (The Home Entertainment Show) in Anaheim in September.
I thoroughly enjoyed LAAS, and I'm looking forward with great interest to see how well the T.H.E. Show does in a new venue and with new management following what we have been told will be the same formula as the very successful T.H.E. Show Newport. But the one that I really have the greatest hopes for and from which I expect the greatest things is CAS7.
The reason for that is very simple: Constantine Soo, the California Audio Show's producer and Publisher of Dagogo, an on-line Hi-Fi magazine, has long been a devoted fan of High-End audio and, like so many of us, has expressed concern about the future of our hobby and our industry. He, too, has noticed that, at least in America, Hi-Fi has become an old person's hobby and may be at risk of dying-off as its followers do.
We all know what's necessary to reverse that trend: All we have to do is to get younger people interested and, with music playing a large part in their lives, that would seem at least relatively easy to do. It's even already happening, at least in a limited way, with the great upsurge in interest in personal audio products (headphones and related players) being largely spearheaded by younger people. Where it falls down, though, is that, for home audio systems, the place that young people are most likely to hear them is at the home of a friend and, if the friend is a serious Hi-Fi Crazy (which it's likely he is - otherwise why would he be showing off his system?) it's entirely possible that what they'll hear is something that costs more than their car - or even the house they live in. And while its yummy sound might tantalize them - and even inspire them to greater efforts to someday be able to afford such things ― its present effect will more likely be to cause them to put a Hi-Fi investment off than to rush right out and buy a new system.
The very best place for newcomers to check-out what Hi-Fi really has to offer them is at a Hi-Fi Show, where they'll be able to see and hear a broad range of products at a broad range of price points and learn - possibly to their huge surprise - that it's possible, today, to buy sound that will thrill them with its realism; stir them emotionally; and still be able to fit within a very reasonable budget.
A problem with going to shows, though, as an introduction to the Hi-Fi hobby or even just to see what products might be available to suit your needs for music or home entertainment, is that, historically, Shows have been expensive: If I remember correctly, the old Stereophile Show had a one-day ticket price of $35 per person. That meant that if a young couple or a guy and his date wanted to go to check out what Hi-Fi was all about and see if it might be something they'd want to own, the cost, between the price of two tickets, parking, and a meal or drinks during or after the Show, or both, could easily be over the $100 mark - awfully steep for people who are "just looking", and are nothing at all like committed audiophiles.
For people in the industry, information about the latest Hi-Fi products is vital to their business and whatever it costs them to get is well worth while--it's the money they spend to make money. That's why they go to CES (the Consumer Electronics Show) to find out what's new or may yet be coming. (CES is, at least theoretically a "Trade only" show, but lots of amateur audiophiles do "sneak-in") It's also why -- if have to buy tickets at the door, instead of reserving them in advance, as most people do -- they're willing pay, depending on the date purchased, as much as $300 per ticket. And that's not all: If they want to attend industry conferences and seminars, although some are free to attendees, others can cost as much as $550 each or must be bought in "packages" for as much as $1400 per person.
For people in the industry, for whom Hi-Fi is not just a hobby, but their business, that kind of expense is probably justifiable, but for ordinary folks - especially newcomers, the price of admission can make the difference between going and not going. And that's where CAS7 is breaking new and important ground. The advance purchase ticket price for all three days (not each one, but ALL!) is just ten dollars - less than the cost of just going to a movie -- to buy as much as three full days of information and entertainment (One of the Show's extra benefits is that great "live" music will be there in abundance, for all to enjoy)! And, just as importantly for those who don't know; are still learning; or want to learn more about audio; the equipment; its proper setup and operation; and the Hi-Fi hobby, even the seminars and conferences - put on or hosted by some of our industry's top people ― are all absolutely free!
If you or someone you know is interested in learning about the latest in Hi-Fi equipment or recordings; if you want to enjoy live music as part of your ticket price in an enjoyable and relaxing environment; if you want to meet and prepare yourself for hours of interesting discussion with your audiophile friends; or simply if you've got nothing to do that weekend and you want to try something that's a lot more fun than a movie for less than the price of a movie ticket, come to CAS7 on the last weekend of this month. I'll be there, and if you see me, say "Hello."
Incidentally, if you live out of the general area, come, too! The San Francisco Bay area - where the Show will be located - is one of our country's greatest tourist destinations, with wine-country tours and any number of other things besides the Show to keep you interested. Think what fun it will be!
See you there!