Editor’s Note: As Dagogo Reviewers present at the 2010 California Audio Show are compiling their show report, we are posting online the original commentaries published in the Official Directory of the show for you to enjoy. There are four commentaries in total, namely Doug Schroeder’s introductory article on page 6 the Official Directory, two inside-page articles by Ray Seda and Richard Austen, and Jack Roberts’ article on page 50, the very last page of the Official Directory.
This is my first time attending the Dagogo California Audio Show, so those with prior experience can update me. That may summarize your feelings as well. If so, ask anyone their opinion, as it will be as good as California Gold; there have been no previous Dagogo shows, so everyone’s an expert at this point!
We at Dagogo extend an especially hearty welcome to all who are exploring the world of high-end audio for the first time. Congratulations! You are entering a topsy-turvy world where for many music-listening takes precedence over movie-watching.Incredible? Hopefully, by the time you have spent several hours hearing the ethereal sounds of the High-End you will become a believer in luxurious sound. Spending as little as two hours with the exhibits may convince you that if you’ve had your face planted in a screen without your ears open, things need to change!
This is the place to gain inspiration to make that change, to begin the metamorphosis to become an audiophile. Do not worry if you have little experience. Hesitate not if you have a limited budget or modest stereo at home. These three days are about the gear, and you having a good time listening, so pull out the music you love and be prepared to hear it like never before!
You will be with long time hobbyists, curiosity seekers and serious shoppers milling about, mixing with seasoned industry experts. This is the place you want to be able to climb the pass leading to the audio system promised land. You may want to walk among the “legends of sound” to find that elusive component, “the One” which will rekindle your love for music and set your system singing aright. Though maybe not as gripping as a natural wonder, you will likely hear a rig that will be intoxicating and cause you to have visions of your future sound system.
You will also enjoy samples of some exciting tunes. Don’t be afraid to ask what track or cut you heard from the hallway or caught during someone else’s demo. You can return home with a list of new artists even if you can’t afford that dream system – yet.
We’re glad you made it! Visiting an audio show is transforming for the audiophile; it provides an intensive experience somewhat like taking skiing lessons in the mountains – there’s no replacing the setting or intensity of the experience. If you “work the show” you will gain more insight into the gear these precious hours than you could spending years reading audio publications (Sorry, Constantine, it’s true!). Every week another lament arises on audio boards inquiring, “…is there that much of a difference between affordable and cost-no-object components?” Here you are; after this show you will know.
Please take in the extremely expensive, extremely low-powered amps. Take note of the giant slabs of panel speakers. Ogle fragments and figments from the minds of some of the best designers in the audio world. Consider the hotel to be a type of living museum for auditory experience, a sanctuary for “performance art” for the ear and soul. Relax and forget the cacophonous world outside for a few hours.
When it comes to audio, dream big! I was in my teens and twenties when I heard some of the best systems available in Hi Fi stores. It seemed so overwhelmingly upscale there were a couple of occasions when I intentionally didn’t listen to their state-of-the-art system because I was afraid that if I did it would ruin my appreciation of my humble stereo. Don’t make that mistake; utilize these audio systems as tools to help you make your dreams for beautiful music come true!
An encouragement for our exhibitors: for many their forte is design, not sales. Often, intense public scrutiny is uncomfortable for them, yet they make themselves gracious hosts for enthusiastic audiophiles. We appreciate the arduous effort to transport, set up, display, tear down and return (unless sold at the show) their wares. Let’s make them feel appreciated!
We want to avoid all hurricanes, volcanoes, earthquakes, sinkholes and sundry devastations this year. God willing we have made our flight, will not get a parking ticket, the electricity will stay on, and the piece of gear that amazes will have arrived intact. We may make a friend or two before or after (not during!) a demo, and we will return home with our heads filled by a fantasy of audio to fulfill.
Finally, a word of thanks to Constantine Soo, publisher of Dagogo.com, as he has shouldered a sizable financial risk to pursue his dream – to see audiophilia flourish, and for Dagogo to epitomize High Fidelity audio excellence. May this Dagogo California Audio Show be the first of many!
Enjoy the show!
Senior Reviewer, Dagogo
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