Interview with the High End Society's Mr. Branco Gilsovic
Steve Rochlin: Please tell me about the High End Society here in Germany.
Branco Gilsovic: Well, the High End Society started in 1982 because at this time in Germany we had two shows. The large Berlin show and Dusseldorf high-end show. We decided to have a more proper high-end show while the Berlin show continued. Since 1983 the High End Society show has been held in Frankfurt. We built a High End Society consisting of manufactures and distributors. There are now 45 members including large companies like Pioneer and Marantz plus many smaller companies and various distributors.
SR: And your position with the High End Society is?
BG: i am the Managing Director, or General Manager if you will.
SR: What issues do you feel at import now in the high-end industry?
BG: First of all, which is very important to me, this show is dedicated to music only. We do not care about which technology is used to play it. Technology is changing all the time. I have personally followed many changes from vinyl and tube amplifiers, to the CD… now around for 20 years old and various new technologies have been launched here
(SACD and DVD-Audio). We have had many years to talk about good music and people who enjoy movies. People enjoy multi-channel sound. I am not in the position to discuss with is the true future. This year we discussed digital radio. This is an important issue as FM radio is not as good as it can be. i am looking forward to havi9ng better radio quality.
SR: So are you saying that digital radio is better that what you have now?
BG: Yes, absolutely! People have radios in cars and in their office. The quality of FM now is not that good, though not a fan of digital, it is better than what we have now.
SR: In America there is debated between DVD-Audio and SACD. How do you feel it will all turn out?
BG: It's a pity we have again two separate systems where no one knows the future. The customer gets confused... SACD has advantages and also some problems. Also, there are some difficulties with SACD's high-frequency noises. DVD-Audio maybe will have the advantages as it plays audio and also video, and therefore we have one machine for all (the public).
SR: This show is quite beautiful and large with many various types of technologies. It must bring the High End Society joy to see so many music lovers.
BG: Of course we are happy about this. It is a lot of hard work. We have a large database and months ago we had 9,500 trade contacts, including press, and we offered pre-registration. During this everyone knows this is a European show, not just a German show. Over 550 brands are here; about 90% of those are the market. There are no more rooms available as we are sold out of rooms.
SR: And the public attendance?
BG: The public attendance has been consistent. The normal German customer has not heard of the high-end. The attendees here are the core. So we started a road show called World Of HiFi that happens five or six times a year across Germany. The concept of these road shows is not a true high-end show like that.
SR: So to educate the pubic?
BG: Here the exhibitors have their own philosophies. We invite industry companies to have small, inexpensive gear, then a better system and onward. Usually six or seven systems with increasing price range. The Road Show starts to these locatio0ns fo0r a weekend. In the main conference room we have an entertainer who does not discuss brand names. He just plays music. Then we have another larger room with various setups. This show is free to attend and helps to increase the interest and to allow the public to experience high-end music reproduction.
SR: Any other words or last comments?
BG: I would like to invite everyone reading this to attend next year. It makes sense to meet our family. Next year it will be May 9th to the 12th of May here at the Kempinski Hotel in Frankfurt. The show among the trees.
SR: Thanks for your time.
BG: Thank you.