As the yearly Consumer Electronic Show (CES) is only a few weeks away, i can not help but wonder if the high-end is properly represented. First we have the self proclaimed Academy Advancing High Performance Audio & Video (AAHPAV) who seems to be on thorazine, then there is the upcoming CES where there are no conferences scheduled for the high-end audio community, and lastly the impressive departure of many manufactures from the official CES show who are instead attending The Home Entertainment Show (T.H.E. Show).
The AAHPAV was active at the Hi-Fi shows a few years back. Three years ago they has some wonderful classes lead by industry leaders and professionals. This allowed many people to get an Ambassador certificate. The following year there were two "tracks". One for newcomers who could become Ambassadors and a more advanced track for past Ambassadors and for those who qualified to attend the Masters Degree classes. Sadly, i was the only reviewer/editor to attend all classes for both years. As none of the classes were recorded, it is a shame that the many pearls of wisdom from these classes can not be enjoyed by others who could not attend. The AAHPAV could have put these classes on their website for all to enjoy.
Speaking of their website, it seems to have not been updated for almost a year. Then again since the AAHPAV has seemingly done nothing during this past year or so... Imagine if the AAHPAV joined in with the recent BuzzNet Tour (see November 13, 2000 news article). Ten and thousands of music lovers could have truly heard state-of-the-art audio and video, not just mainstream commercial products. Worse is that the consumer electronics industry itself seems to not by supporting the high-end.
Last year the website AudioCafe.com supported quite a few conferences. As they had large financial support it was nice of them to offer the many industry talks during the CES. Alas, as with many websites who are hemorrhaging money, they soon thereafter went out of business. While we here at Enjoy the Music.com would love to conduct various meeting, we do not have a huge financial benefactor or the necessary resources. Maybe next year we can join with other websites and conduct a good assortment of meetings covering the important topics of the times. Yes, this is my invitation to meet with others during the upcoming CES so that we can once again have meaningful conferences. Now comes the real dilemma.
It seems the high-end is telling the Consumer Electronics Industry to go take a hike. Due to small manufactures on the high-end not satisfied with what the CES was doing, small groups of music enthusiast decided to start their own show years ago that ran concurrent with the CES. Hence the birth of The Home Entertainment Show (T.H.E. Show). Many who have attended T.H.E. Show have commented how much better it was than the CES. The rooms are better and the showrooms are orderly positioned. For those who have never attended the CES, at the Alexis Park Hotel, where the specialty audio is located, the rooms have no rhyme or reason to positioning. Worse still, attendees are constantly needing to go up and down stairs while some rooms seem hidden. If you are wheelchair bound it is virtually impossible to see every showroom at the Alex Park Hotel. In fact i believe the Alexis Park Hotel is breaking the law in not offering complete wheelchair access. Regardless, the main problem is that the showrooms are haphazardly scattered in this large venue and not organized as T.H.E. Show is.
Because of the great dissatisfaction, many specialty audio (high-end) manufacturers and distributors have left the CES and joined T.H.E. Show at the St. Tropez Hotel which is located next to the CES' Alexis Park Hotel. In fact i find the St. Tropez venue to be better, the show is more organized and it also has a added personal feeling to it. Manufactures told me that if they have any special needs, T.H.E. Show personnel are quick to satisfy unlike the CES.
So here we have the AAHPAV doing virtually nothing in over a year, the CES having no specialty audio conferences this year and companies leaving the CES to join T.H.E. Show. What we need is a new organization with a single voice to help promote the high-end. Who will take up the baton? Who has the ability to gather both manufacturers and distributors together to educate the mainstream public on the joys of specialty audio and video? Or will the high-end simply self destruct due to lack of official representation and industry education? Comments? Suggestions? Please feel free to e-mail me your feeling on this subject. As always...