T.H.E Show Newport 2015 Wrap-Up
In last month's AXPONA show wrap post I wrote:
"I know it's been coming for a long time now, but for the first time ever at a show I kept being haunted by the feeling of how absolutely normal it felt to have a significant headphone presence. I tend to think it's going to become the norm at shows from now on."
There's no doubt in my mind that headphone enthusiasts now have a seat at the adult's table in the audiophile world. We often use the same front end gear; we speak about sound quality in the same, or very similar, terms; Stereophile saw fit to produce InnerFidelity; and we're attending these shows as both attendees and exhibitors. I've waited a long time to see this come to fruit, but now that it has, I find myself surprisingly dissatisfied.
Don't get me wrong, I continue to think we have a roll to play in the audiophile world, but I also think that we can't fully blossom as an activity within the confines of it. Let me give you a for instance: the Riva Turbo is a cool Bluetooth speaker that was exhibited at CanJam SoCal a few months ago and was quite well received at the show. I heard significant buzz about the speaker as I chatted with folks, there was genuine excitement about the product. Somehow I don't think it fits in at a high-end audio show as well as it did at CanJam. Google "riva turbo CanJam SoCal" vs. "riva turbo T.H.E. Show Newport" and you see there's more coverage from CanJam.
Or take a product like the SubPaca wearable sub-woofer for headphone listening. Audiophiles will likely generally find the idea a bit silly, while headphone enthusiasts will more likely react with curiosity and interest. It may be that we should start thinking about ourselves as "personal audio enthusiasts" as opposed to headphone enthusiasts; I think it's more indicative of our actual interests.
At any rate, this is what's so exciting to me about the re-birth of a traveling CanJam sponsored by Head-Fi. It becomes an expression that's all ours; within that venue we can evolve apart from the audiophile world, and I think we need the freedom to do that.
I see absolutely nothing wrong with the current trend of having things like CanJam at RMAF, EarGear at AXPONA, and The Headphonium at Newport, but I think it's important that we don't see those events as the destination for the personal audio hobby. I think we've yet to discover exactly who we are. I think it's fun to think of InnerFidelity as a Personal Audio journal and not know exactly what that means. This space is evolving rapidly; as headphone begin to contain more and more electronics their place in our lives will change accordingly. Not knowing what that's going to be like is exciting, as is knowing that I'll be there to observe the changes. CanJam and things like the Fujiya-Avic headphone festival in Japan are important venues for that evolutionary process to move forward.
I mention this in my show wrap-up for two reasons. 1) Because i think it's an important observation. 2) Because I have a limited budget for attending events, and next year I'd like to do the Fujiya Avic festival and CanJam...possibly twice if they have one in the US and one abroad. That and CES will about empty my travel budget for the year. It's very likely I'll not be making T.H.E. Show Newport next yearor AXPONA or Munich or CanJam at RMAF for that matter. I love T.H.E. Show Newport, Bob and Richard do a great job, highly recommended, but I feel called to do something a little different next year.
I know, kind of a weird wrap up, but it's whats on my mind so I thought I'd share. And now that it's off my chest, I'm gonna go paint the porch. Back measurements and reviews next week. Thanks for reading along!