T.H.E. Show Newport 2013: Introduction

My Feelings About Shows
Basically, I don't like them. It's pretty much two weeks of work that result in posts that get read as light entertainment when I could have spent the time reviewing headphones—the heart of my job. Sure it's fun to take people along for the ride when they can't make it themselves—and I like sharing that—but it seems like a lot of time and money for tasty bit of fluff. Of course, I do get to develop relationships and get a bead on the new stuff coming out, and that results in more headphones to review, but still, it's a grind.

I try to limit myself to two shows a year: CES and RMAF. Those are the big ones; they really prime the pump. This year I ended up going to two extra shows: The High End Show in Munich, which I attended at Stereophiles request; and THE Show Newport, because I was asked by the show management to attend in order to moderate the two headphone panel discussions. Munich was great; traveling to a foreign land is always fun, and it's held in a superb venue, but I don't think I could justify it again for InnerFidelity readers. The SHOW Newport, on the other hand, came as a lovely surprise.

T.H.E Show Newport
Two people make this show something special. I'll have to have a long chat with them next time (and there will be a next time with this one) on the exact genesis of the show, but Richard Beers and Bob Levi are the two guys that really make THE Show Newport a happening time.

2013THEShowNewport_Intro_Photo_RichardRichard Beers is the man behind T.H.E. Show Las Vegas during CES week. While not officially part of CES, T.H.E. Show (the "T.H.E." stands for "The Home Entertainment") provides audiophile companies that generally can't afford the much higher rates that CES charges an opportunity to display their wares without busting their wallet. I always make a point of visiting it as I'll often find among its exhibitors new, young companies with interesting new products. Richard is well versed in providing important alternatives to the main stream.

2013THEShowNewport_Intro_Photo_BobIf you don't want to know what's going on in the Southern California audiophile world, don't get on Bob Levi's mailing list. But if you do want to have fun with high-end audio in SoCal you're gonna want to be on that list, and that's easy to do, just join the LA-OC Audio Society. Bob puts on really fun monthly meetings highlighting various audio personalities and companies. Check out the LAOCAS calendar to see what's coming up. Here's the thing about Bob: He's got his eye on the ball. And that ball is having fun with audio, and he's relentless in his pursuit of it.

I think these two guys are what makes T.H.E. Show Newport so special: Richard brings years of experience with the nuts and bolts of getting a show together, and Bob brings years of experience figuring out how to have fun on a mass scale with audio.

Me? I fell for it hook, line, and sinker.

Tyll Goes ADD
2013THEShowNewport_Intro_Photo_FJRTo say I had a great time last week would be an understatement.

When I decided I'd attend THE Show Newport 2013 and started talking with folks about it, I found myself being invited to a couple of really cool places to visit in L.A. after the show. (Reports on those visits will follow after this show report.) I wound up canceling my plane reservations, and riding my bike down so I had a way to extend my trip and get around LA easily. Talk about culture shock...no traffic like that in Montana. I knew what I was getting into though, I've lived in LA before.

Anyway, after two days of traveling 1200 miles from Bozeman to Los Angeles I wasn't much into working too hard and decided to take the morning off before the panel discussion on the first day just to relax and soak up the show ambiance. Two days later I realized I better get off my butt and figure out what I was going to write about.

2013THEShowNewport_Intro_Photo_ChuckMaybe Warren Chi (a Head-Fi member) said it best in this facebook post, "In many ways it was more like a meet and less like a show - which IMO is DEFINITELY the way to go." It's true, I think they ought to call this event "THE Audio Party Newport." As I walked through the patio spaces at either hotel I was bound to bump into someone I knew and enjoyed. Take, for example, Chuck Bruce (pictured at left) who does industry relations for the Audio-Video Club of Atlanta. I see him in passing at RMAF, but here I felt at ease to sit down for a lovely chat on the patio serenaded in the background by a flautist playing classical music. So nice.

2013THEShowNewport_Intro_Photo_BandOr sauntering about the Atrium pool area snapping pix of the Jazz Ensemble. A couple of kids in the pool playing with a beach ball; a pretty girl in sunglasses tapping her feet; John Atkinson and Les Edelberg almost dozing off on a sofa in one of the poolside cabanas—the ambiance was cooler than Paul Desmond's mouthpiece.

Hm...a poolside bar? I'll have a beer and relax a bit and soak in the SoCal sun. It wasn't long before I saw Andy Regan of Cardas Audio and we sat and chatted for an hour telling old war stories. My belly hurt after he regaled me with a number of Steve Guttenberg incidents when they both worked at Sound by Singer in New York.

2013THEShowNewport_Intro_Photo_SteveHeatherOr when I bumped into a gaggle of Head-Fiers and just hung out around the pool shooting the breeze. These are folks I type to on-line, but rarely get to visit in the flesh. It's such a treat to put faces to screen names.

Or in the evening when I bumped into Steve Rochlin and his lovely wife Heather for the umpteenth time and we laughed loud and told stories in our outside voices to the point that by Sunday morning my voice was horse from the previous nights hilarity.

No, dear reader, this is a show that will satiate a wide variety of your audiophile urges. From hearing the gear, to listening to panels of experts, to music on the lanai, to simply hanging with friends, THE Show Newport is a damned fine time.

Ah well, 'nuf of that. I did eventually manage to drag myself away from the lackadaisical good times and gather up some show reports. Stay tuned, more to come.

COMMENTS
burnspbesq's picture

See you next year.

mikemercer's picture

Thanks for the props Warren.  

I greatly appreciate it.  I worked hard to get The Headphonium together (including bringing over companies like Perfect Sound - that don't get around the US market too much) - which is the title of the headphone show at T.H.E Show Newport.  We have Mr. John Darko of Digital Audio Review to thank for the title of the event, as it was crowd-sourced.  We had a DIY set-up scheduled, but they pulled out the night before the event.

I'm on my way to check out the new, bigger ballroom for next years event.  Let's see what we're going to do.

Again Warren thanks.  It's nice to be acknowledged by your peers, especially when you leave everything on the ice - which is something I always do so I can sleep at night knowing I did the best job I could.  With only 2,000 square feet - I think we managed to hit it out of the park.  Thanks to my teammates at T.H.E Show - Richard, Bob, Lucette, Devo and David.  Those guys do ALOT of work too.  I was also thrilled to get a chance to spend time chatting with John Artkinson too.  A class act, who's always supported my efforts and I look up to that man.

ultrabike's picture

Nice meeting you Tyll!

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