I think this is the most stunning place I have been to for a HiFi show. The Bristol show and then a venue at Hammersmith…. all feature hotels, urbanisation, and concrete within their orbit. Not particularly glam. At Royal Ascot it’s different – panoramic views of the horse racing track from display rooms, a lovely atrium with escalators which reminds me of the inside of the Lloyds Insurance building in London. Free parking, entrance fees of £22, and the only numpties of any verbosity on the day of this years event at the 2023 UK HiFi Show Live, were striking UK train drivers. I hope this didn’t upset viewer numbers.
It’s hard to take a view as to the quality of the very uber pricey HiFi systems at these shows for reasons of less familiarity and not having space to accommodate such gear, or afford it! That’s not to say some are not good – the PS Audio set up was stunning. But for most of us, a much more useful marker at these shows is listening to gear like the new Kii Audio 7’s, featured this year, or Goldenear’s cheaper BRX speakers, and referencing them to other comparables we may have owned or heard, in our minds mind.
Another plus – speaking to the many representatives to get product info and updates – the Henley Audio team to find out about new inexpensive WiiM releases and the WiiM Amp for instance. Or in a usual audiophile price sense – does your budget stretch to a premium product where the systems are sufficiently familiar at a show to take a view the product may be worth exploring with your dealer or buying direct? In all these instances, that’s where the hearts of the majority of viewing Audiophiles at these HiFi shows will lie and for this these shows are valuable…
It’s gonna take a Richer Sounds or one of the other big UK dealers to put on an event which is tied to a music fair in order to get the masses attending to buy more HiFi and perennially associate the HiFi experience with the music experience, which is so hard in a post internet world. But the reason HiFi shows have pricey gear, is lest we forget, the fact HiFi is still niche, and for that there can be no ends to how far some of the designers will go – no ends for which it is a very good time to be an audiophile for those who can afford it!