The California Audio Show July 2011

The second California Audio Show, produced by Constantine Soo of, took place July 15-17 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Burlingame. If neither attendance nor room layout was exactly what dealers and manufacturers had hoped for, the combination of several fine sounding rooms, live performances, and information-packed seminars left many audiophiles smiling.

Up to 45 separate exhibits (with several added so last-minute that they weren’t even included in the show directory) greeted attendees. While there were a number of larger spaces on the first floor, basic hotel rooms were small, with the smallest being way smaller than anything any exhibitor had ever experienced. Some had the wisdom to cover mirrors, close the blinds to the glass and blazing light behind them, and use room treatment. Others went with exactly what they found, not even bothering to use power conditioning to deal with the electrical supply in aging hotel. No one could deal with the fact that many rooms, with single pane glass facing an extremely noisy Hwy 101, had to play music at high volume in order to deal with the background din. Is it even necessary to say that the resultant huge variation in sound quality had at least if not far more to do with the hotel and set-up as it did with the components themselves?

Was the speaker or amp bright, was the cabling at fault, or was the dispersion pattern of the speaker anathema to the small room? These are some of the questions I asked as I traversed the landscape, eyes and ears as open as possible. If you look for answers in the blogs that follow, and find them not, you know why. It would be irresponsible for me to make calls on equipment hastily set-up in such challenging conditions.

An explanation for the tardiness of this report. July 15 was my birthday, and I was blogging close to home. Instead of following my usual routine of skipping dinners and writing to the wee hours, I allowed myself to be treated to three dinners, and save the writing for later. The results, if a bit late, will certainly be fresher than if I had tried to write these blogs at 3 AM.


Jason Victor Serinus

Read and enjoy Jason’s multi-part report on the California Audio Show….in the CAVE