Originally Posted by torii
I was gonna drive up a few hrs to see this show....but not interesting.
To be perfectly candid, I had sworn off high-end audio shows because most of the rooms are worse than boring to me, being stuffed full of truly unaffordable gear being sold by folks making specious claims in small rooms full of people where you can't get a good seat, can't hear what you want to hear, etc.
I had heard that RMAF was somehow a cut above other shows but I saw absolutely no differentiation between it, AXPONA, Capital Audiofest, etc. except that THIS is the show where there's ZERO home theater demos and lacks the gear associated with it, which makes it EXTRA BORING for me.
Having said that there were some good rooms, but not enough to make it worth a drive and pay admission, given it's 2019 and there are better things to do with your day than to get stuck in a hotel listening to Diana Krall.
The reality of a consumer show where there's also press and B2B roaming the halls, is things get weird fast. You pay for access but so did all the exhibitors and they want to recoup THEIR investment too. Plenty of rooms I went into where I may as well have been invisible, the music was nothing I could relate to, etc. and I can't blame them... I don't write for a high-end magazine and I'm not there to buy a five-figure speaker system.
Literally, the most interesting room in the show was the Z Reviews room, which was basically a hard troll of the show itself. An SVS Ultra system with a pair of SVS subs absolutely keeps up with all that overprices high-end nonsense on display.
OK so the other rooms I liked were Polk, KLH, Klipsch and ELAC because these companies offer products that benefit from economy of scale, so the prices are not crazy high. And Andrew Jones did continue his winning streak in the $500 or less per pair bookshelf speaker category with the ELAC Debut Reference. It's plainly obvious the products from these companies compete or beat much more expensive boutique high-end stuff. If you want to personally experience this so you don't ever again need to wonder what all that $10,000 power cord and audiophile USB cable nonsense is about, it may be worth going once.
Based on this experience, IMO AXPONA is now the best audio show in the U.S. and probably the only one worth traveling for, if you are just going for fun.