Part I here.
Although it is a reflection of my own station in life, my continuing declining interest in audio shows is a sad commentary on state of the industry.
When things are priced so unrealistically, they invite ridicule when they perform less than satisfactorily, which is more often than not. Below are some general thoughts.
Worst Sound of Show
This dubious honor goes to Luxman electronics driving YG loudspeaker. For years on end, Luxman has been lousy, driving whatever loudspeakers, so I'll acquit YG here. Shocking to me was the completely unrecognizable voice of the Cantonese opera singer 任劍煇.
- "Lifestyle" products, which include earphones and headphone amps, continue to proliferate. I don't investigate these, as they are not my preferred lifestyle.
- LP is king. No true hi-end showing will do without a turntable, even as display. In the 80's people said LP is dead, but many things have come and go and the LP is still around. Even old LPs in lousy condition, especially worthless later "mono" LPs, fetch good prices at the show.
- CD is not dead (and I don't think it ever will be), but the same catalogue is being milked again and again and new gimmicks are everywhere. After K2, XR etc, there have been various "_Q" CD's. I believe the terrible CD played at Luxman was an "Ultimate" HQ CD sampler. Priced at over HKD200 (more overseas), it is a farce. Avoid it like the plague.
- CAS/Hi-Res is not doing as well as you think. Although ubiquitous, it is no longer fresh and I fail to see emphasis in this area. Also see below.
- Meridian MQA If it is what it is said to be, I believe all other audio file formats and hardware shall perish. I'll love to see it succeed and all the CAS idiots do their CAS all over again!
- Analog Tape This niche market is not covered.