Even though Manhattan is the center of the photography universe, amazingly, it’s never had its own major photography festival. Sure, there are events like PhotoPlus Expo, held each fall at the Javits Center, which offers a combination of a trade show, lectures, seminars, and workshops. However, a dedicated conference in Manhattan just for photography didn’t exist, until the creation of Photoville a few years ago in the DUMBO area of Brooklyn. By the same token, for a very long time, New York hasn’t had any audio shows to compare with AXPONA, or the late great Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, or the ever-more-important Capitol Audio Fest.
What New York City does have is a small, friendly, engaging alternative. The New York Audio Show 2022, put on by the Chester Group, was held right off of Times Square in the Martinique New York on Broadway, an easy hotel to travel to. There were only a few floors of rooms, not all of them filled with audio gear, but the exhibits that were there were great fun.
Our colleague Tom Methans has already written his impressions about the show in Copper in Issue 172, and I wanted to add my thoughts and photos here. The show lasted only two days, and I kept wishing for a third, as once I had an opportunity to visit each room and hobnob with fellow audio wizards and good-deed-doers, I really wanted a chance to just listen and chill, and I’ve found that a third show day is perfect for that, as was the case with T.H.E. Show in Long Beach, California. The other benefit of a third day would have been the opportunity for Steve Guttenberg to show off another cool shirt; as it was, we only were treated to two.
One advantage of having a show in New York is getting an abundance of audio press. Herb Reichert, Frank Doris, Tom, Steve, Howard Kneller, Michael Trei, Danko Suvar, Kal Rubinson, and other audio journalists and myself were there enjoying themselves in a low-stress setting. Oops, I meant they were hard at work. Since one of the goals for many exhibitors was to gain coverage and reviews of their gear, this was a painless way to do so. For an excellent video tour of the show, check out Part One and Part Two of the show coverage from “The Listening Chair with Howard Kneller” on YouTube.
The show had a family vibe to it, with people like David Chesky (HDtracks, The Audiophile Society), and his daughter Paloma Dineli Chesky and son Lucca were in attendance, while musicians like Pedro Díaz (English horn player for the Metropolitan Opera) were hanging out and enjoying themselves. The Chesky family has been busy, with David Chesky’s new release The Great European Songbook, and Paloma’s just-released new album Paloma on Chesky’s new high-resolution venture, The Audiophile Society. Paloma is a wonderful new title, all the more astonishing for a performer of her age (15). We were able to listen to it on GT Audio Works’ large system, with help from Andrew Gillis of music server and audio hardware company Small Green Computer. Greg Takesh (GT Audio Works) was there with his daughter Lydia, Harry Weisfeld (VPI) was there with his son, martial arts master Mat and his kids. VPI had a turntable in the Gershman Acoustics room (makers of a highly-regarded line of loudspeakers), with Ofra and Eli Gershman providing a welcoming atmosphere in addition to first-rate sonics via their Grand Avant Garde loudspeakers.
While there might not have been lots of rooms, they were all interesting. The large Chelsea Room A featured the GT Audio Works Reference 3 speaker system ($59,900), Manley Laboratories Neo Classic 250 mono amplifiers ($16,599/pair), a LampizatOr Horizon DAC ($50,000), a Pass Labs X32 line stage ($18,375) Small Green Computer Sonore Signature Rendu SE Optical Tier II and sonicTransporter i9 Optical music servers ($4,800 and $2,999), Magnan Cables, Richard Gray’s Power Company powerline conditioners, and a Butcher Block Acoustics equipment rack. This was one of the largest rooms at the show, and a bit of a welcome respite from the smallish rooms on other floors. It was also one of the only rooms willing to crank some rock and roll. The sound was open, large, and impressive, and the bass response was truly sublime. The music source was a Sonore music player from Small Green Computer. It is an impressive bit of engineering, designed with ease of use and the needs of audiophile users in mind.
Chelsea Room B hosted a small marketplace for independent vendors, including Chesky Records, audio distributor Fidelis and Lab12 electronics, Neat Acoustics loudspeakers, ArgentPur cables, and Beyma America, distributors of Beyma loudspeaker drivers and components. The Greeley Square room featured the Gershman Acoustics Grande Avant Garde loudspeakers ($17,500/pair), which sounded as good as they looked. The speakers were complemented by a VPI Avenger turntable, Eon Art integrated amplifier, and Cardas cables.
The M101 room displayed the most unique power cable I’ve ever seen. Their $9,999 Hypernova featured a central copper strand, and outer wires with strands held apart with 3D-printed plastic separators every few inches, all clad with a sheer cloth covering. The system included M101’s Hypernova power and speaker cables, Paradigm Persona 3F speakers ($11,998/pair), a Mola Mola Kula integrated amp, Townshend Audio Seismic isolation podiums and pods, and Millercarbon Cable Cradles, with an Ecoflow Delta 1300 battery to power the system. The system sounded open and musical. M101 speaker, interconnect and power cables are the creation of Dr. Lubomir Dostal, a physicist with a doctorate from Freie Universität Berlin. The M101 name references the gorgeous M101 Pinwheel Galaxy in the constellation Ursa Major, and their new cables are just as intriguing.
Part Three will appear in Issue 175.
Header image: Harry Weisfeld of VPI Industries.
All images courtesy of Harris Fogel.