For three days last week, in a hotel in midtown Manhattan, something both odd and beautiful happened. Right smack in the middle of the cacophony of taxicabs and tourists, the constant hum of portfolios being diversified and lunches being done, amid the din, there was magic hanging in space; magic we couldn’t see, but it was undeniable. Plainly and simply as the breeze on these early spring days, we could all feel it. And just like that breeze, it was at once elegantly simple and profoundly meaningful.
I am, of course, talking about a trade show.
Now, before the irony of that metaphor causes anyone serious injury, I should clarify. I’m specifically talking about the New York Audio and AV Show at the Waldorf=Astoria. And to clarify further: The Show isn’t why we were there. In fact, the Show isn’t why ANY of the vendors were there. Or the patrons. Or the press. The Show isn’t even why the people putting on the Show were there.
The reason we came was the magic. And it was everywhere. From the gliding, wistful triumph of Pink Floyd’s Comfortably Numb to the delicate strains and relentless forte of Reiner’s Scheherazade, it surrounded us, slipped into our souls and made us better. The Music. It is, after all, what we were all there to celebrate. It was what started our journey into high-end audio to begin with, the thing that drove us toward wanting, building, buying, and reviewing the very best audio playback machinations that mankind has to offer. The Music pushes us forward; the sirens sing and we follow, the purity and clarity of their song driving us to create, to build, to listen. And it was that Music – that magic – that brought us all together at the Waldorf, to celebrate the pinnacle of man’s achievement in audio reproduction; but more than anything, to celebrate the Music itself.
There were some incredible systems at the Show. I was privileged to hear some of the finest audio playback equipment in the history of the world. Some 100 plus brands of audio gear were represented, with over 1200 people moving from room to room, sampling their wares, drinking in the sound. Of particular note was Peter Lederman’s (SoundSmith) Strain Gauge phono cartridge, as were Pass Labs’ X600.5 amplifiers (driving Sony’s new SS-AR2 speakers), and, of course, the mighty Walker Audio Proscenium Black Diamond III (running a full complement of Walker’s System Enhancing Products, a Burmester phono, pre, and 911 power amp, their B80 MkII speakers, with Silent Source cables on every piece). The fidelity and musicality of this stuff simply can’t be overstated – one has to hear it to even begin to appreciate it.
But the truly stunning thing, the thing that resonated with me time and time again, was the number of people who sat down, eyes closed, their mouths tucked back in a pleasant, unforced smile; the sort of smile only brought on by true, unsullied pleasure. They sat, letting the Music pour over them, effect them, engulf them. And as I watched, I realized it’s something we all do. We love the magic because we can’t help but be effected by it. The Music changes us.
At Walker Audio, we build devices for music playback. We do our utmost to ensure that each piece is the of finest quality achievable by human hands. And we do it so that you, along with us, can chase the magic. After all, the point of building a better mousetrap is to catch the mouse. And as fleeting as the magic can be, we build devices that will help you find it, time and time again. We sit, and listen, and laugh, and cry, and love and breathe Music, too. So we build things that bring the Music to life. And this past week, we were honored to spend a few days with rooms full of people who feel the Music the same way we do, who chase it, just like we do, and who let it effect them as deeply as we do. We were there to celebrate the Music. Thanks so much for celebrating with us.
Liam has been working with Walker Audio for just over a year. The NY Audio Show was the first audio show he has attended with Walker Audio. Liam is also an accomplished musician.