Heaven 11: Here Today -- But Here to Stay?

Debut

Almost every hi-fi show presents a surprising number of startup companies showing a new product, or even a whole suite of new models. But by the time next year’s show rolls around, most of these companies have gone out of business.

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Blown Away: Three Demos at the 2019 EISA Global Press Convention

The trade organization EISA is best known for its annual product awards, which span six product categories divided into Expert Groups: Hi-Fi, Home Theater Audio, Home Theater Display and Video, In-Car Electronics, Mobile Devices, and Photography. Originally called the European Imaging and Sound Association, the organization renamed itself, in September 2018, the Expert Imaging and Sound Association, to reflect its growth from an association of European online and print publications to one that welcomes journals from around the globe. SoundStage! Hi-Fi became a member in June 2018.

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The Best of High End 2019

High End 2019, held May 9-12 at the Munich Order Center (MOC), in Germany, was busier for me than previous High Ends. The show has grown -- a few days after it closed, the event’s organizer, the High End Society, released statistics that indicated that HE2019 had topped their previous biggest show, HE2018, with 551 exhibitors (up 3.8%), 8208 trade visitors (up 8.6%), and a grand total of 21,180 attendees (up 6.5%). The sheer size of High End has always made exhaustive coverage of it a challenge, and this year the challenge was even greater.

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Seven Shades of AC/DC's "Back in Black" -- Finding the Best Version to Test Your System With

Every so often, I post to my Facebook page my opinions on audio- and music-related subjects, to see what others think. For example, on March 27, 2019, I uploaded an image of the cover of AC/DC’s album Back in Black (1980) and wrote: “Is it only me who thinks that this is one of the best-recorded rock albums of all time?”

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The Best of Montréal Audio Fest 2019

Early in the morning of Monday, March 25, I typed this into my personal Facebook feed: “[Montréal Audio Fest] gets a 10 out of 10 this year. Big congratulations to Michel Plante and Sarah Tremblay for bringing this event back to life. The enthusiasm and crowd sizes on all days were the best [they’ve] been in 10 years. See our coverage at www.SoundStageGlobal.com.”

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The Best of Florida Audio Expo 2019

As I talked with exhibitors and other audio writers at the inaugural Florida Audio Expo (February 8-10), I got the impression that almost every one of us had arrived in Tampa asking ourselves this question: Will this be a complete waste of time?

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The Best Got Better: Revisiting EMM Labs' DA2 Reference Digital-to-Analog Converter

Have you ever taken your car in for a complete tune-up and, when you picked it up, it worked so much better that it seemed like a different vehicle? A similar thing happened to me with EMM Labs’ DA2 Reference digital-to-analog converter, which I reviewed in July 2017.

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The 2018 SoundStage! Network Products of the Year -- One-Sentence Summaries

Here are the SoundStage! Network’s Products of the Year for 2018. The winning products are chosen based on the reviews of them published in the preceding 12 months on our websites: SoundStage! Access, SoundStage! Hi-Fi, SoundStage! Simplifi, SoundStage! Solo, and SoundStage Ultra.

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The Best of Audio Video Show 2018

Since 2016, when I began covering Warsaw’s annual Audio Video Show (AVS), it’s presented one surprise after another. When first invited to attend, by the show’s organizer and owner, Adam Mokrzyck, I’d had no idea AVS even existed. When I arrived in Warsaw and found that AVS occupied 170 rooms spread across three venues -- the Radisson Blu Sobieski and Golden Tulip hotels, and the Warsaw National Stadium -- I was less surprised than shocked. How could a show this big have gotten in under our radar?

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The Best of Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2018

In 2013, Jeff Fritz and I reported on the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, held annually in Denver, Colorado. We’d made flight and hotel reservations so that we could attend all three days of the show, but found it so lacking in new and interesting products that we left halfway through Day 2 to see Captain Phillips at a nearby movie theater. We returned on Day 3 but wound up aimlessly walking the halls, finding little worth our while. We’d watched attendance at RMAF dwindle before 2013, but it had never been this bad. Is it any surprise that I didn’t return in 2014 -- or in 2015, 2016, or 2017?

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