The 26th Shanghai International High-End Hi-Fi Expo (SIAV) took place from April 13 to 15, 2018 in the Jin Jiang Hotel facilities.
About 20,000 visitors were expected for this event, and most of the hi-fi manufacturers were present.
This year, we brought one of our restored tape decks to the show with a custom made tape and played four different high-end systems.
Here are the pictures of this great weekend!
Friday: preparation day
I dedicated the first day of the show to visit as many rooms as possible, and one thing stroke me: no tape machine at all this year.
When it came to analog sources, I saw many turntables with great designs, some with tangential arms and high-end cartridges, but not a single tape spinning.
So when I proposed to play a demonstration tape on their system, most owners I talked with were quite enthusiastic about the idea.
Eventually, I chose 4 different hi-fi systems to play, and went back to the studio to record the demo tape.
I came up with a track list with 2 objectives in mind:
Engage listeners with a music journey and a narrative
Challenge the hi-fi systems on different qualities, like transparency, depth, presence, visceral impact, holographic imaging, or transients.
After a few hours in the studio, the tape was ready to rock the following tracks ->
Source files were DSD and CD, softly re-mastered to the SM911 tape.
Saturday: the big day
When our team arrived at the Jin Jiang hotel, many visitors were already there. The effervescence was everywhere and it was great to see so many people interested or passionate about high fidelity.
Will the machine work? Will the tape sound good at all? This is what we were going to check live, without any safety net...
Yi Kong system
We started with Mr. Luo, who was representing the Chinese brand Yi Kong. Their impressive speakers Tiger R1 were powered by solid state integrated electronics from the same brand.
The sound was really good, the room was full, and people applauded several songs.
This first round was a success!
The best sounding system of all, brought to Shanghai Hi-Fi Show by Dr. Tsai.
Dr. Tsai had brought his own electronics under the brand ESTI: the preamplifier and the 2 power monoblocs were driving the beautiful Bower & Wilkins 802 Diamond 3 perfectly.
What a sound! People were applauding after several songs. Two persons came to me saying they had never heard something like this.
It was a great moment!
Sunday: the challenging day
Most people come visit the show on Saturday, and exhibitors start packing their gear on Sunday afternoon.
Sunday morning is therefore less populated and it is more difficult to draw the visitors attention.
However, as soon as we plugged the tape machine and pressed play, the rooms were packed with people in minutes!
Access Audio system
Mr. Lai from Audio Access Hong Kong brought to Shanghai a pair of Andra III SE, manufactured in the USA by EgglestonWorks. These beautiful speakers were driven by tube electronics: the iAMP TIS-260R Reference Series made by Increcable.
So what is the takeaway of these 3 days at the SIAV 2018?
First, I would say that people were clearly attracted by our tape machine. Whatever the day, as soon as my tape deck was on stage, the room would fill up with people. Is it because I am a stranger in China? Maybe it helps, but I think strangers are not a curiosity anymore in Shanghai.
Second, when you give explanations about what people are going to hear, when you tell them a story about the context, the year and the location of the recording, you get people's attention.
Third, when the music starts with a good tape on a good system, magic happens. People really listen, the room gets packed. And when the song finishes, sometimes people even applause. When this happens, I feel my mission is fulfilled: together with other dedicated high fidelity professionals, we as a team enable people to listen to recorded music as an art.
First, I would like to thank my team who helped me during this event: my friend Pierre and my loved fiancée Din. Without you I could not have done all this.
Second, I would like to thank the great professionals who allowed me to play their systems: Mr. Luo from Yi Kong, Dr. Tsai From ESTI, Mr. Lai from Audio Access, and Mr. Liu from Dachant Acoustics.