• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). Come here to have fun, be ready to be teased and not take online life too seriously. We now measure and review equipment for free! Click here for details.

End of High-End Show at CES???

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
16,777
Likes
12,977
Location
Seattle Area
#1
I must say after I signed up for CES this year, I realized the number of high-end companies had shrunk significantly. Last year while reduced it was still a robust show. But not this year. As this article says, I think this may be the last of this endeavour.

Here is an article saying the same although through the lens of custom electronics channel:
https://www.cepro.com/article/is_th...tm_campaign=content&eid=344673395&bid=1972663

Jason Knott · January 12, 2018


The good news for integrators visiting the high-performance audio area at CES 2018 is that they got to spend plenty of quality time with each vendor. The bad news is that the number of high-performance audio vendors at the show has dwindled remarkably. Unfortunately, this set up a chicken-or-the-egg scenario: If the vendors don’t exhibit, the integrators won’t come, and if the integrators won’t come, the vendors won’t exhibit.

This year, the high-performance audio rooms, which are located at the Venetian Suites venue, were down to just one floor. In past years, it has been three floors plus. Many of the key players were there, including:

Lenbrook, Emotiva, Straight Wire, Onkyo, SVS, Klipsch, Paradigm, Harman, Sound United, Totem, AudioControl, and GoldenEar. Many of those companies shared space. On the video side, Elite Screens and Wolf Cinema had a presence.

Of the suites I was able to visit, only one—Lenbrook’s—was filled with activity. The rest of the suites had dealers trickling in sporadically during my visit. Most of the manufacturers I spoke with mentioned, unsolicited, that they would not likely be exhibiting at CES 2019. It was a stark contrast to the hustle and bustle, elbow-to-elbow activity at the Sands Expo and Las Vegas Convention Center venues.

So What Happened?
Maybe the writing was on the wall last year at CES 2017 when two of the suites in the high-performance area were occupied by AARP and Serta Mattress. The running joke among attendees was the elderly audiophiles there could take a nap and check in on their retirement status while listening to audio.

But unfortunately, that joke might be ringing true. Audiophiles are diminishing in number as the earbud generation takes front and center.

The other circumstance that has affected the audio area is the Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) show in Amsterdam. That show comes up just one month later in early February. Most of the European distributors are now opting to meet with their manufacturer partners at that event, according to several vendors. One told me that in previous years he had 22 international distributors at CES, from Australia to Latin America to Europe and the Far East. This year, he said only his distributors from Mexico, Russia and Australia showed up.

The international attendance is also being hampered by the rise of the Munich Audio Show. At the consumer level, that end-user event is where the vendors are meeting their high-end audiophile clients these days.

For the U.S. dealers, cost has become a factor. Hotel room rates in Las Vegas during CES have risen astronomically. In some cases, hotels within walking distance run $800 per night during the show. The other factor is that integrators are busy, and breaking away from their businesses for even a few days is more difficult than ever right now.

“This is the end of high-performance audio at CES,” said one exhibitor bluntly.
 

dallasjustice

Major Contributor
Joined
Feb 28, 2016
Messages
1,265
Likes
686
Location
Dallas, Texas
#2
It’s too bad distributors from non-shithole countries no longer wish to visit America’s favorite shithole. Clearly this is all Trump’s fault.
 

DonH56

Major Contributor
Technical Expert
Patreon Donor
Joined
Mar 15, 2016
Messages
2,398
Likes
2,226
Location
Monument, CO
#3
I think there are a couple of other factors, like the ever-rising cost of equipment and no desire to cater to younger folk who might join the audiophile fold. I have been in demos where the salesman/presenter basically denigrated any choice of music by the younger people in the room and talked about a $5k "entry level" system. I have a couple of sons who appreciate my gear but not that sort of approach, especially when they are struggling to get by and certainly won't have an extra $5k to spend on an audio system that only plays specialized audiophile music they do not like.

Maybe the goal should be to appreciate and educate the earbud generation instead of constantly running them down.

My microcent - Don
 

Kal Rubinson

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Mar 23, 2016
Messages
652
Likes
386
Location
NYC/CT
#4
I must say after I signed up for CES this year, I realized the number of high-end companies had shrunk significantly. Last year while reduced it was still a robust show. But not this year. As this article says, I think this may be the last of this endeavour. .................................................................................

.......................................For the U.S. dealers, cost has become a factor. Hotel room rates in Las Vegas during CES have risen astronomically. In some cases, hotels within walking distance run $800 per night during the show. The other factor is that integrators are busy, and breaking away from their businesses for even a few days is more difficult than ever right now.

“This is the end of high-performance audio at CES,” said one exhibitor bluntly.
I am of the opinion that CES is of no help to high-end audio any more (if it every was). In fact, the cost and the hustle/bustle created by the presence of the rest of CES is counterproductive. (AVA was probably a better companion). If there is to be an effective national US audio industry show, as opposed to the many local consumer shows, it would be inordinately improved by being associated with CEDIA, rather than CES.
 

Wombat

Major Contributor
Joined
Nov 5, 2017
Messages
3,123
Likes
1,380
Location
Australia
#5
Maybe audio gear dominating a room is a practise that is past its use-by-date.

images.jpg
 

Thomas savage

Retired Sheriff
Moderator
The Watchman
Patreon Donor
Joined
Feb 24, 2016
Messages
6,683
Likes
3,355
Location
uk, taunton
#6
I must say after I signed up for CES this year, I realized the number of high-end companies had shrunk significantly. Last year while reduced it was still a robust show. But not this year. As this article says, I think this may be the last of this endeavour.

Here is an article saying the same although through the lens of custom electronics channel:
https://www.cepro.com/article/is_th...tm_campaign=content&eid=344673395&bid=1972663

Jason Knott · January 12, 2018


The good news for integrators visiting the high-performance audio area at CES 2018 is that they got to spend plenty of quality time with each vendor. The bad news is that the number of high-performance audio vendors at the show has dwindled remarkably. Unfortunately, this set up a chicken-or-the-egg scenario: If the vendors don’t exhibit, the integrators won’t come, and if the integrators won’t come, the vendors won’t exhibit.

This year, the high-performance audio rooms, which are located at the Venetian Suites venue, were down to just one floor. In past years, it has been three floors plus. Many of the key players were there, including:

Lenbrook, Emotiva, Straight Wire, Onkyo, SVS, Klipsch, Paradigm, Harman, Sound United, Totem, AudioControl, and GoldenEar. Many of those companies shared space. On the video side, Elite Screens and Wolf Cinema had a presence.

Of the suites I was able to visit, only one—Lenbrook’s—was filled with activity. The rest of the suites had dealers trickling in sporadically during my visit. Most of the manufacturers I spoke with mentioned, unsolicited, that they would not likely be exhibiting at CES 2019. It was a stark contrast to the hustle and bustle, elbow-to-elbow activity at the Sands Expo and Las Vegas Convention Center venues.

So What Happened?
Maybe the writing was on the wall last year at CES 2017 when two of the suites in the high-performance area were occupied by AARP and Serta Mattress. The running joke among attendees was the elderly audiophiles there could take a nap and check in on their retirement status while listening to audio.

But unfortunately, that joke might be ringing true. Audiophiles are diminishing in number as the earbud generation takes front and center.

The other circumstance that has affected the audio area is the Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) show in Amsterdam. That show comes up just one month later in early February. Most of the European distributors are now opting to meet with their manufacturer partners at that event, according to several vendors. One told me that in previous years he had 22 international distributors at CES, from Australia to Latin America to Europe and the Far East. This year, he said only his distributors from Mexico, Russia and Australia showed up.

The international attendance is also being hampered by the rise of the Munich Audio Show. At the consumer level, that end-user event is where the vendors are meeting their high-end audiophile clients these days.

For the U.S. dealers, cost has become a factor. Hotel room rates in Las Vegas during CES have risen astronomically. In some cases, hotels within walking distance run $800 per night during the show. The other factor is that integrators are busy, and breaking away from their businesses for even a few days is more difficult than ever right now.

“This is the end of high-performance audio at CES,” said one exhibitor bluntly.
High end Audio and a cutting edge technology show.., umm bad bed fellows. High end Audio seems to find more comfort in looking backwards than forwards.

That’s not to says there’s not exciting thing happening that might cause a stir at a show like CES but the traditional high end market seems a strange fit to me.
 

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
16,777
Likes
12,977
Location
Seattle Area
#7
This is a CES-specific thing. As Kal says, the costs at CES are through the roof. The companies who come are those that want to capture their international dealers but that is not enough to drive interest. Other shows are doing very well (AXPONA, RMAF and LA Audio show) since they cater to end-users.
 

DonH56

Major Contributor
Technical Expert
Patreon Donor
Joined
Mar 15, 2016
Messages
2,398
Likes
2,226
Location
Monument, CO
#8
I thought CEDIA focused more on installers and dealers? Not that CES doesn't but I thought it had more home consumer electronics focus than CEDIA. Or maybe one or more of the regional shows will supplant CES, but I can't see manufacturers going to too many of those.
 

tomelex

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Patreon Donor
Joined
Feb 29, 2016
Messages
752
Likes
255
Location
So called Midwest, USA
#9
Geeeezzzz, the King of Audio does not show up one year and look what happens..
 

Thomas savage

Retired Sheriff
Moderator
The Watchman
Patreon Donor
Joined
Feb 24, 2016
Messages
6,683
Likes
3,355
Location
uk, taunton
#10
This is a CES-specific thing. As Kal says, the costs at CES are through the roof. The companies who come are those that want to capture their international dealers but that is not enough to drive interest. Other shows are doing very well (AXPONA, RMAF and LA Audio show) since they cater to end-users.
Well fairly small high end Audio companies exhibiting at CES never made sense to me, from the outside Iv always thought of CES as a trade focused technology exhibition and the costs vs reward for those high end audio firms seemed bonkers frankly.

Admittedly Iv only talked to a few previous exhibitors, never been myself etc but they all seemed to want to stop going so the only surprise to me was so many carried on for this long.

So as Kal said CES is no help to high end Audio , but I don’t really think high end Audio as it currently is is much help to CES either.
 

Sal1950

Major Contributor
The Chicago Crusher
Joined
Mar 1, 2016
Messages
4,773
Likes
1,958
Location
Central Fl
#11
Maybe audio gear dominating a room is a practice that is past its use-by-date.
That's pretty much the long and short of it. Time has long passed since the first thing you had to have at your new krib to be KOOL was good HiFi. I don't think there is any hope at all for the industry beyond what it is now, a specialist hobby for a very small segment of enthusiasts. The hey-days of the 70-80s are behind us and there isn't any sense in looking for much more, no one cares. Richer hobbyists will get the HiEnd gear of today and the poorer hobbyists will grab some of the awesome LowEnd gear that delivers big bang for the buck rewards. All the rest (99.9% of the world) will look for small, very unobtrusive cubes to deliver the background to their lives. (Alexa, play me some classical music).
 

Kal Rubinson

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Mar 23, 2016
Messages
652
Likes
386
Location
NYC/CT
#12
I thought CEDIA focused more on installers and dealers? Not that CES doesn't but I thought it had more home consumer electronics focus than CEDIA. Or maybe one or more of the regional shows will supplant CES, but I can't see manufacturers going to too many of those.
I have been to CEDIA a number of times, most recently 2016 in Dallas. It was refreshingly unstressful. There were plenty of installer-related displays but probably as many HT displays with end-user appeal. Audio, per se, was not a major component. There were enough audio representatives for me to feel that it was worth the trip and they seem to felt the same. The seminars and demonstrations/presentations, also, would be complementary to an expanded high-end audio contingent.
 

Jinjuku

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Patreon Donor
Joined
Feb 28, 2016
Messages
622
Likes
234
#13
I heard plenty of good audio the last NAMM show I went to. Most of it I could afford.
 

DonH56

Major Contributor
Technical Expert
Patreon Donor
Joined
Mar 15, 2016
Messages
2,398
Likes
2,226
Location
Monument, CO
#14
Thanks Kal, always better to hear it from someone who's been there (in the last 20 years!)
 

Palladium

Active Member
Joined
Aug 4, 2017
Messages
121
Likes
77
#15
That's pretty much the long and short of it. Time has long passed since the first thing you had to have at your new krib to be KOOL was good HiFi. I don't think there is any hope at all for the industry beyond what it is now, a specialist hobby for a very small segment of enthusiasts. The hey-days of the 70-80s are behind us and there isn't any sense in looking for much more, no one cares. Richer hobbyists will get the HiEnd gear of today and the poorer hobbyists will grab some of the awesome LowEnd gear that delivers big bang for the buck rewards. All the rest (99.9% of the world) will look for small, very unobtrusive cubes to deliver the background to their lives. (Alexa, play me some classical music).
Younger people in general have less disposable income, less desire to acquire material stuff, less space to stash them, even less interest in old school audio and more savvy in checking out deals and second hand equipment on Craiglist etc if they did.

As an personal epiphany, I been using my phones to watch Youtube during bedtime for the past week or so and I have completely forgotten that I had a Cambridge Oontz 3 BT speaker for that purpose. Turns out I'm perfectly happy watching videos with just the integrated phone speaker, on mono no less.
 

Kal Rubinson

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Mar 23, 2016
Messages
652
Likes
386
Location
NYC/CT
#16
As an personal epiphany, I been using my phones to watch Youtube during bedtime for the past week or so and I have completely forgotten that I had a Cambridge Oontz 3 BT speaker for that purpose. Turns out I'm perfectly happy watching videos with just the integrated phone speaker, on mono no less.
Yeah, but so what? I spent hours last week watching my grandson play at the World Flying Disc Federation championships in Perth on my phone with the built-in speakers and I had a ball. On reflection, it sounded like crap but I didn't care. Would I listen to music that way? Only as torture.
 

jhaider

Active Member
Joined
Jun 5, 2016
Messages
245
Likes
130
#17

Sal1950

Major Contributor
The Chicago Crusher
Joined
Mar 1, 2016
Messages
4,773
Likes
1,958
Location
Central Fl
#18
World Flying Disc Federation
That got me curious and had to google. Never had any idea that there was this kind organized activity surrounding frisbee throwing?
 

Wombat

Major Contributor
Joined
Nov 5, 2017
Messages
3,123
Likes
1,380
Location
Australia
#19
That got me curious and had to google. Never had any idea that there was this kind organized activity surrounding frisbee throwing?
Is development of Round Tuits ongoing there? :rolleyes:
 

Kal Rubinson

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Mar 23, 2016
Messages
652
Likes
386
Location
NYC/CT
#20
That got me curious and had to google. Never had any idea that there was this kind organized activity surrounding frisbee throwing?
I had not idea either until Gabriel got into it. I threw them around a lot when I was in college but that was under more uncontrolled circumstances.
 
Top Bottom