I’ll be attending the show as both a dealer/exhibitor and as a consumer. It’ll be my third time going, so here are some tips to make the most of it.
1. Friday morning, and late afternoons on Saturday and Sunday tend to be the quietest. Saturday morning is the most packed.
2. Don’t try to accomplish everything in one day, if possible. Allow yourself time settle into the rooms you visit. By that, it means that crowds come and go. If you stay in a room long enough, you WILL be able to sit in the prime spot AND not have a ton of people in the room making noise.
3. I tend to study the exhibitor list in advance and make two lists – must hear and nice to hear. With this I prioritize in this way and tend to hit all floors twice. If I don’t get through the full second round, at least I don’t miss anything that was in my priority list. It’s also common to find yourself returning to the rooms you like the best more than once.
4. If you disagree with how something is set up in a room, once it’s quiet, you can ask the host to try to reposition or change the configuration. They will likely be amenable.
5. Whether you start or end with the big rooms on the first two floors, when you decide to explore the upper floors, take the elevator to the top and walk your way down the steps.
6. It’s been my observation that this is not a show purely designed for consumers. Many of the rooms are hosted by manufacturers or distributors, and their primary clientele are dealers. Of course, then there are rooms run by dealers whose primary clientele are customers, or other distributors they may want to carry lines for. As such, these reasons get in the way of how some consumers feel the show is less than approachable.
7. The experience is meant for people to experience the gear they typically cannot on most days. As some mentioned, similar to a car show. It should be aspirational, and oftentimes even if one cannot afford much or any of the equipment, it still serves as a good baseline for comparison. If you approach it this way, you will have a more fruitful time.
8. The food prices in the hotel are somewhat ridiculous and the quality is questionable. Plan to pick up a portable lunch if you want to eat onsite. It’s also not difficult to get away from the venue, and Schaumburg has a lot of great restaurant options.
9. Remember, audiophiles are few and far between across the country. While I know a number, most people are coming alone and don’t know others. This is a great place to get to know one another in a past time we all love. Don’t be afraid to show courtesy to each other and introduce yourself, express yourself. or share your opinion. I’ve found by doing this, most people easily open up and your total experience can be much more memorable.
I’ll be happy to chat with anyone in attendance if you bump into me and decide to say hello.
Enjoy the show!
AXPONA runs from Friday April 13 through Sunday April 15 at the Renaissance Hotel in Schaumburg, IL. More details on the event here.