Abbingdon Music Research at the Sound & Vision Show: Park Inn Hotel, London, Heathrow - Report
We would like to thank all dealers, distributors, press representatives and customers who came to visit our room at the Sound & Vision Show at the Park Inn Hotel, 21-23 September 2007. AMR was present courtesy of our UK distributor Real Hi-Fi, to take up Room 1905, one of their two rooms at the Sound & Vision Show.

This year, with the decision by Hi-Fi News to not hold their annual Hi-Fi News Show at the Renaissance Hotel, the baton for organising the UK's premier show was passed to Chester Group. There were some 75 exhibitors in total. The Show was sponsored amongst others, by HiFi Choice and Home Cinema. Despite the sponsorship by Home Cinema Magazine. Home Cinema displays were not as prevalent as we have come to expect of Shows. Given the ubiquity of home cinema, this segment usually represents at least half of the exhibitors at Shows.

The Park Inn Hotel is a very modern hotel. The rooms chosen were all on the ground floor which compared to requiring lift access to the 1st floor of the Renaissance. We found it a revelation as it makes for far easier for setup/disassembly. The rooms themselves are similar, though slightly longer, but more importantly, somewhat wider. On the whole, room acoustics were slightly less of an issue than at the Renaissance.

AMR displayed its full system incorporating the AM-77 Reference Class Dual-Mono Amplifier, the CD-77 Reference Class Compact Disk Processor and final prototypes of AMR's LS-77 Reference Class Professional Monitor, using all AMR cabling. A modest amount of acoustic treatment was used, supplied by AudioSmile. On the whole, we were very pleased with both the aesthetic and sonics attained.

We found it very satisfying that many visitors wanted to play their CDs rather than make a "quick entry and quick exit" as is the typical case found at many a Show. Also notable was more interest by members of the opposite sex at this year's show, compared to previous Shows in London and even a few families visiting rooms, though not to the level seen in Munich and Milan.

This is definitely a positive trend for the future given the general concerns over the "aging audiophile population" in the UK. Past this, we were disappointed by the overall number of visitors though. We would estimate the total number of visitors over the three days at the 5,000 mark though this was unconfirmed by Chester Group.

We were pleased by the greater than fair share of attention received, aided in no small part by the CD-77 being selected for inclusion in HiFi Choice's "The Collection" and the AM-77 being awarded an "Editor's Choice" award by the same magazine.

New acquaintances were made in Theresa and Richard of Sapphire Screens who were located directly opposite the AMR room (great display of 1080p!). We met old friends in Harry O'Sullivan from Music First Audio as well as Terry and Roger from Loricraft. We look forward to be able to showcase the
PH-77 Reference Class Phono Stage at the CES in January 2008 using AMR's very own mouth-watering Garrard 301/SME 3012/Denon 103-R vinyl setup tuned by Loricraft.

In closing, it would seem that in the UK, going by Show attendances in London alone, 2-channel and vinyl is of less importance and less in demand than on the Continent and in the US. Admittedly home cinema continues to grow unabated. In no small part, in our humble opinion, the key operators
in the UK's 2-Channel and High-End scene need to co-operate and work together for the good of the overall industry - this situation is much akin to the "Prisoners' Dilemma" (1).

We would like to see magazines, show organisers, distributors and even dealers all work together to organise UK shows to rival those in the Netherlands or indeed in Munich, Germany. This is not as "pie in the sky" as it may seem; for example just across the Channel the highly successful VAD Show in Veldhoven is organised by the trade association of HiFi distributors and dealers in the Netherlands. It is very well attended by genuine music lovers, features 250 exhibitors with a strong focus on 2-Channel and High-End equipment.

Equally, the German
High End Show (currently in Munich) is organised by the trade association of German HiFi Manufacturers, Distributors and Dealers (The High End Society) and shows tremendous success in attracting big crowds.

1) The Prisoners' Dilemma is a key part of game theory. It is a two-player "game", in which each player separately and simultaneously decides whether to cooperate with the other, or to defect. It is analogous to the situation in which a criminal might find himself in: either testify against his accomplice, or keep quiet and hope that the other person does as well. The highest point payoff results if both parties keep quiet, but if one has no idea what the other party will do, instinctively, each will implicate the other. Ironically, if each player follows his best strategy (assuming no knowledge of what the other will do) both will offer information to implicate the other, with both ending up worse off as both are charged with the crime.


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