This year, the Digital Entertainment Group moved its Hi-Resolution Audio exhibit from downstairs in the Sands Convention Center to the greater-trafficked Central Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center. The Pavilion contained four long display tables, each of which held three hi-res playback devices that could be auditioned via headphones. Exhibitors included Astell&Kern, AudioQuest, Autonomic, Bluesound, dCS, DTS, ELAC, Mytek, Onkyo, Samsung Electronics, Sony Electronics, and Westone.
There was also a “fully equipped” mini-simulation of the famed Capitol Recording Studio, which presented demos of five remastered-in-hi-res tracks. Sponsoring the whole affair, in addition to the 12 participating companies, were the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM), the Japan Audio Society, MQA Ltd., the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), and the Consumer Technology Association.
Attendance in the Pavilion seemed a bit light on the first day of the show. At least one exhibitor informed me, at the end of Day Two, that a lot of people he encountered thought that hi-res referred solely to streaming. This exhibitor found that visitors were quite attracted to the Astell&Kern portable audio players that were located near his exhibit, but pretty clueless as to sound quality of his far more expensive gear. One listener, for example, complained that he missed the digital edge he had grown accustomed to on his cheap little whatever. Which does not mean that the Pavilion did not fulfill its function to educate. Who said education was painless?