I would be interested in reactions to the new venue at Ascot in comparison to the Windsor Show of previous years.
First of all, actually getting there after parking your car. Its quite a trudge in the rain then you have to lug you wet coat around the event. There is still an awful lot of walking. Then when you look at the room sizes its using the corporate entertaing rooms for demo purposes. They are not thst large and all have low ceilings.
Then catering. There is one restaurant serving big meals which you do not always want lunchtime. Another a snack operation serving coffee/tea and pastries. No sarnies so its a half mile trudge to a local cafe.
On an upbeat note Mike Valentine of “Chasing the Dragon” did his usual entertaing demo in the Symettry room. I even bought some LPs so not all bad.
I am not ecouraged to attend next year but thats 12 months away.
Anyubody else find it all a bit disapointing or was that just me?
@Douglas I attended the show at Ascot too yesterday. I haven’t been to the previous shows at Windsor so can’t comment on how the Ascot venue compares.
Overall, I agree with your comments. The venue setup isn’t really ideal - lots of walking involved and nothing signposted very well. I was expecting more from the catering too, quite a poor display in fact.
High points for me were the Symmetry room & Magico M2 speaker demo, Vimberg speaker demo, and some friendly chats with dealers on Melco N10 and Sonus Faber speakers.
I may not be bothered to return next year if it’s at the same venue.
I went by train from London with a few friends. Getting there from the station was easy, even in the rain a pleasant stroll. The venue was “interesting”, very linear, it took a long time to walk along levels, with very spread out rooms, and not all escalators going to every level made it tricky to get around. It was odd to be rained on inside, with the wind blowing rain in horizontally at the open end of the building. The lack of catering was terrible, Pro-ject were nice enough to give out coffee, otherwise as you suggest there was the restaurant and café, so for food the choice was restaurant or nothing. Given the restaurant queue it seemed too much effort to wait, so we left at about half 3 and had a sandwich at Costa on the way to the station.
It was too spread out, too hard to find rooms, too few exhibitors with good demonstrations, the ones that had good things struggled with the rooms. I doubt if we‘lll go back next year.
It was nice to run into Mark Raggett at the “Focal powered by Naim” rooms, he was showing the new Focal Choras, the 816 I think, with NDX2/SN3. Very musical system, I thought the Choras were excellent for £1,100, and made a good system with the Naim gear.
Yes i have heard the 816 in that system, quite reminiscent of old Naim speakers…a bit of a bargain.
I quite liked the Ascot venue. The linear nature and spread ensured much less audio noise bleed from the rooms. I’d agree the signage was terrible (and the showguide) and the catering was a disaster. Surely the cafe could have sold sandwiches as well as cake and £14.50 for a hamburger in the restaurant…having a laugh surely.
I enjoyed the Kudos T707 demo and the room with Goldmund? amps/Focal 2’s was also good as was the Boulder amps demo.
I’d have liked to have spoken to someone from SME regarding an issue with my arm but no one to be found when I passed through.
Chord/Kef room interesting and better than the last visit at Windsor but I think the Blade 2s set off room resonances causing bass bloom. I could live with the Aesthetix Atlas amps but alas don’t have the £200k required for that system.
I also got huge value from the MC cartridge comparison (and was interviewed for a German HIFi magazine in the process).
Odd that Naim nor Quad nor Meridian nor Linn (to name a few) were present.
Nice to see Doug Graham and Mark Raggett chatting in the corridor at one point.
Finally, the singular AV room by Karma AV (SVS /Emotiva) was pretty impressive in an ‘ears pinned back’ sort of way.
I went on Saturday and have been to the old venue previously. As others have mentioned the parking was fine and venue pretty easy to get to for me.
It was very spread out and where I would normally just wander along from room to room I had to spend a lot of time referring to the venue guide to work my way round. I nearly missed the Kudos room which turned out to be my favourite room of the show. Certainly needs better signage.
Being in a very large, windy and sometimes wet venue was quite a detractor for me as lost a lot of the intimacy of previous shows. Aside from the queue to get in there was no sense of the place being busy or energised.
There were a few room where retailers had brought a large number of boxes but were not playing any music. I can understand that at a car dealership but for hi fi they may as well have been displaying piles of bricks for all the interest that brings compared to some actual music.
The AV room was impressive but with 9 speakers I think I would expect that!
Agree on the food options although I have to say the restaurant staff were very quick, polite and obviously working hard to get the tables turned around and I must admit I enjoyed my burger!
I think if they could compress down to a few less floors, invest in far better signage and boost the sandwich options it would work better as a venue but I assume they have limits on which box owners want to provide the space.
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