In case anyone thinks I’m making this up, the Festival Son et Image taking place this weekend in Paris is a seriously busy show … like in the old days. As this is a blog and not a show report per se, I shan’t burden you here with details of what was launched.
Suffice it to say, the point of this missive is to communicate that in one of the most troubled markets in the EU (the English now call France “the sick man of Europe” – how’s that for a turnaround?), it’s possible to draw a crowd to look at consumer electronics. And it even attracted women and children. What is the secret?
1) The hotel (Novotel Paris Tour Eiffel) is welcoming and comfortable, with decent display space. Note that it sold out and can’t handle anymore exhibitors.
2) Heady high-end brands like Magico, Pierre Riffaud, Krell, MartinLogan, Kallyste, B&W, Cabasse, Focal and others are here alongside Sony, Yamaha, Denon and other recognisable names that the man and woman on the street will appreciate.
3) There’s a distinct appeal for the new wave of music lovers, i.e. headphone users and those who prefer streaming.
4) The show is one of the most professionally-run events in the audio kingdom, ranking alongside Munich in polish if not size.
As a result, the place is awash with headphones, headphone amps, after-market cables, little DACs and loads of streamers at all price points. The show guide is slick, There are robust carrier bags that are good enough o serve as ecologically-sound “bags for life” (Dali’s is a beauty). The demos are packed because they’re pleasurable. There’s even a company here producing a modern equivalent of Smell-O-Vision for home cinemas. I am NOT kidding.
Am I glad I came? Yes, because my pessimism is giving me an ulcer. Who’d have thought the cure would come from the French? Then again, last night’s Bordeaux was fabulous….