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The International HiFi Show

The International HiFi Show occurs in Albert Park over the first weekend of July. There are more than 90 brands advertised as exhibiting, covering Australian and international hi-fi and audio-visual manufacturers and retailers. There’ll be a lot to take in between 2pm Friday and 3pm Sunday, so Beat spoke to event organiser Marc Rushton to get a clear idea of what to expect.

Hi Marc. Is the event purely targeted at people who already work in the industry? Or are you aiming to also attract people with less experience and knowledge of hi-fi and AV?
The event is designed to promote quality sound and audio-visual to consumers. Many trade shows exist for the industry itself to learn of new products and trends in this industry. What we really wanted to achieve was to demonstrate to people just how good music can sound through quality audio systems, rather than small docks and earbuds, which has become commonplace. Thanks to Apple and the introduction of the iPod, and more recent developments in streaming services, a whole new world of music lovers exists once more, and that’s great news.
 
Advancements in technology have made high-fidelity sound much more affordable. Attendees at the event will see a great range of ways in which you play back music, from brand new turntables and streaming products, from very affordable right through to the very high-end.
 
One of the founding motives was to present a completely Australian owned event – something that you saw was lacking in this sector. Why did that seem important to you? And did Melbourne seem like the most suitable place to host it?
Melbourne is without doubt the hi-fi capital of Australia. We have a thriving live music scene, more hi-fi specialist retail shops and record stores than other capital cities, along with the majority of the hi-fi importers and distributors basing themselves in Melbourne. Melbourne also offered a great venue – the Pullman Mercure Hotel in Albert Park – that was central to the greater metropolitan area and offered good access and public transport.
 
The International HiFi Show Melbourne marks the return of Australian owned and operated shows to this country after more than a decade since the last show. Hi-fi itself went through a transition that saw the rise of home cinema’s popularity, arguably and unfortunately at the expense of 2-channel stereo. Today, the popularity has balanced out somewhat, and we’re experiencing what is being referred to as ‘the hi-fi revival.’ The show itself is a great opportunity to witness all the world’s best brands in both hi-fi and home cinema systems, all in one place.
 
You publish StereoNET, an online publication covering the latest news and reviews of products in audio, hifi, technology, music and more. The team you’ve worked with in bringing the HiFi show together, did you ensure there was expert knowledge of not just the latest products, but also the ways the industry works and what changes you’re facing in the future?
The show has been some years in the making. The idea was originally proposed by an industry group made up of key brands and distributors who approached StereoNET as we are a truly independent organisation in the Australian market. StereoNET has worked closely with the key figures in the Australian industry to deliver what promises to be a truly world-class show.
 
As technology advances, the way in which we live with and interact with music, multimedia and the connected world is evolving. Many people wouldn’t be aware of some of the types of products that exist today that will integrate with your lifestyle, store your entire music collection in a format that can be accessed from home, on the go from your smartphone, at the office or even in your car. Hi-fi is a very broad term today, encompassing many different types of products.
 
Someone heading along to the International HiFi Show will get a feel for the temperature in the industry right now. But is it purely an exhibition, or is it designed to be interactive?
It’s interactive in every sense of the word. Music and high-fidelity sound is a treat for the senses. We encourage attendees to bring along their own music and hear it on a variety of audio systems, engage with the exhibitors about the specific products they offer, and chat to leading experts about what is just the right product for them.
 
The brands exhibiting include major names like Sony, Sennheiser and JBL that would be recognisable to large numbers of people. But there are also plenty of less famous brands, especially for people with a more casual knowledge of the industry. Was that something you wanted to ensure – that the show wasn’t just about cementing the monopoly for the big brands, but that it demonstrated what’s going on at all levels in the industry?
All of the world’s brands started life at some point as a very small boutique business. Here in Australia we’re very fortunate to have some local brands that are already known globally. VAF Research, Lenehan Audio, Osborn Loudspeakers and Richter Acoustics have been selling their locally designed and manufactured speakers all over the world for decades now. Then there’s the more recent Australian brands such as Wyndham Audio and DEQX who are becoming more popular both locally and overseas.
 
It was important to us to showcase the very best from around the globe at various price points, but also to celebrate our own Australian manufacturers. Attendees can expect to see a great mix of both at the show.
 
BY AUGUSTUS WELBY

THE INTERNATIONAL HIFI SHOW will be held at the Pullman Mercure Hotel, Queens Road, Melbourne from Friday July 1– Sunday July 3. Tickets start from $22.00 and are available to purchase now at www.hifishow.com.au.