2023 – Round Up


Back to the show circuit and what caught our eye in the past twelve months

2023 was my first foray back into the show circuit (post pandemic) attending Munich and a show in Brussels. Whilst it was great to reconnect with industry friends was there much to get excited about?

  1. Embracing Organic Sound
    Nope! The industry still seems very much focussed on the pursuit of technical excellence. Yes, it can be impressive, but for me the experience is fatiguing and lacks ‘soul’. Walking the Munich show I could find very little to change that point of view. Still, great company and good food improved my mood, and of course it means the challenge of discovery is still there.
  2. Supply Chain Woes
    Post pandemic the major issue for most manufacturers it seems is the availability of parts and challenges with the supply chain. In the UK economic conditions have seen international shipping costs more than double and import paperwork increase to unprecedented levels. It has even been suggested that some International companies will stop exporting altogether to focus on local and selected markets. Maybe it will settle down in time or perhaps less brands on the market will be a good thing – it doesn’t feel like it right now.
  3. Streaming Slowdown
    Not downloads, but equipment. Aside from a few pioneers of streaming product technology (and congratulations to them all) who are taking motherboards and associated components to the limit, the rest of the industry seems to have settled for a Pi, NUC or propriety board as a hardware solution. We’ve worked out that power supplies have a great impact on sound quality and so does ‘noise’ and component isolation – no surprises there then. One highlight from Munich was a young lady from Korea with a streamer that certainly caught my attention – you’ll see her in 2024 for sure.
  4. Isolation and Footers
    Fibre isolation in streaming networks, active grounding, some interesting designs in vibration management and isolation footers including one ‘par excellence’ from Martin Gateley at Sound|Kaos. The Vibra 68 – Flippin’ heck Martin! 
  5. Music for Health and Wellbeing
    With mental health now regular headline news there’s been a growing recognition of music’s role in enhancing health and wellbeing. It is an area of exploration that interests me, for personal and professional reasons. It’s also something that’s gaining traction among consumers and, although mainly a subject for professionals in the medical field, it is something I am keen to learn more about. Books to read.
  6. Customer-Centric Experiences
    The subject matter of most of the enquiries we have received this year were from people who are frustrated and fed up trying to find suitable equipment for their needs. As one customer put it “I’m fed up listening to my system, I just want to enjoy the music”. If this applies to you too, get in touch – we can help!
  7. Adios Amigos
    We’ve said goodbye this year to a few of brands from our portfolio. The nature of an explorative business is that change is inevitable for all sorts of reasons. Some contacts have retired and other businesses have grown from a new brand to a level that we cannot support as a small business. C’est la vie, and we wish them well for the future.
  8. Looking Ahead
    As we move rapidly into 2024 we wonder if it will be a year of further innovation or just more of the same. We have already found some new (to us) products that will feature on our website after they have been through our usual test period, and they are already looking good prospects. Show time will be the usual indicator and Munich is already booked.

So here’s to another year of exploration and whatever it brings… maybe some new flowers!