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Monthly Editorial by Marc Mickelson
May 1999

Goin' to Chicago

Chicago, city of broad amplifiers and tall speakers, at least for the second week in May, when the HI-FI ’99 Show will be in town. As always, we will be doing our now-standard on-the-spot coverage of the Show while we’re in Chicago -- including picking the ShowStoppers and Standout Rooms. For our Las Vegas coverage, we had over 100 pictures online before the CES ended; in Chicago, we plan to break this record in the process of providing the most exhaustive coverage you’ll find anywhere. Watch our HI-FI ’99 site from Tuesday through Sunday to see what we see and read about what we hear. It’s the next best thing to being there -- and you don’t have to wait months to read it in print.

One of the things that sets the HI-FI Show apart from the CES is the abundance of instructional seminars and concerts going on, and we will be at these too. Greg Weaver has already called dibs on the room-tuning seminar, and I look forward to the various Stereophile ask-the-editors sessions, where anything could be the subject. As is displayed on the prettier side of the Internet, camaraderie is prevalent in this hobby, and this show as much as any other lets everyone inside and outside the industry commingle and get a sense of the other’s world -- never a bad thing.

Of course, there will be plenty of well-known products on display, and we expect to see lots of the new 24/96 hardware -- we already know where at least one Sony SACD player will be hiding -- as well as multichannel setups galore. In the pursuit of both, we will be doing special coverage on the new digital technologies and multichannel/home-theater sound, discovering and then reporting on what’s happening at the Show on both fronts. And as an extension of this, watch for a continuing series of reviews on multichannel products -- speaker systems and surround-sound electronics -- as well as of top-flight CD players and new DVD-based hardware in the coming months. Why CD players? So we can tell you exactly what the differences are between the old and new technologies and give you broad context for what we hear.

I’m from the upper Midwest, southern Wisconsin to be exact, so for me the HI-FI Show is a chance to be back on something close to home turf. I’ve spent plenty of time in the Loop, and we SoundStagers plan to get out to a few of clubs to hear what live music there is about town. But our days will be spent at the Palmer House, chasing down this new digital processor or that sexy tube amp. As you see us roaming the halls, say hello. We’d love to put a face with an e-mail address. And if you can’t make it to the Show, don’t worry -- we’ll bring it all to you.

...Marc Mickelson

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