Collective thoughts on hosting a member listening room

Discussion in 'AK Fest 2010' started by cdfac, May 5, 2010.

  1. cdfac

    cdfac AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Iowa City
    :yes:I'm hoping people will share their experiences and advice from hosting a listening room either this year or in previous years, so that those planning on doing so in the future can learn some lessons ahead of time and make the most out of their weekend. Some of it might seem obvious, but it's worth mentioning anyway.

    Here's my advice:
    1) Choose a speaker appropriate for the room size
    2) Bring plenty of extra cables
    3) Make sure to leave a little room in the vehicle when you pack (in case you win a prize or buy something!)
    4) Make takeaways with a list and descriptions of your gear (like Punker and Wojo did)
    5) Don't bother too much with classical music, stick to catchier stuff
    6) Turntables can be a pain to travel with like this, but if you can swing it people dig it

    Elaborating on 1), dipole midrange doesn't really work in these smaller rooms - imaging and tonal balance suffer. I think that's partly why Magneplanar set their 1.7's up along the long wall, even though their room was much larger anyway, plus it probably boosted their bass a bit. Our hand was forced with the big Infinities since I was taking delivery of them at the Fest, but I can tell you that with more space at home, they sound noticeably better in every way. Direct-radiating speakers are really the way to go, at least for the midrange. Larger speakers in general don't work as well either, since the dispersion patterns tend to stabilize a bit farther back. And depending on the depth and quantity of bass, it might be easy to overwhelm the room.

    (that being said, I'm still glad people got to hear the ol' girls :yes:)


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  2. Cosmos

    Cosmos Speakerholic Subscriber

    Hosting a room is a little bit of a challenge and a whole lot of fun. The upside is you get to meet a fair amount of people. The downside is you are stuck in your room and only get to meet people as they come through. If they don't stop in your room, it is unlikely that you will get to meet them. Further, when your room is crowded, it is difficult to talk to or even meet anyone..

    IMO, you need interesting music, an interesting theme and the ability to convey that theme.
  3. RayW

    RayW Parrothead with a badge Staff Member Super Mod

    Shawnee Nat'l Forest of IL
    Something that I think helps in hosting a room is to greet everyone who comes in. Even if you're talking with someone it's easy to make eye contact and give a nod, a wave, or a quick "Hi". Let people know that you're not ignoring them.

    I also like to ask folks if they have their own music. If they do, I'll play it. Some of it makes my teeth itch but it's what they want to hear. If they don't then I ask for suggestions or just turn them loose on my collection.
  4. kmanusa

    kmanusa Well-Known Member

    Northern Virginia
    While I am sad that I cound not attend this year's Fest, I am happy that my (former) speakers could make the scene! There is plenty of life left in the "ol girls" and they are pretty good travellers, all things considered! But it is true, they are big room speakers and I am glad they are sounding better in your home Chris!
  5. Jailtime

    Jailtime Standin' on a corner Subscriber

    San Angelo TX
    I'm certainly glad that I heard them! One of my favorites at the Fest (even though I think I forgot to mention that in my "favorite gear" thread).

  6. djnagle

    djnagle Lunatic Member

    Albuquerque, New Mexico
    Good point about greeting people as they come in. About half of the rooms I went into, no one said a word to me. When I was manning the SMAC room, I said "Hi" to everyone.


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  7. Urizen

    Urizen Lunatic Member

    Same here. When they did that, I just turned around and walked out. One room had two reps and no one else in the room, save me. They ignored me, and I took a shower that morning. :)
  8. Andy_H

    Andy_H Behind the Wall of Sleep

    Rubber City Ohio
    Sorry, Ray! :D

    But in all seriousness, I thought the member listening rooms were my favorite part of the Fest - especially Ray's, Kegger & Cosmos', and dgwojo & PunkerX's. Many thanks to you guys for lugging all your gear out for us to hear it!
  9. Kegger

    Kegger R.I.P. 1/12/1966 - 6/1/2017 Super Mod

    My way of hosting and trying to be a part of the "scene" is stay open late so others
    may come by, mingle, listen to tunes, have a couple drinks and just hang out longer.
    (of'course that means the next day your not much good for anything, But next night) :)

    I met a ton of people after hours, had a great time with them, many I won't remember
    names as I may have had a couple extra drinks toward the end of the night, but I tried
    to be friendly to everyone and let them play whatever they wanted.

    I believe many had great time in our room, gave them a place to kick after show hours.

    (as mentioned, hosting with another member/bud helps share the load, also the fun) :)
  10. dgwojo

    dgwojo AK Subscriber Subscriber

    SouthEast Michigan
    Everyone has made some excellent points here, yes, it's quite an effort to lug all that gear in, it really helped teaming up with someone you can trust (PunkerX, Mike) with your gear and take turns enjoying the other rooms. Many vendors I spoke with said they wished they could have visited more rooms but just couldn't leave theirs without shutting down.

    I have to say, I really enjoyed the repeat visitors and I tried my best to greet as many as I could to make it a friendly environment. I really enjoyed the show, a special thanks to everyone that brought their own CD's to hear, we were getting kind of sick of hearing our so called "test tunes", OK, we never played Norah Jones, Dave. :D
  11. iGrant

    iGrant Grant Fidelity Forum Moderator

    Calgary, Alberta, Canada
    I made it to all of the members rooms, even though just for a few minutes, these sounded the best IMO, definitely the most fun to see and I'll have another post on it soon.

    One thing I did notice that many of the members had set up with gear blocking the front plane of the speakers which usually makes a mess of imaging and staging. If you draw an imaginary line across the front of the speakers, where this line intersects in the middle should be clear, with your gear behind it.

    Hotel rooms usually leave the pillows and bedding in the room, use it for frugalphile absorption is corners, under windows etc. Also the hotels will give you more chairs, pillows or tables just by asking. A favourite trick of mine is to put a chair in each corner behind the drapes to make frugaphile bass traps.

    Look forward to spending more time next year in the 'members' room. Great to meet everyone.

    Oh, please continue with 'too big' speakers for the rooms, they sounded great IMO and AKfest is the only show to see this type of gear in action.



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  12. cdfac

    cdfac AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Iowa City
    thanks for the posts so far. some very good advice in there! actually, i think ALL of it's excellent now that i'm reading it again :yes:

    Ian, it won't be me hosting big speakers again next year, but i'm with ya - hopefully somebody takes the leap! if i bring anything, it will be my itty-bitty Infinity WTLC's - i suspect they might just be a minor hit with their unique design and sound.
  13. hibuckhobby

    hibuckhobby AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Maple Grove, Minnesota
    I don't know if it's kosher to ask, but what, roughly, is the cost of hosting a room. I'm already looking a year or two down the road toward trying my hand at it. I loved the members rooms and a chance to chat with some of them.
  14. Markus111

    Markus111 Big Horns & Many Tubes Subscriber

    SE Michigan
    This is the first year in a while that I haven't hosted a room, and I have to say it was nice to be able to just visit other rooms. Given that, be sure to team up with someone so that you both have time to wander about. The other lessons I've learned:

    1.) Bring tools, extra tubes, extra cables, extra extra extra extra. I had one year where several of my cables decided to flake out at the same time.

    2.) Vinyl is great, but be sure to have a CD player on hand. Anyone who wants to seriously listen to your system will bring their own music.

    3.) I totally agree with greeting people when they come in. I always meet a lot of great people at the fest, and that's half the fun!

    4.) If you are bringing a DIY rig, aim to finish your stuff by Christmas. That way, you may have a chance of having it done by May :music: I've had 3 years now where I was still soldering / tuning the night before the Fest.

  15. budgophille

    budgophille Active Member

    Raleigh NC
    Bring extra amps!:D
  16. golana

    golana analog Subscriber

    Akron, Ohio
    Pretty Girls:banana:


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  17. similost

    similost Rockin and Rollin....

    West By God Virginnie
    Some great ideas to read and hear. I am hoping next year to get a listening room. I know my speaks will easily over power the smaller room, but that can be worked with, as many members did, but it's all the fun I saw everyone having listening to the members gear, and the diversity of the music people were bringing in that makes me want to host one..

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