November Hi-Fi Show is another smash

Rick Olivares

Posted at Dec 05 2017 06:49 PM

Music fans search for records at the November Hi-Fi Show. Photo provided by author

MANILA -- Another year, another weekend for audio enthusiasts all over the Philippines to converge and enjoy their passion for music.

The annual November Hi-Fi Show held last weekend saw local and foreign audio equipment manufacturers and music enthusiasts descend at the Dusit Thani Hotel to check out the latest audio entertainment system as well to feast on the vinyl records on sale.

“Fifteen years and we’re growing,” said organizer and founder Tonyboy De Leon. “This is the first year where we have this audio manufacturer from Hong Kong who I have been inviting for quite a while now. We have manufacturers from Australia, France, Japan, and the USA to represent their brands. So you can say that we have had a regional impact.”

This year’s show saw manufacturers occupy 57 rooms of the Dusit Thani Hotel with 57 different set-ups including one large room for vinyl record sellers.

“It is my advocacy to promote local audio system builders as well as vinyl fans,” pointed out De Leon whose love affair with music started out as a youngster spinning records with famed mobile group Social Distortion. 

November Hi-Fi Show organizer and founder Tonyboy De Leon. Photo provided by author

What was supposed to be a one-off event is now on its 15th year. That’s how good and beneficial the Hi-Fi Show has been for local audiophiles. 

“In most major cities, they have events like this,” De Leon pointed out. “I figured, ‘Why don’t we host one locally?’ Now I was in touch with many of the distributors of audio equipment because of an online forum that I moderated. The first one started out as a record swap until a dealer asked me, ‘Can we display our product?’ What happened was I rented an apartment and placed the dealers and record sellers there. It was so packed with people you couldn’t even walk the corridors.”

Incidentally, the first Hi-Fi Show was organized at the time when the compact discs were still the medium of choice with file-sharing sites such as Napster changing the way people listened and got their music forever. 

“At that time, the enthusiasm for vinyl was returning,” relayed De Leon. “What we had was a mature market, old-time fans of the medium, unlike now where you have a lot of younger people into records. And now, well it’s great, isn’t it?”

Audio equipment set up in hotel rooms. Photo provided by author

The response to the first Hi-Fi Show was phenomenal. And for the past weekend, the entire show comprised 57 rooms with 57 different set-ups.

Said Jay Amante of The Grey Market, which sells newly pressed as well as Japanese pressings of popular records: “The November Hi-Fi Show is always a great opportunity to connect with music fans. I always look forward to it as well as the glorious, glorious records.”

Chimed in independent vinyl seller Elwyn Zalamea: “There were more people last year. Sunday was a bit slow by Hi-Fi standards. New Vintage Culture’s gross was 12% short of last year but we still did okay. And the experience of chatting with fellow music lovers non-stop for two days is a reward in itself.”

“The reward for me as an organizer,” summed up De Leon, “it’s that the music and audio scene is alive and well. It’s good to be a part of all this.”