The world's most sophisticated audio show "Top Audio Video" in Milan, Italy is a sonic delight.  See all 31 videos and read the report below.  

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The World’s Most Sophisticated Audio Show- Top Audio Video

If you’ve been to Italy, you know.  If you’ve been to Milan, you know even better.  Located in northern Italy, less then 100 miles from Switzerland, Milan is Italy’s cultural and business center.  It’s the home of La Scala, the leading opera and ballet theater of the world... and of the monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie where Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper graces a full wall.

Music, art and fashion are the cornerstones of Italian life.  Food is not to be consumed, it is to be admired, savored and deeply appreciated.  And so it is with audio.  It’s not a means to an end; it’s a visual and cultural experience that brings the music into the home.  

The Top Audio Video show in Milan, is the number one event to experience the sensual cornucopia of the highest of the audio and music arts.  The show is the second largest AV show in Europe.  It attracts over 20,000 attendees and exhibitors from across the globe.  It is located in the ATA Quark exhibition hotel, within walking distance of a short trolley ride to downtown Milan.

The hotel is ideal for audio, with multiple convention levels connected by a large central spiral staircase.  Two sets of elevator banks complement the show area insuring ease of traverse between the show’s five primary exhibit floors.  Top Audio Video utilizes all of the hotel’s 20,000 square feet of convention space, and then adds two floors of guest rooms for smaller exhibits.  Its well planned layout has attendees entering the show from a “convention only” entrance set away from the main lobby.

The show is organized by the APAF (Association for the Promotion of high fidelity), a well run high fidelity specialist trade group, based in Italy.  The show took roots at the SIM HiFi show in 1987, and went specialist audio only in 1988, under the name Top Audio.  The show begins each September on a Thursday morning, and runs daily, 9:30am to 7pm, closing Sunday at 6pm.  The organizers let the public enter in small groups, so as to not overrun badge pickup and registration.  It’s a well oiled machine, with visitors entering a huge software marketplace, complete with stalls of music book dealers along side countless LP and disc sellers.  That’s right, book sellers... books on opera, conductors and composers.  Remember, it’s Italy.

Following the marketplace, visitors are directed down a flight of stairs to a large exhibit hall.  Here, multitudes of large and small exhibitors hawk goods and services ranging from exotic tube amps, to interior design firms, to furniture companies showing listening chairs and sofas from brands such as Stressless, one of the most comfortable listening chairs money can buy.  Several video display companies dot the landscape, so you can order up a fully designed AV room before even entering the main show complex.  

You exit the hall up a short flight of stairs into the main hotel lobby, the heart of the exhibit area and spiral staircase.  From here you can go up or down and see hundreds of exhibits from firms such as McIntosh, Onkyo, Denon, Focal, TAD, and Pro-ject.  On the ground level there’s a section of large exhibit rooms, where numerous dealers and distributors showcase the worlds best audio products... companies like Wilson Audio, Audio Research and Sonus Faber. The upper guest room floors are home to the cutting edge companies, such as Audio Note, Pathos, Lector and BMC Audio.  It’s a well thought out and fabulous layout.  Hats off to the APAF of Milan!

Show attendees are dressed in pressed pants and laundered shirts.  I saw only two or three T-shirts, one of them in a mirror!  There were lots of women attendees, dressed to the nines, and many were unescorted.  Everyone was polite; and if someone brushed against you, even slightly, you heard an immediate "mi scusi" (excuse me), and receive a soft smile.  

The sound was excellent overall; I heard the best sound of any show at one of the Audio Natali rooms, Italy’s premier audio distribution company.

Ciao from Milan,
Peter Breuninger

The Top Audio Video Show from Milan, Italy.

See the report from Peter Breuninger below.

It's Peter in Italy!