The curtains were still drawn in the evening before. Like actors, the representatives were rehearsing their lines and tweaking their final touches before their audience arrived. The organizers were gambling that the evolution of TAVES towards 'CES North' status would prove once again successful in attracting both the stalwart hard-core crowd and the exciting fresh blood of those looking upon all avenues of technology—including music reproduction systems—with a childlike sense of awe and wonder. Where some venues have faltered in recent years, the Toronto Exhibition has thrived, promoting traditional HighEnd in the context of modern technology and lifestyle. 2015 was a huge leap of faith for the people behind TAVES and one that was justly rewarded. TAVES 2016 represented an even more massive undertaking. Would bigger be even better? And more importantly for the organizers, the big question: "If you build it, will they come?" Friday morning would begin to answer that question. To kick off, a group of photos hints at what exhibitors go through during setup days.

Where does one begin to document an exhibition as big and diverse as TAVES 2016? I’m going to take it as a whirlwind tour, poke my head in everywhere, photograph anything that will stand still long enough, chase anyone and everything that does otherwise. Quick snippets and comments will abound, light on details, suspect in pricing (always check with your dealer and distributor for accurate numbers) and always with the attitude of a wide-eyed kid in a candy store. This is a show, a circus, a festival of sights and sounds to astonish the ear and eye. The curtains will come up. Look, listen and be amazed. And afterwards, walk home contented with visions of wonders, attainable and unattainable. This is TAVES. On with the show.

Friday morning brought the sunshine and a healthy volume of ticket holders to the front doors of the Sheraton. By 11 am, TAVES 2016 was already shaping up to be a success. The organizers' formula of lifestyle marriage encompassing arts and technology was bringing in the crowds.

Some familiar faces in the High End business were absent this year, but there were also some fresh ones to fill the ranks. Exhibitors had some surprises to offer, some choosing to scale down to better match their rooms, others scaling up to be numbered in the dream toy category. They also managed to achieve an extraordinarily high success rate in the sound quality available in their respective locations, despite the inherent acoustical handicap of “audio salons à la hotel room“. This year marks the first where there were no major sonic disappointments in store.

The key ingredient in revamping the direction of TAVES was making it more appealing across a broader demographic of age, sex and interest. Art, science and music in combination make for a diverse and powerful mix and High End needs fresh ears to be seduced and old minds to be awakened anew. And don't think that the these directions are divergent. They converged quite nicely indeed.