This is Rosemarie Torcivia. I just met her today. She works for Source Interlink Media, the parent company of Stereophile and Home Theater magazines. She gets to spend her days at CES in the Stereophile and Home Theater suite answering questions and being a knowledgeable and friendly face for the dealers, manufactures and readers who pop in to say hello. She was thrilled when I took her picture and told her she was going to be in the official Stereophile CES blog. I was thrilled when Rosemarie helped Jon Iverson and I get lunch today. I like Rosemarie and I bet you would too.
God, how I love mbl's demos. Their rooms at RMAF have been major highpoints of the last two shows for me, and their exhibit at CES 2010 is just as fine. There was an incredible warmth and inner glow to the midrange, a tremendous presence and clarity to the sound of cymbals, just the right weight to an electric bass, and a wonderful transparency throughout the range that made me want to stay forever.
B&W's openng day press conference at the LVCC revealed an entirely new line of Diamond Series loudspeakers in a new piano-black finish. This new vintage comes from the line of monitors that included the Diamond Silver Signature ,an $18,000/pair high-end two-way that had been produced in a limited run of 1000 pairs. The smallest member of this speaker line is a two-way, stand-mounted monitor called the B&W 805 Series Diamond, a strong value at $5000/pair. The stands are extra, but are now available in black.
On the first day of the Show, B&W announced the sixth generation of their flagship, full-range, three-way floorstanding 800 loudspeaker. The new 800 costs $24,000/pair and includes a transmission line-loaded, diamond-dome tweeter with a quad-magnet motor to increase sensitivity and dynamic range. Other features include a dual-magnet motor for the woofers, B&W's proprietary Kevlar FST midrange driver, a matrix enclosure and a crossover that includes silver, gold and oil construction Mundorf capacitors.
Naim Audio's all-in-one NaimUniti (Art Dudley's review will be in the March issue) has officially spawned a little cutie, er, qute. Dubbed the UnitiQute, the new product includes most of the features of the Uniti, with a more modestly powered amp at 30W per channel into 8 ohms.
When I entered the Nordost room, Roy Gregory and Lars Kristensen of Nordost were in the midst of preparing a demo of their Foundation Theory. Although the literature on the theory, which should be available on Nordost's website, consumes five small-print pages, the basic theory boils down to this: consistency in your brand of cabling, whatever the brand may be, produces greater rewards than mixing different lines of cabling.
I timed my arrival in Las Vegas for early afternoon on Wednesday, the day before the Consumer Electronics Show opened, so I'd have enough time to get from Stereophile staff's little of island of sanity in the smoke-free, gambling-free Hyatt Place Las Vegas to press registration at the mammoth Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC). The traffic was considerably lighter than during the show, the lines for registration much shorter than I would have encountered on opening day.
Boulder has updated their 1021 disc player, reviewed by John Atkinson last July, adding an ethernet jack on the back and an iPhone app to control multiple streams of content such as a NAS drive on the network or media server. Boulder's Rich Maez says the new player is currently in the debugging stage and should be available near the end of January for $24,000.
I love wandering the halls and coming across a fully formed company that had up until now snuck under the radar in the US. Bladelius is such a brand, enjoying success all around the world and presently making a push into North America. President George Ioakimedes, who resides in the US, is at the show to sign up dealers and spread the word about the Swedish company.
CES also sees the announcement of the new control app. Though Sooloos currently has a browser-based controller for the iPhone and Touch, the new software is a true iTunes downloadable free app that adds piles of new features and, if the demo I saw is any indication, runs way faster.
Here's Ayre's Steve Silberman holding the new DX-5 universal player that can handle not only SACD, CD and DVD-Audio, but also DVD and Blu-ray discs. Think of it as an Oppo BDP-83 on super steroids. In fact the company starts with an Oppo drive and MPEG processor and throws everything else out, adding in a new power supply and all the important digital bits. Wrapped up in a beautifully machined package and retailing somewhere around $10,000, pre-orders begin next week, and deliveries should happen sometime in the first half of February.