Signals-SuperFi introduced Peak Consult's new floorstanding three-way The Zoltan ("as in Kodaly") ($36,699.99/pair). The Zoltan boasts Peak Consult's usual glorious woodwork and uses a 1.5" Scanspeak cloth dome tweeter, 4" AudioTech midrange driver, and two 7" AudioTech woofers. Fronted by The Continuum Audio Labs Caliburn Turntable ($89,999.99), Boulder 2008 phono preamp ($30,000), Boulder 2010 preamp ($30,000), and Wavac HE 883 v1.3 monoblocks, strung together with Stereovox's SEI-600II and LSP-600c cables, the system pretty much blew me away. This is vinyl? Dean Can Dance was dynamic and vivid, with tons and tons of depth. No wonder Mikey Fremer raved about the Caliburn. The Zoltans cry out for further listening.
Zu's Adam Decari shows us how the computer generation helms a CES demo room. In addition to the DJ turntables and laptop, note the Apple G5 computer at the back used as the only disc player for the main system.
Also stunning were Furutech's impeccably machined, silver over rhodium AC plugs, which incorporate solid brass ground jumpers. What does that do? "You have to hear it to believe it," said Furutech's PR guy, Jonathan Scull. Okay, we're willing to go that far.
You may not know the name Furutech, but you've almost certainly heard some of its products—the Japanese manufacturer's high-purity copper has been used in many well known audiophile cables and components. Now Furutech is offering cables, connectors, AC accessories, and other products under its own name.
In our forthcoming February issue, I review the 5.2 loudspeaker from Genesis Technologies. Like many Arnie Nudell designs, the 5.2 demands a lot of current from the partnering amplifier. (See, for example, my 1989 measurements of Arnie's classic IRS Beta design.) I was impressed, therefore, to hear the 5.2s being driven to great effect on a track from singer Jacintha by Genesis' new i60 60Wpc integrated tube amplifier. Made in China, with design input from veteran amplifier maven Bascom King, the i60 uses KT88s and will cost $3495. Rather than show the normal frontal shot of the amp, I photographed the hard-wired circuit, which impressed the heck out of me with its superb craftsmanship.
A product that impressed me last year was OliveMedia Products' Symphony music server. The size and appearance of a conventional CD player, the Symphony incorporates an 80GB hard drive and a WiFi hub so that it can act as a music-file server, all for just $899. I wrote my positive impressions of the Symphony with its digital output driving my high-end rig in our mid-November eNewsletter, so I checked out Olive at CES. The company was demonstrating the new Opus, which increases the HD size to 400GB and uses a high-end D/A section. The Opus will be available mid-February for $2999.
Walking through the Las Vegas Convention Center, Jon Iverson, Stephen Mejias, and I were stopped in our tracks by a set of sleek, colorful, sexy loudspeakers, Jamo's new dipole Reference R909s ($14,999/pair). I was struck by how nicely Jamo has covered the backs of the speakers with a handsome grille-cloth shroud, only to have Chris Otte tell me that "of course, very few customers will want to cover them up." I'm not so sure—I suspect most folks can do without the sight of the two woofers' nether regions.
It was nice to see Audiolab products again—simple components with simple livery, not the stylish, but incomprehensible faceplates of the products manufactured after TAG Mclaren acquired the firm. Jon Iverson, Stephen Mejias, and I didn't get a chance to hear the new 8000Q preamplifier, 8000M 125W mono amplifier, 8000P 100Wpc stereo amplifier, 8000CD CD player, or 8000S 60Wps integrated amplifier ("all priced under $1000, we hope"), but we wanna. They ship in March. We can't wait.
Shure's Christian Potts entertained Jon Iverson, Stephen Mejias, and me with his description of the company's high-end E4 ($299) ear buds, which utilize a two transducer system, but he really tantalized us with preliminary information about the E500 ($499), a three transducer in-ear monitor. I shamelessly begged for a demo pair, but Potts told me that John Atkinson had scheduled a session for tomorrow, so I probably won't get no satisfaction—but I'm (ahem) shure we'll enjoying reading about his adventures with them.