ELAC America introduced a new 100Wpc, class-A/B integrated amplifier with a switching power supply, the "Debut Series DA101EQ" ($499), which looked so Walter Gropius' Bauhaus: Moderne. I was deeply impressed by its industrial design quotient. Hidden inside its elegant 2.1-channel skin, the ELAC integrated includes an "Auto Blend" control feature that measures the nearfield response of your main speakers and subwoofer and then corrects phrase and adjusts crossover frequency to suit the listener's room.
GoldenEar was showing two new models at CES: the Triton 3+ ($2500/pair) and the larger Triton 2+ ($3500/pair). Both new GoldenEar loudspeakers have powered low-frequency drivers. The Triton 2+ and 3+ models both have new bass-mid drivers, new balanced crossovers, new bass tuning, and "new Triton 1 voicing!" Both models could move and handle like European race cars.
I talked with Bill Johnson for about 30-minutes, but it was enough to know I was completely enamored with the new Conrad Johnson CA150 integrated amp ($5000, or $7000 for the "ST" version with better parts) and the so-right sounding TEA 2 Triode Equalization Amplifier (aka RIAA phono stage) which costs $3300 stock, or $4500 with Teflon caps.
Conrad Johnson's TEA 2 phono stage was being fed by one of my favorite moderately priced record spinners: the Acoustic Signature WOW XL ($2395) with its own TA-1000 tonearm ($1995) and an Ortofon 2M Black moving-magnet cartridge ($755). The CA150 integrated amp was driving the 2-way, stand-mounted Penaudio Cenya Signature loudspeakers ($4000/pair)the presentation had this fast forward-moving grainlessness that I found quite beguiling.
Graham Nash seemed to know right away that these were the guys that provided the guts for his buddy Neil Young's Pono player and wanted to know all about it. After all, there is a version with Nash's signature on it.
I'm grouping these two rooms together since we didn't listen to Graham Nash's album in either one, but rather had each host pick something out. We were getting behind schedule, so the idea was to expose Nash to some completely different speaker technologies back to back and see what he thought.
Bang & Olufsen celebrated its 90 years of existence by releasing a $75,000/pair loudspeaker that had been 12 years in design. Geoff Martin, Bang and Olufsen's Tonmeister and Technology Specialist in Sound Design, played an instrumental role in bringing the Beolab 90 from its origin as a blue-sky project...
I made my way from the main 2016 High-End audio exhibits at the Venetian Hotel over to the Harman exhibit at the Hard Rock Café. I was immediately captivated by a JBL Everest horn-loaded floorstanding speaker, its enclosure finished in an almost neon lipstick red, and its front baffle in brilliant silver.