The Hi-Res Power Panel
Closing three days of Hi-Res presentations at CES 2015 were (from leftright) Maureen Droney, Senior Executive Director of The Recording Academy's Producers and Engineers Wing and a recording engineer who has worked with Santana and John Hiatt; Marc Finer, whose Digital Entertainment Group (DEG) consults with Sony and other entities as he attempts to align messaging on the hi-res front; and Robert Heiblim, Vice Chair of the Consumer Electronics Association's (CEA) Audio Division.
Classé Goes Declassé?
"The High End needs products that can demonstrate to customers why they should spend more money for the high-end," Dave Nauber, President of Classé, told me. "Thus we've introduced the Sigma Series, a new range of products with prices half those of our other products."
New Amps from Rotel
Rotel previewed three new "best ever" models at CES. Although the passive display allowed for little more than photo and note taking, I learned that the brand new RC-1590 DAC/preamplifier ($1749), which ships in March, promises to be "the best stereo preamplifier Rotel has ever made."
Bowers & Wilkins Has Fun with Bluetooth
In this case, it's the Bowers & Wilkins T-7 battery-operated Bluetooth loudspeaker ($349). Shipping now, this baby holds a charge for 18 hours, and takes four hours to fully recharge. The T-7 can pair with up to eight devices, has two 3" full-range drivers and one passive radiator. "It's just a lot of fun," says regional sales director Marc Schnoll.
Siltech and Crystal Cable: Big and Small
Siltech has just released its Siltech Triple Crown interconnects (est. price in Europe, US prices still be determined, 20,000/1m pair) and speaker cables (est. price 35,000/2m pair). Touted as "cable royalty... sets new benchmark for interconnect and speaker cable performance," these major lookers utilize the company's newest mono-crystal technology. According to Lennart Thissen, who designed the cable's unique mechanical parts, they have "the lowest capacitance of any cable we know."
Mizik Preamp/DAC/Streamer/Server/ADC System
Here is a tentative newcomer to the US from Madrid, Spain and parent company Wadax, and I'm hedging because the potential distributor said they were showing these to "probe the market" for a possible mid-2015 launch. The Mizik system comprises three modules, at $3,500 each, that stack either vertically or horizontally to form a complete system. The styling is obviously unique and the displays auto-rotate depending on which direction you stack them.
Boulder 2120 DAC/Streamer
The first thing you notice is the ginourmous display on the front, which you're tempted to tap like an iPad. But it's just a display and apparently very popular in some overseas (read Japan) markets. There are buttons on both sides of the screen however, so you can operate the 2120 with those or with an iPad. (Though it may be hard to tell from this photo, this is a large product, and that display is larger than an iPad mini.)
The 2120 is a UPnP streamer and should be available in a couple months for around $55-60k. It will support up to 32/384 PCM and DSD and there is a complete set of inputs on the back. Under the main box in the photo is the power supply.
Cary Audio DAC 200ts
Both DSD 64/128/256 and PCM up to 32/384 are covered in the new DAC 200ts as well as aptX Bluetooth. There are five digital inputs on the back and both balanced and unbalanced analog outs. But what I found intriguing was a switch on the front that lets the listener choose between tube and solid state output stages.
The DAC 200ts should be available in February for $3,995.
Cary Audio TL-300d Preamp/DAC/Streamer
The Cary spokesperson suggested I think of the TL300d as a standard tube preamp with a digital section added. There are four analog inputs and five digital inputs including aptX Bluetooth capability and streaming on the USB input. Like Cary Audio's new DAC 200ts, there is DSD 64/128/256 and PCM up to 32/384 and the company's Trubit Upsampling, allowing you to choose between seven upsamping rates.
Due sometime in April for around $8-9k.
Cary Audio DMC 600se CD Player/DAC
If you still have a pile of CDs but want to move firmly towards the modern age, this may be the Cary Audio product for you. In addition to the disc spinner, the DMC 600se can stream via USB or aptX Bluetooth and you can also connect other digital sources via the various inputs on the back.
Like the DAC 200ts, there is DSD 64/128/256 and PCM up to 32/384 and the company's Trubit Upsampling, allowing you to choose between seven upsamping rates as well as a switch on the front panel for choosing between the tube or solo state output stages on the se version for $7,995. There is also a non-se version of the DMC 600 that omits the tube switching feature for $5,995. Both available now.