Manley’s High-End Headphone Amplifier
“Bruno Putzeys designed a switch-mode power supply for our new headphone amplifier,” enthused EveAnna Manley, when I bumped into her in one of the Venetian’s corridors. The tubed amp, which doubles as a line preamplifier, costs $2950 and is drop-dead gorgeous in Champagne & White, Titanium & Bronze, or Copper & Black finishes.
Metronome’s New Music Center
In our March 2016 issue, Art Dudley loved the sound of Metronome’s CD8 S CD player, which has USB and serial digital inputs, though I found some issues on the test bench. At CES, the French company was showing this elegant server, the Music Center 1 (price tba), which plays CDs, music from a USB stick, a NAS drive, or from its internal RAID3 array (16TB available).
Graham Nash Finishes Up With Crystal Cable/Siltech and then Vandersteen Audio in the Venetian
The day was getting long at this point and we'd already listened to a couple hour's worth of music, but we wanted a little variety from the floor-standing speakers we had heard to far. So we popped into the Crystal Cable/Siltech room to hear This Path Tonight on a dimensionally smaller system.
Graham Nash Visits DeVore Fidelity in the Venetian
We had spent the morning and early afternoon listening to systems in the big suites, and now it was time to downscale the room size and budget just a bit. I promised Graham Nash that we would try to mix up the types of products he heard, so we headed down to Devore Fidelity on the 30th floor of the Venetian.
ELAC DS-S101 Discovery Music Server
For some reason I liked this product the moment I saw it. And at $1,099, including a lifetime full Roon license (for $1,000 you get a lifetime limited Roon license), it became even more interesting once I started digging into the features. Essentially, you can run Roon on your tablet and use the DS-S101 as your endpoint without the need for a computer.
MSB Select DAC
CES being quite hectic and hotel rooms being what they are, I try not to do too much listening on the 29th and 30th floors of the Venetian (there are exceptions and the upper suites are a different story, sound-wise). But Vincent Galbo in the MSB room on floor 29 politely insisted I listen to the new Select DAC on the YG speakers they had set up, driven by MSB amps. He played a CD and it was some of the best sound I've ever heard at a show!
Micromega M-One All-In-One Streamer/Amp
One of my favorite new digital products, from an industrial design point of view, is the new all-in-one system from French company Micromega, designed by Daniel Schar. Assuming you have a nice flat place to put it (flat or on a wall), you can request a custom finish or go with standard black or bright orange as shown in the photo.
Audio Alchemy DMP-1 Music Player/DDP-1 Digital Decoding Preamp
Audio Alchemy was relaunched again in 2015 with a stellar lineup of designers including Keith Allsop, Peter Madnick and Dusty Vawter. And it appears no expense was spared showing their product line up at CES. Occupying one of the larger suites, with co-exhibitor TAD, at the top of the Venetian only served to emphasize how compact the products are.
Chord DAVE DAC
I've recently had a great run with Chord products in my system including the Hugo TT DAC and now the small-sized Mojo (mobile joy) headphone DAC. On the opposite end of the spectrum from the Mojo is DAVE which the company says is the most advanced DAC they've made so far.
Aurender A10 Network Server DAC
The new Aurender A10 should be arriving this summer for approximately $5,000 and should cover just about all of your digital file playback and streaming needs. Inside will be a 2TB drive for storage and 120GB SSD cache to improve playback quality, with Tidal native as well.
On the back are both balanced and unbalanced analog outputs and USB, Ethernet and optical digital inputs. Formats handled include PCM up to 32/384 and DSD128.