Vandersteen’s Latest Model 5A Carbon
When he visited the Vandersteen room at CES
, Graham Nash said that what he really liked “was the midrange of that speaker system, that sounded like my voice. There was plenty of natural detail." Graham was listening to the new version of Vandersteen Audio’s Model 5A speaker, the 5A Carbon, which features the midrange unit from the Mk.II version of Vandersteen Model 7 speaker.
YG Acoustics’ 15th Anniversary Speaker
In its main room, YG was making great-sounding music with its Sonja 1.3 speakers ($106,800/pair), driven by a Boulder music server and amplification via Kubala-Sosna cables. I had loved the Sonja 1.3 when I reviewed it for our July 2013 issue
, but the big news at CES was the Sonja XV, one channel of which was on passive display in a side room. A four-tower system, with the midrange and tweeter tower resembling a '1.3 on steroids and intended to celebrate the Colorado company’s forthcoming 15th anniversary, the 'XV will be priced at a whopping $265,900/system.
The Longest WTA Ever
Graham Nash auditioned the new gibbon X speakers in the DeVore Fidelity room
, which featured an LP player with the longest Well-Tempered Tonearm
made, at 18". It was great to see veteran designer William Firebaugh
at the 2016 show, 30 years after his unique tonearm made its debut at CES, and still actively involved in high-end audio.
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.