There's no denying that traffic at the Alexis Park is down from last year. But in spite of this, high-end audio continues to evolve and impress. There were plenty of two-channel audio systems to go around, including vinyl front-ends, while multichannel and video made a modest showing. It's hard enough to get decent sound out of two speakers in a hotel demo room, let alone five or six.
The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) officially opened today, Tuesday, and the SACD press conference put together by Sony and Philips started the day. Sony's Shizuo Takashino opened the presentation by explaining the three-phase rollout for the high-resolution format. Phases one and two, represented by the release of high-end and multi-disc SACD players, are now complete he said, with phase three launching at the show. As Takashino said, "This year is the true beginning of the mass-marketing of SACD."
Quad's David Patching was all smiles as he showed off the company's new CD player, called simply the CD-P. No SACD or DVD-A, said Patching, who says they'll wait until either a ton of high-rez discs are sold (not just produced) or until the format war is over and a clear winner emerges.
The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) officially starts Thursday, but tradition has established Wednesday as the day several major consumer electronics manufacturers hold press events, hoping to get their messages across before the full-scale onslaught of dealers.
Back to the Alexis Park for a press conference with Classic Records, which has decided to release its first DVD-Audio disc around February 15. Classic was one of the very first labels to take advantage of the original DVD specification's ability to hold a 24/96 two-channel audio track, and it started releasing DAD discs exactly five years ago. The company's first DVD-A release will be the Vanguard title Songs of the Auvergne, which will feature a 24/192 two-channel DVD-A track and 24/96 two-channel DVD-V track.
The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) officially opened today and we spent our time at the Alexis Park noticing even more exhibitors than last year. On hand were plenty of new products, companies, and high-rez software demos. Multichannel demos were in heard in several rooms—all to good effect.
The format battle over what goes into your audio player's disc drawer could soon be rendered moot. Forget SACD and DVD-Audio: it's the format war taking place on your desktop that may determine the real future of audio. And, believe it or not, audiophiles might win, too.
The Primedia team has been staying at the San Tropez, home of T.H.E. (The High End) Show, which means some of us have been walking down halls filled with exhibitors frantically getting rooms put together before the throngs arrived. The night I arrived, one room in my building was making music that beckoned to me as I passed by—today, I finally entered and took over the sweet spot.
Every few years the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show turns cold and wet, and it looks like this will be one of those years. Still, audio is largely an indoor activity, and despite chilly, damp weather, ongoing format turmoil, and pressure from home theater, rooms at CES's high end audio venue, the Alexis Park hotel, are hopping as normal.
One of the themes of the 2005 CES, which we touched on in our first day's coverage, regarding Thiel's new version of its best-selling PowerPoint loudspeaker, is the increasing importance of the custom-install market to manufacturers best known for their two-channel products.
As an audiophile manufacturer, the odds are stacked against you getting a great sounding demo up and running under show conditions. The rooms are generally skimpy and oddly shaped, the construction materials and walls unpredictable, and there's the need to set up fast with only what you've thought to pack in.
I see her from across the pool. She's tall and beautiful and dressed all in white. She reminds me of someone else. She sees me looking at her. I ignore the temptation; change directions; walk away from her; go to another tall white sign; read another list of names.
After my first full day of weaving my way around the Consumer Electronics Show, I'm happy to be back in my hotel room, ready to open the laptop and type. I've got a tote bag (everyone has a tote bag) gorged fat with press releases, CDs, magazines, directories, scribbled notes, a fortune cookie. . .. What's going on here? Am I really the newest writer for Stereophile? And what's the deal with this fortune cookie?
It's the final day of the 2005 Consumer Electronics Show. I'm walking down the Alexis Park's long corridors, beneath its archways and palm trees, wondering where I'll end up next. The air is cool, but the sun is out and I'm feeling very much alive, energized by all the morning's music.