CES 2006

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Stephen Mejias Posted: Jan 07, 2006 2 comments
Parting the colorful wooden beads makes a sound like brushes against snare. I'm enveloped in soft green glow and the sweetest scents of liquor and jazz. I stand in the corner, trying to figure it all out. Two of the tallest speakers I've ever seen — vintage Acoustat 2+2s — climb all the way up to the ceiling. There's a glowing palm tree dancing between them. Along the walls are concert posters and all sorts of album art. To my right is a mirrored alcove, a bar area, holding many varieties of absinthe and other liquors I've never seen. The room is filled with smiles and everyone seems very comfortable, intoxicated. The space isn't set up for optimal listening. There are no rows of neatly arranged metal conference chairs. Instead there are couches and armchairs. In one, sits a man with his daughter in his lap. He taps his hand to the jazz, while the young girl nods her head in time to the snare hits. Together, they move from one seat to the next, and the girl immediately reacts to the difference in sound. The father — I learn his name is Marty — explains to his daughter, Briana, that they have just moved into a better listening position. "It sounds so different," she says.
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Wes Phillips/Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 07, 2006 0 comments
Balanced Audio Technology's Geoffrey Poor proudly showed off BAT's new Solid-state preamp, the VK42SE ($5995). Those ominous looking black cans are brand new state-of-the-art oil-filled capacitors, which will sport a different livery in the production model, by the way. The 42SE features BAT's power supply bypass, dual mono, zero feedback circuitry and it sounds "more tubelike than some of our tubed designs," Poor proclaimed. "It's like a VK42 on steroids! It has more air, more liquidity, and more testicular fortitude. I don't know why we don't have it in the system."
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Larry Greenhill Posted: Jan 07, 2006 1 comments
If anyone was even in danger of presuming vinyl was passé at CES, all they had to do was come within earshot of the energetic DJ manning dual Stanton turntables at Intel's Las Vegas Convention Center booth. The DJ, Vince Pistricola, aka DJ Shortround, emerged from the Detroit music scene as a DJ and magazine publisher covering the latest in hip-hop with his Detroit Equipment Quarterly. As I took some time out to listen, DJ Shortround blasted through the din from thousands of rushing conventiongoers with a steady diet of techno. Although you'd think DJ Shortround's frantic scratching would wear out 10 phono cartridges an hour, he says that he has a "light" touch. And no he doesn’t have green skin—that was the effect of the lights!
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Wes Phillips/Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 07, 2006 3 comments
We heard the HE-333 v1.3 monoblocks ($69,000/pair) in the Signals-SuperFi room, but we don't know a lot about 'em, other than the price, the fact that the new guy outputs 150W rather than 100W, and that they are drop-dead gorgeous. Us guys are so easy—sometimes all it takes to get our interest is a flash of stocking.
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Stephen Mejias Posted: Jan 07, 2006 4 comments
Anton, of NFS Audio, was recommending a few rooms to me. "Have you heard the DeVore stuff?" he asked.
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Wes Phillips/Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 07, 2006 6 comments
John Atkinson was speechless. Not merely speechless, but incoherent as well as inarticulate.
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Wes Phillips/Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 07, 2006 15 comments
Anthony Gallo's new Reference 3.1 loudspeaker ($2995/pair) proved that it's better to set up a room properly than it is to try to beat it into submission with expensive components. Not to take anything away from Gallo's Ref 3.1, which sounded fantastic, but his demo proved that God truly is in the details, sounding bigger, realer, richer, and more dynamic than most of the googolbuck systems we heard today. In fact, one importer, who shall remain nameless, confessed that he had a pair in his living room rather than the costly lines he brings into the country.
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Robert Deutsch Posted: Jan 06, 2006 2 comments
Gingko Audio is a manufacturer I'm familiar with as a maker of component supports, but they also make a loudspeaker: the unusually named and unusual-looking Tubulous ($2450/pair). The enclosure consists of a pressed-paper tube, and there are three midrange/woofers inside, with a tweeter mounted on top. Very clean, transparent sound.
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Wes Phillips/Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 06, 2006 3 comments
Dynaudio has rethunk its midlevel Focus line, wrapping the cabinets in real veneers rather than the woodgrained vinyl of the original series. They sure is purty.
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Larry Greenhill Posted: Jan 06, 2006 0 comments
Day Sequerra presented its newest FM/AM/HD Radio tuner, the Model M1 HD Broadcast Reference tuner in the Alexis Park. The basic chassis includes the option to receive High Definition (HD) FM digital radio and HD/AM radio in a modular package ($4995) with single-ended analog, balanced analog, and digital outputs. "We have begun to refer to this model as 'tuners," said David Day, seen in the photo with his new baby, "because it can be configured to accommodate 10 different audio and video receive modules, including: FM HD, a class-M output option that features current-feedback amplifiers), cable TV, an ultra high-end FM Reference Module front-end option, or HD TV." Two common options will be the M1 configured with a 2.75" oscilloscope ($6995), or the price-not-determined "Panalyzer" option, which provides a 5–500MHz spectrum display.
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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 06, 2006 3 comments
RR's Keith O. Johnson and Jan Mancuso celebrate 30 years of great sound with a handful of recent releases.
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Wes Phillips/Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 06, 2006 3 comments
The Krell EVO 505 SACD/CD player ($10,000), features matched 24-bit /192 kHz DACs and separate power supplies for the drive mechanism, digital, and analog circuitry as well as CAST and Current Mode. The EVO 525 ($13,500) adds a dual-channel video format converter, so it can output 480i, 480p, 576i, 576p, 720p, 1080i, and 1080p via HDMI. There were also two multichannel preamp processors introduced, but I'll leave those to Kal Rubinson to report.
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Robert Deutsch Posted: Jan 06, 2006 4 comments
Prima Luna, Dutch maker of affordable tube electronics, had two new monoblock amplifiers: the EL34-equipped Model 6 and the KT88'd Model 7. What's particularly interesting is that the Model 7 can also be used with EL34s, so the indecisive audiophile can get a Model 7 with an extra set of EL34s, and, voilà! For the tube cost of $160 you effectively have a different amplifier.
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Larry Greenhill Posted: Jan 06, 2006 2 comments
Soundsmith introduced a strain-gauge cartridge system in the Joseph Audio room at the Alexis Villas. The output of the dedicated battery-powered preamplifier can be fed to a preamp's line input as it does not require any equalization.

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