Tucked within the madness of the "Zoo," as the Las Vegas Convention Center is called by its inmates, Krell assembled a temple of high-end heavy metal. Jon Iverson, Stephen Mejias, and I steered Primedia's Greg Nevins over to the monoblock Evolution One 450W power amplifiers ($50,000/pair) and Evolution Two preamplifiers ($40,000/pair), assuming they were Krell's newest additions. Au contraire, Todd Eichenbaum assured us, Krell was introducing 10 (!) new models at the show—a new line called EVO, which replaces the CAST line with components containing trickle-down technology from the Evolution flagship products.
Orb's Curt Van Inwegen explains how his company's software allows you to access your music collection on your home PC from anywhere in the world. All that's required is a connected web browser or a connected device that plays audio and Orb's service. What this means is that instead of having to carry your collection of tunes on an iPod or as a batch of CDs, you store them all on your home music server and leave them there. If you are at a pal's house and want them to hear that tune you are describing, you can use your pal's computer to call it up and play it on his system. Seems like the obvious step beyond using an iPod to carry your collection around.
Shure's Christian Potts entertained Jon Iverson, Stephen Mejias, and me with his description of the company's high-end E4 ($299) ear buds, which utilize a two transducer system, but he really tantalized us with preliminary information about the E500 ($499), a three transducer in-ear monitor. I shamelessly begged for a demo pair, but Potts told me that John Atkinson had scheduled a session for tomorrow, so I probably won't get no satisfaction—but I'm (ahem) shure we'll enjoying reading about his adventures with them.
It was nice to see Audiolab products again—simple components with simple livery, not the stylish, but incomprehensible faceplates of the products manufactured after TAG Mclaren acquired the firm. Jon Iverson, Stephen Mejias, and I didn't get a chance to hear the new 8000Q preamplifier, 8000M 125W mono amplifier, 8000P 100Wpc stereo amplifier, 8000CD CD player, or 8000S 60Wps integrated amplifier ("all priced under $1000, we hope"), but we wanna. They ship in March. We can't wait.
Walking through the Las Vegas Convention Center, Jon Iverson, Stephen Mejias, and I were stopped in our tracks by a set of sleek, colorful, sexy loudspeakers, Jamo's new dipole Reference R909s ($14,999/pair). I was struck by how nicely Jamo has covered the backs of the speakers with a handsome grille-cloth shroud, only to have Chris Otte tell me that "of course, very few customers will want to cover them up." I'm not so sure—I suspect most folks can do without the sight of the two woofers' nether regions.
As a reader pointed out, missing from Wes Phillips' coverage of Wednesday's Thiel CS3.7 press conference was a picture of the new speaker. Here it is, pictured with Jim Thiel waxing lyrical about his new midrange diaphragm.
The CES's "Innovations" exhibit at the Sands Convention Center is intended to honor the most technologically advanced and ground-breaking consumer electronic products at the Show. Most of the display cases were still waiting to be populated on set-up day (though we spotted B&W's cute cylindrical subwoofer as well as Krell's Dean Roumanis wheeling in some big boxes). But some of the choices for an award raised our eyebrows, as with this robot intended to train boxers in the comfort of their own homes. Stereophile's Stephen Mejias strikes a suitably pugilistic pose.
Jonathan Tinn of Blue Light Audio came to the show equipped with his collection of classical composer action figures. Mozart is on his shoulder with Beethoven in the other hand. Wagner is still in the package. Collect them all.
Wes Phillips listens to the Usher CP 8571 ($7700/pair), a new speaker with a Beryllium tweeter, which sounded refined and dynamic through Usher's own line of electronics: CD1 ($800) CD player, P307 preamp ($2400), and R1.5 power amp ($2500), which puts out 150Wpc in class-A.