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.
Continuing our mission to find some good-sounding, small loudspeakers, we wandered on over to the Margules Audio room, where I spotted some cute, little guys hanging out in the corner. Unfortunately, they weren't hooked up to anything that actually plays music. Only the larger speakers were prepared to rock, and after my time with the Piazettas, I really wasn't interested.
I've always said that cables might be the most important component in a system—after all, without 'em, you don't get much sound out of the whole schmear. Avega Systems is doing its best to make a liar out of me with its Oyster wireless loudspeaker.
You know that stuff I said about how pointless the pre-show press conferences are? Well, not always—not, for example, when Jim Thiel has been busy. At last year's CES, Thiel practically levitated when he began describing the challenges of re-designing his CS3.6 floorstander, which has been in production since 1992. He described what he'd keep in the CS3.7 (first-order crossover; three-way design; short-coil/long gap motor design; coincident tweeter and midrange, time coherence;and aluminum diaphragms) and then he began waxing rhapsodic about how completely open that left his imagination.
If one component is omnipresent this year, it's the iPod. You may find this hard to believe, but there are actually companies making iPod accessories these days—actually, it's hard to find companies that aren't.
To be honest, I didn't give it much of a chance. I mean, especially after Jim Thiel's captivating presentation on the new CS3.7, the Philips press conference seemed like so much noise and swirling lights and fake boobs.
As more than 100,000 visitors fly in to Las Vegas for the 2006 Consumer Electronics Show, I thought I'd post this shot of an empty Alexis Park Hotel, home of the high-end audio exhibits, on the last day of the 2005 Show. Tomorrow, this joint will be jumping!
The Stereophile editors are getting ready for CES 2006 and will be reporting live from the show starting Wednesday, January 4. Join John Atkinson, Wes Phillips, Larry Greenhill, Robert Deutsch, Stephen Mejias, and Jon Iverson as they file their reports and photos.