CES 2008

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John Atkinson Posted: Jan 13, 2008 2 comments
I'd gone into the DCM room at the end of the day to hear the speaker manufacturer's new Time Frame TFE200 three-way tower, which can be seen at the left of the photo. Using two 6.5" woofers and a midrange mounted above the tweeter, the TFE200 offers a lot of speaker engineering for just $1000/pair. But following my audition of the speakers, driven by Jolida CD player and tube monoblocks, connected with Esoteric USA cables, we were treated to a concert by singer-songwriter Herman Hogan. Al Congdon, the VP of DCM parent company Mitek's Consumer Electronics Group, had heard Hogan playing in a Long Beach coffee house, and liked what he heard. He invited Hogan to perform in the DCM room at CES. You can't beat that live music!
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Robert Deutsch Posted: Jan 13, 2008 6 comments
Herman van den Dungen and Marcel Croese, the duo responsible for the Prima Luna line of tube electronics, have introduced a new line of "Good Looking and Good Sounding" solid-state equipment under the HeDo moniker. As with the Prima Luna gear, the prices are very reasonable: $1395 for the HeDo One 80Wpc integrated amplifier, $1795 for the HeDo Two $200Wpc integrated, $1245 for the HeDo Three preamp, and $1495 for the HeDo Four power amp (the power is not listed on the preliminary literature sheet; I assume it's 200Wpc or a bit more). The four components are pictured here in distributor Kevin Deal's room at the Venetian. The frog is an optional extra.
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Larry Greenhill Posted: Jan 12, 2008 0 comments
"We don't have a price yet, because the TAD Compact Reference One Monitor loudspeaker is a prototype," stated Andrew Jones, lead engineer for loudspeakers at TAD Laboratories, Inc., shown here in John Atkinson's photo. "I can say that it will be somewhere between zero dollars and $60,000, the cost of a pair of our full-sized TAD Reference One speakers."
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Stephen Mejias Posted: Jan 12, 2008 8 comments
After days filled with wildly-shaped loudspeakers constructed from all sorts of fantastic materials, I must say it was refreshing to see a familiar face—the DeVore Fidelity Gibbon 3, a speaker that looks like a speaker.
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Wes Phillips Posted: Jan 12, 2008 0 comments
"Any source components?" I asked Cayin importer and VAS Audio maven Sze Leung.
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Robert Deutsch Posted: Jan 12, 2008 0 comments
McIntosh had what was, for a high-end specialty audio company, a huge assortment of products on display at the Mandalay Bay, including several new models. The most interesting of these for me was the MC 2301 power amplifier. With price listed only as TBD ($24k–$30k being an educated guess), the MC 2301 is a 300Wpc monoblock, and, a first for McIntosh, fully balanced. Oh, and did I mention that this is a tube amplifier, using KT88s? Talk about returning to your roots.
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Larry Greenhill Posted: Jan 12, 2008 0 comments
Escalante Design's CEO and Founder, Matthew Waldron, and the company's design engineer, Tierry Budge, were on hand to introduce the $11,000/pair Pinyon, a lighter and less expensive version of their Fremont loudspeaker, which I review in the Febraury issue of Stereophile. Weighing 35 lbs each, the Pinyon includes two direct-coupled 6.5" woofers, and the same 1" ScanSpeak ring-radiator tweeter found in the Fremont. It comes with the Hoodooh Monitor stands that have a brushed aluminum inlay. Waldron had it playing with the 210 lb, 12", powered (500W), UINTA subwoofer, which is rated from 16–100Hz.
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Wes Phillips Posted: Jan 12, 2008 0 comments
That line got me a kitten when I was five. It doesn't seem to work so well on audio manufacturers, though. I must have lost me some cute.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jan 12, 2008 0 comments
New Zealand-based Plinius is now using words drawn from the Maori language to name all of its new products. Making truly beautiful sounds in an all-Plinius line-up, the new Tautoro linestage preamplifier ($7300), set to ship in May, fulfilled its promise to "bridge the gap" from Plinius' top-of-the-line SA-Reference power amplifier to its CD-101 CD player and Koru phono stage (available as an option for $8600 total). When I asked Scott Markwell of Elite Audio Video Distribution how the preamp differs from its M8 predecessor, he pointed out that the M8 could only function as a linestage. "The more versatile Tautoro has an even bigger, more three dimensional soundstage. It also has much greater bass, more punch, and increased dynamics."
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jan 12, 2008 0 comments
Now I know why Robert Deutsch wrote such an enthusiastic review of the Fujitsu Ten Eclipse TD712z loudspeaker in the January 2007 issue of Stereophile. This eye-arresting single-driver loudspeaker ($7000/pair with dedicated stands) delivered an absolutely beautiful rendering of Monica Salmazo's voice. Both top and midrange were exemplary, as was transparency. Though early instrument strings on the delightful Channel Classics SACD, Bolivian Baroque v.2, were either a mite too edgy or conveyed with unforgiving accuracy, the system did a wonderful job with the church venue's naturally reverberant acoustic. Soprano Kate Royal's voice on her marvelous EMI debut recital was drop dead gorgeous. Within their frequency limitations, these speakers are superb. And given that the source was a Denon 955 DVD player rather than a state-of-the-art unit, their triumph is even more noteworthy.
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Stephen Mejias Posted: Jan 12, 2008 0 comments
Totem was showing their special anniversary model, The One ($3595). Along with Naim electronics, the sound created was powerful, fast, and fun. We listened to "How I Love That Woman," a soaring instrumental by Bob Brozeman.
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Wes Phillips Posted: Jan 12, 2008 1 comments
When I first received an email from ESS announcing a new DAC, I assumed someone had revived the old Electro Static Sound, but I was wrong.
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Robert Deutsch Posted: Jan 12, 2008 3 comments
More than once, I've teased Convergent Audio Technology's Ken Stevens about calling his preamp SL-1 Ultimate. I mean, once you've got something that's the Ultimate, where can you go if it's improved—and there is no audio product that can't be improved, even if only to a minor degree. He subsequently introduced a preamp called the SL-1 Legend, but it was about double the price of the SL-1 Ultimate, and Ken said that it was sufficiently different from the SL-1 Ultimate that it could be considered a new preamp, deserving of a new name.
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Stephen Mejias Posted: Jan 12, 2008 0 comments
It was late. I was exhausted. After a delicious dinner, I stopped at the Venetian with the intention of picking up my laptop, camera, and other heavy things before returning to my hotel room and passing out. When I reached the 29th floor, however, I ran into Richard Vandersteen and his family. They were also coming from a dinner, also looking exhausted.
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Larry Greenhill Posted: Jan 12, 2008 2 comments
The Sumiko suite at CES provided a huge listening space to introduce the new Vienna Acoustics' full-range, four-way Die Musik loudspeaker ($25,000/pair). Designed by Peter Gansterer (see photo), a pair of Die Musiks produced some of the best sound I heard at the show. The speakers were positioned quite far apart against a side wall, and the listener sat on a couch closer to the plane between the speakers than the distance between the speakers. This created a very wide, coherent soundstage quite unlike any other than I heard at the show. Bass response, which was superb, actually could be credited, in part, to a huge REL Studio 3 subwoofer, which was parked and running in the nearest room corner.

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