CES 2009

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Wes Phillips Posted: Jan 14, 2009 2 comments
I walked into Balanced Audio Technology's room and almost couldn't leave. Geoff Poor was driving a pair of WATT/Puppy 8s wth an all BAT system consisting of a VK-D5SE/Superpack CD player ($9500), VK-32SE preamplifier ($8000), and the new 55Wpc VK-55SE amplifier ($5995).
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John Atkinson Posted: Jan 14, 2009 2 comments
Magico had two rooms at the Venetian, the first of which featured the Californian company's new 4-way M5 ($89.000/pair). Weighing in at 360 lbs, the M5 features a ring-radiator tweeter built into the baffle, two 6" Nano-Tec-coned midrange units, and two 9" Nano-Tec woofers, these featuring 5" voice-coils. The sealed enclosure—no ports in Alon Wolf's designs—is constructed, like other Magico speakers, from multiple layers of Baltic Birch plywood. The convex front baffle is machined from a 200lb slab of aircraft-grade aluminum.
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Wes Phillips Posted: Jan 14, 2009 1 comments
Rives Audio's Richard Bird introduced me to Navison, a brand I was aware of but not familiar with. Navison products are aesthetic knock outs—gorgeous wood (or black lacquer), etched gold faceplates (or chrome), and deep black transformer pots. They are audio confections.
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Wes Phillips Posted: Jan 14, 2009 0 comments
I was not previously aware of Vexo, a Milan-based manufacturer of tube amps, but I was very impressed by the 15Wpc VXSE-KT88/C ($3900). I asked Koetsu USA's Hiram Toro if that price meant the amps were designed in Milan but built in Asia. "Oh no," he said. "Vexo is designed and built in Italy and it is stuffed with European components.
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John Atkinson Posted: Jan 14, 2009 10 comments
Although it was shown in protype form at the 2008 CES, the Giya from South African manufacturer Vivid ($58,000/pair) is now in production and was being demmed in US distributor On A Higher Note's penthouse suite at the Mirage hotel with Luxman amplification, Nordost Odin cabling, Quantum power conditioning, and open-reel tapes from The Tape Project's second batch of releases played back on a Tim de Paravicini-modified Technics deck.
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John Atkinson Posted: Jan 14, 2009 0 comments
Richard Vandersteen showed me the new midrange unit he designed for the Vandersteen 7. The cone is a sandwich of balsa wood between two carbon-fiber skins, the voice-coil is titanium, and most notably, there is almost nothing in the skeletal chassis that would obstruct the cone's rear-wave.
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John Atkinson Posted: Jan 13, 2009 1 comments
Whenever I think of Totem Acoustics, I tend to associate the Montreal-based company with relatively affordable high-performance speakers like the Model One and The Forest. But designer and founder Vince Bruzzese has attempted to reach for the stars with his floorstanding WInd design ($12,500/pair, according to the cryptic spider scratchings in my reporter's notebook) . Acquisition of a new CNC wood-working machine has allowed him to update the Wind, and at CES, Totem was showing the latest version, finished in high-gloss automotive paints. (The speaker shown with Vince is finished in "De Tomasso Blue.")
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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 13, 2009 0 comments
Robert Baird got the scoop on this one in the February issue of Stereophile. Check his Aural Robert column for details about the Sonic Focus technology included in this iPod dock and its surprising heritage.
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John Atkinson Posted: Jan 13, 2009 0 comments
Demonstrating the obsessive attention to detail in Vienna Acoustics' new Kiss loudspeaker are the micrometer-realized alignment adjustments on its rear panel.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jan 13, 2009 6 comments
For those for whom the mere mention of the price of a Tenor Audio amp sends their voice into the soprano range, PrimaLuna's multi-tiered line of triode amplification may help them descend to earth.
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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 13, 2009 0 comments
tmh audio's Jim Ricketts was on hand to announce that Bow Technologies is re-introducing their ZZ-Eight CD Player. tmh will be distributing the products in the US.
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John Atkinson Posted: Jan 13, 2009 1 comments
Thiel's PR wonk Micah Sheveloff grabbed me as I walked past the room in the Sands Convention Center Thiel was sharing with Bryston to meet with Frank Göbl of Canton. "You've got to hear the new CS2.4 Special Edition." As Wes Phillips had been mightily impressed by the original CS2.4 ($4900/pair) when he reviewed it in November 2005, I looked at my watch. Enough time. I went into the dem room.
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Wes Phillips Posted: Jan 13, 2009 0 comments
Here's an inside look at Ypsilon's forthcoming phono section (price tbd). Clean layout, no?
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jan 13, 2009 0 comments
Allen Perkins' Spiral Groove has expanded beyond its excellent turntable, which has won major awards in Japan, to issue a new amp, DAC, and cabling. The patented cable line, close to final production, includes speaker cable, interconnect, and digital interconnect. Price has yet to be determined. Proof of its quality is that it used Spiral Groove's two tonearms and the entire line of Sonics speakers designed by Joachim Gerhard (formerly of Audio Physic) and now manufactured in Berkeley, CA. Having heard pre-production samples several of these products at Casa Bellecci-Serinus, I know that one of Allen's concerns is to eschew hard-edged digititis and over-hyped sound in favor of the more natural presentation of analog.
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John Atkinson Posted: Jan 13, 2009 7 comments
I went into the Blue Light Audio room at T.H.E. Show to hear the new Dartzeel amplifiers (Wes Phillips will be blogging on these presently) and to chat with designer Hervé Délétraz. But my attention was caught by Evolution Audio's beautifully finished MMMini Two speakers ($40,000/pair). Ostensibly a two-way design combining a 5" aluminum ribbon with a 7" ceramic-cone woofer, the stand also contains an 8"x12" subwoofer.

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