CES 2009

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John Atkinson Posted: Jan 11, 2009 2 comments
Montreal-based company Verity has been slowly building a reputation for sound quality with its unique speakers, which combine a conventional head-unit on-top a woofer module that, unusually, mounts the drivers on its rear. CES saw the launch of two new models, the Leonore ($15,995/pair) and Finn ($5995/pair). Both speakers offer high sensitivities in the low 90s, and while the Leonore produced an impressive sound from Keith Jarrett's Live at Carnegie Hall CD powered by Nagra's forthcoming MSA stereo amp that Wes Phillips blogged about earlier, I was also impressed by the more affordable, one-box Finn, which was demmed with Nagra's PMA "pyramid" amps. The rest of the system included a Basis Debut turntable and Vector 4 tonearm, Nagra PLL preamp and Nagra's new battery-powered BPS phono stage, which I am sure Mikey Fremer will be reviewing in the near future.
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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 10, 2009 0 comments
Esoteric has upgraded the wiring and parts inside the flagship P-01 and D-01 SACD/CD transport and DAC and has renamed them the P01-VU and D01-VU respectively. Each DAC is a single channel and retails for $16k and the transport will run you $32k. These are superbly built and incredible sounding digital products. Even if you can't afford them, just be glad they exist in our world.
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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 10, 2009 0 comments
This one box contains all eight DACs, two hard drives selected by the customer, and all processing power to run the software and audio.
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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 09, 2009 Published: Jan 10, 2009 16 comments
The touchscreen music server market has picked up a new face with the official release of Blue Smoke's "The Black Box". Demonstrated in prototype form at last year's CES, the final version is a sleek, um, black box with a single disc slot on the front and an array of connectors on the back. Retail is $6995 and should be hitting dealer shelves Q1 2009.
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Wes Phillips Posted: Jan 10, 2009 0 comments
Also on display at Esoteric was the nifty E-03 phono section ($5500). It has two phono inputs—MC and one that can play either MC or MM cartridges. It also sports a demagnetizing function, which takes a scant 30 second. It has externally selected impedance and capacitance for each input. The E-03 also has a high-voltage custom power supply. It should be available in March.
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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 10, 2009 1 comments
Also revealed were two disc player upgrades from Ayre. Both the C-5xe universal player and the CX-7 CD player now have MP (Minimum Phase) appended to their names reflecting a new filtering option that the company says has no pre-echo and only one cycle of post-ringing. On the back of the players is a switch to select between the previous generation "apodizing" filter and the new MP filter.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jan 10, 2009 5 comments
Kerem Kücükaslan (pronounced something like "Kooshookasslan," shown standing in the center of the photo), former President of the Istanbul HiFi Club, is justifiably proud of his Echole Obsession cables. When I first encountered these cables, mated with Kaiser Kawero speakers from Germany at last year's Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, I was mightily impressed with the huge, three-dimensional soundstage that the system achieved in a huge ballroom. Playing a portion of Ivan Fischer's R2D4 recording of Mahler's Symphony 2, this system spoke musical truth.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jan 10, 2009 2 comments
Is PS Audio's Paul McGowan out to harness all of the world's AC for musical ends? You'd think so from the host of new power products in his line-up.
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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 10, 2009 0 comments
Esoteric USB upgrade back panel.
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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 10, 2009 1 comments
In addition to Sooloos and Blue Smoke, Qsonix was also demonstrating the latest iteration of their touchscreen music server system. The fully self-contained Q110 package is comprised of the single DAC/HD drive/software box and up to four touchscreens.
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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 10, 2009 7 comments
As more audiophiles start to view their computer systems as another audio source component, finding good sounding ways to bridge from the computer to the preamp becomes paramount.
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Wes Phillips Posted: Jan 10, 2009 0 comments
Triode Corporation Ltd of Japan had a room full of equipment featuring—you guessed it—triodes! The TRV-4SE($2800)) preamplifier has an S/N ratio of 96dB and has an internal MM phono section, Its frequency response is 10Hz-100kHz. The TRV-4SE uses Mundorf and Nichicon capacitors, kiwame precise resistors, and an exclusive Triode Corpration stepped attenuator.
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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 10, 2009 24 comments
Saturday morning Ayre held a press conference at the top of the Venetian to reveal their latest products, which include a new USB DAC, the QB-9.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jan 10, 2009 8 comments
After years of attending shows where Nordost cabling was successfully paired with Raidho Acoustics speakers, I was surprised to learn that the Raidho Acoustics Ayra C-2 ($24,000) speakers are internally wired with Nordost Valhalla. No wonder the combination is so synergistic. Frankly, even a boom box would sound like a breakthrough product if it were wired with the Nordost Odin I heard in this room. Odin ain't cheap—Odin power cables cost $11,000 for a decent length, interconnects $16,000 for 1m, and speaker wire starts at $20,000 for 1m, with the best sound said to come from 4 meter lengths of speaker cable and an investment of $38,000—but the sound is as full, complete, neutral, and satisfying as anything I've yet heard. My own experience confirms that single Odin power cable can transform the sound of a system.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jan 10, 2009 0 comments
Kimber Kable was more than happy to show off the four latest additions to its very full line of cables. First came the 12TC Teflon-insulated speaker cables, which use 24 conductors. Terminated with WBT Nextgen, an 8' pair of 12TC costs $854. Next there's the Cadence Subwoofer cable, which costs $175 for 1 meter with the best terminations Kimber supplies. Finally, complementing Kimber's HD19 1.3 cable, which costs $239 for 4 meters are the new HD09 1.3 (5 meters for $159) and HD29 1.3 (5 meters for $557). Other lengths are, of course, available. The display in the Venetian may have been static, but the very live demo Kimber Kable was conducting simultaneously at The Alexis Park was reportedly producing great sound.

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