CES 2010

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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jan 09, 2010 12 comments
I've been a major fan of Echole Obsession cabling ever since hearing it paired with Kaiser Kawero loudspeakers at RMAF 2008. With those marvelous babies lamentably absent, here it was paired with a loudspeaker new to me, the towering, 500 lb Tidal Sunray ($178,600/pair), whose 6'8" designer, Jörn Janczak, is equally imposing.
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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 09, 2010 10 comments
Bel Canto has clearly been busy on the digital front. Three new DACs are on display: the e.One DAC1.5 at $1,395, e.One DAC2.5 at $1,995, and the e.One DAC3.5VB at $3,495. The company explains that the core of all three products is the "jitter-eliminating" Two-Stage Master Reference UltraClock.
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Erick Lichte Posted: Jan 09, 2010 10 comments
One of the great things about coming to CES is getting the opportunity to hear gear that’s rarely near. I was really happy as I strolled down the 35th floor to walk into the Lamm room. I don’t have a Lamm dealer in Minneapolis so I haven’t ever had the chance to hear this lauded and expensive tube gear.
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Erick Lichte Posted: Jan 09, 2010 1 comments
I reviewed the Pass Labs XA 30.5 a few months back for Stereophile . I loved it. Now Nelson Pass, known for his impulsive but inspired ideas, has taken the same class-A solid-state power amplifier and transformed it into an integrated amp. Though the new INT-30A ($7150) was only on silent display (the unit seen here didn't even have any guts inside!) I hope to hear it in my own system soon.
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Erick Lichte Posted: Jan 09, 2010 2 comments
Technical Audio Devices (TAD) was showing off new monoblock power amplifiers to attach to their well-known line of speakers. The M600 amplifiers ($26,500 each) feature a graphite cast iron monoque construction to help eliminate vibration. Though imposing in size (they weigh 198 lbs each!) the TAD amps feature only one stage of voltage gain. The M600 also features a 22lb transformer, custom-built 33,000µF capacitors, and can put out 600W into 4 ohms. They accept only balanced inputs and will be available in February 2010.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jan 09, 2010 7 comments
At the last few Nordost demos I've witnessed, I've been amazed by the huge soundstage, deep bass, and tonal accuracy produced by Raidho's diminutive C-1.0 loudspeakers. Imagine my surprise when I learned that this little speaker, no larger than many a bookshelf design, lists for $18,000/pair. Then again, it produces a fuller, larger, and more coherent image than many a full-range floorstander of comparable price. It also has a pretty even 6 ohm impedance, and is said to be very tube friendly.
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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 09, 2010 2 comments
Olive and Thiel have teamed up with the help of zöet networking technology from a company called Bicom, and have created a complete media server/powered speaker system. Included in the system is a 2TB Olive 4HD music server which has been specially outfitted with an audio networking system using ethernet cables for connecting to the speakers.
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Erick Lichte Posted: Jan 09, 2010 0 comments
New to the Pass Labs product line is the XP-25 two-chassis, solid-state phono preamplifier ($10,600). Intended to be designer Nelson Pass’s statement phono stage the XP-25 allows the user to select gain, and resistive and capacitive loading to match any cartridge you might want to use. The XP-25 will accept two line inputs and offers both single-ended and balanced outputs.
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Erick Lichte Posted: Jan 09, 2010 7 comments
Also showing in the Ayre room were their MX-R monoblocks ($9250 each) and also a Stereophile “Product of the Year” in 2007), connected to the actual samples of Vandersteen Model Seven speakers that Michael Fremer will be reviewing for Stereophile in March. The MX-R, like its KX-R brother, is carved out of a single block of aluminum and puts out 300W into 8 ohms and 600W into 4 ohms. The amps were fed by Ayre’s CX-7eMP CD player and KX-R preamplifier and the sound of the MX-R amps driving the Vandersteen Sevens was detailed and— pun fully intended— airy.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jan 09, 2010 5 comments
If anyone could possibly bewitch me, it's Ella Fitzgerald. I found it impossible to resist her spell as she sang "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered" through the wonderful pairing of Karan Acoustics' KA L Ref MK2 line preamplifier ($17,500) and KA S 180 stereo power amplifier ($9700), Zanden Model 2500 Signature CD player ($20,000), Finite Elemente racks, Cardas Clear cabling, and new Avalon Acoustics TIME dynamic loudspeaker system with new diamond tweeter, ceramic mid, and two 11" Kevlar woofers ($47,000/pair). This system's intimacy, midrange warmth, and complete lack of barriers beckoned me deeper into the magic of Ella's delivery. Wonderful.
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Erick Lichte Posted: Jan 08, 2010 11 comments
I had a great time listening to my own recordings in the Halcro room. Though the room lighting and the alien looking Vivid Audio G2 Giya speaker gave foreboding vibe in this photo, the sound was warm and detailed and the Halcro folks were really friendly. Featured in the Halcro system were the dm10 preamplifier($20,990) and the dm78 power amplifier ($41,990). The dm 10 is Halcro's top-of the line preamp and features its own phono stage. (It was reviewed in the April 2004 issue.) The dm78 is a mono amp that puts out 225W into 8 ohms and handled big dynamic swings in recordings of both Vivaldi and Eric Whitacre with ease and grace.
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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 07, 2010 Published: Jan 08, 2010 33 comments
Here's Ayre's Steve Silberman holding the new DX-5 universal player that can handle not only SACD, CD and DVD-Audio, but also DVD and Blu-ray discs. Think of it as an Oppo BDP-83 on super steroids. In fact the company starts with an Oppo drive and MPEG processor and throws everything else out, adding in a new power supply and all the important digital bits. Wrapped up in a beautifully machined package and retailing somewhere around $10,000, pre-orders begin next week, and deliveries should happen sometime in the first half of February.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jan 08, 2010 3 comments
God, how I love mbl's demos. Their rooms at RMAF have been major highpoints of the last two shows for me, and their exhibit at CES 2010 is just as fine. There was an incredible warmth and inner glow to the midrange, a tremendous presence and clarity to the sound of cymbals, just the right weight to an electric bass, and a wonderful transparency throughout the range that made me want to stay forever.
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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 08, 2010 9 comments
Naim Audio's all-in-one NaimUniti (Art Dudley's review will be in the March issue) has officially spawned a little cutie, er, qute. Dubbed the UnitiQute, the new product includes most of the features of the Uniti, with a more modestly powered amp at 30W per channel into 8 ohms.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jan 08, 2010 6 comments
When I entered the Nordost room, Roy Gregory and Lars Kristensen of Nordost were in the midst of preparing a demo of their Foundation Theory. Although the literature on the theory, which should be available on Nordost's website, consumes five small-print pages, the basic theory boils down to this: consistency in your brand of cabling, whatever the brand may be, produces greater rewards than mixing different lines of cabling.

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