CES 2011

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Stephen Mejias Posted: Jan 09, 2011 0 comments
Music Hall’s USB-1 2-speed, belt-drive turntable has a built-in phono preamp, comes with Audacity software for digitizing vinyl and supplies all necessary cables, uses an S-shaped tonearm with a detachable headshell, and includes an Audio-Technica AT3600L moving-magnet cartridge. With its gloss-black finish and DJ-style platter, it also looks extremely cool. All this, and it costs just $249. A teenager working weekends at Dunkin’ Donuts can afford the Music Hall USB-1. I love this crazy thing and will write more about it in a future issue of Stereophile. Music Hall’s Leland Leard has been crossing the country, getting the USB-1 into his favorite record shops. Good for Music Hall, good for hi-fi, and good for music lovers.
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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 09, 2011 0 comments
Introduced a couple months back, the Moon 100 D DAC includes coax and optical SPDIF as well as USB inputs. It also features an asynchronous sample rate converter and operates at 24bit/192 via SPDIF and 16/48 via USB.

All this for $699. "It's a killer" says Simaudio's Lionel Goodfield.

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Stephen Mejias Posted: Jan 09, 2011 0 comments
With Music Hall’s new Cruise Control 2.0 ($299), owners of Music Hall and Pro-Ject turntables no longer need to lift their platters and move their drive belts to switch between 33.3 and 45RPM. The Cruise Control 2.0 makes speed selection possible at the push of a button. In addition, with the appropriate pulley and cartridge, the Cruise Control 2.0 will also adjust for 78RPM records. Fun.
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Tyll Hertsens Posted: Jan 09, 2011 0 comments
I’m sure I’ve never said to myself, “I want a combination USB DAC/phono stage/headphone amp,” but as soon as I saw one I sure did. Furutech’s Alpha Design Labs GT40, see in preproduction form at the 2010 CES, will rip your vinyl or play your computer files at up to 24bit/96kHz with USB convenience, and includes a headphone amp with volume control making for a dandy little LP transcription system.
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Stephen Mejias Posted: Jan 09, 2011 1 comments
Epos’ Epic 2 ($799/pair) uses the same 1” soft-dome tweeter found in the smaller Epic 1, but with a larger cabinet and 6.5” mid-woofer, the Epic 2 is designed to offer greater sensitivity (90dB), bass output, and power handling. Like the Epic 1, the Epic 2 is available in cherry and black ash vinyl veneers and provides a removable baffle cover.
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Stephen Mejias Posted: Jan 08, 2011 0 comments
Made in Germany, Sumiko’s Okki Nokki record-cleaning machine ($549, with dustcover) looks good, runs quiet, provides forward and reverse operation, has an internal reservoir for collecting used fluid, and comes with its own record-cleaning concentrate and goat-hair brush. My review will appear in the March 2011 issue of Stereophile.
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Tyll Hertsens Posted: Jan 07, 2011 Published: Jan 08, 2011 0 comments
With only four years since their first headphone product introduction, Klipsch's Regional VP Johnny Williams says recent market data shows the company now ranks among the top ten headphone brands in monthly sales; and their Image S4 in-ear monitor ranks as the fourth most popular in-ear monitor sold. Pretty impressive. . .and warranted. Balancing broad consumer appeal and audio performance is an act all too often not pulled off in the headphone world now seemingly filled with rapper-endorsed products and monster bass.

With significant success entering the market now under their belt, Klipsch has refreshed their IEM line with upgrades and new introductions, including the S5i Rugged—which sports a rubberized look and a sweet hard-shell carry case with built in LED flashlight/runner safety blinker. The big surprise, however, is a new traditional on-ear headphone: the Image One. Not everyone wants to stick things in their ears, after all. Nice to see a maker that knows how to play well.

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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jan 07, 2011 Published: Jan 08, 2011 1 comments
To celebrate its 20th Anniversary in the cable business, Nordost has just introduced its new Leif Series. The series consists of four levels:
White Lightning ($179.99/1m pair interconnects, $359.99/2m pair speaker cable); Purple Flare ($249.99/1m pair interconnects, $499.99/2m pair speaker cable); LS Blue Heaven ($349.99/1m pair interconnects, $699.99/2m pair speaker cable); and Red Dawn ($499.99/1m pair interconnects, $999.99/2m pair speaker cable).

Of special interest is the change to Nordost’s old standby, the now-discontinued Blue Heaven. “I still remember when we introduced our Blue Heaven cabling 18 years ago,” Lars Christensen (seen here in the photo) recalled at the beginning of the demo in the Venetian. “We thought it was so expensive that we wouldn’t be able to sell it. Now, for much less money, we’ve got Nordost’s new 20th anniversary cable, White Lightning.”

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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 08, 2011 0 comments
David Chesky pulled me aside in the Venetian to mention that HDtracks is now offering 24bit/192kHz downloads. The first titles are from Chesky Records and include reVisions: Songs of Stevie Wonder by Jen Chapin and The Jazz Side Of The Moon with Seamus Blake, Ari Hoenig, Mike Moreno, and Sam Yahel.

Introductory pricing for these downloads is $26.98.

For those who are curious, David also noted that the awesome glasses he's wearing in the photo are made of a rubbery plastic, which he says he chose because his kids can't break them.

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Stephen Mejias Posted: Jan 07, 2011 Published: Jan 08, 2011 0 comments
Paradigm’s SE-1 ($698/pair) is marketed as “the stepping stone to the world of true high-end audio for the cost-conscious buyer.” Combining Paradigm and Paradigm Reference technologies, the SE-1 uses a 1” gold-anodized, pure aluminum-dome (G-PAL) tweeter and a 5.5” satin-anodized (S-PAL) mid-woofer. The SE-1 is beautifully finished and comes in rosewood and black ash real-wood veneers.
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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 08, 2011 0 comments
Rega's new 24bit/192kHz DAC has the full complement of inputs including USB (running at 16/44) and either Toslink or Coax SPDIF. But what sets it apart at its $995 price point is the pair of Wolfson WM8742 parallel-connected DACs used in a similar configuration to the company's $9,000 Isis CD player.

The DAC also has five front panel selectable filter settings including an apsodizing filter typically found on more expensive DACs. The DAC is shipping now and comes in silver or black.

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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 08, 2011 0 comments

Sonneteer presented the production version of the $4,000 Server they were showing last year, this time with optional WiFi, and 3TB of storage.

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Stephen Mejias Posted: Jan 08, 2011 0 comments
Got turntables? Pro-Ject’s got turntables. From left: Debut III, Xpression III, RM-1.3, Experience Classic… With each ‘table, the user gains increased adjustability of tonearm parameters and cartridge options, along with increased mass, speed stability, and vibration control.

Pro-Ject celebrated their 20th anniversary at the 2011 CES, hosting a party for “friends of analog in general and Pro-Ject in particular.” Product literature advised, “Go Analogue! in the third millennium.” Stereophile’s Michael Fremer gave a speech, detailing Pro-Ject’s history and accomplishments. We’ll read more about that, and other analog gear at this year’s CES, in the April 2011 installment of Mikey’s “Analog Corner” column.

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Tyll Hertsens Posted: Jan 07, 2011 Published: Jan 08, 2011 0 comments
Reserving desktop space for work is just the responsible thing to do. Sumiko wants to make it easy for you to act responsibly and produces a complete line of very small stackable components that will allow you to assemble a complete audio system on your desktop with room to spare. The line includes a: CD player, iPod dock, FM tuner, USB DAC, switch box, preamp, headphone amp, class-D power amps, and, of course, numerous phono stages. Check out their Box-Design website to see the line.

Personally, I think they’re cute.

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Robert Deutsch Posted: Jan 07, 2011 Published: Jan 08, 2011 5 comments
Monster Cable press conferences are always fun to attend, Noel Lee (left) demonstrating the enthusiasm that I’m sure has been a major contributor to his company’s success in the business. His son, Elbert, who did some of the presentations, looks like a chip of the old block. Sure, Monster's press conferences have a strong blow-your-own-horn element, but that’s true for all press conferences.

And they had a lot of new products to introduce. I’ll leave the description of these products to my colleague, Jason Victor Serinus, whose show report assignment is accessories, but I’ll note that Monster is introducing a line of car-care products.

For the record: the swag from Monster was a Micro HDMI-to-HDMI cable. I don’t have anything that can use this, so I passed on it.

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