CES 2011

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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 09, 2011 1 comments
The Epic 1 ($599/pair) is the smallest model of Epos’ new Epic series. A simple, handsome appearance is enhanced by a fine vinyl veneer (available in cherry and black ash), and the front baffle can be altered as the owner sees fit—listen to the speaker with its stock “audiophile” baffle, which is said to provide reflection-free properties and forgoes any fixing screws, grille holes or cloth, or remove the stock baffle to reveal the underlying veneer; a cloth-covered grille is also included.

The Epic 1 uses a 1” soft-dome tweeter—the first soft-dome tweeter employed by Epos—and a port-loaded, 5.25” polypropylene mid-woofer. It has a rated sensitivity of 88dB with a 4 ohm nominal impedance.

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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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Stephen Mejias Posted: Jan 08, 2011 0 comments
KEF’s Q300 ($600/pair) is a 2-way, bass-reflex design with a 6.5” Uni-Q driver and 1” vented-aluminum tweeter utilizing KEF’s tangerine waveguide, said to reduce the acoustic resonances created by normal direct-radiating tweeters, improving the coupling between the tweeter dome and air. The speaker that was actually playing in the room, however, was the larger Q900 floorstander ($1600/pair), a 2.5-way, bass-reflex design with an 8” Uni-Q driver and 1.5” vented-aluminum tweeter and tangerine waveguide. Partnered with an inexpensive Denon player and Integra receiver, the sound was marked by quick, extended highs and controlled lows.
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Stephen Mejias Posted: Jan 08, 2011 0 comments
One of my favorite systems at CES 2011: A Pro-Ject Perspex turntable ($2000) featuring magnetic isolation to prevent acoustic feedback, a carbon fiber tonearm, and Sumiko Blackbird cartridge ($899), CD Box SE CD player ($799), Tune Box SE II MM/MC phono preamp ($749), Pre Box SE with four inputs ($499), Amp Box SE mono ($1098/pair), and matching Speaker Box 5 loudspeakers in high-gloss white ($399/pair). Speaker cable was Pro-Ject’s own, and a REL T5 subwoofer was supporting the low-end. Even at low volumes in a busy room, the music was marked by fine detail, clarity, and speed. Joe Pass sounded as remarkable and unignorable as ever.
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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 08, 2011 2 comments
Tone Imports' Jonathan Halpern was on hand to demonstrate the new AcousticPlan DriveMaster transport and DacMaster DAC which retail for $4,200 each and were designed and built by Claus Jaeckle. There is also an optional power supply upgrade for $2,000 that will run two units.

These are small but superbly crafted units, and obviously use a novel approach to spinning a disc. The DAC features SPDIF BNC, I2S, and USB inputs.

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Stephen Mejias Posted: Jan 08, 2011 0 comments
Rega’s RP-1 record player ($450, plus $195 for the upgrade package which includes Rega’s improved drive belt, a thicker wool platter mat, and Bias 2 phono cartridge), replaces the popular P1 and features a new, hand-assembled RB101 tonearm, a lightweight phenolic resin platter, and a low-vibration motor. Seen here in titanium finish, the RP-1 is also available in gray or white. I’ve been using the RP-1 in my home system, and I’ve come to the conclusion that this no-nonsense turntable plays records like it means it. More to come in the February and March 2011 issues of Stereophile.
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Stephen Mejias Posted: Jan 07, 2011 Published: Jan 08, 2011 0 comments
Zoltan Balla rocks out with the Paradigm Active Atom. As its name implies, the Active Atom ($498/pair) is a powered version of Paradigm’s popular Atom monitor.
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Stephen Mejias Posted: Jan 08, 2011 1 comments
A look inside the beautiful Wharfedale Diamond 10.1 ($350/pair), a bass-reflex design with a soft-dome tweeter and Kevlar mid-woofer.
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Stephen Mejias Posted: Jan 07, 2011 Published: Jan 08, 2011 0 comments
The v.6 ($358/pair) is the latest iteration of Paradigm’s classic Atom monitor, a loudspeaker I’ve been attracted to for a long time but have never actually heard. With its 1” high-purity titanium-dome tweeter and 5.5” carbon-infused mid-woofer, the speaker is optimized for high sensitivity (90dB) with high output and low distortion. Impressively finished, the Atom v.6 is available in cherry, rosewood, wenge, white, and black ash veneers. I will have to listen to this speaker at some point in the future.
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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 08, 2011 3 comments
Peachtree will be releasing their new $999 iDac next month, which features their "pure digital" iPod dock, ESS 32bit Sabre DAC, and 24bit/192kHz resolution.

This is a DAC only product and is loaded with inputs: 24/96 USB, 24/192 SPDIF coax (2) and optical (2). There is also a video out for watching iPod video content and two buttons for selecting filter settings.

And of course the iDac is wrapped in Peachtree's unique non-resonant MDF case with high-gloss finish.

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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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