CES 2011

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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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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 08, 2011 0 comments
April Music had their new ADAM iPod doc on hand which also sports a USB input and SPDIF output for connecting to the DAC of your choice. The ADAM will retail for $499.
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Stephen Mejias Posted: Jan 07, 2011 Published: Jan 08, 2011 0 comments
In Paradigm’s Signature S-1 ($1798/pair) a 1” pure-beryllium (P-Be) tweeter and 6” cobalt-infused anodized pure-aluminum (CO-PAL) mid-woofer are housed in a die-cast aluminum cabinet, said to work as an effective heatsink. Extensive internal bracing and constrained layer damping are employed to minimize vibrational energy. Cherry, natural maple, and black ash wood veneers are available.
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Stephen Mejias Posted: Jan 08, 2011 0 comments
Christopher Morris’ first experience with hi-fi did not go as he had hoped. He had trouble finding information on the products he was interested in, and did not know where to turn for guidance. For whatever reason, his local hi-fi shop offered little help and entry into the hobby seemed more difficult than necessary—an unfortunate and all too familiar story. Now that he is working for The Sound Organisation, however, Christopher Morris is determined to rewrite that story; he wants to build awareness for hi-fi and open its doors to a wider audience. “You need that guy,” Morris said, meaning someone to turn to for guidance, a friend or mentor who will share knowledge and enthusiasm, supporting you along your way, fueling your passion for music and hi-fi.
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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 07, 2011 0 comments
Arcam's John Dawson is seen holding the company's latest cost effective DACs. Featuring asynchronous USB technology licensed from dCS, the rDAC retails for $479 while the rDACkw (on the left) employs Kleer wireless transmitter technology and retails for $599.

Both DACs include one optical and one coax SPDIF connector in addition to USB. For the wireless option, the company has two dongles that connect to the source: the rWave for USB connections and the rWand for iPods. They cost $50 each if purchased with the DAC, $99 each purchased seperately.

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Robert Deutsch Posted: Jan 07, 2011 0 comments
CES Unveiled turned out to have little of interest to Stereophile readers—except those who are general technical geeks. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that!) Most of the products on display involved mobile computing, computer peripherals, etc., and the exhibits were simple table-top setups. Major CES exhibitors like Sony and Panasonic were conspicuous by their absence. Samsung just had some of their small digicams. I guess the high performance audio community decided to pass on this event, and it makes sense: what makes these products special can’t be evaluated by just looking at them.
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Stephen Mejias Posted: Jan 07, 2011 0 comments
The T+A Caruso ($3000) is a complete 2.1 system with iPod dock, FM tuner, alarm clock, USB input, and CD/DVD player, but is also compatible with external speakers, thus turning its onboard drive units into a center channel. It employs DSP processing for its admirable bass quality and wide dispersion, and seemed to have a very relaxed, enjoyable sound.

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