CES 2011

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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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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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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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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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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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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 08, 2011 0 comments
Norwegian company Electrocompaniet is releasing their new PD 1 DAC in about 3 months, which will include optional wireless streaming at 16bits/48kHz. The DAC will sell for approximately $3,500 and features USB, Coax, Toslink and a RF link. The SPDIF inputs support up to 24/192 while the USB tops out at 16/48. The PD 1 also features balanced audio outputs.

The Accompanying EMS 1 Streamer (shown in the photo above) allows you to stream from any remote computer without any cables, and the company claims there will be no loss in quality compared to a hardwired USB connection. The EMS 1 will retail for $300 and also be available in about 3 months.

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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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Robert Deutsch Posted: Jan 07, 2011 0 comments
“CES Unveiled” is the name of an event that’s presents a sort of preview of CES itself, featuring products that had been given awards for innovation. It takes place on the day before the CES Press Day, two days before CES is open. I normally don’t get to Las Vegas early enough to attend, but I did this time, so I thought I would check it out.

I got there nearly an hour before the four o’clock opening of CES Unveiled, and there were already hundreds of people—all accredited members of print or internet media or bloggers—waiting to get in. Were they expecting to get some valuable swag (promotional item), like an iPad? I checked at the entrance, and, indeed, there was some swag that was to be given to each person attending: not quite an iPad, but an external battery for an iPhone/iPod. Hmm. . .I recently bought an iPhone 4. I could use a battery for it. But there was no way I would wait that long. I wandered away, and came back at about a quarter to four. The line was then much longer, and I still ended up waiting about three-quarters of an hour before I got in. And—guess what—all the iPhone batteries were gone. I’m told they had 800 of them. Total attendance of the "CES Unveiled" event must have been over a thousand. It’s going to be a busy CES. . .

But I did get a little gift: an iPhone 4 case in shocking pink. Now I just have to find someone I can give it to.

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Stephen Mejias Posted: Jan 07, 2011 1 comments
Polk’s Blackstone TL3 ($300/pair) marks the eight-generation of Polk’s satellite speaker systems, and combines prior Polk technologies with new industrial design and improved time-aligned drive units, including a ring-radiator tweeter. The system we heard included a Marantz receiver and Samsung Blu-ray player, and I was very impressed by the small speakers’ ability to throw a wide soundstage with solid center-fill and fine detail.
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Stephen Mejias Posted: Jan 07, 2011 0 comments
Wadia’s new 171iTransport digital iPod dock ($599) is now also compatible with Apple’s iPad. Other changes include an improved circuit board, new clock chip, higher grade connectors, and a better internal power supply. The remote control has also been redesigned for better ease of use.

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