For several years now, the CES's High-Performance Audio exhibits have been housed at the tony Venetian Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip. And also for several years, the room shared by Stereophile and Home Theater magazines, now joined by our sister websites AudioStream.com and InnerFidelity.com, has been hosted by our administrative assistant (which means she is the glue that holds us together and tells me she prefers to be called our "Digital Goddess") Rosemarie Torcivia. Welcome to Las Vegas, Ro'.
Everybody wants to get into the act. Pro Audio manufacturer Behringer had several iPod/iPhone audio accessories, including the nifty Soundscape Air ($129), which features wireless speakers (good for up to 8 hours of playing, up to 150 feet from the base unit) that utilize inductive (ie, wireless) charging.
The 2012 Best of Innovations award in the High Performance Home Audio category went to the Devialet D-Premier DAC/preamp/amp. It also got the award for Most Difficult to Photograph Audio Product. Note the reflection of my badge, intended to show that this is not just a manufacturer-provided photograph. Devialet is distributed in North America by Audio Plus Services and Stereophile has just received a sample for review.
Also due sometime near the end of the year is a new SACD player which can also function as a digital preamp and includes four digital inputs (two USB, two SPDIF) and volume control. The 519 also has HDMI, AES/EBU, optical, and SPDIF outputs.
Upscale Audio’s Kevin Deal is excited about PrimaLuna’s new DiaLogue Premium integrated amplifier ($3199), and I can’t blame him: The DiaLogue Premium uses six 12AU7 tubes, said to produce a wider bandwidth, greater dynamic range, and improved bass control over previous DiaLogue models; users can have fun swapping between 6L6GC/KT66, EL-34/KT77, 6550/KT88, and KT120 power tubes; a “Bad Tube Indicator” lets you know when a tube has expired and provides automatic bias adjustment; a high-quality Alps potentiometer should provide long-lasting, quiet volume control; and, like every PrimaLuna amp we’ve seen, the DiaLogue Premium is beautifully built and finished.
Unlike the mass-market consumer electronics exhibitors, which started their press conference onslaught over the weekend and Monday, the audiophile exhibitors like to maintain a sane CES schedule.
And so for us lucky enough to cover performance audio, the show starts today, Tuesday. And with a full moon setting over the desert no less. Posts should start dribbling in today, and kick into full gear by this weekend.
The Consumer Electronics Show takes place January 1013 in Las Vegas.
Have I mentioned that I hate Las Vegas? My hatred for Las Vegas is juvenile and irrational and represents what is probably the last strand of my nearly resigned defiance for all things bourgeois, fascist, bogus, and generally lame. I’ve softened up a lot over the last 10 years, but Vegas hardens me anew. I hate Las Vegas.