The first morning of CES is traditionally when Stereophile presents its awards for the best products of the previous year, voted on by the magazine's editors and writers. Here, in the magazine's suite at the Venetian Hotel, awaiting their recipients are the 2011 Awards. My thanks to Ariel Bitran for doing a great job getting the awards to CES in time for the presentations.
There were beautiful women. There were pink socks. There was loud music, expensive alcohol, shameless dancing. There might have been a tiger in the bathroom. It wasn’t like a party in the Music Hall suiteit was a party. The company’s energetic sales manager, Leland Leard, was too busy rocking out, so Roy Hall introduced me to his new A70.2 integrated amplifier ($1499). (Here we see Leland playing DJ; I will spare us the images of Leland on the dance floor.)
In 2009, when Jon Iverson reviewed T+A’s Power Plant integrated amplifier, he was impressed by its “tight, yet musical character,” noting well-controlled bass and extended treble. T+A’s E Series Power Plant and Music Player have now been updated with high-quality balanced inputs and outputs.
The first major press event at CES, scheduled to start at 4 pm on the day before the Press Day, is something called CES Unveiled, described as "a pre-show look at who will be making news headlines before the show officially opens...catch all the latest products in one room." This description is a bit...well...exaggerated. The exhibitors are mostly small companies, with no representation from heavy hitters like Sony, Panasonic, Sharp, etc. The high-performance audio companies also pass on it.
Imagine: Somewhere in this pretty purple tangle of cables, there’s the world's hottest audiophile yoga instructora lithe little woman in white tights, stretching her inner sound.
Here we see Alpha Design Labs’ new iDevice ID-30 Series of iPod dock cables. Each uses silver-plated, oxygen-free continuous crystal copper conductors and can be fitted with straight or angled, 24k gold-plated USB A-type or 3.5mm stereo connectors. Prices range from $63 to $185, depending on model and length.
A look inside the PrimaLuna DiaLogue Premium integrated amplifier ($3199) reveals neat point-to-point wiring and high-quality parts, like Takman resistors and SRC tinfoil capacitorsstuff that an amp-lover like Art Dudley might appreciate.
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.