CES 2013

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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jan 14, 2013 0 comments
How nice to again make the acquaintance of the folks at Balanced Audio Technology, aka BAT, now owned by Music Direct, and discover their three handsome new preamplifiers. The VK-53SE ($15,000), which replaces the VK-52SE, incorporates the same transformer-coupled output stage as in the flagship REX II preamp, and uses a new amorphous-core output transformer, encapsulated in a Mu Metal case. "There are no caps in the signal path in our preamps," proclaimed Geoff Poor. "The best capacitor is no capacitor." Also new are the VK-33SE preamplifier ($9995), a replacement for the 32SE and a trickle-down beneficiary of the VK-53SE's technology; and the VK-33 preamplifier ($7000), which replaces the VK-32.
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Stephen Mejias Posted: Jan 14, 2013 2 comments
“This guy will make your iPod of iPhone look like a toy,” said HiFiMan’s founder and head designer, Fang Bian.
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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 14, 2013 0 comments
Swiss company CH displayed the new $32,975 C1 DAC/controller with optional ethernet board ($5k) and USB board ($4k). The processor handles 24/192 PCM and will soon support DSD/DXD via ethernet.

The C1 is compact and beautifully made (unlike my photo) and has all the standard digital inputs as well as analog options and a variety of output options including balanced and unbalanced analog. The company says that the modular approach to the C1 makes it "future-proof" as they keep coming up with new boards.

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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jan 14, 2013 0 comments
Mystère hosted a sneak preview of its forthcoming ma21 power amplifier ($TBD). Available in March, this mono version of the pa21 ($2995) boasts automatic bias, and can work with EL-34, KT-88, or KT-120 power tubes.
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Stephen Mejias Posted: Jan 14, 2013 0 comments
Partnered with ADL’s Esprit preamp/headphone amp/USB DAC-ADC and playing FLAC files via Foobar from a Sony Vaio laptop, the handsome, lightweight, and comfortable Alpha Design Labs’ ADL-H118 headphone ($299) produced very fine sound.
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Stephen Mejias Posted: Jan 14, 2013 4 comments
I’ve mentioned NAD’s VISO HP50 headphones, but the company was also showing their new, smart-looking D Series digital components. From left: D 1050 USB DAC ($449), D 3020 digital DAC/integrated amp ($399), and D 7050 digital network receiver ($899).
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jan 14, 2013 0 comments
Resolution Audio, based right across the Bay from our humble casa in East Oakland, has just introduced the Cantata C-50 2.0 integrated amplifier ($4495). With a revised power supply with new customized T-Network capacitors, the 50Wpc C-50 2.0 also includes a discrete front end and FET output stage and the company's own eddy current reduction technology. Resolution Audio claims "greater detail and transparency" for the 2.0, to which original version owners may upgrade ($495).
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Larry Greenhill Posted: Jan 14, 2013 0 comments
Perfect8 Techologies' exhibit suite at the Venetian proved to be one of the most crowded I entered. Perfect's CEO, Jonas Rantila, was introducing his new floorstanding speaker, the Point Mark II Evolution ($115,000/pair). This three-way, speaker features an Air-Motion Transformer tweeter and two midrange drivers mounted on a glass baffle (there's no enclosure for the tweeter or midrange drivers), sitting on a single glass-enclosure housing a pair of 10" subwoofers powered by a 400W, DSP-controlled amplifier hidden within the enclosure. Power for the midrange and tweeter was supplied by a 165 lb, 500Wpc, solid-state Bridge Audio Laboratory (BAlabo) BP-1 Mk.II stereo power amplifier ($88,500). The BP-1's importer, Fred Nadel, told me that the amplifier's output stage runs in class-A for the first 40 watts.
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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 14, 2013 0 comments
When listening to audio systems in hotel rooms at shows, all bets are off. But once in a while you get a wonderful sound in the confines of the spot where the bed would normally sit.

Such was the case with the dCS room in the Venetian. The company is celebrating their 25th anniversary and Sony offered an assist in the form of a couple dozen DSD tracks straight from the vaults to hard drive. The Debussy DAC can now process DSD 64 via USB (free software upgrade available from the dealer next week), and for my demo I picked Santana's "Black Magic Woman", settling into audio ecstasy.

dCS also had their complete Vivaldi stack set up at the Mirage hotel, with a presentation hosted by Wilson's Peter McGrath. Once again the sound was extraordinary as McGrath played some 24/88 files of Mahler's Fifth that he had recorded himself with Grado microphones. I only wish every one of you could have been there.

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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jan 13, 2013 0 comments
Audioquest has filled out its series of ethernet cables. In the photo, the company's Shane Buettner holds the top of the line Diamond ($1095/1.5 meter) ethernet cable, which features 100% PSS (pure silver) and Audioquest's DBS dielectric bio-system, whose battery pack puts a DC bias on the cable's insulation. Also new is the cable right beneath it, the Vodka ($249/1.5 meter), composed of silver-plated copper. The cable's extremely solid connectors are a major step above the plastic terminations found on stock ethernet cables.
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Larry Greenhill Posted: Jan 13, 2013 2 comments
At 95 lbs, Dan D'Agostino’s 300W into 8 ohms, Momentum monoblock amplifier ($50,000/pair) doesn’t even come close to the weight of the big Boulders. Featured on the cover of Stereophile’s CES issue, the Momentum could be heard in many rooms at CES. This compact, energy-efficient design was driving the new YG Electronics Sonja 1.3 speakers ($106,800/pair). The resulting sound was dynamic, effortless, open, and had a wide, deep soundstage.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jan 13, 2013 0 comments
Daddy Vitus, watch out! Your equipment designer son Alexander, whose relatively young company you've helped bankroll, is hot on your heels. On display were the new Alluxity Pre ONE preamplifier ($8000) and Power ONE amplifier ($11,000). Not yet available in the US, though that may change shortly, the chassis are milled from a single aluminum block. A brief listen to Billie Holiday revealed a nice three-dimensionality, as well as the hard edge that plagued numerous systems on the 29th floor of the Venetian.
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Larry Greenhill Posted: Jan 13, 2013 2 comments
Bryston showed a static model of its new loudspeaker system, the Model T Signature ($7495/pair), that is specified to handle 50–1100 watts into its 8 ohm impedance, with a frequency response from 25Hz–22kHz, ±3dB. In active form, the Model T uses the AX1 external DSP crossover ($2995), but the passive version’s crossover features large, expensive air-coil inductors, as well as something brand new: Bryston capacitors. Working with Clarity, Bryston's James Tanner specified the exact requirements for these capacitors, which have both company's names featured on their blue exteriors. The Model T benefited from Bryston's close relationship with with Axiom, a speaker design company that has its own large anechoic chamber. The Model T is available in Black Ash, Boston Cherry, or Natural Cherry veneers.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jan 13, 2013 0 comments
Unison Research is the latest company to offer a power booster for low wattage amplifiers whose sound you love, but whose power is insufficient for your speakers. The Unico UPower booster amplifier ($2695 in silver, $2895 in black), pictured with Bartolomeo Nasta, Unison Research's Export Manager (left), and Marc Phillips, US Importer for Colleen Cardas Imports (right), is a class-A booster amplifier can quadruple output power up to 100Wpc, and, as with the Musical Fidelity Superchargers from few years back, is claimed not to change the sonic signature of the electronics it's paired with.
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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 13, 2013 0 comments
Bel Canto has three asynchronous USB link converters new to CES this year starting with the mLink at $375, the uLink at $675 and the REFLink at $1,500. All three units can handle 24/192 sample rates and will isolate the music signal, and clocks, from the "harsh, noisy electrical environments of computers and music servers."

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