CES 2013

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Robert Deutsch Posted: Jan 11, 2013 1 comments
Canadian speaker manufacturer Paradigm is celebrating its 30th anniversary with a limited edition speaker, called the Tribute ($6000/pair). The Tribute (pictured here) has a new cabinet, built in-house, a beryllium tweeter from the Signature range, a new mounting system for the drivers, corrugated drivers surrounds, and a chrome-plated stainless steel plinth.
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Robert Deutsch Posted: Jan 11, 2013 1 comments
Many speaker manufacturers give their various speaker lines fanciful names that make it difficult to determine a given speaker's position in the manufacturer's intended quality range. Polk, in contrast, simply places their speakers in three categories: Good, Better, and Best. I suspect this helps sales staff in stores enormously in communicating what the differences are between various speakers from Polk.
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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 11, 2013 0 comments
Audio Research is replacing the CD8 with a new player this year that will use similar proprietary filters and upsampling to that of the company's Reference DAC. There are also additional digital inputs on the back to accept USB, SPDIF, Toslink and AES/EBU 24/192 connections. The new player is shipping later this month and will retail for $13,000.
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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 10, 2013 0 comments
USB Dongle DACs are taking off, and companies like HRT are attempting to combine small form factor with features and sound quality. Unlike Audioquest's Dragonfly, the microStreamer sports two output jacks, one fixed and optimized for line level destinations and the other with variable out for headphones.

The microStreamer will retail for $189.95, can handle streams up to 24/96 and is connected to your computer or source with a short USB cable. The company explains that this approach prevents mishaps where the dongle could damage your computer's USB connector if it was plugged straight in like the Dragonfly.

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Robert Deutsch Posted: Jan 10, 2013 0 comments
The Sony press conference is arguably the most prestigious at CES—and the largest. It would have been even larger if Sony did not have the policy of allowing only select invited members of the media to attend. Having a Press badge by itself does not guarantee admission. Even so, I overheard a Sony rep saying to one of his colleagues that attendance at the Sony press conference was over 1600.
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Stephen Mejias Posted: Jan 10, 2013 4 comments
It seems like everyone and their grandma is releasing a headphone these days. If you’ve got a brand (or a band), you might as well add a line of headphones. One of the latest to join the trend is the English rock band, Motorhead, famous for their jukebox wonder, “Ace of Spades.” Lead singer, Lemmy, was on hand to introduce his Motorheadphones. (Hee hee.)
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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 10, 2013 0 comments
Not content to stick with DACs, Light Harmonic is adding a new music server to the line up. The Source chassis is comprised of two parts: The bottom section contains the company's proprietary digital power supply, a hard drive bay that can accept four 2TB drives in a RAID array and also a Blu-ray disc player. The top half contains all of the processing circuitry and music server software.

Price is stil to be determined but I was told that the Blu-ray drive will be able to rip up to 24/192 PCM off of any Blu-ray disc inserted in the machine. Additionally, an iPad mini will be included with each purchase, loaded with a custom remote control app suite and a pre-configured wireless access point for plug-and-play setup. Ship date is estimated to be around the middle of the year.

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Robert Deutsch Posted: Jan 10, 2013 1 comments
"Head Monster" Noel Lee is known as a shrewd, successful businessman, but I think that if he had taken a different career path he could have made a great evangelist. His CES press conferences have very much feeling of revival meetings, and, like an evangelist, he works hard at whipping the crowd into a frenzy. Given the largely skeptical audience of media representatives, Lee is not always successful in this, but you certainly can't fault his enthusiasm. (Consumer electronics journalists are a tough crowd.)
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Stephen Mejias Posted: Jan 10, 2013 0 comments
With all the headphone options out there, it might be hard to find the one that’s right for you. If quality, rather than superficial associations with aging rock bands, is what you want, one outstanding option would be Sennheiser—a company that’s been perfecting the art of headphones even longer than Motorhead’s been playing “Ace of Spades.”

And that's a long time.

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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 10, 2013 1 comments
Light Harmonic has decided that the only way to properly put both DSD and PCM processing into one product is to incorporate two "separate and discrete" decoding engines in the box. According to the company, one signal path is optimized for PCM the other for DSD. The PCM side can handle streams up to 32/384 with the DSD path handling DSD128. Price is $31,000 and the Dual DAC should be available around spring this year.
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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 10, 2013 0 comments
The Music Streamer HD has been upgraded to include both balanced and unbalanced output jacks (the previous model had one jack with a special adaptor) and can stream up to 24/192 via USB2. Retail price is $449.95
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Stephen Mejias Posted: Jan 10, 2013 2 comments
NAD has jumped into the headphone arena with their VISO HP50 ($279), an extremely lightweight and comfortable, noise-isolating, over-the-ear design. The detachable cable plugs into either the right or left earcup and has smart phone and microphone controls. NAD’s “RoomFeel” technology is said to improve stereo sound.
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Robert Deutsch Posted: Jan 08, 2013 Published: Jan 09, 2013 1 comments
Although most of the products on display at CES Unveiled were not in the audio category, there were a few products that were of interest to Stereophile readers: winners in the Best of Innovations 2013 contest, which had products nominated in various categories of consumer electronics. The Sennheiser 800IE earbuds are the result of several years of research, and are claimed to have a frequency response of 8Hz–41kHz, ±3dB—an astonishing achievement for a single transducer. The price is $999. For many people, earbuds are almost a disposable item, and are often left on planes. I would be very afraid of losing these.
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Robert Deutsch Posted: Jan 08, 2013 Published: Jan 09, 2013 0 comments
What's this? Somebody found a way to market needle talk (aka stylus chatter)? Michael Fremer should be here to check this out!
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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 09, 2013 0 comments
EMM's new transport sports an Esoteric drive and is intended to mate with the company's DAC2X DAC. Retail price is $17,000 or $30,000 when bought together with the DAC2x. When the two are connected, "CDs and SACDs are automatically upsamples to 5.6 MHz, which is double SACD's standard sampling rate." There is an optical out for DSD and AES/EBU for PCM (from CD or SACD).

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