CES 2013

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Robert Deutsch Posted: Jan 17, 2013 1 comments
Active speakers—ie, those that that have built-in amplifiers—are generally unpopular with audiophiles. One well-known speaker designer working on his state-of-the-art speaker contender told me at CES that he would like it to be active but marketing told him that it wouldn’t sell, so he’s staying with the passive design. I guess Precision Transducer Engineering (PTE) didn’t get the memo—or maybe they wrote their own . . .
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John Atkinson Posted: Jan 17, 2013 1 comments
The Arabesque speakers ($90,000/pair) in the Crystal room, with their glass enclosures, were familiar, as were the Crystal cables that Jason Serinus blogged about a few days ago. But the Siltech SAGA amplifier—for Structural Amplifier Gain Architecture— were new. Designed by Siltech's Edwin Rijnveld and costing $100,000, the three-piece, 300Wpc amplifier comprises a preamplifier chassis with ultra–low-noise tubes, a battery-powered voltage-amplifier chassis, and a current-amplifier chassis. No negative feedback is used, either global or local, and the current amplifier uses optical drive of the output transistors, called "Apollo Light Drive." Output device biasing is said to be class-A at all powers into all loads.
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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 16, 2013 3 comments
Parasound still thinks we can get more out of our CDs and worked with Holm Acoustics of Denmark to implement a CD ROM drive based player that is shipping now for $4,500.

Inside the CD 1 is a Linux-based computer that analyzes the data coming off of the 4x speed drive. Parasound says that the computer keeps checking the data until it is satisfied it has a bit prefect stream. Balanced and unbalanced outputs are included as well as SPDIF for those looking to employ their own DAC.

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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jan 16, 2013 0 comments
There’s good news for audiophiles who miss the distinctive sound of Edge electronics. They’re back, albeit under another name, with designs updated and prices significantly lower.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jan 16, 2013 0 comments
Photo: John Atkinson

I have no idea where the name came from, other than the fact that it’s a sunfish whose graphic likeness occupies the circle logo that replaces the dash between Mola1 and Mola2 in the house that designer Bruno Putzeys and company co-founder Jan-Peter van Amerongen have built. Nor can I pretend that Mola-Mola’s aesthetics are any more elegant than the name. But I can tell you that the company, headquartered in the Netherlands, manufactures amplification components whose sound, driving Vivid’s G3Giya speakers ($40,000/pair) brought me oodles of delight.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jan 16, 2013 0 comments
Fresh from Primare, the Swedish company whose name, correctly pronounced “prime air,” derives from the fact that audio moves air, were two new prototypes with unfinished faceplates: the PRE60 preamp/DAC ($10,000 target price) and A60 stereo power amplifier ($10,000 target price). Both are expected to ship by summer.
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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 16, 2013 1 comments
Also in Chord's booth, the new DSX1000 retails for $13,000, is available now, and can handle a variety of network sources including ethernet, SPDIF and USB. The DSX1000 also uses an FPGA to handle all of the digital decoding and clocking.

Line level and volume controlled outputs are included along with a headphone jack and color display on the front for navigating sources. An iPad app will be available in a couple months.

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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jan 16, 2013 0 comments
Thirteen years after the Maryland-based company’s founding, Stealth Audio Cables stand out for their unique geometry. According to R&D Director Serguei I. Timachev, the cables go from thicker to thinner to assist impedance matching in analog transmission. Handmade, including the connectors, prices range, to use interconnects as an example, from the “amorphous wire in Helium, VanCross geometry of Sakra v12 ($12,000/1m pair) to the pure 99.99% solid-core Gold Signal of PGS rev08 ($1000/1m pair).
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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 16, 2013 0 comments
One of the highlights of CES this year was a chance to hang out with T+A's CEO Siegfried Amft and Manager of R&D Lothar Wiemann, only to discover they were both huge prog rock fans. No wonder I like their stuff.

And speaking of progress, T+A pulled out all the stops for their impressive new network and CD player, the MP 3000 HV, companion to the PA 3000 HV integrated amp. Retailing for $12,500 (though the first two months production run is already sold out) the MP 3000 HV includes the FD 100 bi-directional remote (with color screen), a CD transport, UPnP and DLNA compatible streaming client, internet radio, FM Tuner, and DAC.

There are plenty of digital inputs (8), with SPDIF Coax running to 24/192 and USB at 32/192, and several user-selectable upsampling and filter options. Beautifully built as well.

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John Atkinson Posted: Jan 16, 2013 0 comments
The German Voxativ Ampeggio Signature by Schimmel loudspeaker ($32,500/pair) was Stereophile's surprise Product of 2011, wresting well-balanced sound from its single drive-unit. At the 2013 T.H.E. Show, designer Inès Adler showed her Ampeggio Duo ($100,000/pair), which still uses a single full-range drive-unit, but this time field-coil–energized and with a wooden cone, said to have the same mass as a conventional paper cone but 100x stiffer. The large, wide, piano-lacquered enclosure horn-loads the rear of the cone and the speaker is claimed to have a –3dB point of 25Hz. Driven by KR amplifications, the 100dB-sensitivity Ampeggio Duos produced the kick drum on Dire Straits' "Sultans of Swing" with surprising weight.
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John Atkinson Posted: Jan 16, 2013 0 comments
Manhattan retailer/distributor Audio Arts was showing the Zellaton Grand loudspeaker ($39,750/pair). This combines a tweeter and two 7" mid-woofers using aluminum foil-faced rigid-foam diaphragms first developed in 1935 by Emil Podszus—which I had first seen and heard in the Pawel Ensemble minimonitors from 20 years ago—with a downward-firing woofer in a cabinet that is open to the rear.
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John Atkinson Posted: Jan 16, 2013 1 comments
Every CES witnesses something out of left field. In the case of the 2013 Show, it was the ViolinSpeaker, which uses the body of a real violin to emit frequencies above 2kHz. (A conventional 6.5" woofer is concealed in the plinth.) The ViolinSpeaker is offered at two prices: $7200/pair and $3800/pair, depending on the quality of the instrument chosen. The sound? Not as bad as I was expecting, but not very good either.
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Larry Greenhill Posted: Jan 16, 2013 2 comments
EgglestonWorks, who manufacture loudspeakers in Memphis, Tennesee, introduced a all-new version of their 150 lb, Nine Signature loudspeaker ($18,900/pair). This is a three-way speaker that uses a 1” dome tweeter, a sealed midrange section that incorporates two all-new carbon-fiber 6" midrange drivers, and a new dual-ported 8" bass driver, and is spec'd from 25Hz–20kHz, –3dB. This floorstander was powered by a new Rogue Audio Sphinx hybrid class-D integrated stereo amplifier ($1295), which played digital music files sourced through a dCS Puccini DAC and CD player.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jan 16, 2013 0 comments
Beneath the striking fascias of B.M.C. electronics lies some advanced engineering. As best I could gather from a rather zippy introduction that had me scrambling to write everything down coherently, the B.M.C. M2 monoblock amplifiers ($7790/each) contain LEF (load-effect-free) circuitry that delivers the signal, voltage, and necessary current independently. This purportedly allows them to handle complex speaker loads without need for global feedback. (There’s more to say, of course, but I don’t trust my scrawl.) The M2 outputs 200W into 8 ohms, and 380W into 4. Designed in Germany but manufactured in China, each monoblock weighs 88 lbs and includes a 2kVA transformer.
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John Atkinson Posted: Jan 16, 2013 3 comments
The evening before the show officially opened, I snuck into the Nola room at the Venetian. There I found the Long Island company's new Concert Grand Reference speakers ($197,000/pair), driven by an Audio Research CD8 CD player, Reference 10 preamplifier, and Reference 75 amplifier, hooked up with Nordost Odin cabling. A Quantum QX4 provided the system conditioning.

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