CES 2013

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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jan 14, 2013 0 comments
Ted Denney's Synergistic Research has enlarged its already large line with its new entry-level Core Series ($245 to under $1000). "Distilling Synergistic technology to its essence" is how Denney describes the complete line, including computer audio and digital cables. The new Transporter Ultra ($1995) and Transporter Ultra SE ($2295) is a single unit that replaces all the individual wall warts used on various Synergistic products. There is also the Core Ethernet Active ($345/1m) and Core Ethernet Active SE for Synergistic Research's digital power tools, and new Element Series power cords composed of copper, tungsten and silver. I'm not certain, but I believe this cord is shown draped over one of the company's fabulous Tranquility Bases.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jan 14, 2013 1 comments
Photograph: Larry Greenhill

Opening the top of Ayre's new AX-5 integrated amplifier ($9950) revealed an impressive layout, with transformers so big that they extend down through the bottom of the chassis. Rated at 125Wpc into 8 ohms, or 250 into 4, the AX-5 uses the same volume control as in the KX-R, and a diamond buffer circuit in the output stage. The amp, driving TAD CR-1 stand-mounted monitors, sounded eminently smooth on a track by Ella Fitzgerald, and did a fine job communicating the smile in her voice.

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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jan 14, 2013 0 comments
Named for the Italian word for "wave," three-year old Onda Cables of Calgary, Alberta, Canada has announced its top-of-the-line Onda Riptide ($5800/1m pair). The cables have their own proprietary solid-core silver pin in their RCA terminations, and a combination of 13, 14, 16, and 10-gauge wire. Their Riptide power cord ($5800/5 ft) combines 8 and 16 gauge wires for maximum speed, rhythm, and pace. Onda's Riptide speaker cable ($8900/8 ft pair) uses 9-gauge conductors, augmented with 13 and 16. Owner and designer Greg Kozokowsky learned a lot of his technology from his work as an engineer in Canada's oil sands.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jan 14, 2013 0 comments
Importer Charles Harrison had arranged four distinct systems in an air-walled ballroom at THE Show. The room's boundaries were so porous that I was able to hear the sounds of a competing Mahler symphony playing so loudly in an adjacent room that I thought they were coming from one of the four systems in the room I was in. The system I was actually trying to listen to featured the new Ayon Audio Triton III integrated stereo amplifier ($12,500), which can output 125Wpc of pure class A power, as well as Ayon's Ortho II XS flagship preamplifier. Witht eh room S sub-optimal acoustics, the chain produced a very bottom-heavy snippet of Mahler's Symphony No.2, capped by bright highs.
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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 14, 2013 0 comments
Though they were both at the CES last year, the MiND 180 and MOON 380D DAC with the MiND option have only recently started shipping. The MiND (Moon Intelligent Network Device) retails for $1,250 and adds basic network and NAS streaming functionality to your system. It can handle up to 24/192 through WiFi, ethernet, AES/EBU and Toslink. Control is handled via a free iOS and Android app that looked very user friendly and easy on the eyes.
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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 14, 2013 1 comments
M2Tech is seen here showcasing the new Joplin ADC which can convert analog signals to anything up to 32/384. You can convert line level inputs and there is also a built in phono stage with 16 preset EQs built in for compatibility with various manufacturers. Price is $2,499 and there are AES/EBU, SPDIF, Toslink and USB outputs. There is also a single SPDIF input.
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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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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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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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