We caught up with Ultimate Ears' Mike Diaz at the Taqueria. "Check this out," he said, plunking a pair of earbuds in front of us with his iPod Mini. We cued up The Carpenters' "Close to You" and inserted the 'phones.
Eneke (left) and Jaclyn Vandersteen flank Vandersteen's new composite Ebony Quatro ($10,700/pair). The wood Quatros are quite different from the speaker cloth covered $6950/pair Quatro Michael Fremer reviewed in Stereophile.
It exists; we saw it for ourselves! Wadia's $349 iTransport can take the digital signal out of an iPod before the DAC, outputting 16-bit/44.1khz resolution for uncompressed files—it doesn't upconvert lower-rez files like MP3s, but it does reformat them to 16/44.1, according to Wadia's John Schaffer.
Von Schweikert Audio's VR-5 SEs ($25,000/pair) aren't new, but once again they impressed Jon Iverson and me with their verve and natural presentation of acoustic guitar. Nils Lofgren's "Keith Don't Go" kept us nailed to our seats for the whole 12 minutes—which, in CES Show mode, is equivalent to seven human years.
If you're PrimaLuna, it's the DiaLogue, an integrated tube amp available in two models: the $2199 DiaLogue One and the $2499 DiaLogue Two. Both amps deliver 21Wpc in triode operation and 30Wpc in ultralinear mode. What's the difference? The Two comes with Genalux KT88s, Solen capacitors, fast recovery diodes in the power supply, and a high-gloss hand-rubbed finish.
"I have a theory," I said to Jon Iverson. "There are two types of rooms at CES: The ones that make you want to sit down and listen forever and the ones that make you want to cover your ears and run into the halls screaming. This room," I said, encompassing Naim's $85,000 system with my sweeping arm, "is one of the former."
Pathos Acoustics has one of the uniquest design esthetics in audio. Paolo Anriolo and Giaani Borinato beamed with delight as Jon Iverson and I oohed and ahhed over the $8000 Endorphin CD player and $1950 InControl preamplifier.
"Check this out!" Boulder's Richard Maez palmed the remote that accompanies Boulder's 865 integrated amp and 810 preamplifier. "It really fits in your hand—and unlike most remotes, it fits whether you're using your right or your left hand."