Due to a scheduling conflict I missed the press conference with power point presentation (you can see the slides here), but having spent some time with Chord's Rob Watts in the past, I'm sure the new products are packed with carefully thought out tech. Pictured here is the new Chord Hugo2, which follows on the heels of the successful Hugo DAC launched three years ago.
For those of you who like all of your functions tucked away in a single shiny box, Burmester has a product for you. The main all-in-one 161 Receiver is based on the company's Music Server 151 and the system also includes the B15 speakers (not shown) and the handy empty case that sits below the active electronics. Burmester says the empty case with fold down front door (shown below) is part of the product since their customers don't like clutter and prefer to store extraneous stuff like AppleTV boxes and game consoles out of the way. I realize that probably sounds a bit pretentious to some, but it makes sense to me, since I tend to go out of my way to hide wires and power supplies.
Now this should be interesting. We walk down the hall to the Nagra suite (in a similarly sized room to dCS) and there are the same speakers we just heard at dCS, but this time with completely different electronics. I set up my laptop, with Roon in "Exclusive Mode" as always, and test that we have sound.
An upscaling CD Transport. Yes you read right, this CD transport upscales your discs using, according to Chord, "the power of the new Xilinx XC7A200T FPGA, which has a standout 740 DSP cores, to develop sophisticated WTA (Watts Transient Alignment) filtering and upscaling algorithms which can output digital data at 705.6kHz (16 x CD’s 44.1kHz native resolution)." Whew!
Covering CES with a perpetual smile and fresh ears is usually a challenge. But sometimes, you can feel like the luckiest reporter alive when everything falls into place.
Yes, it'll sound like I'm gushing, but unless you meet him, it's hard to comprehend what a positive and gracious human being Jake Shimabukuro is. Everywhere we went he stuck his hand out and, with a smile, exhibited unending excitement and curiosity at what he was hearing. And watching him play, up close and in person, is amazing. But we're getting ahead of ourselves.
Lindemann announced a group of four new gorgeous-looking music players all with preamp control built in: MusicBook 10:DSD (USB music player/$3,495), MusicBook 15:DSD (USB music player plus CD/$3,995), MusicBook 20:DSD (Network music player/$4,495), and the MusicBook 25:DSD (Network music player plus CD/$4,995 - pictured above). The network models support WiFi and ethernet. Also new are two models of matching Class D amplifiers.
First, let's list what is in the photo (left stack first, top to bottom): EVO PhonoDAC Two ($1,600), EVO Clock Two ($640), HiFace EVO Two ($640), EVO Supply Two ($500), EVO Plus DAC Two ($890), and the EVO DAC Two ($630). Common to the DAC products: 32/384 PCM and DSD 256 processing, while the EVO Plus DAC Two has an additional clock input. Go to their website to check all the other little differences, but with pricing like this, I think listeners are in for a treat. I loved the pricier M2Tech Young DAC when I reviewed it a couple years back, so I trust their ears are in the right place with these new lower priced products.
In addition to having an awesome sounding setup in a smallish room, Simaudio's Lionel Goodfield was putting the final polish on the new Neo MiND. The Neo is a network streamer and music player that supports most PCM formats up to 24/192 and has a variety of output jacks for connection to your DAC. For networking, Bluetooth, ethernet and WiFi is included in addition to a SimLink in and out. Track sample rate and input choice are indicated on the front panel.
I was thinking this was a nice $1,000-2,000 product as Questyle's representative was going over the features: 3 types of headphone jacks (regular unbalanced, 4 pin balanced XLR and 2.5mm balanced), USB/Optical/SPDIF inputs on back, swithcable gain via three small switches on the bottom, and AKM AK4490 DAC chip inside.