Like many (most?) audiophiles, I've tended to turn up my nose at in-wall and on-wall loudspeakers. I normally assume that there must be major sonic compromises in designing speakers that fade into the background. I was then most pleasantly surprised by the sound of the Totem Tribe V ($6000/pair) at CES 2015. This is an on-wall speaker, but that sort of mounting is not possible in a hotel environment, so the speakers were stand-mounted, as close to the wall as possible. The sound was clean, open, and dynamic, with a firm bass foundation.
Epos and Creek have long been associatedEpos loudspeakers seemed to work particularly well with Creek electronicsbut the connection became more solidified in 2014, when Mike Creek acquired total control of Epos and appointed his son, Luke, to be the Epos brand director. The first result of this change of ownership is the new Epos K-Series, which importer Roy Hall describes as being more "lifestyle-oriented."
Wharfedalewhich now bills itself "Britain's Most Famous Loudspeaker. . .Since 1932"introduced the Diamond 200 series at CES 2015. The series includes the model 210 and 220 bookshelf monitors, model 230, 240 and 250 floorstanders, model 220C center-channel speaker, and model WH-D8 and WH-D10 subwoofer.
Walking the halls of the Venetian, you often hear music emanating from the rooms, the sound prompting you either to want to check it out or to walk on by. I was attracted by the music coming from the room identified as Crystal: a clear, lively sound that could be appropriately described as "crystalline." I assumed that the exhibitor was Crystal Cable, which I knew to make some excellent speakers, but which have prices above my CES report coverage limit of $10k/pair. Nevertheless, I went into the Crystal room to have a closer listenand discovered that the exhibitor was not Crystal Cable, but a company called Crystal Acoustics, based in Greece.
Dynaudio, which often exhibits with Simaudio Moon electronics, this time was doing a demo (with Mick Tillman in the photo) of their Contour S 3.4 LE speaker ($7850/pair) in a system featuring the Octave V110 integrated, T+A Elektroakustik music player/CD transport/DAC, and In-Akustik cables.
I have long admired the sound of the Danish-made Raidho speakers, but have found it difficult to relate to their pricesexcept for a small two-way, all well north of $10k/pair. I was then pleased to find out that there's a new Raidho-affiliated brand name: Scansonic HD.
Speaker designer Paul Barton is not known for coming up with new models willy-nilly, so a new model that represents a potential advance in sound qualityrather than just meeting a particular price pointis a significant event. The new speaker is the T3 ($7500/pair), and represents collaboration with a different overseas manufacturing facility than earlier models like the T2.
"Have you heard the Larsen speakers?" The person posing this query was one of CES attendees in the elevator with me at the Venetian, who looked at my badge and noted my affiliation. "No, I can't say I have. I don't think I've even heard of them." He then proceeded to tell me that he owned these speakers, and loved them. They were exhibiting at the Venetian.
I first heard the King Audio Limited (also known as KingSound) Prince electrostatic loudspeaker several years ago at the Montreal show, and was impressed by the transparency of its sound, which reminded me of the KLH Nines that I used to own.