Also stunning were Furutech's impeccably machined, silver over rhodium AC plugs, which incorporate solid brass ground jumpers. What does that do? "You have to hear it to believe it," said Furutech's PR guy, Jonathan Scull. Okay, we're willing to go that far.
You may not know the name Furutech, but you've almost certainly heard some of its products—the Japanese manufacturer's high-purity copper has been used in many well known audiophile cables and components. Now Furutech is offering cables, connectors, AC accessories, and other products under its own name.
Walking through the Las Vegas Convention Center, Jon Iverson, Stephen Mejias, and I were stopped in our tracks by a set of sleek, colorful, sexy loudspeakers, Jamo's new dipole Reference R909s ($14,999/pair). I was struck by how nicely Jamo has covered the backs of the speakers with a handsome grille-cloth shroud, only to have Chris Otte tell me that "of course, very few customers will want to cover them up." I'm not so sure—I suspect most folks can do without the sight of the two woofers' nether regions.
It was nice to see Audiolab products again—simple components with simple livery, not the stylish, but incomprehensible faceplates of the products manufactured after TAG Mclaren acquired the firm. Jon Iverson, Stephen Mejias, and I didn't get a chance to hear the new 8000Q preamplifier, 8000M 125W mono amplifier, 8000P 100Wpc stereo amplifier, 8000CD CD player, or 8000S 60Wps integrated amplifier ("all priced under $1000, we hope"), but we wanna. They ship in March. We can't wait.
Shure's Christian Potts entertained Jon Iverson, Stephen Mejias, and me with his description of the company's high-end E4 ($299) ear buds, which utilize a two transducer system, but he really tantalized us with preliminary information about the E500 ($499), a three transducer in-ear monitor. I shamelessly begged for a demo pair, but Potts told me that John Atkinson had scheduled a session for tomorrow, so I probably won't get no satisfaction—but I'm (ahem) shure we'll enjoying reading about his adventures with them.
Tucked within the madness of the "Zoo," as the Las Vegas Convention Center is called by its inmates, Krell assembled a temple of high-end heavy metal. Jon Iverson, Stephen Mejias, and I steered Primedia's Greg Nevins over to the monoblock Evolution One 450W power amplifiers ($50,000/pair) and Evolution Two preamplifiers ($40,000/pair), assuming they were Krell's newest additions. Au contraire, Todd Eichenbaum assured us, Krell was introducing 10 (!) new models at the show—a new line called EVO, which replaces the CAST line with components containing trickle-down technology from the Evolution flagship products.
The Krell EVO 505 SACD/CD player ($10,000), features matched 24-bit /192 kHz DACs and separate power supplies for the drive mechanism, digital, and analog circuitry as well as CAST and Current Mode. The EVO 525 ($13,500) adds a dual-channel video format converter, so it can output 480i, 480p, 576i, 576p, 720p, 1080i, and 1080p via HDMI. There were also two multichannel preamp processors introduced, but I'll leave those to Kal Rubinson to report.