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Jon Iverson Posted: Feb 16, 2017 4 comments
Now that we've entered a world of post-disc audio (sorry, AnalogPlanet.com), audiophile streaming and file-playback products have appeared by the hundreds, and many companies are on their second, third, or even fourth-generation models.

The Chinese company Auralic Limited has been pushing bits around for seven years, releasing a half-dozen streaming and network devices. Their newest, the Altair, combines in a single package the functions of a DAC, streamer, and headphone amplifier with volume control, allowing it also to operate as an all-digital-system preamplifier. Just add power amp and speakers.

Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 13, 2017 2 comments
Since I focus on digital product introductions at CES, Crystal Cable wasn't on my radar until John Atkinson suggested checking them out last year when bringing Graham Nash to the show. Boy am I glad I did! Not only did Graham love his visit there in 2016 (and JA subsequently reviewed their speakers), Jake ended his CES 2017 tour on a high note in the room with an encore performance that brought tears to more than one visitor's eye.
Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 12, 2017 3 comments
What goes up, must go down. So we headed back to the stairs and then down five flights to the 30th floor where John DeVore was set up. We were now in the smallest size room you'll find at the Venetian, but still big enough to fit us all in, like a cozy, plush living room. John keeps his space dark and relaxing too, the emphasis clearly on our sense of hearing. So no flash, and I've tried to keep the brightness in the photos realistic to reflect how this room felt.
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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 12, 2017 0 comments
I was quite excited to see the original ELAC Discovery prototype exhibited last year at CES, and AudioStream's Michael Lavorgna favorably reviewed the production model late last year. The original Discovery includes Roon Essentials in the purchase price, which though having a cap of 30,000 tracks, gets you most of the way to a decent collection and streaming experience for a very reasonable $1,099.
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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 12, 2017 2 comments
Though the variations can get confusing, I love all of these compact music networking and streaming devices spawned by the original Sonos products over ten years ago. The rPlay is intended for those who want to add one or more points of audio around their lair, streamed from subscribed services such as Spotify, Tidal, Qobuz, Deezer, Pandora, or Amazon Prime, or a NAS on the network.
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Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 12, 2017 2 comments
Naim hit CES running with four new Uniti digital products, starting with the Nova (pictured below) at $6,995 and available in June. The Nova is the top dog of the three new all-in-one player/integrated amps and features a full slate of digital inputs (including SD card and USB on the front), a quartet of analog inputs (two sets RCA and two 5-pin DIN), and networking either via ethernet or WiFi. Streaming options include AirPlay, Tidal, Spotify Connect, Bluetooth AptXHD, and internet radio.
Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 12, 2017 1 comments
Available elevators at CES are usually scarce, so seasoned show-goers hit the stairs at the end of each floor to move up or down. Since the Simaudio room was right next to the stairs, we decided to head straight up five floors to the 35th where distributor Bluebird Music had their nest in one of the larger Venetian suites. Jake bounced up the stairs no problem carrying his ukulele, the rest of us maybe a tad more winded. But we made it and were greeted by the Bluebird and Chord crew as we entered.
Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 12, 2017 2 comments
Turns out the Venetian's Grand Lux Cafe has a decent kale and brown rice salad, which three in our group quickly ate in Stereophile's hospitality room on the 29th floor. After lunch we headed up one floor to the Simaudio room where we were greeted by Lionel Goodfield and the Moon Units (sorry couldn't resist). Simaudio's room is at the back corner of one of the wings, and though much smaller than the suites on the top floors, is still twice as big as the regular rooms on their floor.
Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 11, 2017 0 comments
While the dCS and Nagra suites at the Mirage approximated the size of a typical medium sized living room, the YG suite at the top of the Venetian was something else entirely. The room was quite large, the speakers human size, and a bigger crowd was also on hand. Lori Lieberman was playing on the system as we walked in and YG's Director of Sales, Dick Diamond greeted us with a big smile and helped me get the laptop connected.

Jake was going to hear his music for the first time on a system totaling over half a million dollars.

Jon Iverson Posted: Jan 11, 2017 0 comments
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.

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