Cocktail had their new brawnier and refined X-50 server/player on hand. And I'm comparing it to the previous X-30 model, which I'd seen at previous shows. The new X-50 feels much heavier and looks built to kill in a solid black case. On the front is a similar layout to the X-30, with a CD slot on the left and a slightly larger color display on the right.
It's safe to say our experiment bringing Jake Shimabukuro to CES this year as a live music reference worked out pretty well. Response was overwhelmingly positive and we're sifting through the comments and will start filing reports on each of the seven rooms we visited over the next week or so.
NAD's new music server and network player features WiFi and ethernet networking, 2 USB inputs, Bluetooth AptX along with a CD slot on the front for either ripping or simply playing a disc. Inside are two 2TB hard drives--one for storing music and the other for automatic backup in case the first one fails. There is no DAC inside, so outputs include SPDIF, AES/EBU and optical along with HDMI.
When asked what was new this year, Nagra's Rene LaFlamme motioned me over to the company's HD DAC and noted that there are now two power supply options along with some other smaller changes. LaFlamme stressed that this is not a MKII version, but "just an evolution" of the product and that another update is coming.
Classé was keeping information about their "in development" Delta Preamp/DAC close to their vest. But I was able to pry a few tidbits: price will be below $10,000, it will replace the CP-800, and it should appear sometime around May or June.
French manufacturer Metronome has created a new music server that General Manager Jean Marie Clauzel says is intended for people transitioning from CD to high resolution files. The Music Center is built around a custom built computer and operating system that can handle all PCM data rates and up to double DSD.
SweetVinyl is a new company from Mountain View, California and was displaying their first two digital products: Sugarcube SC-1 and SC-2.
The SC-1 is a simple 24/192 ADC and DAC that removes clicks and pops from your records, and can be inserted between your phono stage and preamp (or through a monitor loop) and uses an "artificial intelligence" rule-based system to find and eliminate clicks. The company stresses that this is not simply some kind of digital filter, and the SC-1 will not alter the tonal characteristics of the recording.
Up at the top of the Mirage hotel in the dCS suite, instead of a flashy new flagship product, the company was formally introducing something of a more practical nature: the dCS Network Bridge. The Network Bridge will allow owners of older dCS products to add networking to their existing systems. Audiophiles with other brand DACs can also use the dCS Network Bridge to add networking to their systems.
Stereophile tried something a little different for our CES coverage last year: we brought Graham Nash to the show. This year several new artist names were tossed about, and when Jake Shimabukuro came up we jumped at the chance to bring him to Las Vegas. Jake is a stellar musician, and has turned the ukulele into a respected instrument with his interpretations of classical and modern works, collaborating with a wide range of artists from Yo-Yo Ma to Alan Parsons. He is stunning to watch: If you've never seen or heard him play, check out the videos at the bottom of this story.