CES 2009

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Wes Phillips  |  Jan 09, 2009  |  1 comments
Immedia's Allen Perkins was showing his 60Wpc class-A Spiral Groove E60A stereo power amplifier ("around" $15,000). "That's 'e' for Equinox, which is what I call Sonic Groove's spiral logo, "said Perkins. "Sixty, of course, is its output, and A is for class-A." It's a slick unit, hewn from a solid block of aluminum and employing an extremely low-noise fan to keep operating temperatures low. "For a class-A design, it's pretty energy efficient," Perkins added.
Wes Phillips  |  Jan 09, 2009  |  2 comments
Simaudio's 100Wpc Moon i3.3 ($3300) is a very flexible component. In its stock version, it's an integrated amplifier with five single-ended line-level inputs, an RS 232 communication port, and a headphone jack. However, users can add a phono section module ($300), a balanced input module ($200), and a DAC module ($400) that accepts USB2, S/PDIF, and Toslink. In fact, buy all three modules when you buy the i3.3 and you get the whole package for $4000.
Jon Iverson  |  Jan 09, 2009  |  6 comments
Audio Research is showing their new replacement for the CD7, the Reference CD8 CD player shipping now at $9,995. They've taken a Philips Pro-2 transport and attached it with isolation pads to a machined aluminum I-beam which in turn is bolted to a machined aluminum bottom plate.
Jon Iverson  |  Jan 09, 2009  |  0 comments
With the cover and top plate of the CD8 off, the Philips Pro-2 transport mechanism is revealed along with the damping system coupling the laser and spindle with the aluminum I-beam below.
Jon Iverson  |  Jan 09, 2009  |  0 comments
To access the drive, a drawer on top slides open.
Jon Iverson  |  Jan 09, 2009  |  24 comments
Wadia's iTransport was a big hit at last year's show, so they are back this year with a pile of new products.
Jon Iverson  |  Jan 09, 2009  |  12 comments
Here is Wadia's new 381 Integrated CD Player, which retails at $6,950 and offers the same performance of the company's 581se minus SACD playback.
Jon Iverson  |  Jan 09, 2009  |  0 comments
Wadia is also showing the new 571 CD transport at &7,950 and is also slated for a March ship date.
Jon Iverson  |  Jan 09, 2009  |  0 comments
8 DACs per channel and upsampling to provide a 2,8224MHz data rate with 26-bit resolution from a standard CD. Retail is $33,450 and availability will be March.
John Atkinson  |  Jan 09, 2009  |  2 comments
The original Coltrane speaker from Swedish company Mrten Design got the thumbs-up from Michael Fremer when he reviewed it three years ago, so I was not surprised to hear good sound in importer EAR USA's room from the new Coltrane Soprano ($45,000/pair). The Soprano combines a diamond tweeter from Jantzen Audio said to have a 55kHz bandwidth, with two 7" ceramic-cone woofers from Accuton. Other than the 56mm-thick front baffle, the stylin' gracefully curved enclosure is fabricated from carbon-fiber laminate.
John Atkinson  |  Jan 09, 2009  |  1 comments
Although Mikey Fremer has received a pair for review, I haven't visited his Jersey crib yet to take a listen. So the system in Boulder's room at CES was my first chance to audition Wilson's new MAXX 3. I popped a data disc with some of my hi-rez 24-bit/88.2kHz files in the Boulder 1021 CD player, and a list of the WAV files appeared on the player's screen. The 1021 will play data CDs carrying FLAC, WAV, Vogg Orbis, and MP3 files, and as I found, will decode and play hi-rez files.
John Atkinson  |  Jan 09, 2009  |  1 comments
I went into the Pass Labs room to check out the company's new amps. But what caught my eye was the SR-1 loudspeaker ($25,000/pair). SR-1 stands for "First Son of Rushmore," the Rushmore being Nelson Pass's original assault on the state of the speaker art. A conventional deign compared with the active quad-amplified Rushmore, the four-way SR-1 uses four top-line SEAS drive-units, including a 29mm Hexadym soft-dome tweeter,
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jan 09, 2009  |  1 comments
Bel Canto's designer, John Stronczer, proudly showed off the the Minnesotan company's e.One s300 integrated amplifier ($2495), that was recently reviewed by Wes Phillips. A dual-mono design with a class-D output stage, it outputs 300Wpc into 4 ohms and 150Wpc into 8 ohms, the diminutive integrated amp features Bel Canto's single button control for inputs and volume, as well as a remote control.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jan 09, 2009  |  7 comments
Miguel Alvareaz of Point St. Lucie, Florida, is a defector for the cause. A self-confessed former marketing rep for Bose who always had a passion for audiophile products, he eventually left the company to develop the Tripoint Troy power product ($8000). Based on a new concept, the device uses passive filtration in the form of magnetism and layers of different materials (brass, copper, and proprietary products) to eliminate and reduce EMI and RFI. Rather than a line conditioner per se—one is in the works—the Troy is a grounding device to which you attach ground wires from the various components in your system. (If a component lacks a ground wire, Miguel can explain how to determine the right place to affix one).
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jan 09, 2009  |  0 comments
Gary Koh of Genesis was delighted to show me his Absolute Fidelity Foundation. These brand new, extremely attractive rack and amplifier stands are available in various sizes and support configurations.