CES 2016

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Larry Greenhill  |  Jan 15, 2016  |  2 comments
Finished in Lancaster Grey, the Quad PA-One headphone amplifier is a full-tube design, with a built-in DAC.
Larry Greenhill  |  Jan 15, 2016  |  0 comments
Pass Laboratories designer Wayne Colburn showed me their new INT-60 Integrated amplifier ($9000). Rated at 60Wpc, the amplifier uses the same heatsinks, power supplies, and output stages as the Pass Point 8 power amplifiers.
Larry Greenhill  |  Jan 15, 2016  |  0 comments
Pass Laboratories celebrated its 25th Anniversary in business by introducing its HPA-1 headphone amplifier ($3500). The circuitry is a two-stage CFA topology using cascaded ultra-low noise Toshiba JFETs driving complementary Fairchild power MOSFETs running in class-A.
Larry Greenhill  |  Jan 15, 2016  |  1 comments
Matthieu Latour, Nagra's Marketing Director, spent time showing me the Swiss company's new Classic Integrated Amplifier ($19,450). Both Nagra's Classic Integrated Amplifier and Classic stereo power amplifier deliver 100Wpc into 8 ohms and are strikingly similar, but differ in that the integrated unit has 3 RCA inputs and 1 XLR input and cannot be bridged. It uses a solid-state circuit preamplifier section. The Classic Integrated amplifier will be available in May, 2016.
Herb Reichert  |  Jan 15, 2016  |  1 comments
The Thiel TM3 loudspeakers ($3500/pair) looked extremely nice—but it was hard to listen. All I could think about was that girl on the poster's lips and the shadows on her cheeks. The cut angles on the TM3s seemed to match her face. And the flowers—I can't remember the last time I saw flowers in a CES room.
Herb Reichert  |  Jan 15, 2016  |  0 comments
PrimaLuna products flesh out texture, hall sound, and instrumental color better than the tube amps of yore and on the scale of warm to cool, PrimaLuna is always exactly in the middle—as in Goldilocks' "just right." In fact, I would have to say that PrimaLuna's just-right neutrality is its #1 best trait.
Herb Reichert  |  Jan 15, 2016  |  2 comments
Last year, I raved-reviewed the Hegel H160 integrated amplifier. It was probably the best all-around integrated amp I studied. I laughed that it had only two analog inputs but six assorted digital ones. I didn't laugh while the H160 grabbed every loudspeaker in my house by its cojones and gently forced the frightened cones to submit. Maybe it was the black mask faceplate or maybe was Hegel's SoundEngine technology. I don't know, but unquestionably, the H160's 150Wpc (into 8 ohms) had a very special way with speaker cones.
Herb Reichert  |  Jan 15, 2016  |  0 comments
Morel's USA distributor, Nir Paz, was demonstrating the Octave 6 Limited Edition floorstanders ($6000/pair). He was driving them with the new 250Wpc (into 8 ohms) Hegel H360 integrated amplifier ($5700).
Herb Reichert  |  Jan 15, 2016  |  0 comments
The surprising combination of the superb-sounding (but prototype) Technical Audio Devices Laboratories (TAD) loudspeakers with the wonderfully affordable Audio Alchemy electronics manifested some penetratingly beautiful Roy Orbison music.
Jon Iverson  |  Jan 14, 2016  |  4 comments
Chord Electronics had their suite divided into two rooms at CES, the main room as shown in the photo above and the smaller back room where all the headphone listening was taking place. Chord had their Mojo and Hugo TT DACs set up with a variety of Audeze headphones as reported earlier.

But in the main room was their latest DAVE DAC (which I'll be profiling in a later post) as well as some of their best electronics. The system was topped off with one of my personal favorites, the Vienna Acoustics The Music loudspeakers.

Jon Iverson  |  Jan 14, 2016  |  0 comments
Though not a listening stop, we had to say hello to the guys from Mobile Fidelity including (L-R in the photo above) Rob Loverde, Shawn Britton and Jonathan Derda. Turns out Shawn has mastered some of Graham's work, so they immediately set to talking about the new album and the possibility of MoFi getting their hands on it.
Jon Iverson  |  Jan 14, 2016  |  0 comments
First, Bryston reminded show-goers that earlier this year they updated their BDP-2 Music Player (reviewed here by Michael Lavorgna at AudioStream.com and Larry Greenhill here and the box on top in the photo above) with a new "Integrated Audio Device" or "IAD".

Bryston claims that the new IAD delivers improved specifications and replaces the current two-piece third-party sound card and SPDIF interface module. All new BDP-2 players are currently shipping with the new IAD installed, and legacy BDP-2 consumers have an option to retrofit to the new device for $500.

Jon Iverson  |  Jan 14, 2016  |  0 comments
One of the great pleasures of CES is discovering new music. People come from all over the world, and often bring surprising choices.

Such was the case when distributor/retailer GTT Audio's Bill Parish asked what I'd like to listen to, and I turned it back over to him. I'm not sure who made the choice, but between Parish and Mola Mola's Bruna Putzeys, who had walked over, a track from Christine and the Queens emerged. New to me, and I've already ordered the disc on Amazon.

Jon Iverson  |  Jan 14, 2016  |  1 comments
First shown at Rocky Mountain in October, the soulution 760 DAC was again on hand and is now expected to ship at the end of January for startling $72,000. I say startling not only because this is pre-owned Aston Martin DB-9 territory but also because soulution tends to go with a minimilist esthetic with their casework. So the focus is on what's inside, not the fancy metal.
Jon Iverson  |  Jan 14, 2016  |  0 comments
Making good on the prototype that Great Britain's Prism was showing last year, the new Callia DAC will finally be released for retail this month at $1,895. It will handle 32/394 PCM and double DSD via USB, optical and SPDIF inputs on back. There will be both balanced and unbalanced audio outputs with digital volume control along with low-impedance headphone output with sensitivity adjustments on the back panel.