Jake Shimabukuro CES 2017

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Jana Dagdagan  |  Jan 24, 2017  |  8 comments
On the final day of the show, our special guest, ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro and our very own Jason Victor Serinus came together to form the most unlikely of duos. We originally attempted to film this while in a moving gondola but were sternly prohibited from doing so by the gondola ride manager.
Jon Iverson  |  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  |  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.
Jon Iverson  |  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  |  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  |  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  |  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.
Jon Iverson  |  Jan 10, 2017  |  0 comments
Covering CES with a perpetual smile and fresh ears is usually a challenge. But sometimes, you can feel like the luckiest reporter alive when everything falls into place.

Yes, it'll sound like I'm gushing, but unless you meet him, it's hard to comprehend what a positive and gracious human being Jake Shimabukuro is. Everywhere we went he stuck his hand out and, with a smile, exhibited unending excitement and curiosity at what he was hearing. And watching him play, up close and in person, is amazing. But we're getting ahead of ourselves.

Larry Greenhill  |  Jan 09, 2017  |  0 comments
In the YG Acoustics-Audionet suite, the sound on playback of Jake Shimabukuro's ukulele wizardry came closer to matching his live performance than in most rooms, perhaps as a result of the excellent match between the Audionet Max monoblock amplifiers and YG Acoustics Sonja XV loudspeakers.
Larry Greenhill  |  Jan 09, 2017  |  2 comments
During visits to the suite, I also heard Jake Shimabukuro's ukulele playing, which was outstanding, and then a recording of his performance played back over the Nagra HD monoblocks…
Jon Iverson  |  Jan 08, 2017  |  4 comments
Photo: John Atkinson

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.
Jon Iverson  |  Jan 02, 2017  |  3 comments
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.
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