CES 2015: Herb's Eyes Are Opened

It's been 12 years since I attended a CES in Sin City. The porn stars are gone, but the tube amps and turntables are still here. They are trending the same virtual realities as Pono, the new drones, and cars that drive themselves. The temperature back in New York is heading for the teens but in the lobby of the Venetian, I saw a 3-year old working a smart phone like an aging carny works a 3-card Monte on Beale Street—she was wearing some fancy pink headphones and a matching pink Beatles tee shirt. (Did I mention it was 67°F in front of the Venetian today, the lobby of which is pictured above?)

Now you know, they only call it a Consumer Electronics Show so as to not embarrass the "adults" and the audiophiles (like me) by calling it the "International Toy & Game Show". But if I were smart, I would have conned this little girl into assisting me in finding all the cool audio toys in the under $2k class—which is my assigned Stereophile beat.

I am staying in the Mirage Hotel in what I appears to be called "The Dean Martin Suite"—at least when I woke up at 5:00am I couldn't find a coffee pot but I did find five kinds of vodka in the minibar. At the Venetian, however, I found a very awake and extremely ready-to-rock group of audio professionals. I started my four-day pilgrimage with a heady talk by Garth Powell explaining the Niagara 7000 A/C line conditioner in the AudioQuest suite. I've heard more than a few of these power conditioner pony shows but what impressed me about Garth Powell's version is how Garth was able to go beyond the typical hype and PR one-liners and answer some difficult questions about why the world needs another power line conditioner, what a consumer should realistically expect from a product like this and, what is actually inside the chassis of the unit he created. Sixty-seven degrees and a bit of PR realism—looks like an auspicious start to what promises to be an outstanding CES.

tonykaz's picture

You can recognize a Porn Star ? Hmmm

Tony in Michigan

Anton's picture

Woo Hoo!

The Dean Martin Suite!

I've stayed in that very same room.

Sorry about the comforter.

Lofty's picture

A three year old should not be using headphones. You should have called child protective services.