A Year of Distance and Difference

To be clear: I'm not really considering messing around with a different pair of loudspeakers.

How could I, when this love is still so new? So new and at once: perfectly comfortable and wonderfully exciting. So exciting it's almost scary. And can it really be all that it seems? We'll see, I suppose. We'll see what we can do about it. About making it last.

It's just that CES is fast approaching, and I will be following a rainbow of alluring designs with promises of gut-busting deep bass, unmatched high-frequency resolution, all sorts of wild and crazy transient attack, breathtaking transparency, eye-popping 3D imaging, heartstopping emotional impact with sweet sonic physicality, soft skin, blue eyes, and, lord o lord, who knows what else?

Shebang pow plop whiz.

Last year's CES was my first. Still on the plane, just moving into our descent, documenting my initial impressions, I wrote:

For the past four years, I've wanted to experience this, and, now, here I am. Mostly, what I've heard is that it's hell.

"It's good to do it once," they say. "But, you'll never want to do it again."

Finally, we're descending, and all I see is brown, brown dirt. ("Sand," Jon Iverson will later correct me.)

The softest landing I've ever experienced brings into vision an infinite row of tall, thin palm trees. ("Palm trees!") I try to see how far they go, when the plane takes a turn into the docking gate. As the palm trees leave my view, in comes this silly, sudden, candy-coated skyline. Vegas is all pink and purple and made of Lego building blocks.

They were wrong: I do want to do this again. I'm interested to see how my experiences with the DeVore speakers and Arcam Solo may have shaped the way I listen, or my ability to listen. If at all. Indeed, something must have changed. Only I don't know what. It's always interesting, for me, to experience something again, with an altered point of view, a revised angle of observation, a year of distance and difference. Like revisiting the Lower East Side, but this time...

"With sober eyes?" she completes my thought.
"Yes. With sober eyes," I agree. "I knew when I started that I wouldn't have to finish that sentence."

And not alone. But, with a guide, a hand to hold, an entire body to embrace and eager to be embraced.

The article began with something somewhere in between an apology and an introduction:

Editor's Note: Stephen Mejias has never attended CES before, and does not claim to be an audiophile. But he's distinguished himself enough around the Stereophile office that it seemed a good idea to register his first-time impressions of audio's greatest show on earth.