CES 2014

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Jon Iverson  |  Jan 13, 2014  |  0 comments
Kalman Rubinson has already posted a photo of Korg's DS-DAC-100m lower down in this report, so I'm including a photo of the other DAC they had on display, the DS-DAC-100 which retails for $599 and comes with the company's AudioGate software allowing you to convert any file to DSD in real time. I watched a demo as this was being done live and it's quite an impressive piece of software.

Keep in mind that Korg makes the DSD recording devices that many labels are using, including M•A Records.

Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jan 17, 2014  |  1 comments
Krell used CES to launch no fewer than seven iBias high-efficiency class-A amplifiers. Called, by the company, "the most revolutionary design change in its 33-year history," the amps consume far less energy than traditional class-A amplifiers. iBias technology also reputedly eliminates crossover distortion, allowing low-level details, subtleties and spatiality to emerge without restricting dynamics. It does so by operating output transistors constantly at full power, so they never shut off, and adjusts power going to them according to demands.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jan 13, 2014  |  First Published: Dec 31, 1969  |  0 comments
LA Audio Electric Company's tube electronics produced warm, euphonic, and very smooth sound from ridiculously soppy pop music via Acoustic Zen loudspeakers. All products are hand-wired, and include proprietary output transformers. As best as I could make out, new at the show, although not in the photo, were the M-5W push-pull integrated amplifier ($1450) and A-50W integrated amplifier ($1700).
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jan 15, 2014  |  0 comments
The complete Lamm system on the 35th floor, whose total retail cost, including $216,070 for the Lamm components, $120,000 for the Verity Audio Lohengrin II S speakers, and $100,000 for the Tech DAS Airforce 1 turntable, along with Kubala-Sosna cabling, was a mere $670,071. But my brief was to cover amplification and shown only in passive display was Lamm Industries' new LP2.1 class-A, dual-monophonic tube phono preamp ($8590 regular, $8890 deluxe.)
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jan 18, 2014  |  0 comments
First, today's language lesson: lampa = vacuum tube (or a valve) in Polish. Hence the name LampizatOr for the young Polish company whose GM70 SET 22W tube monoblock integrated amplifiers ($8000/pair) are point-to-point wired in Poland, and whose motivating force, Lukasz Fikus, seems intent on causing quite a stir on audio forums with statements such as, "I DECLARE universal war against high-end equipment manufacturers: CD player, amplifier, cables, speakers—NO MORE CRAP."
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jan 18, 2014  |  0 comments
John Larsen was on hand to show off his eye-catching Swedish-made Larsen 8 loudspeakers with SD feet ($6995/pair), which are distributed by Audio Skies. Meant to be placed against the wall for full control and bass response, they can descend to 23 or 24Hz, and ascend 20kHz. "They're designed to play with the room, not against the room," Larsen explained of a design that claims to eliminate distortion-creating first reflections. The angle of the tweeter also creates a wide soundstage that was given a run for its money on Telarc's recording of Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jan 15, 2014  |  0 comments
A second system which was not playing included Merlin Audio Lab's Korean-designed, Swiss-made 214 preamplifier.
Jon Iverson  |  Jan 07, 2014  |  4 comments
Announced today at 5pm was Light Harmonic's new DAC with an eye-popping price of $120,000. Add $10,000 to include the server option.

Why is the company's Steve Holt standing there with his arms open? They don't have the product yet, so we'll have to guess if it'll look as out-there as the company's Da Vinci DAC. Holt did say they'll have a prototype at the Munich Show in May.

The company's promo sheet states: "Even Da Vinci must kneel before his sire." Other details include: 2 femto clocks, 7 sets of digital inputs, "Ultra-high speed" DAC that will handle both 32/768 PCM and DSD 256, "Digital+Analog" hybrid volume control and 5 year unlimited upgrading at no additional cost to future-proof your purchase.

They'll also throw in a Lightspeed USB cable and plan to make only 24 per year.

John Atkinson  |  Jan 14, 2014  |  8 comments
Jon Iverson reports elsewhere on Light Harmonic's cost-no-object Sire DAC. But the bigger buzz at the 2014 CES was the LH Labs Geek Pulse, a desktop DAC and headphone amplifier. Except that this product does not yet exist!
Jon Iverson  |  Jan 17, 2014  |  0 comments
Lumin had an entire row of new network players scheduled for release mid-year--all with prices still to be determined. Starting at the left, the S1 will be the flagship model and probably come in over $7k. The S1 handles DSD 64&128 and up to 24/192 PCM, includes four ESS Sabre 9018 DAC chips and also HDMI output.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jan 18, 2014  |  First Published: Dec 31, 1969  |  1 comments
"I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore" may be one of the most famous lines from an American film—Network, 1976, to be precise—but it seems, on the surface, to have little relationship to MAD (Made in England), the British loudspeaker company whose products have earned praise from cellist Julian Lloyd Webber and Stereophile's European correspondent Paul Messenger, among others. Playing at T.H.E. Show was the MAD Grand MS ($12,000/pair).
John Atkinson  |  Jan 19, 2014  |  0 comments
Daft Punk's "Within" was playing when I entered Magico's suite at the Venetian. The sound produced by the pair of the new S3s ($22,600/pair) was large and dynamic, with rich low frequencies. A solo version of "God Bless the Child" followed, and Gregory Porter's baritone was uncolored, with a well-defined, palpable image hanging between the loudspeakers. Finally, the bass drum on Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man pressurized the large room with low frequencies, all this from a a pair of speakers, each with two 8" woofers in a sealed enclosure powered by 100Wpc of amplification, with source an Aurender server feeding data to a dCS Vivaldi DAC and a Vitus preamp.

Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jan 15, 2014  |  0 comments
Swiss company Manufacture Le Son was one of many that attended CES in hopes of securing US distribution. In tow was their LS002 Le Son (approx. $35,000), a dual-mono class-B stereo amplifier that outputs a bit more than 100Wpc into 8 ohms, and 180Wpc into 4.
John Atkinson  |  Jan 18, 2014  |  0 comments
At almost 6’ high, weighing 507 lbs, and costing $480,000/pair, the Coltrane Supreme 2 from Swedish company Marten was one of the more extreme loudspeakers at the 2014 CES. But to my surprise, playing my own recording of the Jerome Harris Quartet playing Duke Ellington’s “The Mooche,” from the CD Rendezvous, it sounded delicately detailed, with a superbly stable rendering of the recording venue, Chad Kassem’s Blue Heaven Studio in Salina, KS.
John Atkinson  |  Jan 17, 2014  |  0 comments
Yes, those are moving-coil woofers. From Martin-Logan, the electrostatic company. ML’s new Motion Series speaker, to be priced at around $3000/pair when it is available in the late summer, is a big brother to the Motion 40 tower. The speaker uses the largest yet Folded Motion XT tweeter to come from MartinLogan, marrying it to a 6.5" midrange unit and a pair of 8" woofers. and although the company is still based in Kansas, its speakers are now made in Canada. Though it was demmed with Peachtree amplification, the speaker suffered from the suboptimal room acoustics.