CES 2016

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Larry Greenhill, Robert Deutsch  |  Jan 13, 2016  |  10 comments
Bang & Olufsen celebrated its 90 years of existence by releasing a $75,000/pair loudspeaker that had been 12 years in design. Geoff Martin, Bang and Olufsen's Tonmeister and Technology Specialist in Sound Design, played an instrumental role in bringing the Beolab 90 from its origin as a blue-sky project...
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jan 12, 2016  |  2 comments
The latest version of the VK-655SE monoblock amplifiers ($33,000/pair) from BAT (Balanced Audio Technology) may have been out for awhile, but CES marked their first appearance at any show. A dual-mono design available in both stereo and monoblock configurations, the amp exuded beautiful tube-like warmth (without the use of tubes) on a recording of Tchaikovsky's Symphony 6, with TAD loudspeakers.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jan 15, 2016  |  2 comments
"It's the only loudspeaker under 6 figures with a beryllium midrange diaphragm," Paradigm's Erin Phillips told me about the Paradigm Concept 4F (price not set, but expected to be under $40,000/pair), a speaker that has been forthcoming since last May's Munich High End, and probably won't arrive until late summer/fall 2016. The Canadian-crafted, full-range loudspeaker combines four powered 8.5" woofers—two front-firing and two rear-firing in "vibration-cancelling configuration"—with passive TruExtent® 1" beryllium-dome tweeters and 7" midrange drivers.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jan 14, 2016  |  1 comments
The well-known German company, Burmester, has introduced the Burmester Ambience BA 31 loudspeaker ($25,000/pair). Derived from its larger BA 71 sibling, this 2½-way system includes an AMT Mundorf tweeter in front, and an identical "continuously adjustable" one in back to maximize omnidirectional effects.
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.

Larry Greenhill  |  Jan 14, 2016  |  0 comments
Bryston had sent me emails announcing a new amplifier series but gave little detail. Arriving at the exhibit in the Venetian Towers, I was greeted by ever-upbeat James Tanner, Bryston's Director of Marketing. He pointed to the new Bryston 7B3 monoblock amplifier ($11,000/pair), and explained that the "cubed" name arose as naturally following the previous Bryston amplifier SST2 series.
Larry Greenhill  |  Jan 14, 2016  |  0 comments
The 2016 CES was the North American Debut of the BSC's L5 Reference multi-chassis remote controlled class A line stage ($15,900).
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jan 08, 2016  |  1 comments
1500–1600 parts, 14 circuit boards including six input boards . . . that's just the start of what gives Pass Labs' top-of-the-line XS Phono stage ($45,000) the right to the "excess" moniker. It's a while back that Nelson Pass told veteran preamp designer Wayne Colburn (above). . .
Jon Iverson  |  Jan 11, 2016  |  0 comments
You have to wonder what gets into some of these otherwise normal audio companies like Cary. Did they just hire a twenty-something in the design department? Did the VP have an acid trip one weekend?
Herb Reichert  |  Jan 14, 2016  |  0 comments
In addition to the Cary Audio AiOS, Cary Audio Design was showcasing its elegant DMS-500 network audio player/digital music streamer ($4999), which they claim, is virtually "future-proof."
John Atkinson  |  Jan 16, 2016  |  1 comments
Brian Barr was showing the SAE 2-horsepower amplifiers described earlier by Larry Greenhill with his $100,000 California Audio Technology speaker system, comprising CT MBXS6 two-way satellites and two MBX900 subwoofers. This system played more loudly, more cleanly than any I heard at CES.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jan 16, 2016  |  21 comments
See that huge line? It's a small indication of the huge, multi-national, multi-industry group of CES attendees whose numbers—170,000, if the former CEA (Consumer Electronics Association), now CTA (Consumer Technology Association) counts accurately—set new attendance records.

There's just one thing. That line was not at the Venetian Hotel, where all but a few of what CES dubs the "high-performance audio" exhibits were staged. Instead, it was at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Just about everyone you see had no idea that the High End of the audio industry was holding forth on floors 29, 30, 34, and 35 of the Venetian, because virtually all PR, including the multipage "CES 2016 Attendee Guide" that they received in the mail, failed to mention our existence. . .

Jon Iverson  |  Jan 15, 2016  |  0 comments
I've recently had a great run with Chord products in my system including the Hugo TT DAC and now the small-sized Mojo (mobile joy) headphone DAC. On the opposite end of the spectrum from the Mojo is DAVE which the company says is the most advanced DAC they've made so far.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jan 08, 2016  |  0 comments
Constellation Audio's eye-catching set-up—the first time they've shown their reference system at an audio show—included a prototype turntable with two arms that is expected to replace the Continuum Caliburn table. (Is Michael Fremer watching? You betcha.)
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jan 08, 2016  |  0 comments
Constellation Audio’s impressive system—Cygnus Media Server/DAC ($38,000), Altair 2 preamplifier ($78,000), and Hercules 2 monoblock amplifiers ($180,000/pair), as well as MIT cabling and Shunyata power treatment—fed the MartinLogan Neolith beauties ($80,000/pair) with enough power to make deep percussion sound real in the next room.