CES 2016

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Jon Iverson  |  Jan 04, 2016  |  16 comments
The premise is simple: how would a seasoned musician react to the sound of their new album on a variety of audiophile systems at CES?

I tossed the idea to Graham Nash, and he agreed to participate in the experiment, more than a little curious about this thing called high-end audio. Graham is always full of energy and very articulate, so should provide some very interesting perspective for Stereophile readers.

John Atkinson  |  Jan 16, 2016  |  1 comments
Synergistic Research's Ted Denney always puts on a good show at a show, and the 2016 CES was no exception. The sound in Synergistic's suite at the Mirage—Magico S7 speakers driven by McIntosh amplification (modified with Synergistic fuses)—was superb. Even though I didn't know the cut being played, "Hey Now" from London Grammar, there was an effortless sense of dynamics. Another of my best sounds at CES.
Jon Iverson  |  Jan 08, 2016  |  0 comments
Germany's T+A introduced the DAC 8 analog to digital converter and preamp a couple years back as a compact and sportier version of its pricier siblings. New this year is the addition of a dedicated DSD processing section, new upgraded volume control and headphone amplifier.
Herb Reichert  |  Jan 07, 2016  |  9 comments
The reemergence of Technics on the world audio scene is, I believe, the biggest audio news of 2015–2016. I reviewed their SB-C700 stand mounted monitor speakers in the January 2016 issue and they already feel like my 2016 nomination for Stereophile's Product of the Year; but obviously it is still way early. Nevertheless, Technics is back with two lines of stylish excellent sounding equipment...
Robert Deutsch  |  Jan 12, 2016  |  0 comments
The French speaker company, Cabasse, is probably best known for their huge spherical speaker (La Sphère—reviewed by Michael Fremer in September 2008) but they make a wide range of speakers, most of them more conventional-looking. Making its US debut at CES 2016 was the Murano, a 3-way bookshelf type with a coaxial tweeter.
Herb Reichert  |  Jan 13, 2016  |  1 comments
George Cardas has been making fine-quality interconnects and loudspeaker cables since 1987. But, in 2009, he saw the future and started experimenting—looking for a technology to create a truly audiophile-quality in-the-ear loudspeaker. I went to the Cardas room at CES with the hope of experiencing his new prototypes; in-ear phones where the tiny earspeaker driver is positioned deeeeeep into the listener's ear. However, George was not there and neither were the deep-ear drivers. But! I was able to audition the brand new A8 earspeakers ($299).
Larry Greenhill  |  Jan 14, 2016  |  0 comments
GTT's Paul Vataj was demonstrating the Kii Audio Model Three speakers ($13,900/pair), designed by class-D expert Bruno Putzeys. This product is amplifier and DAC intensive. Its small cabinet—the size of a 2-way monitor—is stuffed with 6 drivers (1 tweeter, 1 midrange unit, and 4 woofers, two on the front, two on the back), 6 DACs, and 6 channels of NCore amplification.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jan 12, 2016  |  0 comments
Pass Labs may laugh a bit at its excess, as in the XS series, but Vladimir Lamm saves his smiles for the sounds of his brand-new, four-box LL 1.1 Signature line level preamplifier ($45,390/pair). That "pair" in the price is not a typo. This baby consists of two mono preamps plus two separate power supplies!
John Atkinson  |  Jan 16, 2016  |  1 comments
Graham Nash auditioned the new gibbon X speakers in the DeVore Fidelity room, which featured an LP player with the longest Well-Tempered Tonearm made, at 18". It was great to see veteran designer William Firebaugh at the 2016 show, 30 years after his unique tonearm made its debut at CES, and still actively involved in high-end audio.
Herb Reichert  |  Jan 15, 2016  |  1 comments
The Thiel TM3 loudspeakers ($3500/pair) looked extremely nice—but it was hard to listen. All I could think about was that girl on the poster's lips and the shadows on her cheeks. The cut angles on the TM3s seemed to match her face. And the flowers—I can't remember the last time I saw flowers in a CES room.
Larry Greenhill  |  Jan 13, 2016  |  1 comments
Thiel's new Intellisub was the highest-tech new subwoofer I encountered at CES 2016. It uses wireless control with convenient SmartSub app, which allows the user to control its digitally-processed, Auto-Room correction software. Rory Buszka, Thiel's engineer, explained that the built-in SmartSubXT system automatically adjusts its output based on measurements from 1–40 locations in the room.
Robert Deutsch  |  Jan 12, 2016  |  0 comments
Made in Slovenia, the Ubiq One ($13,750/pair) is a striking-looking speaker, whose sound (in a system with the Absolare Passion integrated amplifier and Memory Player 64) had a horn-like quickness. I looked up Ubiq Audio on the internet, and was interested to note that Igor Kante, Ubiq's CEO and project leader, is a big fan of Avantgarde horns, as am I.
John Atkinson  |  Jan 16, 2016  |  0 comments
When he visited the Vandersteen room at CES, Graham Nash said that what he really liked “was the midrange of that speaker system, that sounded like my voice. There was plenty of natural detail." Graham was listening to the new version of Vandersteen Audio’s Model 5A speaker, the 5A Carbon, which features the midrange unit from the Mk.II version of Vandersteen Model 7 speaker.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jan 12, 2016  |  0 comments
With an older Grand Prix Audio Monaco 1.5 turntable ($23,500) outfitted with a Tri-Planar Ultimate 12" tonearm ($9800) and PC-1S cartridge ($8500) as source, Japanese manufactured Zanden Audio Systems electronics, cables, and room treatment allied with Canadian sourced Verity Audio Sarastro IIS 3-way loudspeakers in custom finish ($55,195/pair) to produce great soundstaging on a Bach LP. Equally wining was the enticing sound on an LP from Ray Brown.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jan 14, 2016  |  0 comments
We lamentably and most apologetically overlooked the launch of the Burbank-made Ocean Way Sausalito loudspeaker ($31,500/pair) last year. The speaker's face is angled at 10° for time alignment, and the cabinet has an 18-coat polyester finish as well as optional outrigger stands. The speaker is designed to allow the listen to move around the room without loss of imaging.