CES 2008

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Wes Phillips  |  Jan 13, 2008  |  2 comments
I was rocking out in the DeVore Fidelity/Tone Imports room, listening to Polly Jean Harvey. In the midst of the hurly-burly of CES, I was feeling no pain. "I love the way you guys decided to set your Silver Diamondback References up assymetrically," I told JDV.
Robert Deutsch  |  Jan 13, 2008  |  5 comments
For Stereophile writers, the focus of interest at CES are the exhibits featuring high-performance audio (mostly in the Venetian). That's certainly true for me, but I have to admit to being intrigued by the many sorts of electronic gadgets and gizmos that are shown in the main exhibit halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center and the Sands Expo, so my visit to CES always excludes a brief tour of these venues. And, sometimes, in my wanderings through these halls I even find a product that is interest to audiophiles as well as gadget freaks. I found one such product at the Sands Expo: the Zoom H2 portable audio recorder.
Stephen Mejias  |  Jan 12, 2008  |  8 comments
Totem's The One sounded excellent with Naim's CDX2 CD player, amplification, and power supplies.
Larry Greenhill  |  Jan 12, 2008  |  0 comments
It's always fun to drop in to the Burmester Suite. When Dieter Burmester, the firm's founder (left), and Udo Besser, the CEO (right), are not working on the latest sound system updates to the 1.2 million Euro Bugatti Veryon 16.4 supercar, they build massive loudspeakers and amplifiers for home consumers and audiophiles.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jan 12, 2008  |  0 comments
April Music's tremendous achievement deserves two blog entries. In one room at the Alexis Park, the Korean-based company demmed an absolutely amazing for the price Stello stack of low-cost, truly high-end mini components: the Stello CDT-100 transport ($695), DA100 Signature ($895), HP100 headphone amp/preamp ($595), and S100 50W/channel power amplifier ($745). Auditioning Harmonia Mundi's beautiful recording of Schubert's Arppeggione Sonata, this diminutive set-up (complete with B&W 805 loudspeakers and Red Rose cabling) created an amazingly deep, involving soundstage that would make many a manufacturer of components costing 10 times the Stello price envious. The system also did a fine job of capturing the complex harmonics of the piano. An I2S bus connection between components—shades of Audio Alchemy and Perpetual Technologies—sure helps matters. I wouldn't go as far as saying that this set-up fully captured the soul of every piece of music I auditioned, or that its solid-state pedigree wasn't apparent, but it blew the socks off most mass-market doo-doo and a helluva lot of supposedly audiophile-grade components.
Wes Phillips  |  Jan 12, 2008  |  2 comments
I have seen few turntables, no any mechanical devices more likely to induce flat-out gadget lust than the $150,000 Transrotor Artus. It has a magnetically coupled drive assembly, which means no points of contact between motor and platter. It's machined from solid billets of high-grade aluminum, finished to an impeccable sheen. Its deck is gimbal-mounted to freakishly huge counterweights for absolute level and stability (think gyroscope here). Its power supply uses something called "Konstant M3," which I gather is pretty special, but my limited German and the Transrotor rep's far less limited English prevented me from determining in what way.
Robert Deutsch  |  Jan 12, 2008  |  1 comments
Hovland introduced a new preamp; in fact it was so new that it hasn't been named yet, and the price hasn't been determined ($16k–$18k range). The only thing known for sure is that it's a solid-state design, with balanced inputs and outputs, and has the blue back-lighting that Hovland is known for. It's another contender for the “Most Beautiful $18k Preamp” title.
Stephen Mejias  |  Jan 12, 2008  |  2 comments
I met Hegel's Bent Holter at HE 2007, and I was instantly attracted to his combination of tech-talk and passion for music. Bent is at once serious and strangely wacky.
Larry Greenhill  |  Jan 12, 2008  |  3 comments
I corresponded briefly a while back with Gary Koh, CEO of Genesis. Gary has owned the company for the past five years, and moved it from its original home in Colorado to Seattle, Washington. When he took over the company, he was aware that his background was in computer software, not electronics. He decided that this could be an advantage. "Not being an engineer, I didn't know what was impossible. This explains to some degree the types of projects I've decided to take on, and those that have been achieved."
Stephen Mejias  |  Jan 12, 2008  |  0 comments
Both the GT 1 bookshelf and GT 2 floorstander loudspeakers offer a handy tweeter control for "precise adjustment of the frequency response in relation to the listening room and associated equipment," said Thierry Comte.
Wes Phillips  |  Jan 12, 2008  |  0 comments
"Any source components?" I asked Cayin importer and VAS Audio maven Sze Leung.
Larry Greenhill  |  Jan 12, 2008  |  0 comments
"We don't have a price yet, because the TAD Compact Reference One Monitor loudspeaker is a prototype," stated Andrew Jones, lead engineer for loudspeakers at TAD Laboratories, Inc., shown here in John Atkinson's photo. "I can say that it will be somewhere between zero dollars and $60,000, the cost of a pair of our full-sized TAD Reference One speakers."
Stephen Mejias  |  Jan 12, 2008  |  8 comments
After days filled with wildly-shaped loudspeakers constructed from all sorts of fantastic materials, I must say it was refreshing to see a familiar face—the DeVore Fidelity Gibbon 3, a speaker that looks like a speaker.
Wes Phillips  |  Jan 12, 2008  |  0 comments
That line got me a kitten when I was five. It doesn't seem to work so well on audio manufacturers, though. I must have lost me some cute.
Robert Deutsch  |  Jan 12, 2008  |  0 comments
McIntosh had what was, for a high-end specialty audio company, a huge assortment of products on display at the Mandalay Bay, including several new models. The most interesting of these for me was the MC 2301 power amplifier. With price listed only as TBD ($24k–$30k being an educated guess), the MC 2301 is a 300Wpc monoblock, and, a first for McIntosh, fully balanced. Oh, and did I mention that this is a tube amplifier, using KT88s? Talk about returning to your roots.