CES 2009

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Wes Phillips  |  Jan 10, 2009  |  5 comments
Luxman is another old-school, technology-driven Japanese company. Looking at the 250Wpc B-100F (80th Anniversary Commemoration) ($55,000/pair) is a reminder of the days when the great Asian manufacturers fought for the title "best." The B100F is huge and can deliver 2000W into 1 ohm.
Jon Iverson  |  Jan 10, 2009  |  0 comments
Esoteric has upgraded the wiring and parts inside the flagship P-01 and D-01 SACD/CD transport and DAC and has renamed them the P01-VU and D01-VU respectively. Each DAC is a single channel and retails for $16k and the transport will run you $32k. These are superbly built and incredible sounding digital products. Even if you can't afford them, just be glad they exist in our world.
Jon Iverson  |  Jan 10, 2009  |  0 comments
This one box contains all eight DACs, two hard drives selected by the customer, and all processing power to run the software and audio.
Wes Phillips  |  Jan 10, 2009  |  0 comments
Also on display at Esoteric was the nifty E-03 phono section ($5500). It has two phono inputs—MC and one that can play either MC or MM cartridges. It also sports a demagnetizing function, which takes a scant 30 second. It has externally selected impedance and capacitance for each input. The E-03 also has a high-voltage custom power supply. It should be available in March.
Jon Iverson  |  Jan 09, 2009  |  First Published: Jan 10, 2009  |  16 comments
The touchscreen music server market has picked up a new face with the official release of Blue Smoke's "The Black Box". Demonstrated in prototype form at last year's CES, the final version is a sleek, um, black box with a single disc slot on the front and an array of connectors on the back. Retail is $6995 and should be hitting dealer shelves Q1 2009.
Jon Iverson  |  Jan 10, 2009  |  1 comments
Also revealed were two disc player upgrades from Ayre. Both the C-5xe universal player and the CX-7 CD player now have MP (Minimum Phase) appended to their names reflecting a new filtering option that the company says has no pre-echo and only one cycle of post-ringing. On the back of the players is a switch to select between the previous generation "apodizing" filter and the new MP filter.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jan 10, 2009  |  5 comments
Kerem Kücükaslan (pronounced something like "Kooshookasslan," shown standing in the center of the photo), former President of the Istanbul HiFi Club, is justifiably proud of his Echole Obsession cables. When I first encountered these cables, mated with Kaiser Kawero speakers from Germany at last year's Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, I was mightily impressed with the huge, three-dimensional soundstage that the system achieved in a huge ballroom. Playing a portion of Ivan Fischer's R2D4 recording of Mahler's Symphony 2, this system spoke musical truth.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jan 10, 2009  |  2 comments
Is PS Audio's Paul McGowan out to harness all of the world's AC for musical ends? You'd think so from the host of new power products in his line-up.
Jon Iverson  |  Jan 10, 2009  |  0 comments
Esoteric USB upgrade back panel.
Jon Iverson  |  Jan 10, 2009  |  1 comments
In addition to Sooloos and Blue Smoke, Qsonix was also demonstrating the latest iteration of their touchscreen music server system. The fully self-contained Q110 package is comprised of the single DAC/HD drive/software box and up to four touchscreens.
Jon Iverson  |  Jan 09, 2009  |  0 comments
8 DACs per channel and upsampling to provide a 2,8224MHz data rate with 26-bit resolution from a standard CD. Retail is $33,450 and availability will be March.
John Atkinson  |  Jan 09, 2009  |  1 comments
I went into the Pass Labs room to check out the company's new amps. But what caught my eye was the SR-1 loudspeaker ($25,000/pair). SR-1 stands for "First Son of Rushmore," the Rushmore being Nelson Pass's original assault on the state of the speaker art. A conventional deign compared with the active quad-amplified Rushmore, the four-way SR-1 uses four top-line SEAS drive-units, including a 29mm Hexadym soft-dome tweeter,
Wes Phillips  |  Jan 09, 2009  |  15 comments
Peachtree Audio has declared that "Computer Audio is here to stay—so let's make it sound right." The 80Wpc Nova ($1199) includes an ESS 9006 Sabre DAc, which has a jitter reduction circuit and a 24-bit/96kHz upsampler. It employs a 6922 tube tas the driver for its class-A/B output stage. It decodes MP3, MP4, FLAC, AIFF, ALC, "plus all others. It even has a slot in the back to accommodate a Sonos ZP80/90. And did I mention that it has an HT pass-through? Or 11 regulated power supplies? That last is to isolate separate sections from digitally generated noise.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jan 09, 2009  |  0 comments
Gary Koh of Genesis was delighted to show me his Absolute Fidelity Foundation. These brand new, extremely attractive rack and amplifier stands are available in various sizes and support configurations.
Wes Phillips  |  Jan 09, 2009  |  1 comments
Credit where credit is due: Here's the man himself, Lars Engstrom, standing with theLARS.