CES 2011

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Jon Iverson  |  Jan 07, 2011  |  1 comments
New products from Esoteric this year include the flagship K-01 "Digital Source Device" (pictured above) available now and retailing for $22,000. The K-01 features an asynchronous USB input that Esoteric claims will handle 24bit/192kHz sources due to a proprietary software driver the company has developed.

Other features include the VRDS-NEO transport that spins both SACD and CD discs as well as dual mono DACs.

Esoteric has also released the K-03 at $13,000 which also employs the 24/192 USB input and most of the features of the K-01. While it also plays SACDs and CDs, it includes a less expensive transport design.

Stephen Mejias  |  Jan 07, 2011  |  0 comments
PSB’s new Imagine mini ($700/pair) is available in five attractive finishes and uses a 1” tweeter and 4” clay/ceramic-filled polypropylene cone mid-woofer. The speaker measures approximately 5.75” x 9.5” x 8.3”, has high-quality, gold-plated five-way binding posts, and can be mounted on any hard surface or used on traditional speaker stands. Playing with NAD’s C565BEE CD player ($799), C165BEE preamp ($899), and C275BEE amplifier ($1199), the sound of acoustic guitars was enchanting and commanding, with fine detail, impact, and emotion. Very impressive.
Stephen Mejias  |  Jan 07, 2011  |  0 comments
Dynaudio’s DM2/6 ($800/pair) is a bass-reflex design with a 5.5” mid-woofer and a coated soft-dome tweeter. Said to be easy to drive for any amplifier, the DM2/6 has a rated sensitivity of 86dB with a 6 ohm impedance. The DM2/6 is available in very attractive black ash and rosewood vinyl veneers, and is engineered and built in Denmark.
Jon Iverson  |  Jan 07, 2011  |  0 comments
Arcam's John Dawson is seen holding the company's latest cost effective DACs. Featuring asynchronous USB technology licensed from dCS, the rDAC retails for $479 while the rDACkw (on the left) employs Kleer wireless transmitter technology and retails for $599.

Both DACs include one optical and one coax SPDIF connector in addition to USB. For the wireless option, the company has two dongles that connect to the source: the rWave for USB connections and the rWand for iPods. They cost $50 each if purchased with the DAC, $99 each purchased seperately.

Robert Deutsch  |  Jan 07, 2011  |  0 comments
CES Unveiled turned out to have little of interest to Stereophile readers—except those who are general technical geeks. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that!) Most of the products on display involved mobile computing, computer peripherals, etc., and the exhibits were simple table-top setups. Major CES exhibitors like Sony and Panasonic were conspicuous by their absence. Samsung just had some of their small digicams. I guess the high performance audio community decided to pass on this event, and it makes sense: what makes these products special can’t be evaluated by just looking at them.
Stephen Mejias  |  Jan 07, 2011  |  0 comments
The T+A Caruso ($3000) is a complete 2.1 system with iPod dock, FM tuner, alarm clock, USB input, and CD/DVD player, but is also compatible with external speakers, thus turning its onboard drive units into a center channel. It employs DSP processing for its admirable bass quality and wide dispersion, and seemed to have a very relaxed, enjoyable sound.
Jon Iverson  |  Jan 07, 2011  |  4 comments
I have no idea what it has to do with an audio show either, not that Stephen Mejias seems to care.
Jon Iverson  |  Jan 06, 2011  |  0 comments
My beat is digital, but I'm particularly on the lookout for music server products. So I was pleased to see that Cary had their MS-1 server on display and fully loaded.

The spartan front panel has a single power indicator and disc drawer for ripping CDs directly to the internal 1 Terabyte SATA drive. On the rear are two USB connectors and an ethernet port to connect to your network. One USB jack operates as the digital out sending the data stream to your DAC and the other is for an external mirror drive or for sourcing files from USB sticks or other drives connected to the MS-1.

Cary has created apps (available for free in Apple's App Store) specific for your iPad or iPhone/Touch to control the system and music library.

The MS-1 is available now for $2,495 with a power supply upgrade to be released shortly for an additional $450. Cary says it is also looking to increase future storage capacity (the current drive can hold about 2,600-2,800 albums as FLAC files).

Stacked on top is the company's new $1,495 Xciter DAC which can handle anything up to 32bit/192kHz with 4 selectable inputs and a complete bevy of connectors on back.

Jon Iverson  |  Jan 06, 2011  |  1 comments
John Atkinson readies the awards which will be picked up by the winners throughout the day.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jan 06, 2011  |  0 comments
The Consumer Electronics Association made the final step of registration, badge-holder pick-up, easier for CES attendees this year. In addition to registration sites at the Venetian, Las Vegas Convention Center, and a number of hotels, a registration booth was set up in the baggage claim area of Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport. The line may have been 25-people deep when I approached on Wednesday around noon, but it moved quickly.
Jon Iverson  |  Jan 06, 2011  |  0 comments
Constellation's Peter Madnick and Dr. Murali Murugasu return with a new digital source component which, at the moment I had walked in the room, had not yet received a name. But by the time I left was dubbed the Cygnus.

Projected price is somewhere between $15-20k with availability in May. Conceived as a do-everything stereo digital source, the Cygnus will play CDs and SACDs as well as files served from connected drives, computers, etc. and also function as a 24/384 DAC.

As always, case design is exquisite.

Jon Iverson  |  Jan 06, 2011  |  0 comments

Company Technical Director Andy McHarg shows off the dCS Debussy DAC with the new 24bit/192kHz asynchronous USB upgrade card, available in April. Current owners who'd like to upgrade can do so for $250 and folks who purchase the DAC from now until April will get the upgrade for the cost of shipping. The fully upgraded product will be available March or April for $11,499.

Jon Iverson  |  Jan 06, 2011  |  3 comments
Bob Deutsch, Kal Rubinson, and Jason Serinus awed by an appetizer at Origin India.
Jon Iverson  |  Jan 06, 2011  |  1 comments
MSB is offering a new universal transport based on Oppo's BDP-93, which plays practically anything on disc including DVD-Audio, SACD, Blu-ray, CD etc. The player also sports a USB input allowing it to stream from a USB memory stick player, external hard drive or computer.

The MSB Universal Media Transport will be available in about six weeks, with a multichannel option available six weeks after that. Price starts at $3,995.

MSB was also showing their new "high res" USB DAC that the company claims can play a 384kHz stream over USB or SPDIF "bit perfect". Depending on options, the Platinum DAC IV starts at $6,500 and tops out at $27k.

Jon Iverson  |  Jan 06, 2011  |  0 comments
HRT's latest DAC, the $199 iStreamer, sports a connector to take the digital signal directly from your iPod/iPhone/iPad device and convert it to analog. Power supply is included and the DAC will handle 32, 44, or 48kHz data rates at 16 bits.

Simple and to the point, this may be the perfect starter product for the budding audiophile.