CES 2012

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Stephen Mejias  |  Jan 11, 2012  |  6 comments
There were beautiful women. There were pink socks. There was loud music, expensive alcohol, shameless dancing. There might have been a tiger in the bathroom. It wasn’t like a party in the Music Hall suite—it was a party. The company’s energetic sales manager, Leland Leard, was too busy rocking out, so Roy Hall introduced me to his new A70.2 integrated amplifier ($1499). (Here we see Leland playing DJ; I will spare us the images of Leland on the dance floor.)
Stephen Mejias  |  Jan 11, 2012  |  1 comments
In 2009, when Jon Iverson reviewed T+A’s Power Plant integrated amplifier, he was impressed by its “tight, yet musical character,” noting well-controlled bass and extended treble. T+A’s E Series Power Plant and Music Player have now been updated with high-quality balanced inputs and outputs.
Robert Deutsch  |  Jan 11, 2012  |  0 comments
With the speakers removed, you can see the inductive bases on the dock.
Stephen Mejias  |  Jan 11, 2012  |  1 comments
Imagine: Somewhere in this pretty purple tangle of cables, there’s the world's hottest audiophile yoga instructor—a lithe little woman in white tights, stretching her inner sound.

Here we see Alpha Design Labs’ new iDevice ID-30 Series of iPod dock cables. Each uses silver-plated, oxygen-free continuous crystal copper conductors and can be fitted with straight or angled, 24k gold-plated USB A-type or 3.5mm stereo connectors. Prices range from $63 to $185, depending on model and length.

Robert Deutsch  |  Jan 11, 2012  |  0 comments
The first major press event at CES, scheduled to start at 4 pm on the day before the Press Day, is something called CES Unveiled, described as "a pre-show look at who will be making news headlines before the show officially opens...catch all the latest products in one room." This description is a bit...well...exaggerated. The exhibitors are mostly small companies, with no representation from heavy hitters like Sony, Panasonic, Sharp, etc. The high-performance audio companies also pass on it.
Stephen Mejias  |  Jan 11, 2012  |  0 comments
A look inside the PrimaLuna DiaLogue Premium integrated amplifier ($3199) reveals neat point-to-point wiring and high-quality parts, like Takman resistors and SRC tinfoil capacitors—stuff that an amp-lover like Art Dudley might appreciate.
Jon Iverson  |  Jan 11, 2012  |  0 comments
A music server priced in the low six figures. An air tight music server filled with inert gasses. A music server so rare, only two have been built to date.

I try to be logical about show coverage so usually start at the top floor and work my way down, room by room, floor by floor.

CES exhibits at the Venetian top out at floor 35, and as soon as I exited the stairwell, I spied the first exhibitor, Magico speakers. I'm here to cover digital and tend to skip the speaker-only rooms, but Magico provides great demos, so I stepped in.

Am I glad I did.

John Atkinson  |  Jan 11, 2012  |  0 comments
For several years now, the CES's High-Performance Audio exhibits have been housed at the tony Venetian Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip. And also for several years, the room shared by Stereophile and Home Theater magazines, now joined by our sister websites AudioStream.com and InnerFidelity.com, has been hosted by our administrative assistant (which means she is the glue that holds us together and tells me she prefers to be called our "Digital Goddess") Rosemarie Torcivia. Welcome to Las Vegas, Ro'.
Stephen Mejias  |  Jan 11, 2012  |  2 comments
Cambridge Audio introduced their new flagship 851A integrated amplifier and 851C CD player ($1999 each).
Robert Deutsch  |  Jan 11, 2012  |  0 comments
Everybody wants to get into the act. Pro Audio manufacturer Behringer had several iPod/iPhone audio accessories, including the nifty Soundscape Air ($129), which features wireless speakers (good for up to 8 hours of playing, up to 150 feet from the base unit) that utilize inductive (ie, wireless) charging.
Jon Iverson  |  Jan 11, 2012  |  0 comments
Also due sometime near the end of the year is a new SACD player which can also function as a digital preamp and includes four digital inputs (two USB, two SPDIF) and volume control. The 519 also has HDMI, AES/EBU, optical, and SPDIF outputs.
Robert Deutsch  |  Jan 11, 2012  |  0 comments
The 2012 Best of Innovations award in the High Performance Home Audio category went to the Devialet D-Premier DAC/preamp/amp. It also got the award for Most Difficult to Photograph Audio Product. Note the reflection of my badge, intended to show that this is not just a manufacturer-provided photograph. Devialet is distributed in North America by Audio Plus Services and Stereophile has just received a sample for review.
Stephen Mejias  |  Jan 11, 2012  |  0 comments
Upscale Audio’s Kevin Deal is excited about PrimaLuna’s new DiaLogue Premium integrated amplifier ($3199), and I can’t blame him: The DiaLogue Premium uses six 12AU7 tubes, said to produce a wider bandwidth, greater dynamic range, and improved bass control over previous DiaLogue models; users can have fun swapping between 6L6GC/KT66, EL-34/KT77, 6550/KT88, and KT120 power tubes; a “Bad Tube Indicator” lets you know when a tube has expired and provides automatic bias adjustment; a high-quality Alps potentiometer should provide long-lasting, quiet volume control; and, like every PrimaLuna amp we’ve seen, the DiaLogue Premium is beautifully built and finished.
Robert Deutsch  |  Jan 11, 2012  |  1 comments
In a scene reminiscent of Disneyland, the DISH Network mascot did his best to keep the crowd amused.
Jon Iverson  |  Jan 11, 2012  |  0 comments
Eleven year old French audio manufacturer Neodio was at CES for the fourth year showing their complete line of audio products including the NR 22 CD Player ($15k), Transport ($13k) and DAC ($12k). Shown here are Michel Rousseau on the left and Jean-Francois Fronton on the right with the DAC and Transport in silver on the shelf. All three units feature a special non-resonant three-layer chassis and the company is looking for US distribution.