CES 2013

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Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jan 08, 2013  |  0 comments
For many years, when the Stereophile crew journeyed to Las Vegas to cover the Consumer Electronics Show, we stayed at what eventually became the Hyatt Place. Not only was it smoke and slot machine-free, quiet, and equipped to serve breakfast gratis, but it was also located just a block from the CES "high performance" exhibits in the Alexis Park and the "alternative" T.H.E. Show in the St. Tropez, and a shuttle bus ride from the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC). It was an ideal place to sleep, work, and recoup in... until CES shifted its "high performance" exhibits to the Venetian Hotel on the Strip, and T.H.E. SHOW moved nearby.

At last, Stereophile has caught up with the shows, and made the move to the Mirage. Located just across the street from the Venetian, and down the block from T.H.E. SHOW at the Flamingo, it's a massive hotel whose interior is dominated by a huge, multi-story arboretum complete with towering plants and waterfalls. Behind the registration desk is a huge aquarium, packed with an impressive collection of exotic looking fish whose blank-eyed stares are mirrored in the faces of many of Las Vegas' veteran gamblers. To get to the room elevators, you must walk through the gambling area, with all the smoke, noise, and looks of desperation that are the mark of one side of Las Vegas. Pictured is the alternate reality view from my 5th floor hotel window. Treasure Island is on your left, and the Venetian on your right. Don't even think about what lies in between.

Jon Iverson  |  Jan 08, 2013  |  0 comments
I was looking forward to seeing Antelope's recently announced Rubicon Atomic AD/DA Preamp at CES, but so is the company. At the time I visited the room, DHL still hadn't found and delivered it, so we have Director of Sales and Marketing Marcel James standing next to the poster.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jan 08, 2013  |  5 comments
Robert Deutsch had yet to make his appearance, fresh from performing in two musicals in Canada, when I snapped this photo of some of Stereophile's CES team stressing the show account and plotting our on-line coverage at the Mirage's classy BLT Burger. Pictured, L–R, are John Atkinson, Jon Iverson, Stephen Mejias, and Audiostream.com's Michael Lavorgna.
Robert Deutsch  |  Jan 08, 2013  |  0 comments
CES Unveiled, scheduled from 4:00–7:00 p.m. on the day before the Press Day, is an event that provides a preview of CES, giving exhibitors a chance to have press coverage before CES proper opens, and, similarly, allows attending members of the press to get an early start on their CES coverage. It's a kind of mini- (or micro-) CES, with products mostly on static display, and, given its size (small booths in a hotel ballroom) it cannot be representative of the giant entity that is CES. Still, for most of the CES press, CES Unveiled is the only game in town during that time, so you might as well attend—and, who knows, maybe you'll see something interesting that's worth checking out further when CES opens. Based on previous experience, I knew there would be a long lineup, so I didn't go until after 5 o'clock. There was no lineup, but inside it was still crowded.
Robert Deutsch  |  Jan 08, 2013  |  0 comments
The Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 has nothing to do with audio, high-performance or otherwise, so it arguably doesn't belong in a Stereophile show report, but I'm assuming that some readers are gadget-philes as well as audiophiles. The AR.Drone 2.0 is a toy, but not "just" a toy: it has two cameras, so you can shoot aerial helicopter-type shots and view them live on your iPad. Wouldn't you have wanted one of these when you were a kid?
Jon Iverson  |  Jan 14, 2013  |  First Published: Dec 31, 1969  |  0 comments
Philip O'Hanlon always provides some of the very best show demos, and this CES was no exception. As before, he had a suite atop the Mirage hotel, featuring Vivid loudspeakers and for purposes of this report, a new Luxman DAC. Music was provided by O'Hanlon's Mac Mini running Audio Nirvana and Pure Music and consisted largely of wonderful high-resolution rips of vinyl tracks.

The DA-06 will be available in May for $5,990 and can accept PCM up to 24/192 as well as DSD/DXD and 2xDSD. Digital inputs are upsampled and processed at 32/384 and there are USB, SPDIF, AES/EBU and Toslink inputs on the back.

Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jan 15, 2013  |  First Published: Dec 31, 1969  |  0 comments
AVM Audio of Germany introduced its 425Wpc MA 3.2 monoblock amplifiers ($5500/pair) and PA5.2 analog tube preamp ($6600). The latter is an extremely versatile, fully balanced design with tube output stage, home theater bypass, and the ability to add additional DAC, phono preamplifier, tuner, and streamer modules.
Larry Greenhill  |  Jan 15, 2013  |  First Published: Dec 31, 1969  |  0 comments
California Audio Technology showed their new 300.2 FD (Fully Differential) solid-state, 300Wpc, amplifier ($8800) that utilizes a bridged output stage. Like Theta Digital, the CAT 300.2 amplifier is another product designed and manufactured by Morris Kessler's ATI company in California.
Stephen Mejias  |  Jan 14, 2013  |  First Published: Dec 31, 1969  |  2 comments
Though I was exhausted from a long day of walking through enormous casinos and down seemingly endless halls, I couldn’t resist the allure of flashing lights and loud dance music. I walked into the room and was startled by red-and-white-striped jump ropes spinning dizzying patterns to the music.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jan 13, 2013  |  First Published: Dec 31, 1969  |  0 comments
Come February, assures Wireworld's National Sales Manager Larry Smith, virtually all of the company's Series 6 will cede to the new Series 7. New to the line will be musical instrument and headphone cables. As explained in a Waveform Fidelity White Paper, of which I seem to have inadvertently absconded with a mere 17 copies—apologies both to the company and the ecology—the entire Series 7 was developed using digital differencing technology.
Jon Iverson  |  Jan 13, 2013  |  First Published: Dec 31, 1969  |  0 comments
The Burmester music server was one of my favorite products of last year's CES. Pricey at $50,000, it nonetheless has that feel of a product where the designers have though of everything you would want in a music server. Since last year there have been some refinements and I had a chance to play with the iPad app (there is an iPad in the box with the app loaded) which allows complete and instant control of the system including music selection and volume control. Everything worked quite smoothly and Burmester's Robert Hagemann picked out some cool music for the demo too!
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jan 13, 2013  |  First Published: Dec 31, 1969  |  0 comments
Nagra of Switzerland debuted its new Jazz preamplifier complete with ACPS II power supply ($12,500). This replacement for the PL-L line level preamplifier, shown with the company's Hi-Fi Director Jean-Pascal Panchard, melds tube technology with an improved circuit design that is said to yield more open and detailed sound. As important, the input and output jacks are now on the back panel instead of the sides! A review of the Jazz is scheduled to appear in the April 2013 issue of Stereophile.
Stephen Mejias  |  Jan 15, 2013  |  First Published: Dec 31, 1969  |  0 comments
Cayin’s beautiful new A-88T Mk2 integrated amplifier ($2500) is rated to deliver 25Wpc in triode mode or 45Wpc in ultralinear and uses pairs of 6SL7, 6SN7, and KT88 tubes. Fit and finish were excellent. Sam Tellig favorably reviewed the original A-88T in our December 2005 issue.
Stephen Mejias  |  Jan 15, 2013  |  First Published: Dec 31, 1969  |  0 comments
I heard a surprisingly engaging, well-balanced sound coming from SkullCandy’s new Navigator on-ear headphone ($99.95), a smaller, lighter version of the company’s popular Aviator ($149.95). I brought along my own review sample of the Aviator and enjoyed the attention it garnered from showgoers and exhibitors, but these headphones aren’t just about fashion. Stay tuned for reviews of the Navigator and Aviator in upcoming issues of Stereophile.
Jon Iverson  |  Jan 17, 2013  |  First Published: Dec 31, 1969  |  0 comments
MSB gets the award for most interesting new chassis design for their new The Analog DAC, which is essentially a single low-slung curvy slab of aluminum with pockets sliced out of the bottom for the electronics.

Pricey though it was, their Diamond DAC IV is the best I've heard in my system so far, so you have to wonder what the new DAC brings to the table. The intial price is $7,000 with one input module installed. You can install up to three and pick from ethernet, USB or SPDIF at $995 each. Add $1,000 for volume control and $3,000 for the powerbase option for a total of $12,990 fully loaded.

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