CES 2015

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Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jan 16, 2015  |  3 comments
"The High End needs products that can demonstrate to customers why they should spend more money for the high-end," Dave Nauber, President of Classé, told me. "Thus we've introduced the Sigma Series, a new range of products with prices half those of our other products."
Robert Deutsch  |  Jan 16, 2015  |  3 comments
An enterprise founded by brothers Trevor and Todd Ryan (left to right), Ryan Speakers proudly proclaims that their loudspeakers are "handcrafted in California." Looking at the Ryan 630 ($5000/pair), I remarked on the presence of felt around the tweeter, a technique pioneered by the late John Dunlavy. "Oh, yes," said Todd Ryan, "felt around the tweeter, offset mounting drivers; we use all the old tricks."
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jan 16, 2015  |  1 comments
Siltech has just released its Siltech Triple Crown interconnects (est. price in Europe, US prices still be determined, €20,000/1m pair) and speaker cables (est. price €35,000/2m pair). Touted as "cable royalty... sets new benchmark for interconnect and speaker cable performance," these major lookers utilize the company's newest mono-crystal technology. According to Lennart Thissen, who designed the cable's unique mechanical parts, they have "the lowest capacitance of any cable we know."
Robert Deutsch  |  Jan 16, 2015  |  0 comments
Epos and Creek have long been associated—Epos loudspeakers seemed to work particularly well with Creek electronics—but the connection became more solidified in 2014, when Mike Creek acquired total control of Epos and appointed his son, Luke, to be the Epos brand director. The first result of this change of ownership is the new Epos K-Series, which importer Roy Hall describes as being more "lifestyle-oriented."
Jon Iverson  |  Jan 16, 2015  |  0 comments
Both DSD 64/128/256 and PCM up to 32/384 are covered in the new DAC 200ts as well as aptX Bluetooth. There are five digital inputs on the back and both balanced and unbalanced analog outs. But what I found intriguing was a switch on the front that lets the listener choose between tube and solid state output stages.

The DAC 200ts should be available in February for $3,995.

Kalman Rubinson  |  Jan 16, 2015  |  0 comments
Manley Labs' Evanna Manley was deeply involved in discussion so I asked around about what new amps/preamps are showing. The answer was that, since there were no new products being introduced, they decided to present their current offerings to emphasize their aesthetics by having them framed and hung. Point taken. Picture taken.
Jon Iverson  |  Jan 16, 2015  |  0 comments
Peachtree has several new digital products of note this year, one being the sanaDAC which will retail somewhere south of $1,500. It features native 36 bit architecture to process both PCM and DSD and has both balanced and unbalanced analog outputs on the back. There are a complete set of five digital inputs on the back as well as 1/4 inch headphone jack on the front backed by a 800mW (8 ohms) amp.

There will be more products in the series, such as a sanaAMP around the $1k range.

Kalman Rubinson  |  Jan 16, 2015  |  0 comments
Dynaudio North America's Michael Manousselis was proudly demonstrating the Danish parent company's Contour S 3.4 LE speakers with the new Octave V 110 integrated amplifier ($8000), a fixed-bias pentode design that has been optimized specifically for the KT120 tube. Features include wideband output transformers while utilizing soft-start circuitry, extensive monitoring and protection circuitry, as well as an energy-saving EcoMode feature.
Jon Iverson  |  Jan 16, 2015  |  0 comments
In the back room, O'Hanlon was running a demo with the Luxman D-06a playing his show mix CD. The Luxman retails for $9,900 and employs a pair of BurrBrown PCM1792A chips in a dual-mono setup. The USB input on back accepts PCM up to 32/384 and DSD to 5.6MHz, while SPDIF and optical accepts up to 24/192 PCM. Both balanced and unbalanced analog audio and SPDIF and optical digital out on the back.
Jon Iverson  |  Jan 16, 2015  |  0 comments
Sporting beautiful casework for relatively modest pricing, Burson's Conductor Virtuoso will be shipping in two versions: one with a Sabre ESS9018 DAC chip for $1,995 and the other with the BurrBrown PCM1793 for $1,495. Inside is a 4 watt headphone amp section along with PCM processing up to 24/192.

On the back are digital inputs for USB, SPDIF and optical and also analog RCA jacks. Also on the back are the digital and analog outputs and on the front a 100-step volume control and 1/4 inch headphone jack. Remote control is included.

Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jan 16, 2015  |  0 comments
Closing three days of Hi-Res presentations at CES 2015 were (from left–right) Maureen Droney, Senior Executive Director of The Recording Academy's Producers and Engineers Wing and a recording engineer who has worked with Santana and John Hiatt; Marc Finer, whose Digital Entertainment Group (DEG) consults with Sony and other entities as he attempts to align messaging on the hi-res front; and Robert Heiblim, Vice Chair of the Consumer Electronics Association's (CEA) Audio Division.
Robert Deutsch  |  Jan 16, 2015  |  0 comments
Monitor Audio's Dean Hartley told me that he's been busy, revising the Gold Series (ranging in price from $2000/pair for the Gold 100 to $3500/pair for the Gold 300). He described the changes a "facelift rather than a complete revolution."
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jan 16, 2015  |  0 comments
In this case, it's the Bowers & Wilkins T-7 battery-operated Bluetooth loudspeaker ($349). Shipping now, this baby holds a charge for 18 hours, and takes four hours to fully recharge. The T-7 can pair with up to eight devices, has two 3" full-range drivers and one passive radiator. "It's just a lot of fun," says regional sales director Marc Schnoll.
Robert Deutsch  |  Jan 16, 2015  |  0 comments
Like many (most?) audiophiles, I've tended to turn up my nose at in-wall and on-wall loudspeakers. I normally assume that there must be major sonic compromises in designing speakers that fade into the background. I was then most pleasantly surprised by the sound of the Totem Tribe V ($6000/pair) at CES 2015. This is an on-wall speaker, but that sort of mounting is not possible in a hotel environment, so the speakers were stand-mounted, as close to the wall as possible. The sound was clean, open, and dynamic, with a firm bass foundation.
Jon Iverson  |  Jan 16, 2015  |  0 comments
The first thing you notice is the ginourmous display on the front, which you're tempted to tap like an iPad. But it's just a display and apparently very popular in some overseas (read Japan) markets. There are buttons on both sides of the screen however, so you can operate the 2120 with those or with an iPad. (Though it may be hard to tell from this photo, this is a large product, and that display is larger than an iPad mini.)

The 2120 is a UPnP streamer and should be available in a couple months for around $55-60k. It will support up to 32/384 PCM and DSD and there is a complete set of inputs on the back. Under the main box in the photo is the power supply.

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