CES 2018

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Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jan 14, 2018  |  3 comments
In the room sponsored by distributor Musical Surroundings, I spied Clearaudio's new Concept Active turntable ($2600 to $4400, depending upon choice of three plinths, three tonearms, and three cartridges). The version I saw was $3200 in black and silver with Concept tonearm and Concept MC cartridge. This all-in-one, ready-to-play system incorporates a high quality internal phono stage and headphone amp.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jan 14, 2018  |  1 comments
Esoteric's N-01 network player ($20,000), which debuted at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest in October, is now equipped to decode MQA. It was part of a system that produced very direct, fast sound and that, on LP, rendered Ray Charles' voice with exceptional clarity.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jan 13, 2018  |  0 comments
Seen in passive display, Transparent's new XL PowerIsolator, aka XLPI ($7995 including a $2400 Transparent XL 2m power cable with 20 amp connector), sits right below Transparent's Opus PowerIsolator. With 4 outlets in isolated banks of 2 outlets each, it is claimed to deliver unrestricted, in-phase power to all audio components, including high-current amplifiers. It also provides integrated Network Source Protection compatible with Gigabit Ethernet and PoE, hydraulic-magnetic circuit protection, and avalanche diode failsafe surge protection. In the event of a volcanic eruption, run.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jan 13, 2018  |  6 comments
The three best lower-cost systems that I heard at CES were this one ($7105 total) and others from Chord/Spendor and Music Hall; thanks in no small part to Totem's founder, Vince Bruzzese, whose extensive traveling has brought him in touch with a treasure chest's worth of eclectic titles that he searched out on Tidal and then purchased in physical form, this one was hands down the most musically enjoyable.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jan 13, 2018  |  0 comments
VTL has finally released its long-promised TP-2.5i phono preamplifier ($3750). A completely redesigned replacement for the venerable 2.5, which was in production for close to two decades, its upgrades include shunt regulation and technology trickled down—oh, how I hate that phrase—from VTL's flagship TP-6.5 phono stage. JFET/tube hybrid circuitry is used for the MC stage, and all-tube circuitry for the MM stage. It has what VTL calls "enhanced" RIAA compensation and a front-panel-switchable filter/mono function.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jan 13, 2018  |  1 comments
Bet your bottom dollar that most folks involved in the high end never saw the exceedingly narrow space occupied by classical music download/streaming service Primephonic.com. That's because the company's marketing manager, Jennifer Harrington (pictured), and Chief Operating Officer (COO), Veronica Neo, were virtually hidden amidst a plethora of booths in the Holland Pavilion, itself situated over the hills and through the woods and turn right after the house that Jack built and then ask your bloodhound to lead the way to the far-right side of Hall G in the Sands Convention Center and then search and search some more for booth 51.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jan 13, 2018  |  5 comments
Crystal Cable isn't new to the "portable cable" market—it has manufactured cables for Astell&Kern for the past three years—but its new Crystal Duet (€700 for 1.2 meters) is the first such cable branded and marketed under their own name.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jan 13, 2018  |  0 comments
With everything about its presentation and packaging proclaiming its intended specialness, Siltech debuted its 35th Anniversary limited-edition Crown Princess interconnects (€3500 for either XLR or RCA terminations)…
Jon Iverson  |  Jan 13, 2018  |  1 comments
The sign up above said GoldenEar Technology, but when I walked in it looked like any normal hotel room. No big banners, black cloth draped along the walls or spotlights. And then at the far end I spotted company president Sandy Gross sitting on the couch and a single bookshelf speaker sitting on a stand. That was it.
Jon Iverson  |  Jan 13, 2018  |  0 comments
Kanto has just emerged in the market this past year with a series of three powered bookshelf speakers, a pair of subwoofers and two styles of stands. The company is based in Coquitlam, BC, Canada, and marketing manager Brett Smalley ran through the line.
Jon Iverson  |  Jan 13, 2018  |  3 comments
For now, I'll file this one under "interesting if it were true," since I can't verify the unique claims about these cables. But the main display certainly caught my eye. You can see the sci-fi looking metal enclosures in the above photo that the Texas company's Casey Whitworth says is the Professional Series Elite Interconnect. The large metal enclosures are Faraday cages surrounding the cable "so we can pile them on top of each other and not have issues with the magnets."
John Atkinson  |  Jan 13, 2018  |  72 comments
If there is one thing that raises the hackles of engineers, it is audiophiles' insistence that power cords affect sound quality. But at CES, AudioQuest's Garth Powell (right in photo, with AQ's Alex Brinkmann) was showing how changing just one cable in a system, the one connecting a Simaudio Moon CD player to a Niagara 700 power conditioner, could make or break the system's sound quality. Playing a track from Muddy Waters' Folk Singer, with Moon amplification and Magico S1 Mk.2 speakers, and without changing the volume, Garth compared AudioQuest's new Thunder cable ($700) with AC cables from other companies priced up to $18,000, culminating with the AudioQuest Dragon ($4000).
John Atkinson  |  Jan 13, 2018  |  1 comments
Some manufacturers weren't exhibiting at CES but did have suites elsewhere in the Venetian hotel. One such was Audio Research, who was showing the first amplifier to be designed following the passing of the company's long-time Senior Design Engineer, Ward Fiebiger, who died of a heart attack last March. The Ref160M monoblock offers around 150W into 8 ohms and will cost in the region of $30,000/pair.
Jon Iverson  |  Jan 12, 2018  |  9 comments
England-based Ruark has a complete line of powered small to medium size all-in-one music boxes as well as powered desktop speakers. But what caught my eye was the console-size R7 which managing director Alan O'Rourke called a "Radiogram." For US citizens, a radiogram is a piece of furniture from the UK that historically combined a radio and record player. In this case though, that would be a CD player and radio.
Jon Iverson  |  Jan 12, 2018  |  0 comments
Three new bookshelf models were unveiled which Sound United's Mark Suskind explained are intended to replace the Studio Monitor Series. The models start with the D7 at $499/pair which feature a 4.5" woofer and 1" aluminum dome tweeter and is also ported. The D9 retails for $749/pair and has a 5.25" woofer and a 5"x9" passive radiator and 1" aluminum dome tweeter. And finally the new D11 has a 6.5" woofer and 6"x10" passive radiator and sells for $999/pair. All available since late last year.

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