CES 2017: A Video Snapshot

"What are your thoughts on this year's CES?": A multi-dimensional question that means many different things to the many different people who share the high-end audio realm. For my first attendance at the annual Consumer Electronics Show, I had a mission: to compile answers to this complex question and fit my findings on a visual medium, a time capsule of sorts. Is this the last year of CES? Was the low attendance in the high-end audio segment at the Venetian just a temporary lull? Or could it be a turning point for the high-end audio industry? Whatever might happen, 2017 struck me as a pivotal year for CES, and a show that begged to be captured.

Naturally, there were limitations to my coverage. I couldn't film everyone I had in mind, each person reacted differently to the time constraint, and no film scenario was ideal.

Here are a couple other interesting quotes I wasn't able to get on video:

"I have been participating in CE shows since the early 1970s and I believe that they have been significant in the launch and growth of all three of my companies. I have heard grumbling from many factions of the specialty high-end audio industry over the years, covering many aspects of the shows. (I remember Bill Johnson of Audio Research complaining that he couldn't get good sound in the prefab sound rooms—not true.) However, what you get from CES is what you make of it. I believe that the Venetian is the best venue that we have ever had, and basically a gift to our industry from CTA. No, not cheap, and no, not perfect, but CES is a key venue that must not be allowed to go away. It needs support and encouragement from every component of our industry, not dissing, or we will lose an important show, and that will be a shame."—Sandy Gross (cofounder Polk Audio, Definitive Technology, GoldenEar Technology)

"When the High-End Audio exhibits were moved from the Alexis Park/Alexis Villas, the Venetian was touted as a venue offering adequate space to facilitate a synergy between high-end, two-channel manufacturers and high-end, home-theater companies and bring them both "together." While the proposed synergy between proper home theater and two-channel audio demos being hosted in the same location was quite debatable in itself, seeing AARP, Intel, and Simmons Bedding as "exhibitors" adjacent to our suite is simply beyond comprehension. Not exactly what we signed up for. . ."—Mike Manousellis (VP Operations, Dynaudio Group)

raferx's picture

Thanks for taking all the time to put together so many interviews Jana... Herb's opening made my day, as did Rob Darling's surreal oxygen massage. You captured Vegas perfectly.

GoldenEar's picture

This was a great video, offering many different and divergent takes on the recent CES in Las Vegas. Clearly my favorite was Bob Deutsch's solo! Bravo, Bravo!

Herb Reichert's picture

Jana . . . you are the new Elvis of Audio -- you rocked the city of sin. You have now entered the inner circles of the Wow Dang Clan. Congratulations!

This video was such a joy to watch (except for that troll at the beginning.)

Herb Reichert's picture

I would also encourage show exhibitor's (at all audio shows) to imitate Jonathan Durda, Jeffrey Catalano, and Peter McGrath - and "up their music game" . . . what is the argument against it?

Anton's picture

Here we are now, entertain us?

TriodeDave's picture

Amen, Herb and Peter! The same old, same old drove me crazy as an exhibitor. The only argument for it, and it's not a very good one, is that some show attendees seem reassured by repetition thinking it allows them to better compare things. Of course, they are comparing entirely different systems with one another, with no idea how to attribute differences among components, which leaves you with boring music. Not good.

michaelavorgna's picture


tonykaz's picture

I hope that all of Stereophile reporting contains matching video ( from now on ) but old-dogs & new tricks may keep the lads from advancing into "Our" 21st Century. Although every one of their Cameras has Video capability.

The "New Girl" gets it right!

Well Done!!!

Tony in Michigan

ps. Thank-you to JA for this advancement.

John Atkinson's picture
You're welcome Tony in Michigan. But I don't understand why webmaster Jon Iverson chose a screenshot for the heading pic of Jana's story that makes me look like I am snarling. :-)

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

Anton's picture

I think you are amazingly lifelike!


cgh's picture

That was good. Well done.

John Atkinson's picture
Our apologies to AudioQuest's Bill Low for spelling his name incorrectly. I missed the error when I proofed the video.

John Atkinnos
Editro, Stereophile

rschryer's picture

You screwed up in your spelling again, John! Everybody knows the word is "apologys".

tonykaz's picture

Hmm, I'll wager he hand picked that snap as some sort of snarling pay-back for you finding and being supportive of your new ascendent Star Girl. I see dark motives at work here.

I'dve found a snap of you in a Hot-Tub, throwing down a bottle of 5-O'Clock Vodka w/ a pretty girl on each side, having the time of your life ( instead of slaving the Hallways, grinding out the Show, looking somewhat distressed ).

Your team did the best CES coverage that's ever been done! Even the Whistler Sang a few notes.

Well done

Tony in Michigan

jimtavegia's picture

It may be that it is time to redefine a mission statement for the "high end" manufacturing community to think about the point of CES for THEM. The late UCLA basketball coach said too many people equate activity with accomplishment and it is not the same thing. Being busy does not mean you accomplish something. Manufacturers are busy preparing for and being at CES, but the goal is to introduce and sell more high end audio to the majority of music lovers who are unaware that there is "more to hear" than ever before. I think that over time that local Audio Clubs and dealer shows may become more beneficial to the industry, but this trend is certainly growing.

I can tell you that the young people I try and teach math to, audio quality is not even on their radar and that must change. Youtube videos and ITunes dominate their lives. I think without video it may be hard to reach them, but music videos and concerts in high res stereo or MC in a good system might get them interested in "hearing more". They are so use to acceptable quality and free that a new marketing approach will be needed.

audiom's picture

It was nice to put voices and faces to the names I've known for (in some cases) decades. Thanks Jana!

steve21's picture

Ditto re comment on names to faces, that was great. The larger part of CES has become mostly about the press being able to create a story. With restrictions on foreign visas and a rising currency exchange CES is scaling down. High end audio moving from CES to different shows is not necessarily a bad thing, everything evolves, just as high end audio evolves. With some of its exceedingly high pricing and very limited production runs we're seeing it move to consumer direct sales. Innovative manufactures will have to figure out how to keep up with that as well as staying relevant to the next generation of "audiophiles" who ever they may be. Again, I need to reiterate how much I appreciate Jana's reporting.

jjgr's picture

Jana just upped the game on show video reports.

audiocaptain's picture

I've been going to CES for almost 40 years and changes must be made for it to survive as a High End Show.

sunnyhtms@gmail.com's picture

CES was a great show for us dealers who are looking for new products or to make a change.
We just picked up Brinkmann Audio. It's important to spend time with our manufacturers, members of the press, reviewers and other well wishers to gauge what lies ahead in business and products.
We have decided as a company to focus our energies on high performance speakers, electronics and analog. Thanks to Rafe, Jana, and so many others for their fine work. Michael Fremers article was spot on.

sommovigo's picture

High End Segment for CES is a corpse that refuses to lay down.

michaelavorgna's picture

Hey Chris,

What room were you in? I missed you!

sommovigo's picture

I was in my living room. ;-) Not spending $1k+ to fly over from Japan to visit a smoldering husk ...

Will be doing one of the regional shows in the US this year, though, probably the LAAS. You going?

michaelavorgna's picture

...is an impressive feat!

My next show will be Munich (my favorite show).

sommovigo's picture

... is the science of taking a pulse from afar. I've been in touch with many who invested ... and wished that they hadn't.

See you in Munich!

michaelavorgna's picture

...and spoke to many of the people who were there and got a different response. Mainly that business was as good, or better, than year's prior. I think it has to do with why one goes to CES.

I love Munich.

sommovigo's picture

... that so many of the folks in the video (GREAT Video, Jana!) were so dour and predictive of doom. But hey! If the manufacturers and distributors are writing business, then yes - it's worth the trip. Wonder if Sound by Singer picked up Simmons ? Hotly contested brand ...


Anton's picture

Sommovigo: Bring out your dead! CES is dead!

Michael Lavorgna: It's not dead!

Sommovigo: What?

Michael Lavorgna: It's not dead!

Sommovigo: Yes, it is.

Michael Lavorgna: It's not!

Sommovigo: Well, it will be soon, it's very ill.

Michael Lavorgna: It's getting better!

Sommovigo: No, it's not -- it'll be stone dead in a moment.

Michael Lavorgna: It's doing fine!


sommovigo's picture

... just perfect! Indeed - life is absurd, and Monty Python showed us just how absurd it is.

Thanks for that :-)

Allen Fant's picture

Again, nice work- Jana.

Bluebird Music's picture

I really appreciated hearing the different perspectives and enjoyed watching this entertaining video very much. Thanks for sharing and well done!