Show Reports

CES 2008 Show Report Part 1

ARTICLE INDEX

 

The CES floor is a madhouse with dizzying displays, noise and people rushing to and from locations, most hopelessly lost. Each manufacturer blasting images and graphics along with pretty models all vying for your attention. Sign up for this and sign up for that, the main floor is daunting so I did the right thing I ran for the exit, hopped on a shuttle bus to the Venetian for the high-end audio show leaving my fellow reviewers Steve (left) and Adrian to scope the floor. They were so happy I left them!

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A.D.A. (Audio Design Associates) certainly can't be accused of relaxing as new designs abound as they move forward with their 30th anniversary, thus ADA30. The prototype for the new Cinema Renaissance Mach III stunningly glows with LED multiple colors are achieved by simply touching the ADA30 logo. At $100,000, the new processor is tube based. Albert Langella, ADA's Co-Founder, President, CEO and Chief Design Engineer explains that he loved the idea of the tube sound.

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Mr. Langella continues to play with tubes in a design for a separate solid state 55 watt amplifier with a tube preamp. The third box is for a variety of inputs.

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Anthem continues to develop the D2 processor with by introducing their version of room correction with Model ARC-1 software. Although it's now standard for any new D2, existing owners of D1 and D2 can upgrade for $399, the package includes a microphone and stand along with the software. A curve is generated for each speaker and adjusted. The software includes bass correction.

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Paradigm builds on the successful Signature Series with the S1/v.2 at $749 each in cherry, the center channel, C1/v.2 at $1,199 and the on-wall surround ADP-1/v.2 also MSRP $1,199.

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Want in-walls; seems everyone does these days and to achieve the highest quality, Paradigm developed the SA-LCR 3 at $1,199 each, or the SA-LCR 5 at $2,999 each. Unique is the rotating center mounted dual drivers for horizontal or vertical configurations. To insure a consistent and predictable sound, the required back boxes sell for $299 each, engineered solidly with baffles and insulation.

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Avalon is a Boulder Colorado based speaker company that simply blew me away with the INDRA at just under $20,000 for the pair. No less than 4 drivers including a 1' ceramic neodymium tweeter, a 3.5' midrange, and 2-7' Kevlar composite cone woofers.

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Definitive Technology introduced a smaller version of the excellent Mythos ST with the STS model at $1,499 each available later this spring. The sleek tower includes a 300 watt digital amplifier for the Supercube® subwoofers - two Racetrack radiators.

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Also new for Definitive Technology are two models of the surround bar, the Mythos Solo Surround Array (SSA). Available in 2 sizes, the SSA-42 at $899 for flat screen panels up to 46' and the SSA-50 at $1,099 for 50” displays. A quick demo convinced me this isn't such a bad way to go as an alternate to complete surround packages.

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It was no mystery that the Lamm Industries room would sound amazing, it didn't disappoint. The room included the new ML3 Signature single-ended triode monoblocks in pure class A operation. Smooth, extended and richly detailed coming from a mere 32 watts, Lamm partnered the amplifiers with Wilson Audio Maxx2 speakers. Now brace yourself, the pair of ML3's are $139,290.00!

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Loiminchay, designs in New York and fabricates overseas, featured the Chagall. Carved out of layers of laminated birch plywood, each speaker chamber is machined out. Inside and out, 16 coats of lacquer are applied. The Chagall's woofer is mounted on a 1” thick concrete board and wrapped with leather. Extending down to 28Hz with a modest sensitivity rating of 87dB, weighing 150 pounds and the Chagall will cost you $35,000 for the pair - with the diamond tweeter a mere $48,500.

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Lyngdorf showed off their European heritage with some fine new equipment and speakers. First on their priority is the RP-1 Room Correction Processor. A digital processor will correct your room's deficiencies for your analog sources. Although the RP-1's internal process is fully digital, the input/output is analog.

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Listening to the differences it was clear the room correction added focus and flattened the top and bottom end. The RP-1 was installed with the beautifully styled DP-1 Dipole speaker ($2,990 each) features a 1' fabric tweeter and a 6 ½ driver. The obvious difference is the omitted box enclosure which essentially helps extend deep bass. The BW-1 external subwoofer ($1,690) features a front driving 10' driver and is meant to be mounted on the front wall of your listening room.

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If an integrated amplifier is what you want, Lyngdorf was showing the new SDAI-2175 ($2,790).

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Cayin's exquisite new line of SP-Series; the SP-cd300 CD player, the SP-30s preamplifier and SP-10A integrated tube amplifier struck me the nostalgic styling perhaps the wood cladding had something to do with that. Although no pricing was available, Cayin is known for reasonable pricing and handcrafted value. VAS Industries™ Steve Leung proudly displayed the cherry and rosewood finishes. My personal experience with Onix Electronics sparked my curiosity with this new prototype line which includes: a reference quality CD player, the XCD-50 at $3,600, and the XIA-160 amplifier rated to deliver 220watts/4ohms with an MSRP of $2,600. Beautiful and muscularly chiseled from MDF, the components have a piano black lacquer finish. The only dates offered were later this summer, perhaps. They were beautifully partnered up with a pair of Strata Mini's.(http://www.av123.com/)

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Oracle Audio attracted me to their room from quite a distance as I was down the hall playing an unusual track. Most times it's jazz, or classical, perhaps Nora Jones (so overplayed it's become a joke). Oracle played a Led Zeppelin track from vinyl, Whole Lotta Love. When you see the room you're struck by all that machined aluminum driving some immense Usher speakers.

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The Delphi MKV turntable, (MSRP $4,500) with turbo power supply along with the SME tonearm ($2,200), and new ebony wood Thalia Phono cartridge ($1,500) rocked, mesmerizing the handful in the room. (http://www.oracle-audio.com/)

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Totem was celebrating their 20th anniversary by introducing a limited offering in The One monitor. Vince Bruzzese introduced the Model 1 which put Totem on the map and The One brought out for CES is a signature piece that evolves from the Model 1. With only 2,000 pairs available, the monitor has a 1 aluminum dome tweeter and a 5 ½ woofer.

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I found the sound uniquely "Totem", which is warm with terrific attack and richness. I could see The One ($3,500) anchoring a 2-channel system for me for a long time.

 

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