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CES 2011-Full Coverage

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Jim Milton Show Coverage

Look for my updates and pictures as I cover some of the High End audio venues at the Venetian this week.

THURSDAY: Well, here we go...(click on an image and it may get bigger)

Arrived 3:30am Boston time. Initial impression of Vegas? Big...exaggeratedly big...mind boggling big...just really over the top big. And it takes time to get around. Nevermind Manhattan, this commute is tough.

ABOVE: This is why it's called The Venetian. This is the indoor shopping mall. I'd like to have this on my ceiling in my music room. I'll have to settle for my music putting me into my special heaven.

YG Acoustics makes unusual speakers that have garnered accolades. They did sound sweet. YG is not a surround sound company, but if you are looking for a new 2 channel system, you could do much worse than these.

Man, and you thought bi-wiring was the "cat's whiskers"!

FRIDAY:

Spent the morning walking from the Luxor to the Venetian with a stop over at the Bellagio. In English, I walked a few miles. At the Bello, we visited with Olive. The 06HD will set you back about $5K, but it's a smooth operator.

Being able to store hi-rez music and having a handy iPad app. were very cool. They'll pre-load your music (CD) collection for you, too. I was surprised that these units are bigger in real life than I expected. The magazine pictures do not do them justice. They come in silver, also.

Here Robert Kozel (SECRETS)talks with Eric from Olive:

Cary Audio will hopefully be providing some of their ware in the near future. Of special interest was the Cinema 12 which replaces the 11a.

The above amp comes in an automotive (GM) finish of you choice. This was blue, but hot rod red would look sweet. It is about 40 watts triode mode and 60 in ultralinear mode.

Golden Ear Technology: Their designer, Sandy Gross (Polk/Definitive), shared some of his time with me. The Triton Two Towers had exceptional imaging and very deep bass with their 12oo watt built in subs.

These speakers are uniquely shaped and delivered quite a holographic soundstage. Someone from SECRETS will be reviewing these soon as well as their Super Cinema series speakers. Perhaps I will grasp the "long" straw?!

These are the ViolinCello II by Accapella. A wonderful sounding, all horn speaker. Not great for HT, but a 2 channel enthusiast would be happy to hear the details I heard on these today. Wonder what the wife would think of these?

Not to be confused with the Avant Garde Duo (BELOW):

Well, off to the actual convention center...if we start walking now, we should make it by sunset....wish me luck.

LATER that afternoon:

Made it to the convention center and about 130K people were in attendance (that is elbow to elbow and sometimes face). The Asian presence was seen everywhere. Expect a flood of hi-end A/V stuff to start making its way into the US market (tube manufacturers, take notice!) as their stuff starts to catch up with the rest of the world in quality. It will drive down prices of other hi-end gear, you wait and see!

The two things that became very clear on the floor was the explosion of TABLETS and the taking off of the SMART TVs. iPad is still the king with all of the resources their apps bring, but everyone is getting onto the band wagon now. Good for A/V, as the tablet will become the ultimate remote for lighting, sound, video and generally controlling our daily lives.

Gaming is big, as SONY introduced their first 3D games. Kill Zone had wonderful blood splatter in 3D. Earthquake Audio introduced their gaming tactile transducer (BELOW):

For TVs, say goodbye to dumb sets, as Smart (internet connected) TVs are now here. All entertainment, media, sound, video, pictures and gaming are built in. Look for Panasonics new 2011 VT PDP displays with close to Kuros black levels. Samsung has PDPs that are almost as slim as LCD. Beautiful!

More miscellaneous pictures from the Venetian:

ABOVE: About $4K/meter. Hey, why not...it's Italian!

ABOVE: NuForce was there in full force...

BELOW: The Theil SCS4T are on my "to do" list this Spring.

ABOVE: Jones Audio PA-M300 monoblock amplifiers. 300 watts (8 ohms) @ around $10K ea.

Well, I have to leave on Saturday. I am exhausted. (Note to self...next year, don't go if you are coming down with bronchitis). By the end of the second day, you are tired of walking and listening. Most of the speakers all sounded wonderful, but "ear fatigue" prevents any serious evaluating. Still, it is an exciting event and I am thankful for the chance to attend. What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas...but not me! Now back to my real job on Monday and prepare for the next major snow storm on Wednesday. Life is never dull...