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CES 2014 Show Coverage

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Piero Gabucci Show Coverage

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CES Final Day Report - Piero Gabucci

Rogue Audio

Mark O'Brien brought his exceptional new Pharaoh integrated amplifier, 175 watts into 8 ohms, it also has a phono preamplifier for both MM/MC cartridges. At $3,495 it may be the last integrated you ever buy! Partnered with Dynaudio speakers, the sound was exceptional, clean through and through.

Meridian

Meridian has introduced a Special Edition loudspeaker celebrating their 25 year success as a DSP active speaker maker. The cut away shows the multi-layered plywood with an layer of aluminum. New is a beryllium domed tweeter, and drivers with a clamp ring further fixing the driver to the frame.

Although Meridian makes powered speakers, they introduced two new amplifiers as well in the G55 and G57 to compliment the new HD621 processor.

EgglestonWorks

The impressive sounding Nico, a stand mounted 2-way speaker featuring a new EgglestonWorks tweeter and 6" driver. Very elegant in a variety of colors.

I'm partial to any speaker named Emma, this very reasonably priced floor-standing is priced at $3,950 for the pair. Similar styling to the Nico it boasts dual 6" drivers for more bass extension.

Rega

I think a number of us will want to take home the new turntable RP10 from Rega. The RP10 design is based on a "skeleton" frame, rigid mass and stiff plinth. A "closed-cell, nitrogen-foamed polyolefin core retained in a stressed phenolic skin" is how it is explained.

It includes the beautifully machined, one-piece RB2000 tonearm. $5,495 will get you the table and adding the cartridge that normally sells on its own for $1,795 adds only a grand to the RP10! I may have to arm wrestle JJ to get it for review, I will start pushups this weekend.

Also shown are the new Rega top-loaded Saturn-R CD/DAC player and Ellict-R integrated amp. The Saturn-R as a transport will take your high-res downloads and play back with Wolfson DAC's up to 24bit/192kHz with an asynchronous USB input. $2,995 for either.

PMC

Conservative in design, the flagship $19,000 Fact 12 embodies the spirit of PMC's studio monitor roots only for the home. I found the sound clean and detailed.

Dynaudio

The most dramatic bass I heard from such a modest-sized speaker was Dynaudio's Excite speaker. Introduced last year, it gave such punchy bass that it was felt in your gut. Powered by the V-110 Octave integrated amp, I was impressed.

NAD

I love the styling of the new NAD Master Series M27, 7-channel power amp and especially the M17 A/V preamplifier at $3,999 and $5,499 respectively. Although just a preview, no other information was available although at this time.

BLUESOUND

A new company in the Lenbrook family, I had heard the new smartly designed series called Bluesound in Manhattan a few months back. Give credit to David Farrage for the amazing industrial design and the Lenbrook people for the concept. A lifestyle series notwithstanding, it addresses the new direction in home audio. Burn and store CD's with the Vault, stream with the hi-res DAC with the Powernode amplifier, or listen to the Pulse anywhere.

Klipsch

In Center Hall of the convention center I came across a great demo with the Klipsch Palladium Series, which is rare considering the ambient noise in the hall. The Bluetooth enabled P-38F floor speakers and P-312W powered subwoofer offered an excellent playback.

What made it more interesting was that it was being fed wirelessly by the new WiSA compliant Sharp SD-WH1000U Blueray player, no audio or video cables to either the speakers or monitor! The player will be pricey at $4,000 and requires the bridge at $600 for non-equipped wireless speakers and amps. Still very cool.

Synergistic Research

I was drawn to the Synergistic Research room because I wanted to see and hear the Rogue Audio soon to be released new version of the Apollo monoblock amps and was completely impressed by the sound and demo. Synergistic was auditioning their tweaks that had me baffled, I was hearing a difference with the active gear off and on although to me subtle. Adorning the room was Acoustic Art treatment, HRT and of course their cables, and FEQ and HFT line conditioners. I can't argue with the sound of the room, it was one of the best in the entire show.

Perla Audio

Stopped in next door, (well next door in Vegas is a mile) to see T.H.E. audio show and managed to hear a couple of nice demos, the most striking was from Nevada based Perla Audio that designs and builds everything on display from the Signature 50 integrated amp at $9,000 and the PRS-2 and PRS-2B at $7,800 and $8,800 respectively. It was impressive from the positioning of the chairs, up and close for the near field experience. Superb clarity and definition!

CES Thursday's Report - Piero Gabucci

The audio side of CES is essentially the Venetian hotel, several ballroom but mostly the upper floors of the tower rooms. I can't tell you how pleasant that is, to avoid the convention center all together.

The weather has caused some loss in attendance for the first day, especially from those coming from the east coast. I know this frankly from the fact that I can almost take an elevator up to the Venetian tower floors whenever I want. Despite the lack of bodies, I give credit to the exhibitors who have to endure, hopefully the latecomers will fill in the rest of the week for them.

THIEL Audio

Coming off my review of the CS2.7 floor standing speakers which I loved, I was interested in seeing the new line including the TM3 monitor at just under $3,000 for the pair, stands extra. I was impressed by the elegant design, quite modern in fact. The pedigree is there, sloped curved sides, 2-way tweeter/ 6.5" woofer but rated at 8 Ohms, a bit unusual for THIElL, perhaps easier to drive?

In the line was also the replacement for the flagship CS 3.7 in the TT3, beautifully shown in gloss white, again unusual for THIEL. Not much info yet, but very cool!

Martin Logan

Unusual to see Martin Logan powered by tube amps, specifically the Rogue Audio mono block M-150, ($5,995 for the pair). The room was set up in surround sound with five ML Montis electrostatic , 3 in the front alone ($9,995 for a pair). The rear pair was powered by Rogue Audio's ST-100 stereo amp. Also included were a pair of ML's new Balanced Force subs ($3,995 each) with two 12" woofers each.

It was great to hear music surround from The Flaming Lips, the Rogue Audio amps provided ample power and the Martin Logan's provided delicate and airy sound.

Parasound Halo

I'm always charmed to run into Richard Schram of Parasound. Inevitably we do discuss audio but he's just fun to chat about life. I currently am reviewing his new P5 preamp and it was on hand along with the revised JC3+ phono preamp. It adds a new power supply, independent load adjustments for MC cartridges and modified circuit board.

Playing however is the CD 1, the JC2 preamp, and JC1 monoblocks. They've partnered up with KEF before and on hand were KEF Reference 207/2 for an excellent sounding system.

Bryston

It was good to see and hear James Tanner's Bryston Middle T ($4,500 for the pair) full range speakers in an elegant natural cherry vinyl veneer. The 4 Ohm speakers were powered by Bryston's 28BSST amps, and digital sources from the BDA-2 and BDP-2 digital player. The new Middle T features two 8" woofers with the 5.25" mid-range and 1" tweeter. I also liked the out-rigger adjustable spiked feet. I will honestly say, this is the best sounding Bryston speaker to date. Tremendous depth, rich and transparent. The room offered a wide soundstage. Very worthy of consideration for one of the best speakers I've heard today.

Totem Acoustics

Stunningly rendered music from a modest-sized system, the new Kin compact sub features an 8" driver and 150 watts. Accompanied by a stand mounted pair, the package is worth about $1,500 (hope I got that right). They both featured slightly sloped fronts as Vince Bruzzese, founder and chief designer moved the small monitor around showing me how the flexible the location can be. The soundstage didn't change. It was one of those packages that made me want one.

YG Acoustics and Dan D'Agostino

Never, ever disappointed by hearing either the YG speakers or gear from D'Agostino Design. Both beautiful in appearance, YG had their new Hailey 1.2 speakers accompanied by the D'Agostino Momentum amps.

USHER

Wow, the Grand Tower from Usher is impressive physically and sonically. It features three separate compartments or cabinets, stacked precisely. The 3-way speaker stands almost 7 feet high. I didn't bother asking the price, just listened.

Magico

As great as the full-range S-3 sounded, (starting around $22,000 per pair) I was drawn to the neighboring room where the static display of the Ultimate III triple-horn loaded speaker was roped off for viewing only.

Wow! What a piece of art, and happily noticed it displayed a made in the USA etching on the rear aluminum brace. At $600,000 for the pair, I was envious of the industrial designer, a tour de force.

DALI

A beautiful lifestyle piece from acclaimed DALI in the Kubik Series. It's available either passive or active and can also incorporate a powered subwoofer. Bluetooth, USB, optical and analog connections offer flexibility. Revealing the drivers it features the classic DALI wood fiber driver. A variety of colors too! Nice to see some fun in the concept here. The active version is $1,295, passive at $695 and Sub 1 at $595.

SVS

I was more than impressed by the Ultra speaker package from SVS and their new 200 Series subwoofers. Several demos including opera and movies, it was great to see a value based performance package amongst the expensive rooms around SVS. The new subs include SB and PB-2000 and $699 and $799, featuring 12" drivers.

the Ultra speakers included floor standing, a center channel and interesting Ultra surrounds that can operate as both surrounds and rears with a second set of speaker wires. The combination was under $3,800 al inclusive.

GoldenEar Technology

I'm getting tired of repeating the mantra about GoldenEar, they've done it again! As we scale up the Triton ladder, presented is Triton One, the largest of the line, well to date anyway. Tall at 54", it boasts a 1600 watt class D amplifier for three sub-bass drivers on the front, balanced with two large 7" x 10" planar radiators on the side. The HVFR tweeter is arranged with two 5 1/4" drivers.

This is such a well-balanced speaker, smooth, clean and frankly effortlessly sweet with full-bodied bass. Now think about the price at $2,499.99 each, makes the Triton One not just one of the best values at the show but one of the best sounding, no exaggeration.

Think I'll grab a box lunch in the press room…..