CES 2009 The Rest of The Story-New Updates!


CES 2009 More from Piero Gabucci

Denon unveiled the flagship Universal Blu-ray player with the DVD-A1UDCI capable of playing every possible disk format out there. Features include; balanced 2-channle analog, SACD and DVD-Audio playback through HDMI, Denon Link 4th Edition or PCM conversion, 10-bit Silicon Optix Realta video processing, upconverting to 1080p, vertical stretch feature for converting 2.35:1 to 16:9 and of course decoding of the new formats from Dolby and DTS. MSRP around $3,800.


This is a new one for me, speaker "uffs" said to improve imaging and bass response. Westlake Audio has produced speakers for the professional and high end consumer for 30 plus years. At $16,990 per pair, shown is the 3 way bass-reflex BBSM-10VNF with dual 10' woofers, a 6 ½' midrange and 1 ¼' dome tweeter. Oh, uffs are also available for cables.


Conrad-Johnson introduced their new flagship preamplifier, the limited edition GAT. At $20,000 only 250 units will be produced.


Also shown is the affordable new Classic preamplifier already shipping for $1,750 with an optional phono stage adding $750, available in March.

Classic pre large

And from sister company McCormack the new line which includes the LD-2 preamplifier with Burr-Brown volume control replacing the RLD-1. The LD-2 is $2,495 and $2,995 with the optional phono card. Add the DNA-250 stereo amplifier with 250 watt/channel at $3,995 or the DNA-750 mono-block at $4,750 each both available in February. Rounding out the new line is the DP-2 CD player with 24 bit/ 192 kHz sampling at $3,495 available in April.


A picture can’t begin to describe the beautiful finish and construction of the new Nola Micro Grand Reference loudspeaker designed to emulate the massive Nola Baby Grand Reference loudspeaker. President Carl Marchisotto and family beamed with pride for the $12,000 per pair Micro. Key to the design of both is the double built in platform bass with ball bearing isolators. While the woofers are enclosed traditionally, the tweeters and ribbon are open to the rear eliminating port noise and coloration.


What's an audio show without showing off the latest power conditioner and power cables from Shunyata Research. Sales Manager Richard Coburn showed me the Hydra Model-8 version II. With 8 outlets and power outputs of 2,400 watts, this 20amp all aluminum chassis power distribution is $5,000.


The CX Series Helix power cables include 5 models ranging from the $495 Sidewinder to the $3,495 King Cobra. Shown is the $1,095 Python.


ZuAudio introduced the new Zu Essence with a full range driver and real ribbon tweeter. Essence's cabinet is a combination of Baltic birch plywood and MDF. The human voice inspired design is a very reasonable $5,000 per pair and comes in amazing colors!


I had gone searching for Rogue Audio and was delighted to see them sharing a room with EgglestonWorks and their new affordable The Dianne speaker. In fact they said they didn't purposely color coordinate their equipment, but the display said otherwise. Jason Serinus had reviewed The Nine and grew to love them. The very affordable The Dianne are $2,500 per pair!


Rogue Audio powered The Dianne with their wonderful 250 wpc Apollo monoblock amplifiers at $9,995 for the pair and the new Hera preamplifier at $7,495.


I hooked up with Jonathan Scull, PR guru extraordinaire in the Ultralink/XLO cables room where he showed me the affordable and beautiful Argentum cable line where Nate Mansfield, sales manager talked of the product. (Sorry Nate, my photo's didn't turn out well.)

I was anxious to hear Loiminchay's room so I twisted Jonathan's arm to run a demonstration. The Kandinsky Horn/moving coil speaker didn't disappoint me. Beautifully crafted of laminated layers of birch plywood, the tactile surface seduces you to run your fingers over the curves. This art sounded spectacular, I didn’t want to leave. Especially obvious and noticeable is the 19' horn driver with a 2' beryllium driver. I'm anxious to visit designer Patrick Chu's studio in New York.


My wrap-up of the show is with what I think was the best audio demo that I heard. The Thiel Bryston room was sublime auditioning the special edition CS2.4SE at 8,000/pair which cost nearly double the CS2.4 at $4,900/pair. What you get besides Jim Thiel's signature on these limited production units is hand finished Birdseye maple, and high quality polypropylene capacitors and high cost crossover design. Alongside the CS2.4SE was a pair of Thiel SS2 subwoofers.

The demonstration was actually from Bryston VP of Sales, James Tanner. His equipment melded with the Thiel using his BPA-26 preamplifier / BDA-1 processor combination and Bryston's 7B-SST monoblocks.

Give some credit to Torus for their power conditioner and Wireworld cables because the room just sounded great!