Next-generation audiophiles-in-the-making are plugging their iPods into tube amps. So building an iPod dock into a tube amp is a logical progression. Sonic Integrity's Tube Pod (shown by System Audio, $1000) includes 13-wpc amp, dock, and speakers. Long live the revolution. For more details: tube-pod.com.
Sonneteer's Morpheus audio server will play anything your home network dishes up through a PC or other device. You can supplement it with Sonneteer's 3TB external hard drive, which adds the convenience of a slot-load CD drive for burning. The basic unit has 50 watts times two and sells for $3995. Double that if you add the extra drive. One angle that came up in our discussion was the fact that the system rips with metadata from free providers; a more deluxe service costs extra. If you're buying a pricey audio server, find out where it's getting its metadata and consider how that will affect the experience of using it.
Sonoro is a German audio manufacturer. The company recently commissioned a survey on the listening habits of 560 consumers. Thirty-nine percent of them named FM radio as their number one audio entertainment source, beating iPods and other MP3 players at 23 percent. That was interesting, but when I visited the Sonoro site, I found something even more interesting: the Cubo system.
Getting Sirius got a little easier last week with the announcement that the Sonos Digital Music System would support the internet version of Sirius satellite radio. Connect your Sonos system to the net and you can get 80 Sirius channels--for a fee, of course.
Olympica is a new speaker line from Sonus Faber, whose speakers have always been luxurious in both build and looks. A 1.1-inch silk dome tweeter and six-inch paper-composite woofer are built into a curved enclosure that is asymmetrical and built in mirror-imaged pairs. This allows the slot ports, located toward the rear of the side panels, to interact with the room in different ways, so if you audition these, you'll want to experiment with positioning, facing the port inward or outward. Available in light walnut and dark graphite veneer finishes, these were easily the most beautiful products we've seen on the first day of CEDIA 2013, and we suspect we won't see anything finer. Pricing is $6500/pair, shipping now. A matching center model is also available.
You'll probably read some blogs from our two-channel colleagues about The Sonus Faber, a fridge-size floorstander selling for $200,000/pair in a limited production run of 30 pieces. Playing a solo cello recording, TSF mustered some of the best sound at the show. But there were also brand new home theater worthy models at Sonus Faber's suite in the Venetian, namely the Toy Monitor Grand (center) and Toy Wall (upper righthand corner). They're sold in pairs, for $2,000 in both cases, but you can add the Toy Center for $995/each.
Sonus Faber seems incapable of producing a speaker that sounds anything less than fabulous and the new Venere line is no exception. The line includes the 2.0 monitor (shown, $1700/pair), the 1.5 monitor ($1200/pair), 3.0 tower ($3500/pair), the 2.5 tower ($2500/pair), an on-wall model called The Wall, ($700/each), and a center called The Center ($800). Features include a new silk dome tweeter, combination polypropylene and fiberglass woofers, an enclosure that mimics the shape of $120,000 Aida floorstander, and a new Italian walnut finish in addition to gloss white and black. Add a sub from REL, another Fine Sounds brand, and you're good to go.
Sony's new BDP-S470 and BDP-S570 Blu-ray players "will be fully capable of 3D playback of Full HD 1080p for each eye," company spokesperson Greg Belloni has told Engadget HD. And yet these players are nominally HDMI 1.3 compatible, as opposed to 1.4, which is supposed to be the 3D version.