The video guys didn't stand a chance. Even with all the talk about 4K TVs, CES 2013 was a headphone show. There were so many new models introduced that it'd be impossible for anyone to see and hear them all. But I tried.
Monster has earned a rep for some of CES's flashiest press events, but this year, the company outdid itself with an event that was so heavy on celebs, strutting models, and co-marketing announcements that the products themselves seemed lost in all the glamor.
Even with so many new headphones, Bluetooth speakers, and other new personal/portable audio products debuting at last week's CES, there was still plenty of room for new introductions in traditional audio products. In fact, the Venetian Hotel was full of 'em, with exhibits spanning five floors plus some of the convention space downstairs.
As much as CES 2013 was a headphone show, it was also a Bluetooth show. So many companies displayed new Bluetooth speakers that I started doing triage on the first day, ignoring the lookalikes, the animal-shaped speakers, and (most of) the cheap plasticky junk to focus on personal audio products that would have a fighting chance of giving you good sound.
With so many mainstream companies getting into the soundbar biz, much of the action in that category seems to have shifted over to the CEDIA Expo. Still, CES 2013 did reveal a few new soundbar models. Some, like the Vizios shown above, blew away showgoers with their sound quality.
The annual Consumer Electronics Show, America's biggest tech bash, kicked off tonight with CES Unveiled, an event that answers the question "How many journalists can one possibly pack into a convention center ballroom?" (Answer: a zillion.)
Cutting the cable” is a fashionable trend, but Monster is doing it in a different sense: It’s now just going by Monster instead of Monster Cable. True to its new moniker, the company didn’t even mention cable in its CES press conference today. But given the onslaught of cool new products the company introduced, nobody seemed to notice.
The Consumer Electronics Show begins next Tuesday in Las Vegas. Starting Monday — press day — you’ll be barraged with news of the latest gadgets and gizmos. But what gadget bloggers and TV talking heads are likely to miss in their search for sexy baubles is all the stuff that’s going on in audio.
Chris Hagen is acoustic systems development engineer for Velodyne, a company that, despite its recent forays into headphones, has been primarily a subwoofer specialist since its founding in 1983. Chris has also worked as an engineer for the consumer division of JBL, and for M&K Sound. Excerpts from this interview appear in the feature story “Subwoofers: The Guts and the Glory.”
S&V: What’s the most important in a subwoofer: the driver, the enclosure, or the amplifier? CH: Being a system engineer, I believe all of it’s important. A poor-quality part in just one of the areas can mess up the whole product. For instance, no sub with a leaky enclosure is going to sound good no matter what amp or driver you use. Or if you tune the sub in an environment [room] that’s not appropriate to tune in, it’s going to sound bad regardless of the components you use.
S&V: Do you have a preference for ported, sealed, or passive-radiator subwoofers? How do the design decisions differ among those three?