CES 2014

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Mark Fleischmann  |  Jan 10, 2014  |  0 comments
Here's just a smattering of the audio/video products honored in the 2014 CES Innovations Awards, chosen because they might not otherwise appear in this year's CES coverage (mine, at any rate). Clockwise from top left: The Pioneer Elite SC-79 receiver ($3000) serves up nine channels of D3, the company's version of Class D amplification, and every D3 model we've heard so far has lived up to the promise of energy efficiency combined with great sound. This is Pioneer's top-of-the-line model; we've got a review of the less expensive SC-71 in the pipeline. Jamo's Torsten is the brand's first soundbar. The Sharp SD-WH1000U Blu-ray player uses WiSA wireless technology to wirelessly deliver uncompressed 24/96 PCM and 1080p, effectively freeing high-res audio and video from their wired chains. Would'nt it be great if surround receivers could do the same? Bang & Olufsen's BeoLab 18 tower speaker has a tweeter on top firing into a diffuser and four mid-woofers in an extraordinary looking column enclosure; more here. To see more honorees (and we've omitted quite a few good ones!) see the CES website.
Mark Fleischmann  |  Jan 10, 2014  |  0 comments
Meridian's Prime, which it bills as a headphone amp, is also a USB DAC, and who could win a digital arm-wrestling contest with Bob Stuart? The dual skinned, resonance killing, screwless enclosure is a miniaturized echo of a G Series component. There are three Analogue Spatial Processing listening modes: one with no enhancement, one for a more speaker-like "out of head" feel, and more of the same with bass boost. A quick listen suggested that ASP has great potential; we'll audition it with more (and more familiar) software ASAP. Price is $2000 with a conventional power supply. Add $1250 for the separate Prime Power Supply.
Mark Fleischmann  |  Jan 10, 2014  |  0 comments
If Mark, who is now writing about himself in the third person and enjoying it too much, hasn't gotten more audiophile demo material for use in reviews, it's due more to an inexplicable shyness on his part than stinginess on anyone else's. He asked Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab and Ray Kimber for some high-res analog and digital software, and guess what? They said yes! MoFi pressings are half-speed mastered and pressed on 180-gram virgin vinyl. The 45 rpm set of Dylan's Blonde on Blonde may prove especially tasty. Kimber, best known as a cable magnate, is also a virtuoso recordist using DSD and his IsoMike technology, which employs baffled microphones to defeat infrachannel interference. If you're one of those people who say SACD is dead, shut up. Can't wait to dig into that big box of Mozart piano sonatas, performed by Robert Silverman.
Brent Butterworth  |  Jan 10, 2014  |  4 comments

Since the company's founding in 1978, Thiel Audio has always divided audio signals among its woofers, midranges and tweeters using first-order (6 dB/octave) crossover circuits. But with the passing of company founder Jim Thiel in 2009, and the hiring of ex-PSB, ex-SVS engineer Mark Mason to head the company's speaker design, the company's moving beyond Thiel's original concepts.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Jan 10, 2014  |  0 comments
Everyone at CES tries to add a bit of flair to their booths to get people to stop in. bem wireless didn’t have to do much - their new Party Block speaker brings its own flair. Flashing a rainbow of colors, this is a powerful poolside partner.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Jan 10, 2014  |  0 comments
Take a look at these speakers. Although Edifier has named it the Spinnaker, I can’t decide if they look like sails or a pair of devil’s horns, especially when I checked out the beautiful burgundy-colored ones. The Spinnaker is available in this lush color, or a more standard black.

Ken C. Pohlmann  |  Jan 10, 2014  |  0 comments
After a week of CES buffet food, I could probably stand to lose a few pounds. Maybe I should strap on some Fitness Technologies gear and go for a swim. FT specializes in sports electronics, offering three small players, each with a different wrinkle, and each advertised as "the world's smallest." In addition, to being small, the players are also waterproof. And when FT says "waterproof," they mean it; these players can be submerged in up to 10 feet of water (IPX8 rating). Swim, sail, surf, kayak, snorkel, ski, jog, scuba - you get the picture.

Brent Butterworth  |  Jan 10, 2014  |  1 comments

Bryston's early speakers were boxy, pro-monitor-style creations, but its latest products are a lot sleeker and more home-friendly. They're also designed -- as one might expect from a Canadian audio company -- according to sound, decades-proven scientific principles. That's why the Middle T tower speaker delivered some of the best sound I heard at CES.

Bob Ankosko  |  Jan 10, 2014  |  0 comments
French speaker company Focal made its entry into the burgeoning soundbar market at 2014 CES with the clever two-piece Dimension system, comprising a parallelogram-shaped soundbar and optional matching subwoofer. The slender soundbar, which is only 3 inches deep and made of aluminum, can be used alone and mounted to the wall (bracket included) or mated with the 4.5-inch-deep “vibration-free” subwoofer to form a TV platform. Both pieces are 61 inches wide, making them appropriate for use with screens 50 inches or larger.

The soundbar plays down to 50 Hz and uses five, “ultra-flat” 4-inch drivers to keep the enclosure depth to a minimum. Highlights include “acoustic integration” settings to optimize performance and two HDMI jacks plus optical and analog inputs. The subwoofer, with two elliptical woofers in a push-pull configuration, is rated down to 30 Hz. A built-in six-channel amplifier delivers 450 watts of system power.

The Dimension soundbar is expected to sell for $1,400 when it becomes available later this year; the companion subwoofer will sell for $500.

Brent Butterworth  |  Jan 10, 2014  |  0 comments

Here's something I'm almost 100% positive you've never seen before: a tweeter horn made from glass. Waterfall Audio has been pushing its glass-walled speakers for years; here's a system I reviewed for Sound & Vision a couple of years ago. But the new Victoria Evo takes the concept to a new level.

Brent Butterworth  |  Jan 10, 2014  |  0 comments

What might have been the most anticipated speaker launch of CES definitely delivered when GoldenEar demoed its new Triton One flagship tower speaker. Walking around the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas, I kept hearing showgoers rave about the Triton One's sound -- no big surprise, considering that speakers like the Triton Seven have gotten such glowing reviews in Sound & Vision and other publications.

Brent Butterworth  |  Jan 10, 2014  |  0 comments

I wouldn't call Aerial Acoustics' speakers "chunky," but the brand's definitely not known for decor-friendly products. That's partly why I was so happy to encounter the 6T, the company's new tower speaker, which it showed in its suite at the Venetian Hotel during CES.

Bob Ankosko  |  Jan 09, 2014  |  0 comments
Let’s face it, square and rectangular speakers are boring. You’ve seen one, you’ve seen ‘em all, which is why I did a double take as I walked past the Edifier booth and spotted a row of colorful and stylish e25 Luna Eclipse speakers. How refreshing, though I had to admit the Luna reminded me of one of those egg chairs from the’60s, and in a setting right out of 2001: A Space Odyssey to boot.
Ken C. Pohlmann  |  Jan 09, 2014  |  0 comments
The Life Jacket iMW575 is a ruggedized, portable Bluetooth speaker. It is the flagship in a line of speakers carrying the Altec Lansing name. The Life Jacket stands out with an impressive 16 hours of battery life. It features a rubberized case that provides an IPX7 rating; that means the speaker is waterproof - it can be submerged in a meter of water for 30 minutes. The design also confers a degree of shock resistance, and the speaker can withstand a degree of dirt, sand, and dust.

Brent Butterworth  |  Jan 09, 2014  |  First Published: Jan 10, 2014  |  0 comments
MartinLogan didn't have a lot of information to share about this prototype of this new tower, which is intended as the new flagship of the Motion Series speaker line.