CES 2014

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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.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Jan 10, 2014  |  0 comments
Mark Levinson products sit at the top of the Harman Kardon Luxury Group’s totem pole. The new No.585 integrated amp $12,000, available summer 2014) offers 200 watts per channel into 8 ohms and 350 into 4, D/A conversion up 32 bits/192kHz, and a full complement of analog and digital inputs (including USB—but no HDMI, an unfortunate but almost universal omission in 2-channel integrated amps).

There is also a built-in subwoofer crossover and output for those wanting to set up a 2.1-channel system to accommodate both music and movies.

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  |  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.

Barb Gonzalez  |  Jan 10, 2014  |  0 comments
Panasonic offers users individual recommendations, can turn on TV when you walk by and show you messages from other family members.
Darryl Wilkinson  |  Jan 10, 2014  |  0 comments
EcoHarvester is a startup company that uses “green technology” to engineer consumer electronics devices that do not require batteries. Instead, the devices are “human-powered” and rely on power generated by the users’ own movements or micro-kinetic energy. The company’s first product, the BonsaiLight, is a desk/tabletop dimmable LED lamp that comes with a battery-less wireless on/off switch that uses “a razor thin mechanism to capture motion, yielding a significantly larger amount of power-for-size than other battery-free switches…” Because the wireless switch “harvests” the power it needs from the kinetic energy expended when the user turns the switch, it can be mounted anywhere without the need for running new wires. The BonsaiLights will likely incorporate Bluetooth connectivity and other wireless protocols. The company anticipates beginning a Kickstarter campaign within the next several months, with production to begin as soon as possible. Exact pricing of the hardware was not available, although the wireless switches will hopefully sell for under $40 each.
Barb Gonzalez  |  Jan 10, 2014  |  0 comments
Samsung's Multi-Link automatically knows to search for videos and information related to what you are watching.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Jan 10, 2014  |  0 comments
Instead of formally exhibiting at the CES this year, Harman International set up shop in a large ballroom at the Hard Rock hotel. When we were there, the place was jumping, despite the relatively remote vernue.
Brent Butterworth  |  Jan 10, 2014  |  0 comments

Epos Acoustics could justify the claim that its new K-series speakers are fine-tuned for today's audio world based solely on the sleek, seamless design. But there's more to the K-series than cool looks.

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.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Jan 10, 2014  |  0 comments
Lexicon’s venerable MC-12 preamp-processor, which has been on the market for over ten years (with important upgrades alinbg the way to accommodate the changing times) is about to be replaced by the MC-14. The latter (April, $10,500) will offer a full complement of inputs and other ports, including HDMI, USB, 7.1-channel analog, Ethernet, RS-232, and a headphone output. It accepts all current consumer sources, and also has a selectable analog bypass for playback. Oddly, however, there is no provision for any form of manual or automatic room compensation.
Lauren Dragan  |  Jan 10, 2014  |  0 comments
Let me begin by saying that upon arrival to CES, I did not anticipate getting liquid silicone injected into my ear canal. But we’ll get to that. I actually stopped by to check out the new Westone W60, Westone’s new 6 driver balanced armature in-ear headphone. They come with two removable cords, one with Apple remote (an Android cord will also be available) and one standard braided. They’re expected to be available Feb 1st, and retail for about $999. That puts it in the same price point as the Shure SE846, which is one of the best non-custom in-ears I’ve ever heard. I did get to listen to the Westone W60 while I was on the LVCC floor, and was really impressed. That said, anyone who ever has been to CES knows that the show floor is no place to do a listening test, so I’ll have to refrain from official judgement until I am somewhere not flooded with blasting music and the walla of thousands of people. I will say, however, that based on what I heard, I’m really excited to hear the final retail model. Also worth mentioning is that they’re universal fit and comply tipped, which is a big deal for Westone, who are known for their high-end custom in-ear monitors.


Which is how we get to me having silicone injected into my ears. Westone was doing free molds to demonstrate how their custom monitors are made, and I got a chance to experience the process. If I’m honest, I was really nervous, as my ears are a large part of my ability to make a living. Needless to say, someone with a syringe shooting pink gloop into my ear canal isn’t on my “top things to do” list. But the folks at Westone are pros, and it was a really easy experience (if just a bit bizarre.) In case you want to try it for yourself: they start by placing a small foam piece right against your eardrum in to protect it, and then the silicone is gently pushed into your ears. You then have to sit with a piece of styrofoam in your mouth between your teeth, to create the correct spacing in your ear canal. It takes about five minutes, and then boom! You’re done! The finished mold is gently slid out, and you’re on your way to a custom set of in-ear headphones. Rumor has it that this process may soon be replaced by something involving lasers, so if you want to feel like Slimer from Ghostbusters is whispering sweet nothings to you,  get your customs made in the next few years. Not your thing? No worries. Hold out for Feb 1st and check out the W60s instead.
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.

John Sciacca  |  Jan 08, 2014  |  First Published: Jan 09, 2014  |  0 comments
Many people think that a Kaleidescape movie server system is just for people needing to manage a massive movie collection. And while it is certainly great for them, the company feels that its new Cinema One system featuring the company’s award winning interface offers many benefits for even the casual movie collector, and that once someone experiences how easy the system is to use, they will become collectors.

Now, Kaleidescape is giving you a reason to purchase its new Limited Edition Cinema One movie server even if you don’t already own a large movie collection. In fact, the company is giving you 50 reasons, in the form of 50 preloaded titles that have been hand-selected by the company!

Mark Fleischmann  |  Jan 09, 2014  |  0 comments
The 6.5-inch woofer in Focal's Aria 906 monitor is made of a hollow flax fiber sandwiched in a layer of transparent plastic-like glass tissue. The combination is light and tough and we've never seen the like before. The tall stand-mount also includes a one-inch aluminum-magnesium tweeter. The monitor began shipping in October 2013 for $1499/pair and can be accompanied by a matching center; a sub will follow in May 2014. Three towers are also available. In an adjoining room Focal showed its first soundbar, the Dimension, which will get separate coverage. The products are made in France so you know they'll be delicious.

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