CES 2014

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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.
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.
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.

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.
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.
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.

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.
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.

Bob Ankosko  |  Jan 10, 2014  |  0 comments
TOWERING TROPHY Quite possibly the most striking speaker system at 2014 CES, Scaena’s statuesque Iso-Linear Array is made of chrome-encased stone and boasts 15 midrange drivers and nine ribbon tweeters per column. The subwoofers have 18-inch drivers and are governed by a digital bass-management system that employs a 32-bit SHARP processor and 24-bit Crystal A/D and D/A converters. Asked who might be interested in this sonic work of art, designer Sunny Umrao does not mince words: “People who have the best but still want something more—a trophy of achievement.” At $75,000, it is a trophy, indeed.

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Barb Gonzalez  |  Jan 10, 2014  |  0 comments
Sharp moves into high end audio with its wireless audio and video Universal Player.
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.

Ken C. Pohlmann  |  Jan 10, 2014  |  2 comments
I have long regarded refrigerators as being the most selfish of the kitchen appliances. Toasters, for example, must exert tremendous heat to partially carbonize my toast, and blenders, the poor things, whip themselves into a frenzy as they mush things up. In contrast, fridges mainly just stand there, self-absorbed, trying to look cool, intentionally not sharing their air conditioning with the rest of the kitchen. Recognizing this, Whirlpool has dramatically reinvented the refrigerator - transforming it from aloof SOB, to DJ party animal.

SV Staff  |  Jan 09, 2014  |  0 comments
I love the Walking Dead as much as the next guy, but a Walking Dead guitar? At 2014 CES, Peavy showed a number of character guitars. Don’t like zombies, how about a Captain America or Incredible Hulk axe?
Darryl Wilkinson  |  Jan 09, 2014  |  0 comments
Metra Home Theater hates cords and cables more than you do. The company’s new 3.1 Audio Mount Sound Bar combines an active soundbar with a 160-watt class D amp with a wall mount capable of handling 50- to 90-inch TVs. But Metra didn’t stop there. It also incorporates a powered subwoofer into the mount itself, possibly making the 3.1 Audio Mount Sound Bar the world’s easiest-to-install and cleanest-looking AV system ever. The MSRP for the 3.1 Audio Mount Sound Bar will be $899 with the product shipping early this year.

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