[Community of A/V Enthusiasts]
Admittedly, not much has come out of CES since Blu-ray made its huge impact several years ago. We all curse and complain about the immensity of the show and the lines, and the distances and the walking and the damned shuttle buses. And yet, CES occurs just after the holidays and we approach the New Year with enthusiasm and wonder, like kids on Christmas morning, hoping for that one cool present we didn’t expect to get.
Those of us covering CES from an audio standpoint, or more specifically, 2-channel audio, it’s an opportunity to see old friends, make new ones and support those committed to the passion of music reproduction. I look forward to spending most of my time at the Venetian, listening to some amazing gear and coming away feeling like it will be a Grand New Year in audio.
GoldenEar Technology has gone from 0-60 in the last couple of years in a relentless manner, churning out one excellent product after the next. In fact I joked with Sandy Gross, someone who has been in the industry for a long time, that he was just hitting his stride.
What I think is a much better proportioned speaker, the new Triton Three is slightly smaller than the Triton Two and sheds $500 per speaker. GoldenEar removed one of the two subwoofers and a mid-bass driver, but left the important and wonderful sounding ribbon tweeter. The sound is natural, and engaging, and at $1,000 a piece, a very affordable high-end audio speaker.
Soundbars are soundbars, but not like the SuperCinema 3D Array (don’t call me a soundbar). At $999, the triple ganged midrange drivers/ ribbon tweeter presents an elegant 3-channel arrangement. GoldenEar refers to this design as 3D optimization technology developed with Princeton professor, Dr. Edgar Choueiri which deals with the issues of crosstalk when channels are placed in close proximity.
Magico probably doesn’t need much introduction – they have consistently received rave reviews for the speakers. I spent some time listening to the massive Q7, a four-way design of which I don’t even want to give you the price, (hint: most people spend about the same on a small house.) But shown is what will replace the V3, the Q5, at $28,600 a pair. Also a true four-way design, it’s aluminum skin is finished in a stunning candy-apple red.
Dwarfed by the $25,000 CLX electrostatic from Martin Logan is a new line, modest in every way including price (to be determined). The Motion 40/20 are floorstanding speakers in a full line by Martin Logan that will include a center channel, surrounds, and a bookshelf. They replace the Motion 10/12 models. Through the perforated grill is visible the “Folded Motion Transducer” tweeter.
The line includes flat monitor styled speakers to compliment the ever-thinning panel television. Referred to as SLM, this LCR also features the folded Motion Transducer. At less than 2” fully wall-mounted, the SLM is priced at $495.95 each.
So you think CD players are dead? Not according to Richard Schram of Parasound. He passionately made a case for a better way. The CD 1 includes a computer that reads the disk that spins at 4 times the normal speed of a CD drive. It takes up to 5 seconds to read each CD to reduce jitter, and also to maximize the information on the disk, playing it clean. Elaborately shielded, the power supply, and computer boards, etc., prevent any interference. Balanced XLR outputs, high-end DAC and much more will set you back $4,500.
If you must absolutely own something from Parasound, how about an incredibly priced 24 bit/192 KHz DAC? Inputs include a USB, optical and coaxial while outputs include both RCA and XLR balanced connections. Beefy for a small unit, because of the large toriodal power transformer, the Zdac will be priced around $450.00. I’d sure love to compare this to my Benchmark DAC, that costs 3 times that.
Sharing the room with Parasound, newly patented H-PAS Atlantic Technology showed their new bookshelf speakers, the AT-2 now available for $1,800 per pair. Boasting the same Hybrid Pressure Acceleration System, the AT-2 played well beyond their modest 16” high size.