CES 2012 Show
Just trying to cover those two hotels was a logistical nightmare and a test of physical stamina. I can probably count on one hand the number of major players in high end audio that were not represented. Even so, in attendance were a number of luminaries of the high end scene. Name checking a few, Alon Wolf of Magico, Vladamir Lamm, Paul Barton of PSB, Tim de Paravicini of E.A.R, Yoav Geva of YG Acoustics, Kevin Halverson of HRT/Muse, Kevin Hayes of VAC, Bill Conrad of Conrad Johnson, Andrew Jones of TAD, Ray Kimber, John McDonald of Audience, Mike Creek, Roy Hall, John Atkinson and Michael Fremer of Stereophile, Jonathan Valin of The Absolute Sound, Lars Hansen of Hansen Audio, John Stronczer of Bel Canto, and way too many more to mention!
heard some good music in most of the rooms, even though some stuck to generic,
instrumentals and endless Dire Straits. Many exhibitors were willing to play
requests, which was cool.
The overall mood was very upbeat and there were lots of new products introduced, especially speakers and digital source components (tons of DAC's and other goodies). There was also an interesting mix of attendees with more women and younger people than I had expected. All in all, a splendid time, if not totally exhausting.
Some of the better sounding moderately priced rooms included, not in any order:
Unison Research & Opera loudspeakers
Best sounding expensive systems:
Meinwald's room featuring E.A.R., Marten & Jorma cabling.
The most impressive Uber Systems
Rogue and Eggleston Works. A new Class D/tube hybrid power amp was being displayed. Sounded very good.
Pass Labs room. These amps are MASSIVE.
Teac/Tascam. Teac was displaying the new very affordable Distinction line.
John Quick of Tempo and his dCS set up. He was also using Wilson speakers. Great sound, and good music.
A new Joseph Audio speaker.
A simple yet elegant Joseph Audio and bel canto set up. Nice sound and elegant looks.
CJ tube gear. Audio Jewelry.
Michael Fremer and friend.
Resolution Audio room. The Cantata is a very special component.
Stillpoints isolation and resonance control devices. Beautifully made.
Wadax set up. Very impressive. Digital phono correction and active speakers. A Neil Young LP sounded incredible.
Vienna Acoustics monitors. Beautifully made.
Vienna Acoustics prototype.
New Audio Research digital hub.
Dynaudio with T&A.
Dynaudio recent models.
New Carver tube amp. Nice.
Peachtree & Martin Logan.
A nice set up from Music Culture.
Pro-Ject room. Nice stuff. I love the small footprints. I was told there is a hybrid tube preamp in the works and the new Streambox is a cool digital source component.
Nola Boxer. Nice sounding room.
BAlabo electronics from Japan with Perfect8 speakers from Sweden. The speakers are $115K! Sounded rather nice, but off the charts expensive.
Paradigm and Anthem. Paradigm has lots of good products to offer, including new active speakers and a revamped Monitor line.
TAD room. Impressive. They were playing high-rez files. Bigger than life sound.
Mighty MBL gear.
MBL Reference electronics.
MBL Extreme main tower and bass stack.
Front view of MBL system. Huge soundstage from these omni-directional wonders.
Ayre and Vandersteen. Classy sound.
Finishes for the brand new Magico S5.
Mark Levinson and Revel.
The mighty Lamm reference amps. Possibly the best sound of the show with the Wilson Alexandrias. Very life like and a very "in the room" feel.
Soulution electronics and Magico speakers. Highly resolving combination. Alison Krauss & Union Station sounded amazing on this system.
Shunyata Research uber power cords.
Shunyata Venom 3. A great value at $99.