Positive Feedback ISSUE 59
january / february 2012

 

 

CES 2012 Day 3 - Part 6
by Pete Davey

 

Here it is, the home stretch! The last part…

Highend-Electronics / Artos Audio / Valvet / Gregitek / HighEnd Novum / Heavens Gate Audio / KR Audio

The oh-so nice looking Mirage Loudspeaker – $49,800

Valvet Gear – awesome sounding, great looking and nice prices! Blocks L2 Tube Pre-Amp - $3750, A3.5 MkII mono-blocks - $6390, MusicServer I AMD/Windows 7 Streaming System - $995 (Pretty cool for those wanting to get into PC based playback and need a turn-key solution. Synergistic Research Tesla PowerCell 10SE MKII - $5000

Audio Feeling / Artesania / Aurorasound / Koon / Yiard Audio Design

These speakers from Koon were really out of this world…

Evolution Acoustics / Dartzeel / Playback Designs / Wave Kinetics / ATR Services / Audience

Harmonious Haven

This room always sounds on point, Johnathan Tinn and Andreas Koch really know what's going on in the digital world. Their new playback player does DSDX2. Super ultra high res and the music I heard in this room make me get goosebumps.

Newest Playback player MPS-5 with DSD2X over USB! Andreas Koch does it again.

Evolution Acoustics Micro One's (I've heard these are finally in production after teasing us for a few years) - $2500

The usual compliment of Dartzeel gear, very high quality stuff. NHB-18 Pre / Phonostage battery powered, NHB-108 Stereo amplifier (you should visit bluelightaudio.com and check this thing out, the build quality both inside and out blows my mind).

Always hard leaving this room!

Studio Electric / Benchmark

Studio Electric has some really cool speaker designs, very steam-punk-ish. Studio Electric Type 3 - $7900, Studio Electric 4 Amplifier - $7350

Benchmark's DAC1... Proudly displaying the PFO Brutus Award 2011.

Antelope Audio

I have been interested in these guys' DAC offerings for a while and now they have a new model which is rack-mountable (but still portable) that is also an ADC. Called the Eclipse @ $7000. Does up to 384kHZ sample rates.

The HiFi Company

This room struck my interest… comfy leather chairs with speakers attached? What is this? Sat down for a demo and wow pretty cool! A perfect stereo image and deep soundstage. The chairs had bass shakers and subwoofers as well. Pretty ingenious for those that don't have large spaces.

From the drivers seat...

Electro Design

Makers of ultra small gear with a big sound the BS-812A speaker.

Analog Voice Digital Tube Amplifier (DT Monoblock) – Get "tube sound" from a digital amplifier. Quite interesting, from Korea. Analog Voice ALLDAC – USB 24/192 capabilities. Does multi-channel!

ESS Labs

Yes, ESS is back! First saw them at the Newport audio show.. Got to spend some time in this room listening to some music off of my CD. They are even bringing the Transar back @ $19,000.

Nothing like the Heil driver…

Sanders Sound Systems

Harmonious Haven

I will have to say I'm always impressed by the detail in this room and the simplicity of the system. Sanders makes one of the nicest sounding electrostat speakers I've heard, and for the price it's hard to beat. These are actively crossed over and the entire system is $13,000 WITH CABLES! This includes the active crossover as well. Unbelievable, and Mr. Sanders stands behind his gear.

Also introducing their new preamp @ $4000. 30 day in home risk free trial.

Von Gaylord Audio

Return of the Legend and VG-1 Plus woofer (these can be purchased separately). $18,995. Uni Power Amplifiers – 180W per channel.

Episode Audio

Interesting sound from these wide-dispersion speakers, dual midranges firing at each other in phase. Really cool sound-stage here. The Episode-5 @ $12,500

Magnepan

Everyone was raving about their new 3 channel setup. They are making multichannel music cool again! Sounded really nice, and as usual hidden behind a white curtain.

They also have a new program where you can try them in home before committing to buy using their local dealer network, pretty sweet! Also have a new mini system for computer systems @ $1490 with subwoofer.

King's Audio Limited

Harmonious Haven

Walking into this room, look at these big mamas! These guys were a true stand-up act… They were using a streaming music player but I wanted to hear my CD so they brought in a tube CD player for me… Talk about class!

Introducing the KS-10 @ $29,000.

The bass out of these speakers was enormous. Loved it!

Purist Audio Design / Stahl-Tek / Vitus Audio / Peak Consult

One of my favorite cables. Introducing their new 25th anniversary cable line and Corvus line.

The Stahl Tek line... the Opus D/A and Opus CDT.

Chapmen / MIT

Chapman T8 MKII @ $9999. 

Broadman

Harmonious Haven

Broadman makes pianos, so naturally their speakers will just be straight up beautiful. How about their sound? Well, they had a new line out that I wanted to hear, smaller units. These are the 2M's @ $4000. The sound? VERY nice.

On a Higher Note / Vivid Giya / Luxman

Harmonious Haven

Now back to the Mirage to visit Philip O' Hanlon's room – "On a Higher Note" to hear the Giyas as they should be heard.

These are the smaller version called the G3 @ $40,000. Don't let their size fool you, these guys get very loud and clear. Conneted to the newest Luxman stereo amplifier M800A @ $19,000.

Philip is always a great host…

Then John Atkinson shows up!

Well... that about does it for CES 2012! Hope you enjoyed this report. Next year I might focus more on rooms that really impressed me and give more specs. I wanted to get an overall feel of the entire high-end audio scene but it's quite overwhelming.

Thanks for looking, see you on the other side!

 

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