CES 2014 - Las Vegas, USA
- Written by News Editor News Editor
- Parent Category: CES 2014 CES 2014
- Created: 07 January 2014 07 January 2014
Companies featured in gallery below: GoldenEar Technology, Magico, Usher Audio Technology, Astell&Kern, Wadia, Simaudio, Ayre Acoustics, JL Audio, EMM Labs, Pass Labs, Boulder Amplifiers, Soulution
All prices in US dollars unless otherwise indicated
GoldenEar Technology debuted its new flagship loudspeaker, the Triton One. This model produces prodigious bass thanks to three 5" x 9" quadratic sub-bass drivers coupled to four side-mounted infrasonic radiators. A pair of . . .
. . . 5.25" bass-midrange drivers handle the midband, and the company's proprietary High-Velocity Folded Ribbon (HVFR) tweeter reproduces the highs. The retail price is a surprisingly affordable $5000 per pair.
Magico's S3 fills out the company's S-series line nicely. The extruded-aluminum body houses the company's MB30 beryllium-dome tweeter, its M380 Nano-Tec midrange, and a pair of 8" bass drivers that have Nano-Tec dust caps for increased rigidity. The S3 is priced at . . .
. . . $22,600 per pair in the standard M-Cast finishes. The speaker shown in the photo is in their Bronze finish.
Usher Audio Technology, which is from Taiwan, played its new flagship loudspeaker, the Grand Tower, which features two 11" woofers that are made by Eton (which is based in Germany), two 7" in-house-designed midrange drivers, and the company's DMD diamond tweeter. This 400-pound monster retails for $37,800 per pair. The fine details in the construction include . . .
. . . a curved front baffle that houses the tweeter and midrange drivers.
Astell&Kern debuted the AK240 portable media player, which SoundStage! Network writer Hans Wetzel is holding. It's the new top model in a rapidly growing lineup. The main features of the AK240 are Wi-Fi connectivity and dual Cirrus Logic DAC chips for what is reported to be better channel separation compared to their other players. The price . . .
. . . is TBA, but is expected to be close to $2000. The AK240 will be released in the first half of 2014.
The Fine Sounds Group, which is based in Italy, introduced a striking new Wadia product at CES 2014: the 321 Decoding Computer. This digital-to-analog converter features 24/192 capability through all of its five digital inputs (including USB). The 321 comes standard with an analog volume control and a headphone output. The cosmetics are top shelf: a glass top panel sets off the cast-aluminum body for a unique, high-quality look. The price, considering the construction and finish, is amazingly low -- only $3000. What's also surprising is that it's made entirely in the USA.
The 321's gorgeous casework is courtesy of Livio Cucuzza, the chief industrial designer for Fine Sounds Group, the parent company behind Wadia and other brands such as Sonus Faber, McIntosh Labs, and Audio Research Corporation. Livio is shown left in the photo above, along with Mirko Sanna, director of sales for Fine Sounds Group.
Simaudio displayed the new Moon Evolution 760A dual-mono stereo amplifier, which is priced at $8000 and is rated at 130Wpc into 8 ohms or 260Wpc into 4 ohms (500W into 8 ohms when bridged to mono). The 760A is not only the lowest-priced Evolution-series amplifier, but also the first in a slim chassis.
In addition to the 760A, Simaudio also showed the 820S external power supply, which is compatible with the 610LP and 810LP phono stages, 740P preamp, and 650D and 750D DAC-transports. One interesting feature of the 820S is that it has separate digital and analog sides, so one side feeds the digital section of the device that it's connected to (the display, for example, on the 740P preamp), while the other side feeds the analog section. The price for the 820S is $8000.
The new Ayre KX-5 preamplifier is the natural companion to the VX-5 power amplifier introduced last year. The KX-5 uses the Variable Gain Transconductance volume-control circuitry taken from the flagship KX-R preamp. The Diamond output stage is also an addition. The price of the KX-5 is $7950.
Ayre also introduced the MX-R Twenty mono amplifier, which has an almost identical outside appearance to the original MX-R, but is said to have mostly new circuitry inside. Although the price for the MX-R is yet to be determined, it's expected to be about $30,000/pair. The company reps say that the original MX-R is upgradeable to the MX-R Twenty for the difference in retail prices.
JL Audio, which is best known to audiophiles for its high-quality subwoofers, released the CR-1 audiophile-grade analog crossover. The CR-1 will allow an audiophile to integrate multiple subwoofers in a stereo or multichannel audio system. Crossover slopes are switchable between 12 and 24dB per octave.
The feature-rich CR-1's back panel has multiple single-ended and balanced inputs and outputs. The CR-1 is made at JL's Phoenix, Arizona, USA-based factory and is priced at $3000.
Ed Meitner of EMM Labs sits proudly on his latest creation: the MTRX mono amplifier. The MTRX, which was shown as a prototype at the 2013 Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, is finally finished and is priced at $130,000 per pair. Ed says it's capable of delivering 1500W into 4 ohms or 3000W into 2 ohms, and is stable to below 1 ohm, making it one of the most powerful amplifiers out there -- as well as one of the largest!
Pass Labs has updated its venerable .5-series amplifiers, with changes based on the flagship Xs 300 and Xs 150 models. The new .8 series encompasses a whopping 10 new products, including five biased in pure class A: the XA30.8 ($6500), XA60.8 ($12,800/pr.), XA100.8 ($19,300/pr.), XA160.8 ($26,000/pr.), and XA200.8 ($40,000/pr.). The five class-AB designs deliver higher power: X150.8 ($6400), X250.8 ($9600), X350.8 ($13,500), X260.8 ($12,800/pr.), and X600.8 ($26,000/pr.). Cosmetic changes over the older models include a new streamlined faceplate and a new meter design.
Boulder Amplifiers' 2160 stereo amplifier is the updated version of the outgoing 2060 model. The new amp uses surface-mount circuitry throughout, as well as the 99H2 gain stage, which was first seen in the 2150 amp introduced last year. The power output remains 600Wpc, and the retail price is $52,000.
Switzerland's Soulution presented an active display based on their new 711 stereo amplifier. The 711 now uses a switch-mode power supply and over 1 farad of capacitance. The sound is "more precise and much faster," according to Soulution's Cyril Hammer. The retail price of the 711, which is now in full production, is $65,000.
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