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CES 2014 Show Coverage

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Stephen Hornbrook Show Coverage

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CES Final Day Report - Stephen Hornbrook

Golden Ear's new Triton One speakers

Mark Levinson's beautiful new integrated the 585 is almost here. 

Martin Logan's impressive sounding new Motion speakers.

A new headphone amp from Meridian featuring full USB DAC and optional power source. 

Peachtree had a lovely new integrated that fits in nicely below its top of the line Grand. The new Nova 220SE ($2000).

Sony is all set to release its new high end digital music player.  This is not a streaming device. It only plays music back from a local hard drive.  Also offers DDSD.  They had it playing on their top of the line speakers powered by custom amps made by Nelson Pass. Amps that none of us will ever be able to purchase.

Velodyne has a new set of active wear vFit ear buds available in red pink and blue. 

And finally a shot of Robert and Cynthia sharing a laugh, probably at my expense. 

CES Thursday's Report - Stephen Hornbrook

On this day two of the 2014 CES show I visited the glorious central hall, home of all the big electronics companies.  As you enter you are greeted by Hisense and immediately the theme of the show, 4K. Their TV's looked like all the rest and unfortunately that's what I really came away with: all the TV's look the same! Custom 4K footage that looks good but its not like we will have a quality 4K source any time soon.

Even the portable camera market is embracing 4K. GoPro can record 4K resolution now but the compression is so bad that it is totally pointless. 

The LG booth was plastered with both 4k LCD and OLED displays. I'm not quite sure the reason behind making them curved but LG seemed to think that was a great idea. Sure everything looked good but they will be expensive for at least a few more years so it's hard to get too excited about. I just wasn't all that impressed with anything on the floor. 

The top two Korean companies love to compete against each other which promotes innovation but also a lot of copying. If you took away the branding in the LG and Samsung booths, you would have essentially the same exact products. Cellphones, tablets, kitchen appliances, OLED/LCD, and computer monitors. Not one set really stood out as the best. 

The Sony booth was pretty much the same as last year. New versions of the same LCD TVs along with the same spread of Sony gear.  The Soccer footage promoting the filming of this years World Cup in 4K certainly looked tasty though. 

I'm pretty sure the Toshiba booth was even smaller this year and I get the feeling they may not even be around in a few years. Their 21:9 set looked very good though. Not that most of us could even afford it. You know its expensive when they don't list prices!

Same stuff, so uninspiring! This photo is of an 8K 3D set that didn't require glasses. It uses the same tech that requires each viewer to be in an exact spot. Moving your head even the slightest creates tons of distracting artifacts. It's essentially unwatchable.

I'm still angry Panasonic pulled the plug on plasma. There was nothing there to ease the pain. 

NAD D 1050 USB DAC headphone amp for $499 has been out for several months but expect a review soon. Love the styling. 

The wonderful HiFiMAN was showing off new planar magnetic headphones! The HiFiMAN HE400i and HE560 now have a new Advanced Single End Planar Driver. This new driver allows for vastly lighter, 12oz, design. Also a beautiful Teakwood Earcup. 90db efficiency, 35 ohm and coming in March 2014. The most exciting products I saw at the show and I can't wait or get my hands and ears on them. 

CES Tuesday's Report - Stephen Hornbrook

CES 2014 marks my 5th trip to this illustrious show. The theme this year is 4K and 3D printing. I like 4K and feel it will eventually be a reality with a proper 4K source delivering pristine picture quality, but right now it's just a dream. Most of the 4K sets don't look any better than 1080p sets with today's available 1080p content. There really isn't any compelling reason to upgrade today just for resolution. I think that is why Dolby is taking a different direction towards improving the viewing experience with its HDR demo (which Chris has more info on). Having a wider color gamut and dynamic range with 12bits per pixel instead of 8 allows for images that really stand out in the crowd. I spent day one covering the South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center which means mostly headphone coverage.

Sennheiser

Over at the newly designed Sennheiser booth, they were showing off a new, smaller on-ear Momentum headphone. Available in several stylish colors, this is sure to be a solid seller.

A new style for the full size around-ear Momentum's is also on its way. It looked very classy!!

Sennheiser was also introducing its new DJ line-up of headphones. The ears pivot around allowing for multiple ways of positioning the headphones while DJ'ing.

Last up they were showing off their entry into the gaming headset market with the new G4ME ONE headset. The units felt comfortable and include a nice feature to mute the mic when pushed up away from your mouth. G4ME ONE headsets are even PS4 compatible!

Creative was showing off the SoundBlasterROAR, or what they refer to as an Audiophile Sound Booklet. TheBooklet term is in reference to its book-like size. It was hard to hear the quality in the massive convention center, but it could definitely play loud for its size. Also has a battery for portability.

Quickly off topic because it was so bizarre.. A company was advertising a new kind of tooth brush or lip massager? It was very weird.

Back on topic! Star Wars branded and colorful headphones from SMS - 50 Cent's headphone company. Also, FIDDY CENT! These are not what I call audiophile headphones..

Turtle Beach (gaming headsets) was showing off the only headphones fit for a giant.

Polk Audio was demonstrating its new Xbox headsets and sound bar. These were designed to work specifically with the Xbox 360 and new Xbox One.

They also have new earbuds, the high-end Nue Voe and the intro Nue Era. The Buckle on-ear headphones with some pretty stitching were also there.

The Westone booth was quite creative with their presentation. They had a live band playing, but you could only hear the amplified sound through their professional and consumer earphones.

The pro line was a bit too hot for my ears, but the consumer model sounded terrific. That's the new W line that features up to 6 drivers in the W60 model! Looking forward to getting some in for review to let you know how they really sound.

Next up was the German headphone company Beyerdynamic. They had a new compact on ear model, T51p, that sounded pretty good, along with a small portable amp the A 200p. They were also showing off the customizable Custom One Pro and some new in-ears the DX 160iE. The DX 160 iE sounded a tad bright to me.

And to close for today.. SAD CLOWNS.

Back with more tomorrow!