CES 2016 Show Report Day 3
Here are some additional photos from the Bryston room to supplement Jim’s video. Had a chance to take an extended listen to the Bryston Mini T speakers (first photo) while chatting with James Tanner. He discussed how, when they designed the Mini T, Bryston wanted to achieve a wide dispersion design so that the speakers would sound very good when listening off-axis as well as on-axis. To my ears, the speakers sounded clean and effortless and gave an honest and dynamic musical delivery. Mission accomplished James!
Believe High Fidelity hosted one of the most visually arresting rooms that I came across at the show. The speakers and electronics are from a company in Greece called Aries Cerat.
The Symphonia Aries Limited Edition loudspeakers have a large folded horn for the bass enclosure, a bullet shaped solid wood horn mated to a driver with a 4 inch titanium diaphram, and a RAAL ribbon tweeter in another bullet shaped enclosure suspended on a magnetic bearing. The detail and finish on the speakers was exquisite. They are $125,000.00 out the door. Motivation was provided by two Concero 65 SET Class A monoblock amplifiers. They are rated at 65 watts pure class A power and looked extremely over-built. $35,000.00 for the pair. The Imperia Signature Edition pre-amp is a tube design priced at $82,500.00. The Kassandra Reference PCM DAC uses 16 R2R ladder DACs per channel and is priced at $35,000. Save your pennies kids!
Some additional GoldenEar photos to supplement the video that Jim posted. The first picture is a line up of the entire Triton line (from left – right) Triton One, Triton Two+, Triton Three+, Triton Five and Triton Seven. The Triton Ones (in the second picture) sounded positively massive during the stereo demonstration. It had bass that wouldn’t quit and a particularly sweet sounding top end.
Astell & Kern were showing an updated version of their AK 380 DAP with a solid copper housing. A very solid and great sounding piece of kit that can play native DSD, it was being shown with Astell & Kern headphones that are essentially customized versions of Beyerdynamic’s T5p and T1 made to A&K’s specifications. The AK 380 is just shy of $4000.00 and the headphones, around $1300.00.
While visiting Blue Microphones, Cynthia and I checked out their newest headphone model, the Lola. Similar in appearance and using the same over the ear design as their Mo-Fi model, the Lolas are fully passive without the built in amplification of the Mo-Fi. The headband has been redesigned for a more comfortable fit and a lighter overall weight. They use 50mm drivers in a sealed design and, with a 42 ohm impedance, can be easily driven by a portable device. A quick listen revealed a clean sounding character with tight, punchy bass. The fit also seemed very comfortable too.
At the Bang & Olufsen presentation we experienced a compelling demonstration of their statement flagship loudspeaker, the Beplab 90. Created to celebrate B & O’s 90th birthday, it is an $80,000.00 testament to everything the company is known for, starting from a clean slate. Each speaker weighs about 150 pounds and is outfitted with 18 drivers (sourced from Scan-Speak) each with it’s own class D amplifier and DAC.There is a huge amount of DSP horsepower going on that can allow the user to adjust the focus of the loudspeaker’s output from a narrow beam, to wide dispersion, to even a full omni-directional output. The Beolab 90’s bag of tricks goes much deeper to include room calibration, multiple speaker dispersion presets and a full array of digital and wireless inputs. I had a chance to listen to the demo in the sweet-spot chair with the speakers set at their narrow focus (in this mode the other surrounding drivers work to counteract the effects of the room). The sound was big and impressive with great dynamics and bass. What struck me most though was the clarity and precise focus of the vocals in the music. They were were completely locked, in the center of the two speakers, with such precision that it was palpable. The build quality and finish was, of course, pure B & O.
HiFiMAN’s headphone tester hard at work
Bluesound Gen 2
TAD concept speakers and nothing else. JESUS
TAD and Audio Alchemy set up sounds great
Anthem AVM 60, MCA 526, MCA 225, MCA 325
And you don’t have to take the entire unit it to fix! Slide out electronics!
Martin Logan Renaissance ESL 15A
Listening to my theme song fan fare for the common man on the GoldenEar Triton Two
Turning into a gamer with Sandy’s GoldenEar sub.
GoldenEar super sub x
Guess who’s fixin’ to get into the hardware business? Mobile Fidelity, that’s who. Jon Derda presents their turntable and middle of line MM cartridge here. After his presentation, he turned around and played the test pressing of Abraxis. The demo had a crazy wide stage with digital-like openness and transparency. Color me very impressed.
Emotiva was another company that had numerous major product announcements at CES 2016. By any measure, Emotiva is without a doubt among the most recognized value leaders in high fidelity and home theater audio. Everything they offer is just incredibly well made, thoughtfully designed and fairly priced. Oh and did I mention the sound quality is indeed first rate? Here, Dan Laufman gives an excellent overview of the all new XPA Gen 3 configurable amplifier.
Here is Sandy Gross of GoldenEar showing off the new Triton Two + and Triton Three +. He gives a good description of these in the video. I must agree that both models displayed the Triton One pedigree that has won over music lovers around the globe. They both had subjectively well balanced power response with a strong center image despite I was sitting a little close. Mission accomplished in my opinion.
Fresh on the heels of the very well regarded SuperSub XXL subwoofer, GoldenEar is now releasing a new compact version dubbed the SuperSub X at CES 2016. This sub is pretty small but packed a huge punch when crossed over at 120 Hz in a quick demo we enjoyed.
Some of the Venetian rooms at CES 2016 were very dark and so apologies for the grainy video. I’m still posting it so you can learn more about Bryston’s other major announcement at the show – the SST Cubed amplifiers. These are engineered to be very powerful and super low distortion. Rugged, too – they come with a 20-year warranty as mentioned by Gary in this video. That’s about 19.9 years more than the light bulbs in this room!
Astell&Kern is another company that is always on the move. They keep updating and improving their lineup which will keep them relevant. Jimmy Moon gives us a look at their latest innovation, the AK 380 Copper. This is their top line portable player and headphone amp sheathed in copper. I think they need to issue a steam punk version next!!