Cary Audio and Tannoy join forces at CES 2014 as they celebrate Cary Audio's 25th year providing high fidelity audio products. Their new new DMS-500 is a DLNA/UPnP Network Audio Streamer capable of not only 32-bit/384kHz high-resolution files, but also native DSD file playback. The DMS-500 will also offer a host of additional features on top of high resolution DLNA/UPnP streaming. Features such as AptX Bluetooth Audio, coaxial and Toslink DAC inputs, Internet radio, two rear and one front USB type A inputs for connecting external USB hard drives or flash thumb drives, eSata HDD port for super fast data transfer, as well as NAS storage playback. The DMS-500 includes balanced XLR and RCA outputs/inputs, all in a sleek 2U chassis with graphic display and cosmetics reminiscent of their past reference CD-306 SACD Professional Version player.
Tannoy's first public audition of the new $75,000 high efficiency 135 dB-capable Kingdom Royal Carbon Black marks the company's most powerful speaker to date! This hallmarks their 87 year history in advances in technology and design. Tannoy's Kingdom Royal Carbon Black has a 15" multi-fiber bass driver at the bottom for subwoofer duties, a new 12" dual-concentric driver for bass and midrange, whilst the uppermost frequencies are produced by a special 3" aluminum alloy dome tweeter.
Astell&Kern just introduced their AK240 portable media player. Building upon the success of the AK100 and AK120 players, the new AK240 has 256GB internal memory, one microSD card slot that supports a 128GB microSD card for a total of 384GB of music storage. The dual-core processor allows the AK240 to process requests and play back high resolution audio files with virtually no lag time. The unit is Wi-Fi enabled and can connect to high-resolution music download sites directly from the player to purchase and download music tracks. For display, a 3.31" AMOLED Touch-Screen with 800 x 480 resolution is provided. Dual Cirrus Logic 4398 DAC chipsets ensure true dual-mono circuitry for excellent channel separation, broader dynamic range and wider soundstage. There is native support for DSD including DSD64 and DSD128 files. Of course 192kHz/24-bit files are also supported. For output, both stereo and balanced are included. The housing of the Astell&Kern is made of Duralumin, which is an aircraft grade aluminum alloy. The Astell&Kern AK240 will be available early Q1 2014 at high-end audio retailers and online.
Pure is the consumer arm of Imagination Technologies Group with offices worldwide. Pure designs and manufactures its own wireless music systems and cloud services at their UK headquarters. Pure's Jongo multi-room speaker family has now expanded their multi-room lineup and earned a CES Innovation award for their Jongo T6 wireless speaker, as well as going on to launch the first and only on-demand music subscription service of its kind to come from a consumer hardware manufacturer. But this is all just the foundation for Pure's bigger vision. At CES they are announcing new audio products including an addition to the Jongo line, a new audio content partner and some exciting new changes and additions to the Pure Connect music service. All Pure products have access to Pure's media portal, Pure Connect (also available as an Android or iOS app), for intuitive audio discovery of 20,000+ radio stations, and 200,000 on-demand content providers / programs (podcasts, etc), with three different subscription options.
NanoTech Entertainment's new Nuvola NP-1 ($299) is a streaming media player that supports 4K UltraHD movies and videos. During CES the company is demonstrating the device with its UltraFlix 4K UHD streaming video service. This is a complete end-to-end 4K UHD solution that also handles high resolution audio within 4K streams. The Nuvola 4k streaming media player will work with any brand, any resolution of television and isn't limited to just playing downloaded 4K content — it streams content. Their NP-1 can be used to decode 4K UltraHD, HD, SD and UHD 3D movies in addition to playing state-of-the art 3D Video games. It can also stream content from a variety of sources, including the bundled UltraFlix UHD channel which serves 4K content for streaming and other services such as Netflix, Hula Plus, XBMC, Amazon Instant and YouTube, which come pre-installed. The NP-1 is powered by a NVIDIA Tegra 4 Quad Core Mobile Processor with 2GB DDR3 RAM and incorporates 72 custom NVIDIA GeForce GPU cores. In addition to providing native 4K Ultra HD video support, Tegra 4 allows the Nuvola to deliver ultra-fast web browsing, applications and gaming experiences. Upgradeable and expandable, the Nuvelo NP-1 features a variety of industry standard ports for SD, SATA and USB connections that enable users to install a variety of accessories, options and storage attachments. NanoTech also offers the commercial grade Nuvola NP-H1 Ultra HD 4K media streaming player ($699). NanoTech's Nuvola NP-1 earned a Storage Visions 2014 Visionary Product Award by a panel of industry experts and journalists whose priority was to recognize products that fulfill the vision of a digitally-connected universe of products and services.
The new Nagra HD DAC converter is said to be "able to reproduce the purest sound possible, totally free of traditional artifacts, that until now, digital audio has been unable to avoid". Nagra engineers have chosen advanced conversion techniques and worked hand-in-hand with Andreas Koch, AKDesign, pioneering engineer in the DSD (Direct Stream Digital) format. The circuits of the Nagra HD DAC use the DSD 2X version of the format. The sampling frequency reaches 5.6 MHz and the internal calculations use 72 bit precision. This method produces a signal with such quality that the steepslope input filters on the analog section can be eliminated. The result is said to be that the harmonics and transients are "perfectly maintained allowing the music to conserve its natural depth and essence". The output analog circuits have a driver stage built around matched and ultra-high-speed components and has no less than 32 decoupling capacitors. The in-house hand-wound impedance matching Nagra transformers link this driver to the output stage, built around a military spec tube design. The unit has 25 internal power supplies in total, all high-precision and ultra-low noise. The majority of the critical components are custom built exclusively for Nagra. Two external independent power supplies are needed, one for the analog and one for the digital sections. As an option, the Nagra HD DAC can be powered by the Nagra MPS multiple power supply.
The Wireless Speaker and Audio Association (WiSA), a group dedicated to bringing high-performance interoperable wireless surround sound audio products, is here at CES announcing they more than doubled its membership in 2013. In December they added three new members. Anaview, a leading supplier of OEM Class D amplifier modules, Danville Signal Processing, a leading manufacturer of digital signal processing technology for audio products and Tymphany, a world-class designer and manufacturer of transducers and advanced loudspeaker systems. The Association's membership significantly increased from 10 companies in 2012 to 25 in 2013. In addition to the three new members, the Association includes: Accent Digital, Amber Technology, Anthem, Accusound, Bang and Olufsen, Ceton, Dali, Definitive Technology, GGEC, Gibson, Hansong Technology, Klipsch, Martin Logan, Meiloon, Nyne, Onkyo, Paradigm, Pioneer, Polk Audio, Silicon Image, Summit Semiconductor, TEAC, and Sam Runco. "We have extended our expertise in high-performance DSP Crossovers to include capability for wireless connectivity" said Al Clark, President, Danville Signal Processing. "We look forward to working with the WiSA Association to deliver game-changing products to our OEM/ODM customers that will finally give the consumer the high-definition wireless audio experience they want from their home theater and high-end stereo systems." WiSA-compliant systems deliver 24-bit, up to 96kHz uncompressed audio. The systems are interoperable, allowing the consumer the convenience and freedom-of-choice to mix and match components from different manufacturers with the added capability to scale their wireless speaker system from 2.0 all the way up to 7.4.
Meridian Audio Ltd. has announced the introduction of the Prime Power Supply ($1250). This new supply is a reference-quality, high-current design based on the new linear power supplies developed for Meridian's 800 Reference Series. The company engineered the unit specifically for audio applications. Built into an elegant compact metal case and designed by Meridian co-founder Allen Boothroyd, the Prime Power Supply has no visible screws and is double-skinned for lower noise. The Meridian Prime Power Supply can be used to power a range of Meridian products including the Meridian Prime Headphone Amplifier, Audio Core 200, Meridian Director and Media Source 200. The addition of Prime Power Supply is said by the company "to provide an enhancement in their performance, much like supercharging a car's engine". The high current, very low noise power supply delivers enhanced performance from a range of Meridian products. The high-mass, low-profile, low magnetic field, toroidal transformer with integral plate-mounted magnetic screen ensures shielding electronics from noise. Users may connect multiple devices to a single Power Supply unit via high-quality latching three-pin mini-DIN connectors as there are a total of five 12V 500mA outputs and USB 5V 1A output with USB input for audio pass-through that drives Meridian Director, Explorer, Prime Headphone Amplifier and i80. All units are carefully hand made in Meridian's headquarters near Cambridge, UK.
Bang & Olufsen received the honorary International CES Best of Innovations 2014 Award in High Performance Home Audio for its newly launched BeoLab 18 wireless speaker and has also been named a CES Innovations 2014 Design and Engineering Awards Honoree for its BeoLab 17 compact wireless speaker. Both speakers embody craftsmanship, innovative design, wireless technology and a robust sound experience. Bang & Olufsen's new all-digital active loudspeakers leverage the new WiSA standard for multi-channel wireless sound to provide high performance coupled with a beautiful design and top quality craftsmanship. BeoLab 17 is an extremely flexible, compact speaker with very large sound reproduction and the BeoLab 18 is the latest incarnation of Bang & Olufsen's sculpturally iconic audio columns for walls or floor. "As the first manufacturer to be WiSA certified Bang & Olufsen is proud to receive these prestigious awards", says CEO for Bang & Olufsen Tue Mantoni. "Bang & Olufsen introduced the WiSA certified BeoLab18 and BeoLab 17 wireless speakers only three weeks ago, so receiving these awards are a huge acknowledgement of our leadership in sound innovation."
Velodyne is a new wireless Wi-Q 12 subwoofer ($899). The Wi-Q 12" subwoofer, which makes its official debut at 2014 International CES in Las Vegas, is the culmination of three decades of leadership in subwoofer technology by audio pioneer Velodyne. With no clumsy wires, it can be quickly integrated into any entertainment system – in any location within 50 feet or concealed in custom cabinetry. The unit has remote control set-up and operation, including Auto EQ, presets, night mode, volume control and phase adjustment. High output extended excursion drivers engineered with vented pole pieces and dual layer large copper voice coils specifically matched with 7.40 lb. magnets provide bass you can feel. Velodyne's Wi-Q has an exclusive distortion limiting system, which is designed to achieve maximum performance without overdriving to ensure less distortion. A flexible crossover with subwoofer direct: an adjustable 40 Hz to 120 Hz low-pass crossover enables the sub to ideally match any main speakers. The subwoofer direct feature allows the Wi-Q to play the output of the LFE channel of a 5.1 channel or 7.1 channel receiver unaltered, assuring high levels of performance.
Velodyne will also showcase their vLeve headphones ($219) at the International CES 2014. featuring designer interchangeable skins, the vLeve on-ear closed-back headphones from Velodyne enable music lovers to engage in the art of personalization, matching the style to the sound. vLeve and its optional skins – 35 and counting – will be on display at 2014 International CES. Designed by Marta Hall, international artist and Velodyne president, vLeve headphones are available in matte black and satin silver. "The Velodyne vLeve is ideal for those who value both high-quality sound and high style," Hall said. "Our designer skins add a dramatic new dimension to the product – they're a means for consumers to personalize their headphones while engaging with artists." Key vLeve features include intuitive on-ear controls, collapsible design for compact storage and easy travel plus four-foot audio cable with inline controls and carrying pouch.
NAGRA, the Kudelski Group Digital TV business and a leading independent provider of content protection and multiscreen television solutions, is showcasing innovative technologies for the new pay-TV landscape at the 2014 International CES Show in Las Vegas. As the blueprint for the connected home, JoinIn is a reference architecture that helps service providers overcome the complexities, constraints and fragmentation of the new television environment to deliver a true connected home experience in high resolution. An implementation of the JoinIn architecture based on NAGRA products can enable in-home content streaming and whole-home PVR capabilities with the NAGRA HomEdge gateway. There is also advanced companion applications with NAGRA MediaLive Multiscreen. Comprehensive security and content protection with NAGRA MediaAccess Persistent Rights Management (PRM), NAGRA's operator-controlled DRM solution. NAGRA and its UEX Studio team are bringing content navigation to new heights with Gravity Ultra, NAGRA's model UI for Ultra HD 4K TV that pushes HTML5. Taking advantage of all that the higher resolution and bigger screens and sound systems have to offer, Gravity Ultra blends live TV, VOD, music, social TV applications and more with companion device control and navigation, as well as speech and voice search recognition. Combining its extensive user interface, enabling technology and content protection expertise, NAGRA is paving the way for 4K TV user experiences for a new generation of Ultra HD consumers. A hybrid Satellite / IP device supporting VOD and USB PVR and allowing rapid user interface customization via HTML5. "The future of pay-TV is connected and presents many opportunities for service providers to successfully launch new services and keep subscribers engaged with their brand across all screens," said Ivan Verbesselt, SVP Group Marketing for NAGRA. "We're excited to bring our latest innovations to CES and demonstrate a variety of solutions that operators can deploy today to make the connected home a reality. They also provide a glimpse into how they can prepare for consumer demand of new technologies, and particularly in the world of 4K."
While it might seem unusual for a high fidelity audio site to report on such things as Google Glass and the upcoming Apple iWatch, these are devices we may be using to control our gear. The rumors of Apple's iWatch is a smartwatch now in production according to Investors Business Daily. Whilst it will not be making an official appearance at the Internations CES 2014, we may see it around March 2014. According to Investors Business Daily, ten companies are exhibiting in a special CES tech zone named WristRevolution. They include Qualcomm, Burg, Dennco Brands, Kronoz, MetaWatch, Neptune Computer and Cookoo-watch the market of the ConnecteDevice. IBD also says Apple is building their iWatch smartwatch. "I expect to see smartwatches play a large role at this years CES show. Remember, smartphones were around for many years before the Apple iPhone hit the marketplace. Then the Apple iPhone hit the streets, followed by Google Android and that quickly changed the marketplace. Suddenly smartphones were cool and everyone had to have one," says Tech analyst Jeff Kagan. "Smartwatches are a brand new area. They have only been in the market for a few months and no one knows what the marketplace looks like yet. A wide variety of companies are already involved. The new smartphones come from companies like Samsung, Qualcomm, Sony and others. There are also other smartwatches which operate on a less complex level like the Nike FuelBand, and many other fitness watches. Enjoy the Music.com's Editor and Creative Director Steven R. Rochlin has been using, hacking and sideloading apps to his Samsung Galaxy Gear watch for months to explore smartwatch capabilities. Of note is that Sony also just introduced their smartwatch based on the Android OS, which is the same OS as the Samsung Galaxy Gear.
Gunn Audio is the Australian manufacturer of the Gunn Audio SX Smart Speaker Series. These sound systems are the world's first Android-equipped sound systems with built-in WiFi and LCD touch screen. Gunn Audio's high fidelity series here at the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) allows browsing the Google Play Store via its 7" LCD touch screen. The Android platform enables customization on the development side and on the user side. Users can also download their favorite music apps from the Google Play Store and visit their favorite music and video services such as Spotify.com, Pandora.com, YouTube, etc. The Gunn Audio SX Smart Speaker Series runs Android and hooks directly into your home Wi-Fi. All your favorite music apps are supported in the speakers and controlled via the touch screen. Gunn Audio's flagship system, the SX-4 Manta ($800), stands at a compact 2' tall and features an 8" subwoofer. The 4" model x4 drivers and two x1 tweeters deliver sound to what is said to be audiophile level quality. Beside the option to connect to your favorite music apps or stream from your favorite websites, the Gunn Audio SX Smart Speaker Series also features USB, HDMI, AUX, DLNA, Bluetooth and a flash drive.
And finally, some humor and truth here as Ion Audio just announced their Bluetooth-enabled cassette tape adapter. This enables you to add Bluetooth to older stereos with a cassette deck and stream music wirelessly. With Cassette Adapter Bluetooth from ION, your car's cassette player instantly becomes a wireless Bluetooth receiver. You can stream music from any Bluetooth music player or phone. Just pop it in and it automatically turns on. Cassette Adapter Bluetooth contains a long-lasting rechargeable battery plus you now have a hands-free solution to hear phone calls says the company. Hmmm, i wonder how a caller will hear your voice?