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Pre-Show Report

  Welcome to our pre-show coverage. This page will be updated daily until the very first day of the show.


Accuphase VX 700 A/V Control Center  Accuphase will proudly introduce their VX 700 A/V control center ($19,500, pictured here) at the Las Vegas CES in combination with the CX-260 pre-amplifier ($7,500) and the PX-600 ($10,000) six-channel power amplifier. Each component was designed, from the ground up, for multi-channel systems whose audio and video performance parameters are without compromise. "Accuphase's extensive experience in the realm of pure audio is in evidence in all aspects of these outstanding components. The amazingly realistic soundstage and dynamic scale that can be created go far beyond the limitations of conventional home theater systems."



Quad ESL loudspeakers, IAG, (QUAD's parent company) is investigating the potential of a strategic alliance with Berkeley, CA high-tech startup Intelligent Audio Systems. In the works is a subwoofer technology that brings bass power and dynamic range to Quad's electrostatic loudspeakers, while meticulously preserving the remarkable subtlety and detail that has made the speakers the number one choice of audiophiles for decades. "Matching a subwoofer to a fine electrostatic loudspeaker has been an elusive challenge for as long as anyone can remember. Over the years there have been creditable attempts at matching subs to ESL's, however, none has blended seamlessly and matched the transparency and character of the ESL" says Steve Woolley, IAG Group Managing Director. "And while it could be argued that the ESL-989 no more needs a subwoofer than does any other large conventional speaker around the same price, there are nonetheless many audio enthusiasts who crave LF performance down to 20Hz, combined with serious dynamics, but without having to ditch their beloved ESLs."



Tenor AudioTenor Audio is proud to launch its new line of high power amplifiers during the show. With their award winning 100% pure tube gain stage and a new high performance solid-state output stage, this new unit is claimed to extend the essential qualities of the famous 6C33C tube. The new 300Hp monophonic unit delivers 300, 600 and 1,200 watts in 8, 4 and 2-ohm loads respectively. The 150Hps is our first stereo amplifier producing 150 watts per channel. The 300Hp utilizes 5 tubes to drive the output stage. As with the OTL line, all the gain is produced by the tube driver stage.



VTL (Vacuum Tube Logic) is introducing their Reference Amplifier, an 800 watt all-tube monoblock code named Siegfried. This new unit incorporates the "tube-smart" technology VTL's engineering team has been developing over the past three years that provides continuous real-time feedback of important performance parameters and automatically self-adjusts to maintain optimum settings. It also employs software control said to dramatically extend tube life. According to VTL "Sound quality has also been taken to a new level with increased dynamics, more realistic instrumental timbres, and a harmonic richness nearer to live music. Sleek new cosmetics complete the package."



THIEL CS2.4 LoudspeakerTHIEL Audio will have their CS2.4 loudspeaker ($3,900 per pair) that offers an improved coincident tweeter/midrange driver array where the two drivers' diaphragms share the same voice coil. This innovation utilizes a mechanical crossover between the midrange and tweeter diaphragms that allows the elimination of the usual electrical crossover network as first employed in the THIEL model CS2.3. With aluminum diaphragms and very low distortion short coil/long gap, the new 8-inch long excursion woofer features an improved diaphragm over previous designs and is coupled with a newly designed 7.5 x 11-inch passive radiator to deliver high output bass down to 33Hz. The THIEL CS2.4's new cabinet measuring 42-inches high. The front grille is magnetically attached for ease of removal while the heavy-duty gold five-way binding posts accessible on the lower rear of the cabinet. Four substantial gold stabilizer feet insure a solid foundation to the floor.



No stranger to having great sound at shows, Jeff Joseph of Joseph Audio will have his RM33si Limited Edition loudspeakers in a special version featuring the same tweeter from the top-line Pearl. The RM33si will be in stereo configuration and driven by a pair of Theta's new 300 watt monoblock amplifiers that will be fed by Theta's Gen 8 D/A converter. The Theta Carman II CD/DVD will be employed for transport duties. Another room will have surround sound via the RM7si signature Mk2 ($1,799). The Joseph Audio Cinergy 5.1 Center loudspeaker, a subwoofer prototype, and the shallow RM7si Signature Mk2 WM (wall mount loudspeakers) will also be put to good use. Theta's Casanova pre-amplifier, Theta Intrepid amplifier, and a Philips SACD 1000 player round out the surround sound system. All cables used are from Cardas Audio, and power treatment from Power Wedge.



Sophia Electric S.E.T. PrincessSophia Electric will have their new S.E.T. Princess tube. This design is claimed to set a new format standard for 300B tube having "all the characters of a 300B and adds far more sonic beauty to music. Big, open sound like 845, sweet like 300B, delicate like 45 and 205D." The Sophia S.E.T Princess offers 6 watts of single-ended power or 30 watts in push-pull operation. Typical single-ended triode operating point is 5V filament, 350V - 400V plate voltage, -24V bias (50-60ma bias current), and 3K transformer.



Peter Qvortrup of Audio Note UK will be introducing quite a few newly developed products. The M10 pre-amplifier ($40,000) is a three-box line pre-amplifier (the phono version has five boxes) and is said the key ingredient is the power supply that uses two 16x16x8 (WxDxH in inches) boxes. These patent-applied-for units provide the circuit with "better than battery" quality voltage and current. As Audio Note is well-known for providing high quality parts within their products and to the DIY community, the M10 pre-amplifier has "the best parts available except silver wired chokes and mains transformers." The line stage unit has custom made Audio Note 99.99% pure silver wired transformer coupled balanced inputs/outputs, and calibrated mono volume controls. NOS Telefunken 6463 tubes are supplied as standard. Also within the Audio Note room will be their M2 balanced phono pre-amplifier ($2,999 in line only, $3,999 with phonostage) that utilizes their M3 chassis style equipped with MM phono input and four other inputs. Meanwhile the M1 balanced phono pre-amplifier ($1,999) offers MM phonostage, ECC83 tube on input, 6DJ8 second stage, passive equalization, ECC82 tubed line stage transformer coupled with zero feedback.

Audio Note DAC3.1x The Audio Note DAC2.1x Balanced ($3,850) and DAC3.1x Balanced ($5,950, pictured here) D/A converters are of the zero oversampling variety. The DAC3.1x Balanced converter has two large output transformers in the middle of the chassis and the substantial, valve-rectified, choke-smoothed power supply on the right. Both DACs use the patented Audio Note I/V interface transformer, coupling between the DAC chip's output and a simple analog filter. The tubed output stage consists of one 6DJ8/ECC88 per channel running in parallel into a 5:1 step down double C-core output transformer with HiB C-cores and copper windings. Both single ended (RCA) and balanced (XLR) outputs are included, phase inverter switch, and are compatibility with 48kHz and 96kHz signals.



Herron Audio will have their VTSP-1A stereo pre-amplifier ($3,995), VTPH-1MC Plus phonostage pre-amplifier ($3,250), M150 monoblock amplifier ($5,895) driving the Joseph Audio Pearl loudspeakers ($20,000). Foir front-end duties, the Burmester Model 001 ($13,440) will be put to good use. The VTPH-1MC Plus phonostage has an all tube signal path (moving magnet version), passive RIAA equalization, zero feedback, and has no switches in signal's path. Gold plated TIFF ground and RCA connectors, phase reversal switch, and controlled warm-up (filaments and high voltage) for extended tube life help round out this design.



ProAc will have their new flagship D-80 loudspeaker ($14,000) that replaces the long-in-the-tooth Response Four. The D80 is a smaller and more affordable loudspeaker than the Response Four, though combines a similar design philosophy and technical innovations. Twin bass drivers, twin midrange units and a soft dome tweeter make up the driver compliment of the D-80. The two bass drivers are ported through both the bottom and sides to produce a clean bass response of great power and depth.



EW Loudspeakers plan to have various systems in Las Vegas. A reference-level two-channel system modeled after several leading recording/mastering studios will match a pair of EW Savoy Reference Speakers with four Halcro dm68 Super-Fidelity power amplifiers. An EMS pre-amplifier and Phillips 1000 SACD player custom modified by Ed Meitner will complete the system. Another system with Conrad-Johnson and McCormack Audio components will include three Andra IIs in front, a pair of Fontaines for the surround channels by EW Speakers for surround sound. Amplifiers, pre-amplifier, multi-channel processor and CD player will be by CJ and McCormack all resting on an isolation system of equipment racks from Grand Prix Audio.



QS&D in conjunction with Spendor Audio Systems will be introducing three new loudspeaker systems. Their Spendor SR5 loudspeaker is for on-wall use for both stereo and surround sound while the C9 is for center channel use. Spendor's SE3/5 loudspeaker is a special edition design of the award winning Spendor S3/5 Classic Series loudspeaker. It advances even further the small monitor design that Spendor is world renowned for.



Usher Audio CalabashUsher Audio will have displays at both the CES' Alexis Park and Hilton locations. Manufacturing both completed loudspeakers while also selling drivers, Usher Audio plans on showcasing many of their designs including their Calabash hand made loudspeaker as seen here. Dr. Joseph D'Appolito, their designer also the MTM Theory's (midrange/tweeter/midrange) inventor, will be at the show as well.



Intelligent Audio will be debuting their IA-643 subwoofer ($11,700 per stereo pair) that is claimed to be "the world's first self-installing and self-adjusting audio loudspeaker." The IA-643 applies Intelligent Audio's proprietary technology within the IA-643 has "on-board X-Scale processor rapidly scans the input and output hookup, and automatically adapts the system for perfect operation, calculating the exact match for the speakers, your room, your connections. And that perfect match means that your speakers keep right on sounding like themselves… with far deeper bass, and improved balance and clarity." The unit itself has four custom designed 12-inch woofers from TC-Sounds, each with more than 3 inches of linear travel. A built-in amplifier that produces approximately 2,000 watts is also included within this design. The result is a virtually ruler-flat frequency response down to 16Hz.



Alon By Acarian Lotus Elite Signature LoudspeakerAlón By Acarian will be proudly playing their new Lotus Elite Signature loudspeaker ($7,995 per pair). This new model employs a pair of 8-inch sealed woofers, a 5.25-inch dipole open baffle midrange, and one 1-inch dipole tweeter. All drivers features Alnico magnet structures. Also at the show will be a pair of Alón Thunderbolt ($1,695 each) self-powered subwoofers for stereo bass. The Thunderbolt subwoofer has a front ported 12-inch driver mated with a high current discrete "Class A/B" amplifier. Other items in the system will be the Conrad-Johnson ART series II tube pre-amplifier ($15,900), a pair of Antique Sound Lab Hurricane 200 watt tubed monoblocks ($4,400 per pair), and Metronome T1A transport and C20 Signature Tube DAC ($8,000).



E.A.R. U.S.A. will have many high-end audio products at the CES including the Coltrane loudspeaker from Martin Design, E.A.R. 899 integrated amplifier ($5,995), E.A.R. 324 phonostage ($3,495), and Townshend Audio Rock Reference Master turntable (no price set) with Helius Omega tonearm ($2,000-$3,000 depending on configuration). The $40,000-per-pair Martin Audio Coltrane uses materials and components including carbon fiber cabinet and ceramic midrange and woofer drivers... to a diamond tweeter(!). The E.A.R. 899 stereo integrated amplifier produces 70 watts per channel using KT90 output tubes. Townshend Audio's Rock Reference Master turntable is Max Townshend's "final word" in turntable design. This state-of-the-art design is said to achieve supreme accuracy in the transcription of LPs. Like all previous Townshend Rock turntables, the Reference Master employs Townshend's hallmark front-end damping trough and outrigger paddle to stabilize the tonearm, and to eliminate spurious vibration before it travels down the arm. Among other unique characteristics, the Rock Reference Master features a remote-controlled, motorized tonearm base that allows precise VTA adjustment from the listening seat. A built-in air suspension provides high isolation from external vibrations.



Avantgarde Acoustics Trio and BasshornAvantgarde Acoustics USA will have rooms at both the CES and T.H.E. Show. New products include the Model 5pi pre-amplifier/integrated 40 watts per channel stereo amplifier. It will be featured with the well-received Avantgarde Acoustic Solo loudspeakers. Their Trio hornspeakers with new Basshorns will be prominent within their room at T.H.E. Show. Attendees will also be able to enjoy the Audiopax Stereo model 88 tubed 15 watts per channel amplifier that is claimed to be 80% of the monoblock Model 88s' sound for 60% of the price! The Audiopax model 5 pre-amplifier will be awaiting at the CES for all to see and experience. Lastly, a prototype full-range Audiopax loudspeaker that features bass alignment and a high sensitivity rating will give a sneak peak to what will eventually be a final production piece.



Audio Aero will be displaying both their stereo and home theater products including the new Prestige AV Player (SACD, DVD-V, CD, CD-R, CD-RW, CDV), Prestige single-ended tubed "Class A" 40 watt monoblock amplifiers, and Prestige 42" plasma screen with built-in tuner. Also within the Audio Aero room will be Quad Braun LE1 (Bauhaus Style) or Wilson Benesh loudspeakers. Another room with Audio Aero products will have the Capitole CD player MKII and Capitole power amplifier driving Wilson Benesh loudspeakers.



Ray Kimber of Kimber Kable will be demonstrating his new IsoMike recording technology within the DiAural exhibit room. The playback source will be Direct Stream Digital (DSD) tape at a sampling rate of 2.8224Mhz. The IsoMike is an acoustic baffle that is placed between two spaced omnidirectional microphones. Unlike previous similar baffles the IsoMike is claimed to be much larger, magnitudes more absorptive and has a shape that improves the low frequency isolation by "scattered phase." Kimber Kable has recently purchased 4 of the Tascam DS-D98HR Tape recorders, these recorders capture audio in native SACD format. However, for this CES demonstration the playback will be direct from tape, with the bandwidth exceeding a pressed SACD by 10dB. This is accomplished by enabling a custom setting in the Tascam, rather than the SACD setting. Recordings being used for this demonstration were made mostly at Weber State University, Ogden Utah featuring WSU faculty and students in several different musical settings (both live and session). The recordings are direct to tape with no mixing, limiting, compression or any other type of mastering or processing.



Lamm Industries has setup at both the CES and T.H.E. Show to proudly display their products including one with the original Vitavox corner horns model CN191 driven by the Lamm single-ended ML2 amplifiers. Another setup will feature the original Siemens Bionor loudspeakers driven by a pair of the Lamm Industries ML2s. Both T.H.E. Show setups will use the American Sound turntable model AS-1000X with the SME model 3012-R pick-up arms as a source. Lamm's CES rooms will have the critically acclaimed Wilson Audio Watt/Puppy 7 loudspeakers while the other room has Kharma's Ceramique Reference Monitors.



Simaudio StargateSimaudio Ltd. will be showcasing their new Aurora multi-channel amplifier ($4,495 in 5-channel configuration), W-6 monoblock amplifiers ($6,495), and Stargate surround pre-amplifier/processor ($4,295, pictured here). The Aurora multi-channel amplifier produces 200 watts into an 8 ohm load and is available in both 5 and 7 channel configurations. A total of 6 precision-matched Bipolar output devices are employed per channel and it operates in "Class A" output up to 5 watts. The W-6 monoblock amplifier produces 425 watts into an 8 ohm load, has 16 precision-matched Bipolar output devices, and operates in "Class A" output to 10 watts. Lastly, the Simaudio Stargate pre-amplifier/processor features independent second zone I/O, a rack-mount ready chassis, a 7.1 analog "Pass-Through" input, integrated video switching, an AM/FM tuner with memory presets. Supported surround modes include Dolby Surround ProLogic II, Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Digital Surround EX, DTS Digital Surround 5.1TM, DTS-ESTM 6.1, DTS Neo:6 and 7.1 Matrix Music Mode. An easy upgrade path is based on "Open Architecture" flash-memory circuit design while digital to analog processing is via 24-bit/192kHz Crystal CS43122 digital-to-analog converters (4). Volume control is via Crystal CS3310 digital volume controls and 24-bit/96kHz decoding is via Crystal's CS5396 analog-to-digital converter.



Peak Consult InCognito Reference Loudspeakerstmh audio will have high performance products from WAVAC Audio Lab from Japan and Peak Consult loudspeakers from Denmark. The WAVAC MD-805m ($15,000/pr) single-ended triode 55 watts per channel monoblock amplifiers. WAVAC's capacitor-free signal path features Tango-based transformers, a frequency response from 20Hz to 55khz and passive volume attenuator. WAVAC's T1 transformer-coupled line stage employs stepped attenuator with gold contacts in a visually stunning solid brushed gold aluminum chassis. Features include three single ended (RCA) and two balanced (XLR) inputs and separate XLR and RCA outputs. Peak Consult loudspeakers InCognito ($11,000, pictured here) model is said to provide high-performance using customized drivers (Revelator tweeter and AudioTechnology midbass) with cost-no-object crossover components (Mundorf Supreme caps, X-Coil foil inductors, Vishay resistors) isolated in a separate cabinet compartment. Frequency response is claimed as 35Hz to 30kHz with an 89dB/W/m sensitivity and 7ohm load.



Wavelength Audio AmplifierWavelength Audio, Nirvana Cables, and Black Diamond Racing have teamed up for the CES. Wavelength Audio Since NCE battery powered tube pre-amplifier and Triton Blue (Cobalt Core Choke input 300B 16W SET) amplifier will be driving the Rethm 3rd speakers with a REL Strata III subwoofer. Black Diamond The Shelf will be used on various components and Nirvana cables will employed exclusively for handling digital and analog signals. Analog will be producing in force with Clearaudio's Solution turntable with SME 3009R3 tonearm and RS Laboratories RS3 Rotating Headshell. Digital source includes the 47 Laboratories Shigaraki Transport, Nirvana Audio T2 digital cable and Wavelength Audio's Cosine version 5 DAC.



Linn UnidiskLinn will be showcasing their Uindisk 1.1, Kisto, Kivor Index, and Linn Reference Monitoring System. Linn's new Unidisk 1.1 is said to be the very first product designed to give high-end performance for all major disc formats including DVD-Audio, SACD and ESS Technology's decoding algorithms. The Unidisk 1.1 also decodes normal compact discs and DVD-Video. When the Unidisk in partnered with Linn's Kisto high performance AV processor/system controller, eight audio channels for THX, DTS, Dolby 7.1 and Dolby Enhanced playback are supported plus video switching between RGB, DVI, S-Video and Component Video. Linn will be unveiling these products at the CES 2003 and are expected to be available at stores the first quarter of 2003.

Those looking for eight audio zones of Linn sound via hard disc storage can look to their new Kivor Index music library. Linn's easy to install, high-performance eight zone hard drive source component designed for high fidelity distributed audio applications in both Linn and non-Linn multi-room systems. The Index comes in two configuration to provide either 250 hours ($10,000) or 500 hours ($12,500) of audio storage on hard disc.



Brinkmann Audio Marconi Pre-AmplifierBrinkmann Audio USA will debut their Marconi pre-amplifier that provides five singled ended (RCA) and balanced (XLR) inputs in a patented Symmetrical circuit topology. The circuitry uses four PCF803 vacuum tubes while the Marconi has a separate chassis for the power supply and a handheld remote for volume changes, input selection, mute and phase correction. The machined aluminum chassis and a tempered glass top plate sit on a granite platform for isolation, heat dissipation and aesthetics. Brinkman will be displaying their mono and stereo amplifiers, integrated amplifier, Calvin pre-amplifier, Fein phono stage, LaGrange turntable, Brinkmann Tonearm and Brinkmann/EMT phono cartridge.



Thorens TD 805Thorens will be showcasing two new models as well as a new MKIII version of the TD295. One of the new models will be based on the traditional Thorens construction with floating chassis and wooden base. The second will be of modern construction with MDF chassis aluminum optic, RB250 tone arm, two-speed synchronous motor, AC self-generating motor electronic with built in oscillator, and Thorens Safeguard TM Bearing. This model will be offered in three different levels. Their TD 800 is the entry level turntable with 16mm aluminum platter and Thorens silent-run bearing. The feet are adjustable feet and the TD 800 is equipped with Rega RB 250 tonearm. The TD 810 has a 21mm aluminum platter and Thorens silent-run bearing. A 5mm steel chassis is bonded with wood. Adjustable feet and Rega RB 250 tonearm is also included. Thoren's top line of this series TD 850 (pictured here) includes a 21mm aluminum platter and Thorens silent-run bearing. It's 53mm wood/steel compound chassis is said to provide high resistance to resonances that can negative affect the music reproduction. Adjustable feet and Rega RB 250 tonearm are included. Last but not least during January 2003, Thorens will build a limited edition of the TD295 MKIII with two speeds.


Artistic Audio Mobius

Artistic Audio will be launching its new Mobius floorstanding loudspeaker. This elegant design features an esthetically pleasing visual with excellent music reproduction capabilities. High-end components are used throughout the Mobius to insure excellent soundstage and imaging.





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