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International CES 2009 & THE Show Report
Consumer Electronics Show 2009 Report & Coverage   The Home Enteetainment Show
Consumer Electronics Show & THE Show 2009 Preview

WBT nextgen Connector  A special WBT nextgen listening experience will be held at CES 2009 that focuses on the listening experience to prove that cable connectors do indeed make a difference. This type of comparison was conducted at previous shows and attendees did comment that they hear a difference. Equipment used during this demonstration will include Bel Canto Design amplification, Harmonic Resolution Systems (HRS) stands and Von Schweikert Audio loudspeakers. WBT has warned for years of fake connectors; phono plugs, sockets and pole terminals. It is important to note that imitators from around the world jump at the chance to offer similar products knowing that they will sell well due to the high profile and image of the WBT brand.

 

 

MastersoundItaly-based Mastersound will have their new Reference Evolution 845 tubes stereo integrated amplifier that produces 55 wpm. This single-ended design employs a pair of 854 per channel for output, plus a pair each of the ECC82 for pre-driver and 6SN7 for driver duties. Input impedance is 100 kOhms and overall frequency response is from 8 Hz to 40 kHz. There are three inputs plus a direct input, for those who choose to by pass the preamplification stage. The motorized volume adjustment can be controlled via an included remote. This dual mono design weighs in at over 115 lbs.

 

 

VMPS RM 60 LoudspeakersVMPS will put the entertainment during 2009 at The Home Entertainment Show as VMPS Audio will be joined by an Ampzilla 2000 and Audience Power Products to offer a live music versus recorded playback event. There will be live-versus-recorded demonstrations three times daily at 12:00 noon, 3:00 pm, and 5:00 pm during THE Show. Advanced tickets are available at no charge by sending an e-mail to VMPSAudio@aol.com with "CES demo" in the subject line. Just request your day and time preference and an e-ticket will be sent to you. Also of note is that Ray Kimber will record a seven-piece ensemble, with his specialized state-of-the-art DSD gear. This system will feature a Sony Sonoma DAW, with Millennia Media preamplifier and EMM Labs converters. Then playback will immediately follow for comparison.

 

 

NAD C 326BEENAD will be showcasing their new high value for the dollar Classic Series of high-performance audio/video components. NAD's new Classic Series components comprise three amplifiers, two CD players, a stereo preamp and a stereo receiver. They include the C 375BEE stereo integrated amplifier, C 725BEE stereo receiver, C 326BEE stereo integrated amplifier, C 165BEE stereo preamplifier, C 275BEE stereo power amplifier, C 565 up-sampling CD player, and the C 545 CD player. The new Classics share a common lineage with the highly acclaimed Masters Series, yet have been toned down in ways that maximize performance and value. Features like the heavier gauge reinforced steel used in the chassis for the amplifiers and preamplification, the aluminum Class A gain modules, the upgraded PCBs and patented Distortion Canceling Circuit illustrate NAD's ability to evolve its Classic Series components, thereby raising their collective performance through innovative industrial design. The C 375BEE stereo integrated amplifier ($1,299), the first in NAD's Classic Series to be upgradeable, shares many refinements of NAD's M3 Integrated Amplifier, including an application of the Distortion Canceling Circuit, the BEE Clamp, an improved tone control circuit and PCB layout, and NAD's proprietary PowerDrive and Soft Clipping technologies. The C 375BEE delivers 150 Watts to each of two channels at 4 or 8 Ohms continuous power, and 200W, 365W and 500W IHF Dynamic power into 8, 4 and 2 Ohms, respectively.

The C 725BEE stereo receiver ($799) delivers the performance quality of separate high-end components with the convenience of a receiver at a far more affordable price than separate components typically cost. The C 725BEE also employs NAD's PowerDrive technology, Distortion Canceling Circuit, BEE Clamp, and a new, more highly refined circuit layout. It provides 50 watts of continuous power, and ultra-low distortion, and can provide as much as 200 watts, depending on the loudspeaker being driven, for short dynamic passages.

The C 326BEE stereo integrated amplifier ($499, pictured above) rests squarely between NAD's most affordable and most powerful models. It delivers 50 watts per channel of continuous power, and 100, 150 and 200 Watts IHF Dynamic power into 8, 4 and 2 Ohms, respectively. It boasts NAD's PowerDrive technology, Distortion Canceling Circuit, BEE Clamp, an improved tone control and PCB layout, Soft Clipping, and the lowest distortion and noise in its price class.

The C 165BEE stereo preamplifier ($899) boasts new semiconductors and improved production techniques, such as the use of surface mount devices (SMDs) to miniaturize circuits; an improved tone control circuit and revised PCB layout, lightning-fast transient response, and bass extension and definition uncommon at this price level. The C 165BEE is exceptionally versatile and ready to integrate with custom-installed control systems.

The C 275BEE stereo power amplifier ($1,199) complements the C 165BEE. It delivers 150 Watts to each of two channels, and 250, 410 and 600W IHF dynamic power at 8, 4 and 2 Ohms, respectively. The power can be heightened to 400W to two channels by bridging with a second C 275BEE. It also boasts NAD's PowerDrive, Distortion Canceling Circuit, BEE Clamp, and an improved tone control circuit and PCB layout.

The C 565BEE CD player ($799), flagship of NAD's new Classic Series, applies the latest in semiconductor design, refined cosmetics and quality construction for performance close to NAD's Masters Series M5 CD Player at about half the cost. The C 565BEE boasts sample rate conversion up to 192kHz, Wolfson DACs in a dual differential configuration, Burr-Brown OP Amps, a heavy steel chassis, USB 2.0 and optical inputs, a 12-volt trigger and an RS232 port.

The C 545BEE CD player ($499) replaces NAD's C 542 CD Player, and boasts more refined cosmetics, an updated circuit layout, new internal components and improved image depth and scale. It plays CD, CD-R and CD-RW discs, even those with MP3 and WMA compression.

 

 

THIEL CS2.4SE LoudspeakersTHIEL will have a pair of rooms at the 2009 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), with one featuring one of only 150 pairs of CS2.4SE loudspeakers augmented by a pair of SS2 SmartSubs integrated by their custom PXO5 passive crossovers. Amplification is thanks to a pair of 600 watt Bryston 7BSST monoblock amplifiers. These will be fed by Bryston's top-of-the-line BP26 preamplifier. The source is a media server library of lossless audio files sent digitally to Bryston's new digital-to-analog converter, the BDA-1. All power, loudspeaker and interconnect cables are premium models from WireWorld. Power conditioning is courtesy of Torus. In the second demo room, THIEL will be featuring their latest, soon to be released product zet. This is a multi-zone, multi-channel, IP-based audio distribution system that THIEL and development partner BICOM are perfecting. The demo system will include the dB1 (the digital audio processor and heart of the system), five powered SCS4Ds, and a powered SS1D, all connected via Ethernet CAT5 cable.

 

 

Soundsmith Strain Gauge Ohono Cartridge SystemSoundsmith will be demonstrating its unique, new Strain Gauge phono cartridge system which takes vinyl replay to a new level. The cartridge utilizes two tiny strain gauges that literally measure the displacement of the stylus in the record groove and generate a signal by modulating a current supplied by the dedicated preamplifier. The stylus/cantilever assembly has an effective mass one tenth that of a conventional moving coil, which results in incredible dynamic response, ultra-secure tracking and peerless detail retrieval. The preamplifier is unique in showing information on the performance of the stylus in the record groove, with a digital read-out of vertical tracking force, a display of force per groove wall and vertical component of tracking force. The Soundsmith Strain Gauge system range is priced between $7500 and $15,000. All models are sonically identical, as additional line inputs and displays are added to the top models. The Strain Gauge has been further developed, with the cartridge module showing improved channel separation to better than 40 dB and equalization is now closer to the RIAA standard. One of the strengths of the Strain Gauge is that it has an inherent roll off of 6 dB per octave, which is close to RIAA so there is less phase shift compared to a MM or MC cartridge.

 

 

Sleek Audio SA6Sleek Audio is offering more than products at the 2009 CES as guests and members of the media will have the opportunity to fill their ears with silicone as impressions are made for custom, wireless compatible earphones. Sleek Audio specialists will demonstrate their Award Winning SA6 acoustically customizable earphone ($299) as well as take ear impressions for those interested in seeing what the combination of hearing aid science and loudspeaker technology sounds like with the Sleek Customs. The Customs utilize Sleek's award winning ultra-wide band balanced armature driver and are the first to offer music lovers the ability to pre-tune their earphones as well as choose the cable porting position. All Sleek Customs are compatible with Sleek Audio's CD quality wireless system, which will also be available for demo at their booth.

 

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