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CES 2014 Show Report   T.H.E. Show Las Vegas 2014 Report
CES 2014 Show & T.H.E. Show 2014 Report

Antelope Audio Zodiac Platinum DSD DAC/Headphone Amp

  Antelope Audio Zodiac Platinum DSD DAC/Headphone Amp ($5500) provides 256X DSD Upsampling Mode and 24-Bit, 384 kHz Streaming via USB. The Zodiac Platinum, features a unique 256X upsampling mode where DSD64 and DSD128 are upsampled to DSD256. The new DSD DAC ships with an entirely new, second-generation Voltikus power supply and an elegant aluminum remote control. Antelope Audio is highly regarded in the professional audio community one of the world's leading manufacturer of digital clocking devices and AD/DA converters. The company's equipment can be found in top commercial facilities around the world and is routinely used by the industry's most accomplished recording, mixing, mastering and live sound audio engineers. Antelope Audio's innovative PCM and DSD upsampling capability enables the device to reconstruct a more natural-sounding waveform via proprietary 64-bt algorithm, developed by Antelope Audio CEO Igor Levin. In addition to the custom-built USB chip capable of carrying DSD128 and up 24-bit, 384 kHz PCM files, the Zodiac Platinum boasts a wide range of connectivity options including AES/EBU and S/PDIF I/O, a couple of TosLink inputs (PCM only), a set of balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA analog outputs, as well as an unbalanced RCA input. The Platinum is complimented with two audiophile grade headphone outputs fed by dual-stage drivers and controlled by a precision stepped relay attenuator, coming as a welcome addition to those that prefer to be immersed in a more intimate high-end audio appreciation. Antelope's renowned 64-bit Acoustically Focused Clocking and is also equipped with a 10MHz input for Antelope's 10M Rubidium atomic clock. Superior stereo placement on the Zodiac Platinum is enhanced by the Quad-DAC architecture, processing the left and the right channel conversion in two separate DAC chips. This technology affects the signal to noise ratio while improving stereo separation and overall linearity. "We have created an algorithm that we believe is the best sounding and most authentic in reconstructing the wave using the DSD," says Levin. "And the precision with which we are carrying this out is three times higher than what is typically done on the DAC chip. It is a more accurate calculation, and this is what makes the difference when you are computing the missing points."


Naim Audio’s new Statement pre and power amplifiers make their debut at the International CES Las Vegas. The Statement NAC S1 preamplifier and NAP S1 mono power amplifiers are designed to supply the performance and dynamics that Naim's customers have come to expect, but on an even greater scale. The NAP S1 mono power amplifiers are each rated at 746 watts (one horse power) into 8 Ohms, 1450 watts into 4 Ohms and over 9000 watts burst power into a 1 Ohm load. Statement’s radical new vertical form grew out of this experimentation. The heavy power supplies are at the base of each product, suspended on an A-frame and coupled to the floor through floor spikes to protect sensitive electronics housed above from interference. The two sections are separated by a beautiful acrylic divide, which also breaks the path of eddy currents and minimizes electromagnetic radiation. The NAC S1 preamplifier has three DIN, three RCA and two balanced analog inputs. Output is either XLR balanced or RCA unbalanced. The Naim NAP S1 mono power amplifier has balanced XLR input and binding posts for spade and 4mm banana plugs. Get you AmEx Black Card ready as the Statement will commence shipping in July 2014 and prices are not yet confirmed but are expected to start at approximately $200,000.


Viola Audio Laboratories Crescendo Stereo Preamplifier

Viola Audio Laboratories is showcasing their new Crescendo stereo preamplifier ($22,500) with built-in D/A converter. With a chassis milled from a solid billet of aircraft-grade aluminum, the front panel is unencumbered by any control buttons as the preamplifier is operated via Wi-Fi remote control using an iPod Touch or iPad-based app. The front panel is accented by a trapezoidal touch-sensitive control surface housed in an angular center recess that continues across the top surface where it is flanked by a series of horizontal ribs. The Crescendo accommodates a variety of analog and digital sources including the direct digital audio output from a computer via USB DAC input that can accommodate up to 192kHz/24-bit data streams. Additional inputs include XLR balanced, RCA unbalanced and S/PDIF digital. The Crescendo also includes an XLR balanced output, RCA fixed (tape) and variable-volume outputs, USB Master for software updates, RJ-45 ports for Viola Link Buss, +12 volt trigger and RS-232 connections that enable integrated operation with other A/V components and for system integrators to interface with larger touchscreen control panels (e.g. AMX/Crestron). The OPA-1 module used in the preamplifier is a discrete Class A operational amplifier. The first stage employs a low-noise FET input. This is followed by a differential voltage gain section. The preamplifier's output is a high-current, low output impedance voltage follower that is capable of driving the most demanding loads. The chassis' rigid unibody construction provides extremely low mechanical resonance.


ASUS is working together with Waves, a leading provider of audio DSP for the professional and consumer markets and recipient of a Technical GRAMMY award, to just announce an expanded relationship which will bring a new level of premium sound quality to ASUS's consumer electronic product line. This agreement will incorporate Waves MaxxAudio Master processing into all ASUS products that feature ASUS SonicMaster technology. As the driving engine of ASUS SonicMaster, MaxxAudio Master processing, with its superior performance characteristics, will enhance the clarity and depth of the user's listening experience, whether enjoying music, a video game, multimedia, or for online communication purposes. "Ongoing developments in multimedia and entertainment applications increasingly push the capabilities of our devices," said Henry Huang, Director of ASUS Golden Ears Team. "We are certain that this strategic implementation of Waves’ embedded technologies will provide a new level of satisfaction to the ASUS user experience." Tomer Elbaz, Executive Vice President, Waves Consumer Division, said "ASUS is well known for groundbreaking products, their innovative designs deserve innovative audio technology to match. ASUS Golden Ears Team makes an exceptional use of MaxxAudio professional sound technologies to create a unique, premium audio experience. Thanks to this winning combination, ASUS users, whether working with a mobile device or a high-end workstation, can expect best in class sound quality."


Ocean Way Audio Montecito Speaker

Ocean Way Audio, a famous studio that has helped The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, Eminem, Janet Jackson, Radiohead and many others, is introducing their Montecito reference loudspeaker system. Designed by Allen Sides, the Grammy Award-winning engineer/producer and founder of Ocean Way Recording, is very proud of this new design. The high-bandwidth, wide-dispersion Montecito is the next step forward for the company's acclaimed AS1 loudspeaker and offers increased dynamic range, greater efficiency and additional sonic improvements to deliver high fidelity and musical accuracy. The Ocean Way Audio Montecito spaker is a three-way design employing a 1" aluminum dome tweeter with an aluminum voice coil that is encased in ferrofluid. This yields increased power handling capability and dampens resonances in the dome for smooth, natural yet detailed high-frequency response. The tweeter is coupled to a solid hardwood waveguide for wide dispersion and aid in overall tonal balance over a wider listening area. Speically-designed 10" Polymer coated cone cast-frame midbass driver uses a 1.5" aluminum voice coil, with dual 12-inch aluminum cone woofers with 2.5" aluminum voice coils rounding out the drivers. The Montecito utilizes an extremely high-quality passive crossover with hand-matched components and is available in matched pairs that are typically within plus or minus 0.5dB of each other. This design provides a frequency response from 30 Hz to 24 kHz plus or minus 1.5dB. Two sets of speaker terminals enable bi-wiring or bi-amp'ing if desired. Ocean Way Audio's Montecito's enclosure is constructed from laminated birch plywood and other high-density woods selected to eliminate colorations that might be caused by unwanted internal resonances. Each cabinet is finished with select mahogany and spruce with intricate inlays on the edges of the 45-degree-angled front corners. The cabinets then receive an 18-coat polyester finish. Sensitivity is rated at 88dB/W/m, dimensions are 52" x 16" x 22" (HxWxD) and the speaker weighs 154 lbs.


IK Multimedia announced their iRing ($24.99/€19.99), which is the the first motion controller for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch music apps and more. IK pioneers affordable motion-tracking technology that lets users control app functions and music effects on their iOS devices with simple hand gestures. Now musicians and others can control sound effects and other parameters of their favorite apps, in real time, using hand position, freeing them from needing to touch the screen. iRing utilizes a wearable ring with identifiable markers, the mobile device's front-facing camera, and advanced computer vision with highly-optimized recognition algorithms built into an app, to determine the precise positioning of the ring markers, tracking their movements and position on the three-dimensional space in front of the device. This system provides a low-cost solution and a motion-tracking device that is accurate and affordable to anyone. The iRing controller is a lightweight, double-sided ring that the user wears between two fingers, comfortable enough to be worn while operating musical instruments or other traditional music controllers. Each ring features a linear dot pattern on one side and a triangular pattern on the other. The device camera picks up the positioning of the ring patterns and the apps convert that information into music commands for dedicated app or MIDI information, which any compatible music app can read. This means that a user can now operate up to six controllable music parameters in their preferred music apps with one or two hands gestures. iRing includes two identical double-sided ring controllers, plus two free apps for music applications, which target everyone from music lovers to knowledgeable musicians: iRing Music Maker and iRing FX/Controller. The iRing Music Maker app gives music lovers a new and fun way to create music and grooves using hand gestures, with no music knowledge required, whatsoever. Users simply launch the app and use the iRing controller to change the beats, control rhythmic elements, synth parts and effects, for hours and hours of quality entertainment. The included iRing FX/Controller app targets skilled musicians and DJs, and converts the distance information from the rings into precise MIDI control information that can be configured by the user. This MIDI data can then be used by any compatible Core MIDI app running on the device, or even sent to a computer via Wi-Fi. Users can configure the app to control effects, filters, notes, patches and more. The iRing FX/Controller app also doubles as a controllable audio effects processor with 16 powerful and creative effects including Delay, Stutter, Phazer, Flanger, Compression, Fuzzy, Reverb, AutoWah, Crush, Twist Up & Down, Brake, Spin and Tail. These effects can be creatively controlled by the iRing, and inserted into the device audio path for use with any music app that is Audiobus or Inter-App Audio compatible. iRing technology will also be incorporated into core IK Multimedia apps such as GrooveMaker, DJ Rig, AmpliTube, SampleTank, VocaLive and more. For third-party developers that want to incorporate and implement iRing technology directly into their apps, IK is offering a free development kit and licensing program, which make it easy to take advantage of this new breakthrough technology.


Bryston BDA-2 DAC

Bryston LTD is celebrating 50 years in business and have introduced the BDA-2 outboard digital to analog converter (DAC, $2395). The BDA-2 builds on the award-winning success of the BDA-1 DAC, adding the latest 32-bit DAC technology and the most advanced USB interface to accommodate the ever expanding computer-based entertainment market. The Bryston BDA-2 uses fully discrete Class-A proprietary Bryston analog circuits, two independent (analog and digital) linear power supplies and dual 32-bit AKM DAC chips. The BDA-2 also utilizes a new asynchronous USB input capable of 192kHz/24-bit resolution. Flexibility with an array of inputs includes USB, S/PDIF coax, TosLink optical, and AES/EBU. For audio outputs, the BDA-2 offers both balanced XLR as well as unbalanced RCA stereo connectors on the rear panel. The BDA-2 is RS-232 software upgradeable and the BDA-2 power supply employs two independent secondary windings on the power transformer — one each for the digital and analog sections of the device. In the BDA-2, each stage in the digital chain is also independently regulated to prevent any unwanted interactions. Bryston's BDA-2 comes with a 5 year warranty. Also at CES is Their new BDP-2 USB unit. Both the BDP-1 and BDP-2 were designed to give music aficionados the ability to enjoy their library of high-resolution digital music files (resolutions of up to 24-bit/192kHz are supported) residing on a USB storage device, which in turn is directly connected via standard USB cable or thumb drive to the Bryston digital music player. New to the BDP-2 are six USB 2.0 inputs and upgradeable to USB 3.0, future-proofing the device as a long term solution. Additionally, the BDP-2 contains eight times the internal memory and three times the processing speed compared to the BDP-1, which will remain in the Bryston lineup alongside the BDP-2. "The user interface and sonic qualities of the BDP-2 are identical to the BDP-1," explained Bryston VP James Tanner. "We have given the BDP-2 NAS and eSATA drive connectivity, UPnP/DNLA client/server support and much more speed for those customers with very large libraries of music files." The BDP-2 features two RS232 ports for control system connectivity and two Gigabit Ethernet connections, all pointing to a new internal motherboard powered by an Intel Atom processor. Bryston's BDP-2 also has accommodations for a user-supplied internal drive that should be installed by an authorized Bryston service facility.

Bryston LTD BUC-1Bryston's new LTD BUC-1 ($799) at CES 2014 is a special purpose digital to digital converter that enables music enthusiasts to use their computer as a high resolution music source even though their existing Digital to Analog Converter (DAC) does not feature asynchronous USB capability. The Bryston BUC-1 converter allows for native 24 bit resolution at sampling rates up to 192 kHz. The Bryston BUC-1 takes a standard USB output from the computer and is said to deliver bit-perfect data via either an 110 Ohm AES/EBU or 70 Ohm S/PDIF output to any DAC. The BUC-1 including a robust linear power supply design and in order to supply clean power to the on-board circuitry, the BUC-1 uses a combination of power supply filtering and a newly engineered power down-regulator. Like other Bryston electronics, the power supply features ultra stable voltage regulation, extremely low noise/low distortion circuitry throughout and a steel chassis to reject any radiated noise from a computer or other device in close proximity. The goal of any quality USB converter is to convey the exact bits in the audio signal with the least amount of jitter possible. Most crucially, the Bryston BUC-1 takes control of the master timing of the audio system — so rather than the computer running the master clock with questionable results, the BUC-1 becomes the main system clock delivering ultra low jitter, high resolution audio to any outboard DAC. All outputs are transformer coupled and on the front panel are input sample rate indicators. Dimensions are 8" x 5.625" x 2.25" (DxWxH).


Matrix Audio Qube2

If i had $1 for every press release concerning a new Bluetooth speaker i'd be about $500 richer today. Still, this one seems just so.... Matrix Audio's newest addition to its line of compact speakers at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is the Qube˛. Said to be the world's smallest Bluetooth speaker, the Qube˛'s anodized aluminum shell houses a two-channel @ 3 watt per speakers to "produce big sound from a tiny package". "Our goal was to create a speaker that is truly portable" says Adel Babataher, Matrix Audio CEO and Founder. "We researched a lot of mini speakers that claimed to be mobile yet they could not fit comfortably into a purse or cup holder. With the Qube˛, users can easily toss the speaker into their pockets and enjoy great sound anywhere." Weighing in at a mere 0.5 pound, the Qube˛ has a 30' Bluetooth range and connects to the iPad, iPhone, and most(?) Android smartphones says the press release. The stylish Qube˛ is available in five fun colors: red, black, silver, blue, and purple. The speaker also includes its' own hand strap and carrying pouch. The unit employs passive vibrating bass technology (PVB) and has 8 hours of battery life. There is also a universal headphone jack.


Buffalo MiniStation Air

Buffalo's new MiniStation Air wireless portable hard drive provides up to 1 TB of storage and includes up to 10 hours of battery life and support for up to eight devices. This allowing travelers to easily transport their multimedia library with them while on the go, and stream content wirelessly to any computer, smartphone, tablet, smart TV or supported gaming console. The uit aso has a USB 3.0 port for fast file transfers and access when directly connected to a PC or Mac computer. Additionally, the portable hard drive allows users to set up a Wi-Fi hotspot to share its established network and Internet connection with joined devices. "Today's consumers are constantly on the go and want to have continuous access to their multimedia files while away from their homes," said Matt Dargis, COO, Buffalo Americas. Buffalo has developed free mobile apps for iOS and Android along with a rich UI, providing a premium user experience. The MiniStation Air can also be used to stream multimedia content to any DLNA playback device, such as smart TVs, music and video media players plus gaming consoles. The new MiniStation Air 1 TB Wireless Portable Hard Drive (HDW-PD1.0U3) will be available in March 2014 at an estimated price of $200 and is backed by a limited three-year warranty that includes toll-free U.S.-based technical support available 24/7.


Audionet has invested many years in developing and manufacturing cutting edge reference systems for ultra high performance music playback. In Las Vegas they are presenting their line of network ready components and the associated unique software tools. These include the DNA (Digital Network Amplifier), which is a state-of-the-art integrated amplifier with equalizer and bass management. Their DNP (Digital Network Preamplifier) flagship preamplifier also includes an equalizer and bass management. Audionet also is showing their DNC (Digital Network Client) network client with equalizer plus their iMM and aMM (Music Manager for iOS and Android) that are powerful apps for iOS and Android smart phones and tablets. Naturally you can use Audionet's RCP (Remote Control Point) to manage all settings and functions with a computer. Since many rooms have acoustic problems, the CARMA (Computer Aided RooM Analyzer) software is for measuring and assessing the acoustical characteristics of listening rooms.


HDBaseTAt CES 2014 we find the push for more use of HDbaseT, which can greatly help eliminate the amount of signal transfer cables within your home. Founded by LG Electronics, Samsung Electronics, Sony Pictures and Valens Semiconductor, the HDBaseT Alliance is comprised of leading cross-industry companies formed to promote and standardize HDBaseT technology. The cornerstone of HDBaseT technology is 5Play, a feature set that converges uncompressed full HD digital video, audio, 100BaseT Ethernet, power over cable and various control signals through a single LAN cable. Their HDBaseT Alliance at the 2014 International CES in January will "recruit warriors for its battle against the ever-growing mass of A/V cables and power cords that consume the typical home entertainment system". "Using HDBaseT to deliver high definition video, including 4K, audio, power, Ethernet and controls from a source like a DVR or Blu-ray player to displays throughout the house over a single cable may sound too good to be true," said Micha Risling, Marketing Committee Chair, the HDBaseT Alliance. The HDBaseT Alliance exhibit at CES features a demonstration of how simple it is to use HDBaseT technology to connect A/V components and deliver 4K video to 4K displays, showing first-hand why HDBaseT is the ideal solution for 4K connectivity. The HDBaseT Alliance booth also features new HDBaseT-enabled AVRs, projectors and displays from several Alliance members including leading consumer electronics manufacturers. The HDBaseT technology, powered by Valens chipset, enables all-in-one connectivity between HD video sources and remote displays through a single 100m/328ft CAT5e/6 cable, delivering uncompressed high definition 4k video, audio, Internet, control signals and up to 100 watts of power.


KRK Systems, a Gibson Brand, is presenting their ROKIT Generation 3 Studio Monitor Series (ROKIT G3) at CES 2014. Available with 5", 6" and 8" drivers, this new line of two-way active monitors features multiple innovations from the company. The ROKIT G3s feature a lightweight yellow composite woofer that achieves excellent dynamics. Many monitor manufacturers compromise the midrange frequencies to hype the bass, but the KRK ROKIT G3's unique tuning process treats the woofer, cabinet, and port as a single, integrated whole that provides extreme vocal clarity with extended bass response. Furthermore, the enhanced Class A/B analog, bi-amplification system has also been optimized to maximize headroom without increasing distortion. The upgraded 1" soft-dome tweeter provides response up to a staggering 35k Hz, while KRK's optimized, proprietary waveguide technology delivers stereo imaging with a wider sweet spot.


---> Thursday's coverage of T.H.E. Show / CES 2014.













































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