CES 2013 The Wrap!
If I was to try my hand at trendspotting, I'd have to say there were two opposing poles attacking audiophile's soft middle at this year's CES—DSD and Lifestyle. Most DACs either included DSD-capabilities or their representatives were saying its on the way. The Lifestyle influence was seen in a number of ways but can be summed up by simplification and form factor/style (here the Wadia Intuition 01 is an obvious standout). There were many multi-purpose devices incorporating network players with integrated amps, DACs with amps, disc spinners with USB inputs, preamps with streamers, and more. I also see the inclusion of the very promising Apt X Bluetooth functionality as a huge boon to get the non-audiophile playing their tunes through the hi-fi which is the best way I know of to show people why we spend so much time and energy on hi-fi. Hint: its the music and the quality of its playback and that's a lifestyle I'm proud to be a part of.
My favorite part of CES is absent from most of my pictures and that's people. I had the opportunity to spend some one-on-one time with a number of manufacturers and colleagues talking about all things computer audio and here I would also say a lot of time was spent discussing DSD. It was the acronym on most lips. And on a related note, I saw one show attendee, MOG's founder and until recently its CEO David Hyman, with "PONO" on his badge (but he wasn't talking)! I am also happy to report that a number of new Q&As with equipment manufacturers and industry people will be forthcoming in 2013.
I was treated to some great music in a number of rooms for which I am always grateful. A nod and thank you goes out to John DeVore of DeVore Fidelity, Cookie Marenco of Blue Coast Records, John Quick of Tempo Distribution, Peter McGrath of Wilson Audio, Luke Manley and Bea Lam of VTL, and Philip O'Hanlon of On a Higher Note for always placing the focus on the beauty, fun, and fulfilling-ness of the music they play. Peter McGrath shared a DSD recording of Nat King Cole through the dCS Vivaldi stack that was simply stunning so much so that if you heard it you'd know why DSD was on so many lips and being played through so many systems.
I'm also a fan of the introduced music approach and here Philip O'Hanlon, Andrew Jones of TAD, Jonathan Derda and David Solomon of Peachtree, and the gentleman from Audionet whose name I neglected to get were stand outs.
Perhaps my most favorite part of CES took place on the plane ride home when my friend and colleague Stephen Mejias and I swapped music sources and spent hours listening to each others music. Flying is among my least favorite things to do but with wonderful music playing into my ears and quick excited discussions about what we've just listened to in between, I almost wished the flight was longer.
Apologies to all of the people, rooms and equipment I missed as I certainly missed a lot. For full coverage of CES, make sure you visit the other Source Interlink Media websites: