CES 2016

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Michael Lavorgna  |  Jan 13, 2016
Bam! The new Dynaudio Xeo 2 ($1599/pair) are wireless active speakers that also house a 24/192-capable DAC and you connect to them via Toslink, Bluetooth, or add an analog component via the RCA inputs or 3.5mm jack. There's a 3-position EQ switch for tailoring the output to placement (Neutral, Wall, Corner) and touch sensitive controls up top for power, source select, Bluetooth pairing, and volume control. And they come in colors (eventually).
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jan 13, 2016
When I enter the VTL room at shows, I'm always asked if I brought any music I'd like to hear and I typically say no. This year I said yes.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jan 13, 2016
When I need to unwind, chill out, or just hang out while at CES, or any hi-fi show, I head to John DeVore's room because I know I'll be greeted with smiles, great music, and great sound. This year, there was a very special treat(s) in store.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jan 13, 2016
The Paradigm Class-D PW Amp ($499/ea.) puts out 2 x 100W RMS into 4 ohms and you can stream your music to it from an iOS or Android device or PC, up to 24/192 losslessly, over your WiFi network. Connect to any pair of passive speakers and you're ready to roll. Anthem teamed with DTS Play-Fi for the wireless solution (2.4GHz and 5.0GHz; 802.11 g/n) and they've also thrown in their Anthem Room Correction (ARC™) Technology and a calibrated digital microphone to set the PW Amp's internal DSP to suit your room. There's also an Ethernet input for hard-wiring to your network, 1 pair of analog inputs, sub out, and a USB input for firmware updates. The PX Amp comes in black and white.
Michael  |  Jan 13, 2016
The new Sony PS-HX500 USB Turntable ($599), a bunch of words I'm sure I never saw coming as a group, can send your LPs to your PC via USB in 24/192 format.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jan 13, 2016
UK's Audio Note typically spin vinyl or CDs at shows so I typically do not cover their fine sounding DACs. On display in the Audio Federation room at CES 2016 was the Audio Note DAC 5 Signature ($100,000) getting its bits via AES/EBU from the the ReQuest Beast server ($36,800). The Acapella La Musika integrated amp drove the Acapella Cellini loudspeakers and I noted that "My Favorite Things" sounded lovely and "plinky sounds sounded plinky".
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jan 12, 2016
"Speaker completely gone. Endless space, solidity, and precise position even for piano keyboard which is physically present in space. F*cking lovely." To say I was jazzed with the sound of music in the MSB room would be an understatement. I was lit up with musical joy. The MSB Select DAC ($89,995) with the Femto 33 clock option ($9950) sending the converted bits to the MSB M203 Class A monoblocks ($27,500/pair) driving the YG Sonja 1.2 speakers ($72,800) brought all of the power and glory of John Lee Hooker singing "I Cover the Waterfront" to Las Vegas which is quite a feat since sincerity and soul are endangered species in sin city. These were some of my favorite sounds at the show.
AVM
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jan 12, 2016
I first ran into Malsch, Germany based AVM (Audio Video Manufaktur) at last year's Munich Show (see report). Pictured above is the all-in-one INSPIRATION CS 2.2 Compact Streaming CD-Receiver (€3990) that offers a 2x 165Watt/ch integrated amp, network player, USB DAC input, CD player, FM Tuner, and a MM/MC phono stage. The 24/192 capable player offers 4 line inputs, 1 phono input (MM & MC), 1 Pre Out, 1 Line Out, and 3 digital inputs (Coax S/PDIF, Toslink, asynchronous USB).
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jan 12, 2016
Bel Canto was showing their stuff, the DAC 2.7 ($2495) and Ref600M monoblocks ($4995/pair), with the Joseph Audio Profile speakers ($6999/pair). This is another pairing that always makes great sound with great music. Jeff Joseph treated us to Ella Fitzgerald covering the Beatles "Savoy Truffle", which is something you cannot un-hear so if the opportunity presents itself, you may want to skip it.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jan 12, 2016
"Tidal 352.8kHz 24bit 1,782Mbps MQA" is what Auralic's Xuanqian Wang's iPhone running the company's Lightning DS app is telling us we're listening to. The track, "Home For Christmas", is from Jan Gunnar Hoff's Stille lys recorded by Norway's 2L label. 2L has converted its catalog to MQA for Tidal and those with pre-release access can stream their high-rez music even over crappy CES hotel WiFi. Remember, the most important thing to remember about MQA, beyond the fact that a 24-bit/352.8kHz files streams at roughly the bitrate of a 16/48 file, is the fact that MQA makes the music it handles sound better. I'm hoping that my upcoming review of the Auralic Aries mini will include some MQA'ing. We Shall see.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jan 12, 2016
The Chord Mojo DAC/Headphone amp ($599) has been getting a lot of buzz and I'd imagine there may be some more coming. Chord leashed the Mojo to the Audeze EL-8 headphones ($699) that had Graham Nash singing (I wish).
dCS
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jan 12, 2016
I always enjoy a visit to the dCS room as they typically offer great sound and great, non-audiophile, music courtesy of dCS' John Quick. The dCS Vivaldi stack ($108,496) handled front end duties while the D'Agostino Momentum M400 monoblocks ($65,000/pair) drove the Wilson Audio Alexia loudspeakers ($52,000/pair).
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jan 12, 2016
Jon Iverson has posted his first room report over on Stereophile retelling his CES travels with Graham Nash. Philip O'Hanlon's On A Higher Note was their first stop and I was lucky enough to have been invited along.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jan 12, 2016
Regular readers know I have great respect for Germany's T+A. I recently reviewed their MP 2000 R DAC/Network Client + PA 2000 R Integrated Amplifier (see review) and enjoyed the dynamic duo's sound and build quality. The company's DAC 8 has been upgraded to include DSD processing up to DSD512 "using a dedicated T+A True One Bit Converter." The DAC 8 DSD houses eight 32-bit DA converters from Burr-Brown for PCM files up to 32/384kHz, user selectable filter options, volume control, and a headphone amp. Inputs include 4x Coax S/PDIF (RCA), 1x Coax S/PDIF (BNC), Toslink, AES/EBU, and USB. Analog outputs consist of RCA and balanced XLR pairs, and there's a digital Coax S/PDIF out for those who are confused about what the DAC 8 DSD does.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jan 11, 2016
Graham Nash listening to Neil Young's "A Man Needs A Maid" on Audeze LCD-8s through the Chord Mojo. Graham was present during the recording of this lovely song

Keep an eye on Stereophile's show coverage and Jon Iverson's reporting where he'll talk about traveling the show with Graham Nash, the guy who put the "N" in CSN and CSNY and the heart in The Hollies. I was fortunate enough to be invited along for the listening in a number of rooms where we got to hear tracks from Graham's new album This Path Tonight. "Back Home", written for his friend Levon Helm after he'd passed, had me choking back tears with its beauty and sorrow.

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