CES 2015 The Wrap!

I've already tipped my hand with my room-to-room coverage as to my highlights of CES 2015. Certainly the Bacch 3D demo, Meridian's MQA, and the Devialet Phantom represent technological leaps that I believe we'll be hearing more about in the future. Tidal's lossless streaming service was quite literally nearly everywhere and just mentioning the word "Tidal" elicited oohs and aahs from everyone I spoke to. In addition, we've seen tons of manufacturers rolling up the functionality of multiple products, especially adding file-based playback, into single boxes in an attempt to appeal to a wider audience since file-based playback represents the largest part of our hi-fi future.

CES is also a time for me to talk to people in the business and find out not only what is but what will be. One of the most thought-provoking and convincingly awesome demo's I experienced took place in a bar at the Mirage after hours on a laptop and I cannot talk about it. What a dick, I know. I mention this because in a few months I expect to be telling you all about it and it's big.

I also got to see many new faces, tons of new products, and I know for a fact that I also missed stuff. Make sure you head over to our sister site Stereophile and check out their coverage, especially Jon Iverson's who covers all things digital, for a more complete picture.

Hi-Fi can be like religions; for some it's a divisive, anger-inducing, single set of sonic scriptures to follow and anyone who strays from the chosen path is to be reviled or pitied. Thankfully, that's the minority of people but they happen to be a very vocal crowd, just like religious fanatics. Attending shows like CES reinforces the fact that hi-fi is filled with tons of wonderful characters, many frighteningly intelligent, who have presented us with a multitude of paths to get us where we want to be. Our job, as listeners, is simply to match our preferences with the corresponding path.

The means to our ends, the enjoyment of music, is a multifaceted all-too-human endeavor. I wouldn't have it any other way.

tubefan9's picture

Wow I can't believe how many rooms you covered. Nice job! Lots of cool stuff on the horizon.

Steven Plaskin's picture
Thanks for the excellent coverage Michael.
Michael Lavorgna's picture
CES 2015 was a great show. I had a ton of fun.


bobflood's picture

to the big new thing you saw in the bar. There is some buzz on other audio sites as well. I will venture a guess that it has something to do with hi-res streaming. Hope I am right, but if it is, I am looking forward to how they get around all the OS resampling problems of both the Windows and Apple operating systems.

Thanks for the great coverage. The best line you had was the admission that the vinyl album of a certain piece sounded better than the "hi-res" version. It really points out the importance of proper mastering. If hi-res digital is ever going to take off with the larger music loving consumer base, a special master will be needed to take full advantage of the medium.

Thanks again,


Michael Lavorgna's picture
I'm looking forward to getting my hands on the "new thing".


Dan Gravell's picture

In addition, we've seen tons of manufacturers rolling up the functionality of multiple products, especially adding file-based playback, [...] since file-based playback represents the largest part of our hi-fi future.

Can you expand on that a little? Given the "oohs" and "aahs" around Tidal doesn't this suggest streaming may be about to break through for audiophiles?

Michael Lavorgna's picture
I group streaming under the general file-based payback umbrella but I suppose it would have been clearer to specifically point that out. I see streaming, especially lossless and high res streaming, as a large part of our futures.


Dan Gravell's picture

Sure, ok, I guess it's still a stream regardless of the transport mechanism - file, HTTP, whatever!

clockdon's picture

This is some thing new for sure, I need to read more on this.

tulysses's picture

Has anyone else experienced issues with Tidal? I get frequent dropouts, buffering, or something which results in music not playing. Sometimes very briefly which is tolerable, but often for lengthy periods of time. I also often see a message saying "we" are experiencing bandwidth issues, with the suggestion that I switch out of hifi mode to a lower resolution. I love Tidal sq, but am about to pull the plug due to this problem. Any help will be appreciated.

Patrick Collins's picture

What tulysses said. Exactly!