CES 2016

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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 11, 2016
Adcom has gone all Moona and the Junea with their new Luna ($599). The UPnP/DLNA enabled Luna can stream music from network attached storage, the Internet, Spotify connect, and USB devices. Inputs include WiFi, aptX Bluetooth, and 3.5mm analog input and the Luna includes a 3.5mm headphone jack for more private pleasures. The two full-range drivers are driven by 10Watts of Class D power and Adcom has included "an innovative wall mounting system" with the Luna: a piece of rope.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jan 14, 2016
Who? I thought as I walked the halls of the 35th floor of the Venetian tower. It turns out Aries Cerat was founded in 2010 on the isle of Cyprus, a location that doesn't exactly scream out convenience for a hi-fi manufacturer, and this was their US debut. Nonetheless, Aries Cerat manufacture a full line of audio gear including those pictured above; Kassandra Reference PCM DAC ($35,000), Impera Signature Edition Preamp ($82,500), the Concero 65 SET Class A Monoblocks ($35,000/pair), and the Symphonia Aries Limited Edition speakers ($125,000).
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jan 14, 2016
I covered Audio Alchemy at RMAF (see report) so I'm only going to talk about how much I enjoyed this room, the calm after the storm. The prototype TAD Concept speakers ($TBD) were paired with the Audio Alchemy gear to show, and show off, that you don't need to spend a fortune on electronics to get great sound (the TAD CE1 loudspeakers are $24,000/pair to provide a ballpark for the Concept speaker cost).
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 08, 2016
Gordon Rankin (left) and Steve Silberman of AudioQuest talking critters

I began my first day of CES 2016 with a presentation from AudioQuest's Steve Silberman and Wavelength Audio's Gordon Rankin who also happens to be the chief designer of these AQ products; the subject? AudioQuest's new DragonFly Red v1.0 ($199) and DragonFly Black v1.5 DAC ($99). Both "critters" can handle PCM resolutions up to 24/96 (gasp, wheeze & horror) and, as you'll see in the next pic, bear more than passing resemblance to the company's original critter, the DragonFly DAC.

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 14, 2016
Aurender had their new and as yet to be priced A10 Caching Network Music Server/Player with analog Output (RCA and XLR) on display and that's its insides. All of my pictures of its outside, sucked (I've decided to divorce my camera after our embarrassing inability to get along at CES. I have a new, younger model on the way). The A10 holds 2TB of internal hard disk drive storage for your music and a 120GB solid state drive for cached playback. You can also play music via Ethernet from network attached storage and all Aurender models include their Conductor app and all models support Tidal streaming.
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 14, 2016
Ayre Acoustics, makers of my amp, handed off DA duties to their Codex DAC/Preamp/Headphone amp ($1795), which made Steve Plaskin's Favorite Bits List while also garnering a Class A rating (check out the price again and compare it to other Class A DACs on that list).
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 13, 2016
I ran into PSB's Paul Barton earlier in the day and he told me I had to hear the Doors MQA'd. And boy O boy, am I glad I did.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jan 14, 2016
The new Bryston BDA-3 DAC ($3495) adds DSD support, up to DSD256, and PCM support up to 32/384 to the well reviewed BDA-2 (see review) as well as 4x 2-channel HDMI (accepts SACD input), 2x asynchronous USB, AES/EBU, Toslink, and Coax S/PDIF (RCA and BNC). There's also an Ethernet input for home automation applications. Outputs include single-ended RCAs and balanced XLRs.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jan 11, 2016
Cary Audio boards the all-in-one train with their new AiOS (pronounced a-ous) 60W integrated amp, streamer, DAC, headphone amp (target price $2500). The AOiS is the company's first product in their "Lifestyle" range and natively supports PCM resolutions up to 32/384kHz and DSD up to DSD256. You can also opt to convert PCM all the way up to to DSD256 or up to 768kHz and take your DSD up to DSD128 or DSD256. Inputs include Ethernet, 3x USB storage, Coax S/PDIF, Toslink, WiFi, aptX Bluetooth, SD Card, and 2 pair of analog RCA inputs and a 3.55 analog input. AiOS supports Tidal, Spotify Connect, Internet Radio, Pandora, among others and buyers can change the front color display to match their choice of colored side panels. The AiOS should hit the market in March.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Dec 29, 2015
Sin city. The big show. One week from today, I get herded aboard Southwest Airlines for my flight to Phoenix. With a one-beer layover, I should arrive at my final destination by early evening; plenty of time to rest up for opening day, Wednesday, January 6, 2016.

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