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Jan 2010 CES Report

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Customer email newsletter dated: January 19, 2010.


January 2010 CES report
CES Report....

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Just back from CES, where attendance and the mood were both considerably better than those dark days of January 2009. Wishing a better 2010 to all of us!

Plenty of good sound and new products interesting for us and hopefully for you as well. Below is a “first look” with more detail on these new products to follow in upcoming editions of our customer emails.

Starting with cables (of course) and AC products, here is some of the important news from CES:
Cardas will soon release some less expensive models in their topline “Clear” model range. The new “ClearLight” cables will use many of the advanced design and construction techniques developed for the Clear, but at prices closer to the existing Neutral Reference products. We will keep you informed on the actual release dates.

Cardas is also now making their extremely nice Clear connectors available both as upgrade terminations for other Cardas models, and also as RCA/XLR adapters. What is different about the Clear connectors? Looking at the Clear XLR’s as an example, the contacts are not separated by plastic as they would be in most other XLR’s, rather they are insulated by Teflon rings which are separated by metal to help electrically shield signals running through these contacts from each other. The connectors can make a big difference in the sound of cables.
PS Audio
PS Audio has apparently amortized most of the design costs that went into their current line of AC line conditioners including the Premier Powerplant, such that they are making permanent the reduced prices that we have been offering as a “special” in the 4th quarter of 2009. So that means the new retail price of the Premier is $1699, $349 for the Quintet, and $199 for the Duet.

PS Audio is also getting closer to having their new Music Server ready.
Purist Audio Design
Purist Audio Design has revised and updated their entire cable line to what they are calling the Praesto series. New metallurgy, new dielectrics, a few new models names. We will have demonstrators in the Library soon! Ask about their attractive intro and trade-up specials.
Running Springs Audio
Running Springs Audio showed their new Maxim power conditioner, designed to provide the Dmitri level power conditioning optimized for extreme high current power amplifiers. Absolutely non current limiting and increased dynamics compared to direct connection to the wall, the Maxim is another leading edge design from RSA.
Shunyata Research
Shunyata Research was showing their entire line of new and excellent 2009 product introductions including the CX series AC cables and also the Aeros series of signal cables. NOTE: we also heard that they are running low on the 5ft stock lengths of Diamondback Platinum AC cables that have propelled the super-popular half price special, and we expect to see this promotion ending in the very near future!
Stealth Audio
The performance of the new top of the line interconnect from Stealth Audio, which is called "Sakra," has surpassed even their standard-setting Indra. One could call these a super-Indra using the Indra conductors in a new geometry with a helium/Teflon dielectric.
Teo Audio
We are quite interested in developments at Teo Audio, a company which is using liquid metal as conductors in their cables. Watch this space!
Wireworld was showing new topline Silver Starlight and Platinum HDMI cables, available next month, and also a new $99 Starlight AES/EBU digital cable using the same geometry as their new top Platinum AES/EBU digital cable.
A New York – based manufacturer known as Box Furniture Company had some very attractive, all wood racks and platforms with audiophile features on display. Let us know if these strike you as favorably as they do us.
HiFi-Tuning is completing the all silver “SilverStar” fuse line with the addition of more values to the existing small size fuses, and they also will roll out the large SilverStar fuses in January (slow blow) and February (fast blow). Unfortunately with both the SilverStar and Gold/Silver fuses being constructed primarily of silver, the 60%+ increase in silver prices in 2009 has resulted in a $10 per fuse price increase effective February 1, 2010. Note: you can still purchase all except the new large SilverStar fuses at the 2009 prices by ordering in January, so stock up!

In addition to the fuses and their excellent CD demagnetizer ($299), HiFi-Tuning was showing two new resonance control devices designed and hand-built in Berlin. These are an LP tuning weight ($699) incorporating platinum, ebony, quartz, and a resonance control “chamber” to accomplish a resonance re-tuning of the LP itself with easily identifiable results, especially in the midrange. The same approach is applied to a set of component feet ($599/set) with equally impressive results. Samples will be available for in-home audition.

Acoustic Treatment
New entrants in the acoustic treatment category included two new lines from our old friend Michael Green, who after a decade working on auditoriums, recording studios, and consulting on acoustics with the Herman Miller design house, has returned to high end audio. The well-known RoomTune acoustic pillows are back in an improved version called “Classic II”, and a whole new generation of attractive wall-hanging and floor-standing panels called “RoomTuneART” has also been released.
And finally, just a few words on some of the hardware:
Acoustic Zen, which you might have expected to see in the cable section above, has also become a highly regarded loudspeaker manufacturer. Their $4300/pr. Adagio speakers are one of the great values in all of audio and their new $14k/pr speaker, called "Crescendo," plays with the big boys!
The Esoteric RZ-1 ($6000), is a for real high end one box integrated system incorporating an SACD/CD transport, a 32-bit DAC, and a 100W stereo-integrated amplifier.
Gemme Audio
Gemme Audio of Canada, a manufacturer we have had our eye on, unveiled their nice-sounding new, affordable "G" series of speakers - the G3 bookshelf speaker ($850-$1395/pr), the G5 floorstander ($1395-1795/pr) and G7 floorstander ($1795 - $2195/pr). All models feature a Peerless woofer in pressure loaded reflex enclosures with choice of finish as well as silk dome or ribbon tweeters.
Love some of the retro designs available from Luxman. The photo is of the11th generation of the original 1963 SQ-38u tube integrated amplifier.
Niro Nakamichi
One of the pioneers of DSP driven 5.1 surround sound from less than 6 boxes, Niro Nakamichi, was showing the newest Niro "virtual surround" packages ($1499 and $1899), which both consist of a multidriver speaker below (Left, Center, Right) and another above (the surround channels) the monitor or screen + a passive woofer. Very impressive – maybe the best virtual surround/soundbar packages available!
Peachtree Audio
Peachtree Audio, one of the hottest new electronic brands, is following up their wildly successful Nova ($1199) tube/ hybrid DAC + integrated amp with a scaled down version called Decco ($799). Scaled down in this case means a lower power amplifier section and fewer inputs and outputs. But even more interesting is a special version called iDecco, with the ubiquitous “i” standing of course for the iPod dock on the top of the chassis. But the extra $200 for the iDecco doesn’t just get you a convenience input slot for an iPod or iPhone, but rather only the second such dock we are aware of (the other being the Wadia iTransport) that allows for the output of the raw digital datastream from your iPod or iPhone, bypassing your i-Device’s analog stage, in this case passing the data stream to the highly-regarded Sabre Dac in the Decco for decoding. Very cool, and promised to be followed up by an i-Version of the more powerful and flexible Nova later this year.
Reference 3A
Reference 3A has been making "running changes" to all speakers including upgraded wiring and the application of various resonance control techniques. Enough differences that it is probably time to "rotate" our floor samples (Grand Veena, Veena, MM Da Capo i).
Rogue Audio
Rogue Audio was exhibiting a more powerful KT90 driven “Magnum” version ($2199) of their super cool and affordable Cronus ($1699) tube integrated amplifier, which includes a nice phono stage by the way. And they also were showing their first stand alone, all-tube phono stage, which will cost around $2000.
Veloce Audio
Veloce Audio, whose principal was introduced by Harry Pearson of The Absolute Sound himself at one of the open mike Q&A’s, as one of the bright lights on the two channel audio horizon, was playing their new phono stage ($2000-2500), which draws it’s power from the battery power supply of their outstanding line stage preamp ($12500).
That is our snapshot of the show. We will be discussing many of these products in more detail as the year progresses, but in the meantime, just let us know if you would like more information on something of particular interest to you.
For additional information on these offers and frequent updates speak with your Cable Company consultant, or visit our websites: and  For hundreds of specials on used and demo cables, visit

For other highlighted products and special offers, take a look at the previous editions of our customer Email Newsletters in our Newletter Archives.

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