• CES 2008: TAS Notebook

    UPDATED After the late afternoon release of several notes from many writers on the TAS staff I updated this posting. The only thing I can say is, "Has another magazine been reading Computer Audiophile?" Read more for all the info.

    Chris Martens from The Abso!ute Sound has just published an article about his CES experience with some very affordable products. he concludes the article with some statements about CES and the products he liked. Most notable is his crowning the new Wadia 170 iTransport as the Most Significant New Product. Here is a a great quote from the article.

    "Most Important Trend: The high-end community’s wise decision to embrace and not resist the adoption of iPod- and PC-based audio systems. In the end, technologies that stimulate interest in music always work for the greater good, and while high-fidelity sound is important, passion for music must always come first."

    Also of note are Neil Gader's CES comments:

    "Most Surprising Discovery: The difference a USB cable can make! The Synergistic Research Tricon USB cable ($550) may not be cheap, but all it took was a quick demo to prove that every link in the chain can be significant."

    "Most Important Trend: Hands-down, it’s media server or hard-disk-driven technology."

    Robert Harley's comments: (cough...sounds very familiar...cough)

    "...The drives can be located outside the listening room where you won’t hear them whirring. You can then access music on the hard drives via the Memory Transport’s front-panel graphic display, or better yet, through an Wi-Fi-enabled Apple iTouch ($299) running a custom application that allows you to scroll through album art with the touch of a finger..."

    "Most Important Trend: Music servers, iPod integration, and hard-disk storage are poised to revolutionize how we access music. Traditional high-end companies are starting to bring their technical expertise and musical sensitivity to the party–it’s going to be an interesting 2008."

    "Most Significant New Product: The PS Audio Memory Transport. This ingenious device promises to deliver high-end sound quality, music-server convenience, massive storage capacity, and an outstanding user interface–all for the price of a good CD player."

    Alan Taffel's comments:

    "True High-Resolution Audio Has Arrived"

    "But this situation is metamorphosing. Joining Linn Records, which has been offering true hi-res (up to 96/24) downloads for a year, is AIX Records’ iTrax service (also 96/24)."

    "We appear to be on the brink of a rapidly expanding selection of truly high-resolution digital recordings."

    "Notice how every one of the hi-res services and formats described above is delivered via download? This is no accident. By making music available as files, record companies can propagate new titles quickly and at far lower cost than via physical discs."

    "Essentially, “HD audio” has skipped a generation compared to its video counterpart."

    "Naturally, music servers were a significant presence at this year’s show. Suppliers generally fell into two camps: those that believe PCs or Macs make perfectly good music servers, and those who chose instead to build stand-alone components"

    "Greatest Bargain: The Wadia iTransport is the missing link between an iPod, with its undeniable convenience and ability to store lossless digital files, and a top-flight audio system. Built with Wadia’s usual uncompromising quality, the unit is a steal at $350."

    "Most Important Trend: The proliferation of truly high-resolution source material."

    "Greatest Technological Breakthrough: Reference Recordings’ HRx ultra-high resolution (176.4/24) digital music format. Let’s hope it catches on in a big way."

    And finally Jonathan Valin:

    "Comes now one of the show’s genuine surprises, the McIntosh XRT1k multi-driver line-source loudspeaker ($35k), powered, of course, by McIntosh tube electronics and McIntosh’s new record player (sourced from Clearaudio). Smooth, sweet, robust, and breathy, it shocked me with its realistic presentation of “Ghost Train.” As lifelike and enjoyable as anything I heard at CES, the Mac speaker was not just an ear-opener but also a clear candidate for Best of Show. Who’d have thunk it?"

    I highly recommend everyone read each post via [AVGuide.com]