The 2012 Consumer Electronics Show is finally here! I'm very excited about the show this year. Many manufacturers will announce computer audio and desktop audio components over the next few days. Every year more and more of the specialty and major audio manufacturers cater to the next phase of home audio reproduction, computer based audio. This year I also plan to spend more time at the main convention center in addition to the standard high end suites at the Venetian. I don't care how much the products cost, if they are good I want to talk about them here on CA.
A few manufacturers I will visit in the main convention center are Synology, ASUS, and Audioengine. All three offer great products at great values. On the way to visit these guys I will likely find tons of other great products. Who knows maybe C.A.P.S. v3.0 will be kickstarted at CES :~)
The high end manufacturers who've been building great products for audiophiles for decades will of course consume most of my time. It seems like every component manufacturer has issued at least one press release about a new DAC. The new Bel Canto DAC3.5 VBS MKII was the latest one to stream into my inbox. I can't wait to visit with John Stronczer of Bel Canto to hear more about the updates. Bel Canto also announced February availability of its new 24/192 asynchronous uLink ($795) that converts USB to Coaxial SPDIF, AES/EBU, and ST Fiber with Bel Canto Light Link circuitry. 24/192 audio flows through all outputs. The last BC product that should interest many readers is the $2,995 CR7 DAC with integrated receiver based on the REF150.
Some other new items include a DAC / digital preamp from Alpha Design Labs by Furutech, DEQX HDP-4 Processor, and the Bladelius Embla music server. The Embla is definitely a looker [Link], I can't wait to see and hear it in person at the show.
The Sonata music server review was scheduled for late December, but has been pushed back just a bit. CA's new contributor is working diligently on the piece. I was adamant that she not rush the article just to meet a deadline.
My next review will be the Auralic Ark MX+ USB DAC. So far the unit is really nice. The Auralic USB approach is not run-of-the-mill. Many readers should be refreshed by Auralic's custom design work.
After the ARK MX+ are the Berkeley Audio Design Alpha USB, Musical Fidelity M1 CLiC, ASUS Xonar Essence One USB DAC and headphone amp, and the Halide Design DAC HD.
I'm also working on an ultra geeky article about converting my Mac Pro into 16TB NAS. It was a really fun and frustrating project. The end result is fantastic.