Another product that really impressed me at CES 2013 was the Aurender W20 . The W20 features an all new audio board powered from two banks of lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries that alternate charging cycles and require zero user intervention. Hard drive space in the W20 has been increased to around 6TB and the drives are encased under a 1/2 inch thick aluminum enclosure. Topping off the $15,000 Aurender W20 is a Word Clock input and RS232 communication link that can control the sample rate of external clocks such as the dCS Vivaldi Clock. This is a big deal.
The McIntosh McAire surprised me this year. I connected my iPhone 5 to the Mc wireless network and beamed some Nat King Cole to the McAire via AirPlay. Sending music via AirPlay isn't surprising but the McAire's ability to sync audio to multiple McAire units was surprising. It's impossible to send music via AirPlay to multiple audio components straight from an iPhone. According to McIntosh the McAire will accept the iPhone's audio stream and synchronize it to multiple McAire units working around the AirPlay limitation.
Th last day of the show I stopped to see Vinnie Rossi of Red Wine Audio . Vinnie was showing his new Renaissance Edition components including the Signature 16 integrated amp and the Bellina DAC with both 24/192 async USB and a selectable 44.1 kHz R2R ladder DAC. Of course everything is powered via LiFePO4 batteries.
In addition to seeing Vinnie at the Flamingo I stumbled upon Audionet products from Germany. The company has been around for nearly two decades and is now pushing into the U.S. market. Audionet displayed a DAC and a Preamp with Ethernet / DLNA and async USB input. In audiophile fashion both units feature analog volume control from the front panel and via a nice Android application. What really impressed me was Audionet's DSP application. The Audionet engineer ran through setting an EQ and uploading the settings to the DAC. Users can also purchase a ~$300 microphone measurement package to use with the Audionet software in order to correct for room aberrations present in one's listening environment. My explanation of the Audionet products falls far short of what's possible with both its hardware and software. Look for a review on CA some time in 2013.