VIVA LAS VEGAS, BABY – CONSUMER ELECTRONICS SHOW 2013
By Peter VanRosendael
Flew into LV., hopped the deuce at the Tropicana and was northward bound to the Venetian, where the serious music repro stuff was to be displayed. Halfway there, I saw three things. 1. A jogger (whom I had first noticed while boarding) had caught up to the bus. 2.A sidewalk vender advertising “souvenir” Las Vegas drinking water for 99c.and 3.A young man sporting a sign; kick me in the balls for $20. Welcome to Las Vegas.
Six consumer electronics shows in 12 years, not bragging, just jaded. Ahh but that first one was some kind of wonderful. An event horizon. Jimmy Buffet wrote; don’t try to describe a kiss concert; so how do you describe a mind bending outrageously provocative over the top event such as CES? Describe it in small steps.
I attend CES for the stereo (2 channel) gear. To help me play my records better. To scrape that last bit of info outta that groove. A simple upgrade to anyone’s system is a better cartridge. The over the top answer to this upgrade is the $5k and up cartridge. Or how about the $180k speakers or the $150k amp. This is the drool factor where normal mortals fear to tread. Perhaps the $20k for speaker wire/cables should not be dwelt upon. Small steps means narrow your focus.
Now don’t get me wrong. There are some fine affordable stereo items just down the hallway from the over the top rooms. Prime example is the Wharfedale Diamond 10.5 speaker (see photo) this Diamond series is the best bang for the buck in the industry. I was equally impressed with a newer epos speaker (see your music hall dealer) that far outperformed a speaker priced at $15k. That’s the great thing about music. Everybody’s ears are different. I could sacrifice some other facets of recorded music playback, but not at the expense of clarity and impact. The key is, to do the test drive and compare. It’s your ears you are trying to please, not the salesman’s.
To report on the rest of CES and T.H.E. (The Home Entertainment show) would be futile, as there are not enough oohs and aahs in the English language, but a short synopsis would be that practically any device that plugs into a wall socket is on display here. Televisions (are they still called TV’s?) refrigerators that talk to you. (Dave you are out of eggs) and kiosks selling anything from batteries to wire.The future for music is clearly delineated, as many readers have already ascertained with the demise of the compact disc and the success of downloads. I have taken to noting that the twenty first century definition of irony is; the LP will outlive the CD. Now if the next generation can be nurtured with high-resolution files along with analogue records, everything will be all right. Until next time…
Peter owns Turntable Treasures/House of Records in Tacoma Washington.