March 21, 2014

CES 2014: Neverland



by Vinyl Pete~


he ads for the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show started coming in late summer last year. One that particularly intrigued me was Cisco’s “ The Internet of Everything.” If that were the case, then surely holograms (and holodecks) for Food, Sport and Sex would be involved. Others predicted an increase in pixel density, smaller hardware with bigger service; Mass customization and better sensorization for the re-casting and re-defining of the user experience and blah blah blah.

The CES that you (i.e. we RCN readers) want to hear about is only a very small portion of the whole. This month’s issue of Stereophile reports that the future world of high-end audio will be less than two-percent of media markets. That is significant shrinkage from the past, when the norm was a dedicated system for music.

CES is spread all over town. The bulk of the cacophony was at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Hustle Bustle, cattle car rivers of people, frequently having their meeting right in the middle of the aisle completely oblivious to others. Think Zevon’s Gridlock; lemme outta here. The LVCC is laid out on a perplexing grid system of numbers. So Booth 21099 may not necessarily be adjacent to 21100. A simple solution to this cluster flock is the disposable APP, good for short-term direction finding. The paper map is a thing of the past. Don’t think you can just wander about; you’ll be like a kid in a candy store. Ya gotta know where you are going. So for me it was just several stops at Audio Technica, Numark, GLI Pro, etc., to see things that have a chance in the brick n’ mortar setting. New turntables at $69. If you want a lid with that, then $99. The entry level in this audio menagerie is not for most analog people.

To lift the level of the playing field I took a trek on over to the Venetian tower to four floors of audio overindulgence. I started with my friends in the DH LABS room. They have improved the top of their product line right outta my demographic, however their Q-10 and T-15 speaker cables are mighty fine performers as are their Silver Sonic RCA Connectors for the DIY’er.

New turntables are always being shown at CES and other shows like RMAF. If a budget of around $2K is in your wheelhouse, surely have a look (and listen) at the Ikura (shown in the Music Hall room) and the Ingenium by Avid (shown in the Wharfedale room). Downscaling to $400 and a fair goodly bar-gain is the Music Hall 2.2 and the Project Debut carbon, and up slightly to $700 is the new Project 1-Expression Carbon. The Ikura from Music Hall is stylized and chic. It comes with an Ortofon Blue but would absolutely support the Gyger tipped Mojo, or the Ortofon Black. The Avid Ingenium comes with neither a cartridge (the skies almost the limit on what this table will support) nor a dust cover (after market boxes available).

So there you have it. Another trip to never neverland.


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