You've probably already read about the latest and greatest in smartphones, tablets, and OLED displays, so let's take a look at the coolest high-end audio goodies. We've assembled some of the most promising candidates for your approval.
The Arcam rPAC is a portable USB powered digital-to-analog converter and headphone amplifier, but it can also be played over a hi-fi system. "USB powered" means there are no batteries or "wall warts," it's powered by your computer's USB port. The entire component is enclosed in a small precision-cast aluminum case.
I've loved what I've heard from CES. I'm looking forward to getting them in for review., which just started about a year ago. They were showing their Aon 3 and Triton Three speakers at
Pass Labs electronics have been part of my reference system for years, and the company was showing its most advanced designs at CES. That's a big deal, like a lot of high-end audio companies, Pass Labs doesn't introduce a new line of electronics that often. The Xs-300 and Xs-150 Amplifiers deliver 300 and 150 watts, respectively. Both models employ double-stacked chassis, with the power supply in one chassis and the main output stage in the other chassis.
Brooklyn's very own DeVore Fidelity debuted a new tower speaker, the Gibbon X. I've always admired DeVore speakers for their musicality and gorgeous handcrafted cabinets.
I never thought of Sony as a significant force in high-end audio, but Home Theater Magazine covered the company's new SS-AR2 speaker (about $20,000/pair) that supplements the larger SS-AR1 speaker ($27,000) introduced last year.
The B.M.C. Arcadia speaker was cited by many as the most dynamic speaker heard at the show. The speaker features a molded ceramic-composite cabinet and proprietary drivers. People kept coming back to the room to hear it again and again.
Digital-to-analog converters are pretty common devices, but high-quality consumer analog-to-digital converters are not. Stereophile covered the new Ayre QA-9 A/D, which is intended for audiophiles who want to create the best possible sounding transfers of their LPs to their computer.