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Christmas Gift Guide

Transrotor turntable

Woo Audio WA7 USB DAC headphone amplifier

Magnepan's New MMG flat-panel speakers and flat woofer

Sony MDR-1R headphones

Sonus Faber Venere 1.5 speakers

DEQX-Mate Processor

Steampunk headphones

Vivid Audio Giya G3 speaker

Music Hall Marimba speaker

Dynaudio Xeo wireless speakers

Studio Electric Monitor

Ray Samuels A10 Thunderbolt II headphone amplifier

SoundScape 8 speakers

Triangle Art Reference turntable

Thiel Audio CS2.7 speakers

Wavelength Audio Proton USB DAC

Todd the Vinyl Junkie headphone amplifier

Sanders Sound Systems electrostatic speakers

Schiit Audio balanced headphone amp and digital converter

I don't know much about this turntable made in Germany, but it looked fantastic.
Caption by / Photo by Steve Guttenberg/CNET
Woo Audio's stunning new USB DAC/vacuum tube headphone amp, the WA7 ($777), with a solid-glass top piece was the best-looking product I saw at the show, regardless of price. It's still a few months away from production, but I can't wait for this one!
Caption by / Photo by Steve Guttenberg/CNET
Magnepan was demonstrating its new MMG speakers ($600 per pair), and a matching separate woofer. The three-piece system sounded luscious. If you don't live near a Magnepan dealer, you can buy the system from a dealer, and have Magnepan ship it directly to you for an in-home trial.
Caption by / Photo by Brent Butterworth
Sony's Naotaka Tsunoda handed me a beautiful new headphone model, the MDR-1R ($299), that sounded remarkably clear and precise; he also had a neat little portable headphone amplifier. Seems like Sony's getting serious about making audiophile headphones!
Caption by / Photo by Steve Guttenberg/CNET
I've long admired Sonus Faber speakers for their sound and style. The made-in-Italy speakers boast Old World craftsmanship and stunning sound quality. The new Venere 1.5 speakers sounded fabulous.
Caption by / Photo by Steve Guttenberg/CNET
I'm rarely impressed with speaker correction processors, but the DEQX-Mate is a special case. I've heard it work wonders with high-end speakers, but at the show the Mate radically transformed a cheap and awful speaker's sound into something semi-decent. If I hadn't heard it with my own ears, I wouldn't have believed such a thing was possible. The DEQX engineers must be doing something right!
Caption by / Photo by Steve Guttenberg/CNET
These one-of-a-kind Audeze LCD 3 headphones were reworked by artist Special Technique.
Caption by / Photo by Steve Guttenberg/CNET
The Vivid Audio Giya G3 speaker's complex curves are a radical alternative to traditional box design and sound.
Caption by / Photo by Steve Guttenberg/CNET
Music Hall's rather plain-looking little monitor speaker, the Marimba ($349 a pair), sounded big and truly powerful. I have never heard that level of bass "slam" coming out of such a diminutive speaker; I can't wait to get it in for review.
Caption by / Photo by Steve Guttenberg/CNET
The Dynaudio Xeo wireless speakers are the real thing: true high-end speakers that just happen to be wireless. A phone or tablet loaded with tunes and a pair of bookshelf or tower Xeos is a complete hi-fi system. Dynaudio Xeo is, by far, the best-sounding wireless system I've heard.
Caption by / Photo by Steve Guttenberg/CNET
The Studio Electric Monitor may look retro, but the sound is definitely 21st century modern.
Caption by / Photo by Steve Guttenberg/CNET
Ray Samuels Audio offers the widest range of portable and home headphone amplifiers in the business. Here's the company's seriously potent A10 Thunderbolt II ($6,500); I was also treated to the sounds of one of Ray's downright tiny integrated DAC/headphone amps, the Intruder. Prices start at $295.
Caption by / Photo by Steve Guttenberg/CNET
The SoundScape 8 speaker looked gorgeous and sounded, as we audiophiles say, musical. The SoundScape 8 lets you forget the tech and enjoy the tunes.
Caption by / Photo by Steve Guttenberg/CNET
The Triangle Art Reference is the sort of turntable that'll stop you in your tracks. I didn't get to hear it, but it looked like a serious contender.
Caption by / Photo by Steve Guttenberg/CNET
This is a close-up of the new CS2.7 speaker's unique midrange/tweeter driver. Thiel has always excelled in making speakers that disappear as sound sources; the CS 2.7 was one of the more magical-sounding speakers at the show.
Caption by / Photo by Steve Guttenberg/CNET
Wavelength's Gordon Rankin has consistently designed superb USB digital-to-analog converters and amplifiers, and he makes them in Ohio. He was using Vaughn Cabernet II speakers, and Rankin had the best digital sound at the show. It was so good it sounded like analog!
Caption by / Photo by Steve Guttenberg/CNET
That's Todd Green previewing his superskinny portable headphone amp; I'll be reviewing it soon.
Caption by / Photo by Steve Guttenberg/CNET
Roger Sanders built his first electrostatic speaker in 1972, and he's clearly learned a lot about sound over the past 30 years. For the ultimate in transparency, there's nothing better than 'stats.
Caption by / Photo by Steve Guttenberg/CNET
Schiit Audio makes some of my favorite desktop headphone amplifiers and digital-to-analog converters, and it has a radically new affordable product due in a few months.
Caption by / Photo by Steve Guttenberg/CNET
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