Two new, gorgeous Esoteric products were on display at CES 2016: the C-03Xs preamplifier (top, $11,000) and the S-03 stereo power amplifier ($12,500). The S-03 outputs 145Wpc into 8 ohms and double that power into 4 ohms. Both products are shipping now.
Rogue Audio's least-expensive preamplifier is now the tube-based RP-1, priced at $1695. The microprocesssor-controlled RP-1 has five inputs, including a home-theater bypass, and is equipped with a headphone amplifier and an MM/MC phono stage. Also from Rogue . . .
. . . is the Apollo Dark monoblock amplifier ($14,995/pr.). This brute features six KT-120 output tubes and produces 275W into 8 or 4 ohms.
Shunyata Research released new entry-level Venom models of speaker cables and interconnects. The Venom interconnects are priced at $295 per 1m pair, in either RCA or XLR versions. The Venom speaker cables are $595 per 2m pair.
EgglestonWorks debuted the successor to its Ivy Signature, the Ivy Signature SE. Updates include changes to the crossover, improved internal wiring and binding posts, and new carbon-titanium-based midrange drivers. The price of the Ivy Signature SE is $155,000/pr.
SVS launched the Prime Elevation, which the company is touting as being one of the most versatile speakers in the world, since it can be used as a main, surround, center, or Dolby Atmos speaker, and can be attached to a wall or can be placed on a desk, table, or stand. Available finishes are Piano Gloss Black and Premium Black Ash, shown left and right, as well as Piano Gloss White. The price for the Elevation is $349/pr.
Prototypes of Crystal Cable's Cube (€ 12,000) have been shown before, but they've gone back to the drawing board to now make it smaller and higher-powered, with the latest incarnation being shown at CES 2016. The topology is based on the Siltech SAGA separates, but in a far less-expensive form factor. The Cube is said to produce 200Wpc into 8 ohms or a whopping 700Wpc into 2 ohms. The line stage is said to be fully balanced and is controlled by the Cube Controller, which is an operational wonder -- super-easy to use. The Cube comes equipped with . . .
. . . a healthy number of RCA and XLR inputs, and includes preamp and subwoofer outputs.
The Crystal Cable Next headphone/earphone cable is a collaboration between portable-player-maker Astell&Kern and Crystal Cable. It was shown attached to Beyerdynamic's AK T8iE in-ear monitors; Beyerdynamic is also in collaboration with Astell&Kern. The cable costs $750 and is constructed with six silver-gold conductors that surround an aramid-fiber core, and is then shielded with a silver-plated monocrystal-copper layer. The light, thin, skin-friendly jacket is said to be durable, which is necessary for portable use.
Although shown in prototype form at Munich's High End, held last May, the Micromega M-One network-capable integrated amplifier is close to finalized and will begin shipping in March. It is priced at $3995 in the standard black or silver colors, but additional finish options, such as the gorgeous orange shown, can be purchased for up to $1000 more. It has all the inputs you could ever want, including Bluetooth, Ethernet, and all the usual digital connections (USB, TosLink, etc.). Not surprisingly, it can also decode all current digital audio formats, and even has a room-correction option for $1000 more. For the analog lovers out there, there is also a phono stage. Wow!The M-One does it all -- at a very reasonable price.
The Naim Audio Mu-so Qb is a compact wireless music system that is based on the company's larger Mu-so, which was a huge success for the brand. With 300W of digital amplification powering five active drive units, connectivity features such as Bluetooth, and multiroom-control capability, the Mu-so Qb provides a complete, compact sound system in one very attractive box. The drivers . . .
. . . include two microfiber-dome tweeters and a pair of custom midrange drivers, while the single bass driver is aided by two passive radiators, each placed on opposing sides. The acrylic base gives the Mu-so Qb a unique, floating-above-the-table look, which we really liked. The retail price for the Mu-so Qb is $999. Wow again!
The Aura Spirit is a feature-rich receiver from South Korea that has a 150Wpc stereo amplifier via a pure complementary MOSFET output stage. A USB input, an FM/AM tuner, a phono stage, and a headphone output come standard. The price for the Aura Spirit is $2000.
The Stello P700 preamplifier, which also comes from South Korea, features three pairs of RCA inputs, two pairs of XLR inputs, and pairs of RCA and XLR outputs. The circuit is described as being fully discrete, and the P700 comes with a full-function remote control. The price for the P700 is $6000.
The enormous Verastarr Statement power cord is made from high-purity solid-silver foil, and has a static-free Teflon dielectric. Rare-earth minerals are used inside for passive filtering of RFI. The price is a whopping $5000 for a 2m length.
The LL1.1 Signature vacuum-tube preamplifier is Lamm Industries' new flagship model -- and like the original LL1, it's truly a dual-mono design that will take up plenty of shelf space. Only one channel is seen here -- one chassis for the main circuit board, the other for the power supply. In total (i.e., with another channel), it is a four-chassis design. This updated version features increased energy storage, an improved signal-to-noise ratio, and the replacement of a number of critical components with higher-quality ones. The price for the LL1.1 is $45,390.
Luxman introduced the D-05u SACD/CD player (bottom, $4990), which is the successor to the D-05. The D-05u has a superior DAC chip, as well as a USB input that accepts DSD64/128 and PCM up to 32-bit/192kHz resolution. The analog output stage has also been improved. The Luxman DA-250 (top) marries a class-A preamplifier with a class-A headphone amplifier, and also includes a USB DAC. The older DA-200 supported PCM up to 24/96 via USB, but the DA-250 accepts DSD64/128 and PCM up to 32/192. The DA-250 is the least expensive Luxman product to include the company's LECUA (Luxman Electronic Control Unit Amplification) volume control. The DA-250 also comes with a remote. The price for the DA-250 is $2790 and it will begin shipping in March.
Synergistic Research is forming a spin-off company to develop and market a new acoustic treatment product called Uniform Energy Field (UEF). Synergistic's founder, Ted Denney, is shown holding one of the panels that he says has many commercial applications, such as studios and restaurants, but will also be marketed for high-end audio and home-theater systems. The price is yet to be determined, but Ted said it "will not be too expensive."
Bang & Olufsen’s BeoSound 35 was introduced with a flourish -- it was revealed rather ceremoniously from beneath a large black cloth at a press gathering held on the opening day. It is a wireless music system with support for Apple AirPlay, Bluetooth, and, eventually, Google Chromecast (with an upcoming firmware upgrade). It also has old-school Ethernet, optical, and stereo analog inputs. The OLED front panel has a touch interface with two positions so that it can be easily seen whether mounted above or below the user's line of sight. The aluminum enclosure is . . .
. . . pentagonal in shape and features two 4" woofers and two 3/4" tweeters. The two tweeters are situated near the ends of the enclosure and angled slightly outward to provide a wide 180 degrees of sound in front of the speaker. Built inside is 80W of amplification. The BeoSound 35 will be priced at $2795 and is expected to be available in April.