The new Magico S1 Mk II ($16,500/pr. in M-Cast finish) was on display across the street from the Venetian, at the Mirage. The pair sounded far more robust than the speakers' sizes would indicate. Improvements over the original S1 include a new baseplate, making the speaker more stable, as well as a convex top plate that helps prevent internal standing waves. There are also revisions to the crossover, but the biggest changes are the . . .
. . . new drivers -- a graphene-based midrange with improved motor structure, and the company's diamond-coated beryllium tweeter. These improvements are said to give the S1 Mk II a thoroughly updated sound.
Magico also had the new S5 Mk II loudspeaker on static display. The new model has revised, more-powerful aluminum-cone woofers with graphene-coated dust caps, as well as the diamond-coated beryllium tweeter seen on the S1 Mk II. A graphene-based midrange-woofer is new as well, but that's not all -- the convex top plate and a revised baseplate are also different from the original, giving the S5 Mk II a more substantial physical presence as compared to its predecessor. The price of this new Magico is $38,000/pr. in an M-Cast finish.
The Linn Series 530 loudspeaker is said to use the company's Exakt technology, which means that . . .
. . . the speaker shown uses DSP to correct for "every element they can touch." For instance, each driver is measured and corrected for any variances. In this case, with the Harris Tweed material encasing the speaker, even . . .
. . . the cloth is corrected for in the DSP. Many cloth choices are available, as you can see (all corrected for, of course). The price, complete with an entry-level Linn streamer and the 530 speakers, is $19,200. A smaller 520 system is also available and is priced at $14,800.
Aurender's new A10 caching network music server has an internal DAC, balanced and single-ended analog outputs, and a built-in volume control -- all firsts for the company (previously, all its products required an external DAC). The volume control provides the ability to connect directly to a power amplifier. The A10 is app-controlled, and the price is expected to be $5000 when it is released in the middle of this year.
The Pro-Ject VTE vertical turntable is designed to appeal to the lifestyle-oriented audiophile. The VTE can be mounted on a wall or placed on the integral stand. The projected retail is an incredible $300 -- much lower than we thought since that includes a tonearm and cartridge. The wall-mount hardware is also included in the price. A version with built-in Bluetooth (and requisite A-to-D converter), in order to connect wirelessly to an amplifier, will be available for an additional $100.
The Pro-Ject Phono Box DS-2 is a phono stage with two sets of phono inputs and one line-level input. It also has a built-in 24/192 A-to-D converter that feeds USB and TosLink digital outputs, for use with a digital recorder or a preamplifier with digital ins. For ease of use, all controls are on the front panel. The price is expected to be under $600 when it is released later this year.
The Monitor Audio Platinum PL500 loudspeaker is the flagship of the company's updated Platinum range. This seven-driver mega-speaker represents what we were told is the best speaker the company has ever made, and sits atop a ground-up reimagining of the Platinum speakers. There are three smaller, less-expensive models below the PL500: the floorstanding PL300 ($14,495/pr.) and PL200 ($11,495/pr.), as well as the PL100 bookshelf ($5795/pr.). All new drivers, including . . .
. . . a new AMT tweeter, populate the new Platinum models. The retail price of the PL500 is $28,995/pr. (For more information on this new series, we created a SoundStage! InSight video about it that can be found on our YouTube channel.)
The ADL Stratos does a lot -- it includes a digital-to-analog converter, an analog-to-digital converter, a digital preamplifier with a high-performance MM/MC phono stage, three headphone amplifiers, and . . .
. . . a host of inputs and outputs that give the user the ability to record digitally. The Stratos accepts DSD input up to 11.2MHz, and PCM files up to 32-bit/384kHz. A full remote control comes standard. The retail price is $1399.
The Technics SL-1200GAE turntable is priced at $4000, which includes a tonearm (but not a cartridge). This 50th-anniversary, limited-edition model has been re-engineered from the ground up, although the visual design is virtually identical to the original model. The mechanical stability has been improved -- it now weighs 40 pounds, versus the original SL-1200's 27 pounds. The motor has been redesigned for better performance as well, and there are a number of material advances that this new model sports. Later in the year the SL-1200G (minus the "AE" for anniversary edition) will launch at the same price. We would recommend getting one of these AE versions before they dry up.
Arcam has updated its irDAC, which is now called the irDAC-II. It has all new internal circuitry, including a new DAC chip, the ESS Technology ES9016K2M, so it now supports DSD64/128 and PCM up to 384kHz over USB, 192kHz over coaxial, and 96kHz over optical. For even higher convenience, it also has Bluetooth capability via aptX-LL (LL stands for low latency). According to founder John Dawson, "It also has a pretty decent headphone amp." John then clarified that in Britain, where he and Arcam are from, "pretty decent" actually means "very good." The irDAC-II will be available in the first quarter of 2016 at a price of $799.
Zanden Audio Systems has introduced the Model 9600mk2 mono amplifiers ($57,200/pr.) and Model 3000mk2 ($23,000) preamplifier at CES 2016. The preamplifier uses an Alps analog potentiometer that is motor driven so that the unit can be controlled by remote. The . . .
. . . tubed amplifier is said to produce 60W of class-A power and has an updated tube-rectified power supply, Finemet output transformers, and cobalt input transformers. If this stuff sounds half as good as it looks, it should be outstanding.
Internet-direct manufacturer Emotiva debuted a new line of budget electronics called the Emersa series. Pictured are the 7.1-channel EMP-1 surround-sound processor ($899), which has Dirac Live room correction, and the 125Wpc EDA-5 five-channel power amplifier ($799). The modular EDA power amplifiers utilize Bang & Olufsen ICEpower amplification models and are available in multiple configurations, including the 125Wpc seven-channel EDA-7 ($999).
More from Emotiva -- the 150Wpc two-channel EDA-2 ($599) is pictured below the EPA-1 stereo preamp ($599), which has four pairs of stereo line-level inputs, a moving-magnet phono input, a 2.1-channel mode to connect a subwoofer with a fixed 80Hz high-pass crossover, and optional digital inputs, including a “high quality, audiophile DAC.” There will also be a stereo integrated amplifier available called the EPI-1 ($799). The Emersa line of components will be available later in the first quarter of 2016.
Legendary Canadian amplifier manufacturer Bryston introduced the latest iteration of its B series of amplifiers, now dubbed Cubed. Pictured are the 14B3, 4B3, and 2.5B3. These are all stereo amps. New to the Cubed series is a patented, extremely low-distortion input stage that is said to improve common-mode noise rejection by 20dB, and new RFI rejection circuitry that is said to lower distortion to less than 0.001%. The new models also feature updated cosmetics that improve upon their appearances without losing that classic Bryston look. In addition to the above-mentioned models there are also the 3B3 (stereo), 7B3 (mono), and 28B3 (mono) amps. They will all begin shipping at the end of the month, but final prices have not yet been determined.
Nagra, which is based in Switzerland, introduced two new products at CES 2016: the Classic Int integrated amplifier (price TBA) and the Classic DAC ($15,000). The Classic DAC's power supply and output stage were designed by Nagra's engineering team, but Andreas Koch designed the digital board, so you know it supports DSD playback, since that's what he's famous for. The amplifier packs 100Wpc out into its compact chassis. We were told that more Classic-line products are coming from Nagra.