Cuttin-Edge, On-the-Spot Reporting

January 5-8, 2017

All prices in US dollars unless indicated otherwise

CES 2017: Mass-Market Headphones (and More), Part 2

As I write this, CES 2017 has wrapped up just one hour ago, so I’ll be using this article to cover everything I didn’t get a chance to fit into my other CES 2017 headphone reports. Some of what I’m featuring here isn’t especially “mass market,” but it’s all still worthy of attention, and some of the products are far more technically interesting than your average headphone. All prices in USD.

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What I Would Buy if I Had About $5000 to Spend on a Stereo System

The Adante speaker line from ELAC was one of the first things that caught my eye at CES 2017. Although ELAC manufactures some very high-end loudspeakers, its most recent products designed by Andrew Jones, such as the Debut and Uni-Fi speakers, have definitely been more budget-oriented. Jones also designed these latest Adante speakers, and though they’re a step up in price from those models, they still aim to provide high value. The model being demonstrated was the stand-mounted Adante, which retails for $2500 per pair (there were also a floorstander and center-channel, but those were on static display).

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CES 2017: Noise-Canceling Headphones

For frequent flyers like me, the most welcome trend in headphones at CES 2017 was the emergence of many models in the $200 price range combining active noise canceling with Bluetooth wireless capability. Previously, this combination of features typically ran the price up to $400 or more. Here are the new noise-canceling models I saw at CES, with all prices listed in USD.

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The Graveyard That Was CES 2017

I'm writing this only because I’m a competitive guy. And because I have a competitive advantage I’d like to exploit. Over our very own Ken Kessler.

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Revel and GoldenEar: How to Improve an Already Great Loudspeaker -- Times Two

I used to think that some $5000/pr. speakers were the epitome of high-end audio playback at a reasonable cost. At this price you can get some truly outstanding speakers that also represent excellent value for money. Well, we sometimes get set in our ways, and at recent CESes I would often find myself scoffing at speakers that cost more than $5k/pr., thinking that they couldn’t possibly offer the same value as some of those excellent-sounding, less-expensive speakers. But this year I heard a couple of floorstanding speakers that changed my mind.

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CES 2017: Cool Earphones

Officially, we’re only one day into CES as of this writing, but already I can spot a clear trend: a renewed focus on earphones. Much of it appears to be because companies want to get in on LG’s surprise success with its Tone line of neckband-style wireless earphones. And some of it seems to be driven by nothing more than a simple striving for better sound at lower prices. Here are some of the most interesting new earphones I’ve seen so far at CES. All prices in USD.

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CES 2017: Mass-Market Headphones, Part 1

The doors to the exhibit floors at CES in Las Vegas don’t open until 10 a.m. Thursday, but for the press, there’s plenty to see beforehand at events such as Discover Blue, which features all sorts of products using Bluetooth wireless technology, and Digital Experience, a colossal gathering of hundreds of companies offering gadgets as varied as drones, digital door locks, and “smart” hairbrushes. You won’t find a lot of audiophile-oriented products at these events, but you can find lots of interesting mass-market headphones -- many of which offer cutting-edge features rarely found in audiophile products, and which often sound quite good despite their modest prices. Here are the most interesting headphones and headphone-related products I found before CES officially opened. All prices in USD.

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CES 2017 Preview: Wireless Audio and Headphones

Today marked the official kickoff of CES 2017, in Las Vegas, which hosts more consumer electronics product launches than any other trade show in the world. While there were a few press events today, the big event was CES Unveiled, which took place at Mandalay Bay. This is a “pipe and drape” event, with most booths nothing more than a table full of products and a few posters, but it does give us some insight into what the big trends will be for the show and for the year. I would guess that 90 percent of the products shown fit the Internet of Things category, including health sensors, pet trackers, IP-controlled lights, robotic devices, and more. I did find a handful of interesting new audio products on display, though. Here are my favorites, with all prices listed in USD.

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