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CES 2014: Miscellaneous

CES 2014: Miscellaneous

There’s always so much more at CES. Much of it doesn’t fit the standard categories of turntable, digital player, amplifier or speaker. And some cover more than one base at once. Hidden in this rag-tag list of random devices and components might just be the next big disruptive technology.

Rather than list a variety of similar products, we thought we’d include a few personal bests of the best. Some of these might disappear without a trace. Some might be the next must buy device. Only time will tell.

Best desktop system

Eclipse TD-M1. This $1,200 amp and speaker system might seem like a lot of money for a desktop system, but it’s based on Eclipse’s single-driver Time Domain speaker design, and features everything from a non-oversampling DAC to AirPlay and more.

Best wireless system

ELAC AIR-X. German loudspeaker brand ELAC has announced a wireless active loudspeaker system, currently in a standmount and floorstanding speaker from its 400 series range. Comprising X-BASE transmitter and wireless receivers inside the active speaker designs, the system can transmit 24-bit/48kHz datastreams losslessly.

Best power product launch

UK based IsoTek has been busy recently. Its evergreen $4,495 Sigmas power conditioner has received the EVO3 treatment, with greater power handling, far greater RFI reduction and metering for power and THD. This is joined by the more powerful EVO3 Titan ($4,995), and the EVO3 Mosaic Genesis three socket regenerator, for $11,995

Best New Tube:

EAt 300B – No, really. Anyone who thinks the whole tube market is just raking over old coals should look to EAT. The company’s 300B power triode is an entirely new design, said to be far better than its predecessor:

Top ‘next gen’ system:

Crystal Cable – A prototype cube amplifier (drawing heavily from the Siltech SAGA amplifier design, but said to be considerably cheaper) and standmount speakers. All running off a relatively prosaic aftermarket DAC and distinctly ‘nothing special’ audio files, with oodles of Crystal cable. Price, details, delivery date, even the name… all remain to be seen. But this was still one of the stars of the show.

Other notable products:

MarinLogan Crescendo – this $900 wireless and Bluetooth speaker system looks like nothing we’ve ever seen before… in a good way. Is it a sound bar? Is it a speaker system? Who cares!

Nordost Sort Füt and QRT Qkoil – Nordost’s system tuning methodologies now extend to the feet of tables and speakers with the new Sort Füt. It also announced the new $280 Qk1 ‘load resonating coil’, the cheapest product in the QRT line-up.

HRT Stage – We saw this last year in prototype form, but is now beginning to be understood for what it is – a potential replacement for budget audio systems. The new addition of a remote control helps a lot too.

Resolution Audio Blackjack – not a company known for its cables, electronics company Resolution Audio launched the Blackjack power cord, an $895 solid-core, unsheathed design. A refreshing change from power cords as thick as a firehose.

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