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Issue 120    February 2015
The Sprawling CES And High Resolution Audio
Editorial By Alan Sircom


Hi-Fi+ Issue 120 February 2015  Every year, more than 100,000 assorted tech-heads descend on Las Vegas in the first week of January for the annual CES expo. And, while very much the Senior Service of consumer electronics, hi-fi (or 'Specialty Audio' in CES-speak) still has a place in the winter sun. While a new loudspeaker might not grab the headlines like a thin, curved TV or 3D printer, audio can still spring some surprises.

In fact, CES itself actually began with audio. Back in the day, 'consumer electronics' wasn't just synonymous with audio equipment; except for TV, it was consumer electronics, games consoles, computers, home theatre, smartphones, tablets, wearable tech, drones, 3D printers... all that was to come. Today, CES has become such a byword for consumer electronics that the name itself has ceased to be an acronym. It's not the 'Consumer Electronics Show' any more: it's simply 'CES'.

Many of these additions to the consumer electronics pantheon have pushed interest in 'specialty audio' that little bit lower, and as a consequence what was once prime stand-filler category in the main halls has gradually been sidelined to its ivory tower in the plush Venetian Hotel.

Recently, however, increased interest in high-resolution audio and especially all things headphone-related have seen audio being shown across town, back in the halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center, also known as 'The Zoo'. Whether or not your interests lie in hi-rez or headphones, it's good to see interest in music – and the sound it makes – has not been forgotten, and is not the sole property of the Baby Boomer generation.

With annual audio-only events in Munich and Hong Kong snapping at its heels, CES might not be the centre of the audiophile universe it once was, but don't count it out just yet. In fact, CES is one of the best places to discover both new products and, perhaps more importantly, new trends. You might sit around at home and guess that Tidal was going to be a big thing this year, but it takes seeing the high-performance streaming service being played in room after room after room that you begin to realise we're in the midst of an audiophile revolution!

In truth, we could devote an entire issue to the audio products and trends seen in the sprawling resort hotels on the Las Vegas Strip this year. But, while that would be exceptionally thorough, it might not make the most fascinating reading in print. Instead, consider our six-page photographic excursion more of an introduction to the event. For a complete run-down of what was new at CES, click on www.HiFiPlus.com.


Alan Sircom, Editor Hi-Fi+

















































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