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CES 2012 Preview & T.H.E. Show Report 2012
CES 2012 & CES Coverage   The Home Entertainment Show (THE Show) 2012
Consumer Electronics Show & T.H.E. Show 2012

McIntosh Laboratory, a legendary manufacturer in quality audio for over 60 years, is celebrating their golden anniversary of the legendary MC275 amplifier at CES 2012 with the debut of its 50th Anniversary Limited Edition McIntosh MC275 ($6500) tube power amplifier. Featuring an elegant gold-toned chassis, the specially created amplifier is being offered in a very limited quantity, accompanied by a commemorative book and deluxe packaging. "In 1961, McIntosh reinvented the art and science of quality music reproduction with the debut of its original MC275 tube power amplifier," said McIntosh Global Vice President for sales and marketing Linda Passaro. "Since then, this legendary amp has continued to evolve, and set new standards for quality, musicality and reliability. Amazingly, even after 50 years, many of the very first MC275 amps are still in use and prized by their owners today. Our new Limited Edition amp celebrates the original for everything it is - and everything it has meant to generations of McIntosh customers for 'bringing their music to life.' This is truly a golden anniversary for the MC275, and years from now, music lovers who purchase a Limited Edition model will still be enjoying their investment in great sound!" This classic McIntosh styling internally features the classic 1961 tube circuit design of the original. The new model incorporates several advanced features suited to today's listening trends including a multi-colored LED display to indicate different levels of activity as well as a new High Speed Sentry Monitor circuit that automatically turns the amplifier off should any particular tube wear out. When the tube is replaced, normal operation is restored. Also, for the first time ever, the Limited Edition MC275 is equipped with Power Control input and output, so On-Off operation can be controlled by a simple cable connection to any McIntosh preamplifier or processor.

 

Simaudio Ltd. proudly introduced their MOON 180 MiND Music Streamer ($1250). MiND, an acronym for MOON intelligent Network Device, allows users to stream digitally stored music from a computer, Network Attached Storage (NAS) device, the Internet, subscriber-based music services or a UPnP (Universal Plug and Play) enabled device to your audio system. The included control software app can operate on an Apple iPhone, iTouch, iPad or any Android-powered device. The MOON MiND can stream music either through a standard Ethernet connection or wirelessly over a Wi-Fi network. Digital music files in all common formats are supported up 24-bit/192kHz resolution, however a 16-bit/48kHz limit exists when streaming wirelessly between the location of your digitally stored music and the MiND. A jitter-free digital audio signal departs from the MiND streamer via any one of its three different digital outputs which is connected to a digital-to-analog-converter. Finally, if your audio system uses a MOON Preamplifier or Integrated Amplifier equipped with SimLink capability, users can control features such as input selection, volume and power on/off using the MiND control app; Ultimately your iPad, iPhone or Android-powered device can become your system’s remote control. The MiND technology will eventually become available as an optional module that can be incorporated into future MOON products, starting with the all new MOON 380D digital-to-analog converter. The unit allows for local playlists, gapless playback and silent track scanning plus provides for Zone selection, Zone grouping and permanent Zone naming. The unit supports for DLNA 1.5, has vTuner Internet radio and supports WAV (PCM), FLAC, FLAC HD, AIF, AAC, ALAC, MP3, WMA-9 and OGG Vorbis. Inputs incliude S/PDIF (RCA), AES/EBU (XLR), and Optical (TosLink) digital audio outputs. Wired network interface via 100 Base-T RJ45 Ethernet and wireless network interface via IEEE 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi with WEP, WPA and WPA2 encryption support.

 

Longstanding and highly respected loudspeaker manufacturer JBL is at CES' Venetian suite 35-207 reintroducing its Array 1000 and Array 800 loudspeakers ($9000 and $7000 per pair respectively) to its ultra high-end Project Array lineup. The Array 1000 floorstanding speaker and Array 800 bookshelf model combine compression midrange/high-frequency and ultrahigh-frequency drivers with dynamic woofers to provide the sonic advantages of both designs. Both loudspeakers utilize exclusive JBL Bi-Radial horn compression drivers mounted vertically atop the speakers without being housed in an enclosure. This cabinet-free mounting eliminates enclosure diffraction effects to yield stable imaging and three-dimensional sound field. The Bi-Radial horns are made from an inert material to eliminate unwanted audible colorations, and incorporate the midrange/high-frequency and ultrahigh-frequency drivers into a single horn assembly that provides optimum dispersion and a smooth tonal balance both on- and off-axis. The Array 1000 and Array 800 both incorporate a premium midrange/high-frequency compression driver with an edge-wound aluminum voice coil, high-power neodymium magnet and Aquaplas-treated aluminum dome. This driver operates into a rapid flare phase plug and the Bi-Radial horn assembly. The Array 1000 and Array 800 both employ an ultrahigh-frequency transducer with a 1” pure titanium driver that achieves a frequency response to beyond 40 kHz. The Array 1000 and Array 800 utilize 10-inch and 8-inch treated-pulp-cone woofers, respectively, that are directly derived from JBL’s professional loudspeakers. The cones’ polymer coating treatment augments the pulp-cone fiber with added rigidity and damping, for a more neutral tonal balance and tighter bass response. The heavy-duty die cast-frame woofers feature large-diameter voice coils that incorporate JBL’s Symmetrical Field Geometry (SFG) technology, which lowers woofer distortion by maintaining a symmetrical magnetic field in the voice coil gap, as opposed to conventional woofers with asymmetrical magnetic fields. The uniform magnetic field ensures linear cone travel, reduces distortion and enables higher power-handling capability. Complementing their exceptional drivers, the JBL Array 1000 and Array 800 are constructed using the highest-grade materials and internal components, including low-loss air-core inductors in the crossovers and audiophile-grade polypropylene capacitors. The enclosures are made from thick-walled MDF with non-parallel, heavily braced internal chambers to minimize internal standing waves and unwanted sonic colorations. JBL's Array 1000 and Array 800 are available in a rich lacquered black wood finish, complemented by a rubberized flat-black finish for the top.

 

Frontier Silicon, the leading supplier of Digital Radio and Network Audio solutions, today announces the launch of Milan. The Milan is the industry's most advanced module for high volume networked wireless speaker and docker applications. Milan allows OEMs and ODMs to build cost effective home audio products which give consumers the capability to play digital music from their smartphones, tablets or personal computers wirelessly via a high fidelity audio system. In step with trends in networking, the Milan module has taken the important step of including next generation 802.11n Wi-Fi technology operating in the 2.4 and 5GHz bands in an audio module. The 5GHz band is un-crowded and is an ideal choice for consumers looking for a robust and uninterrupted audio streaming experience. The Milan module comes with the highly customizable Network Sound (NS) software development kit that supports a comprehensive range of features including DLNA Digital Media Renderer for audio streaming using UPnP, audio playback from auxiliary I2S input, iPhone/iPod/iPad docking via USB and audio post-processing for bass, treble and 5-band EQ control. The NS software supports popular audio codecs including MP3, WMA, AAC, HE-AAC, FLAC and WAV. In addition to the on-board software, Frontier offers iPhone and Android applications for remotely controlling Milan based products from iPod/iPhone and Android devices. Music can also be streamed to Milan based products using popular DLNA Apps for Android and iOS devices. Alongside the built in 802.11n interface, the Milan hardware includes an optional 10/100 Ethernet MAC/PHY, high fidelity audio DAC and a built in PIFA antenna which has been optimized for 2.4GHz and 5GHz. Another optional hardware feature is broadcast radio reception, with the Milan module including the capability to receive analogue radio via FM and digital radio via DAB/DAB+. Customers supplied by Frontier Silicon include Bang & Olufsen, Bose, Bush, Cyrus, Denon, Dual, Gear4, Goodmans, Grundig, Harman/Kardon, Hitachi, JVC, Magic Box, Ministry of Sound, NAD, Onkyo, Panasonic, Philips, Pinell, Pioneer, PURE, Revo, Roberts, Sanyo, Sharp, SIRIUS XM, Sony, TEAC, Tivoli Audio, Vita Audio and Yamaha.

 

Lindemann's components will  be at T.H.E Show's Flamingo Hotel room 4024. The Lindemann BL-10 ($11,000 per pair) two-way stand mounted monitors work perfectly in smaller rooms, where larger loudspeakers have their challenges, yet the company says they can "easily light up a room that is 28' x 16' x 9'." The cabinet's design was developed to be both low mass and extremely stiff. This was accomplished by using a dual-cabinet construction consisting of a sandwich of 9 mm birch plywood (from Finland), 4 mm cork, then another section of 9 mm birch plywood. Instead of veneer or paint, the exterior surface use a 2 mm thick furniture-grade linoleum sourced from Switzerland. This brings the total wall thickness to 24 millimeters. As for drivers, the German tweeter from Eton is a ceramic-coated magnesium dome. For midrange duties is a 6" ceramic driver co-designed by Mr. Lindemann and Accuton. It has 30% more ceramic mass and uses a larger voice coil and magnet than the standard versions. Close attention is paid towards even the smallest phase shift and thus all of the first-order crossover's coils and capacitors are cryogenically treated. The binding posts are German made WBT's latest nextgen connectors. The highest purity OFC copper wiring is sourced from New Zealand.

 

Harman-owned brand Mark Levinson celebrates 40 years of the world’s best audio Systems by introducing their 40th Anniversary Collection At CES 2012. The new models include the Mark Levinson № 52 Reference dual monaural preamplifier ($25,000), № 585 integrated amplifier ($10,000), No 519 SACD player ($8000) and № 560 digital audio processor ($6000). Every component in The 40th Anniversary Collection is designed to reproduce music with all of its nuances and subtleties -- as well as thrilling dynamic authority and power. Mark Levinson's № 52 (pictured above) is the finest all analog Mark Levinson preamplifier ever. Internal circuitry is true dual-monaural with a two-chassis configuration that separates the critical analog audio circuitry from the control section to maintain the purest signal paths possible. The № 52 provides a comprehensive complement of inputs including three balanced XLR and four unbalanced RCA line-level inputs, and a dedicated phono input that is selectable for moving coil (MC) or moving magnet (MM) operation. Two sets of XLR and RCA stereo preamplifier outputs are provided, along with an auxiliary pair of XLR and RCA outputs that can be configured for fixed or variable level output with independent source selection.

 

The Mark Levinson № 585 integrated amplifier offers three analog line-level audio inputs plus an MC/MM phono input and six digital audio inputs. The № 585 produces 225 watts per channel power output into 8 Ohms and provides a dedicated subwoofer output. The № 585’s analog circuitry is optimized and it incorporates 32-bit/192kHz digital-to-analog converters for digital audio performance. The Mark Levinson No 585 includes HDMI 1.3, USB, AES/EBU and coaxial S/PDIF inputs, and provides USB and S/PDIF digital outputs. A host of onboard sonic tailoring facilities are provided including full bass management with high-pass filtering, low-pass crossover controls for the subwoofer output and more. The № 585’s unity gain SSP mode enables easy integration with home theater systems, and the № 585 offers a full complement of system control ports.

 

Mark Levinson's № 519 SACD player combines a precision CD/SACD (Super Audio Compact Disc) player mechanism with dual 32-bit/192kHz audiophile-grade digital to analog converters. Adding to its versatility, the № 519 also functions as a complete digital preamplifier. It includes four S/PDIF and USB digital inputs, plus XLR and RCA analog and HDMI 1.3, AES/EBU, optical and coaxial S/PDIF outputs and an onboard digital volume control that enable the № 519 to be connected to a stereo or multi-channel preamplifier or amplifier. In addition, the № 519 provides direct SACD audio output via its HDMI connection as well as high-resolution LPCM digital audio. The Mark Levinson № 519’s elegant front panel features dedicated input and volume control knobs, facilitating its use as a digital preamplifier, and includes a USB 2.0 connector to enable future upgrades. Its Ethernet, ML Link, 12V trigger and IR ports enable easy system integration, and the № 519 is supplied with a remote control that operates all its functions as well as those of select Mark Levinson preamplifiers.

 

The Mark Levinson № 560 can serve as the heart of a digital audio music system. The Mark Levinson № 560 enables listeners to enjoy the full sonic benefits of computer audio, disc transports, streaming media devices and other digital sources thanks to its dual 32-bit, 192kHz premium digital to analog converters, digital volume control and impeccable engineering and construction. The № 560 provides no less than 10 digital audio inputs including two optical and two coaxial S/PDIF inputs, three USB 2.0 connectors, two HDMI inputs with DSD (Direct Stream Digital)-direct capability and an AES/EBU XLR input. The No 560’s XLR and RCA analog outputs facilitate connection to an amplifier or preamplifier. Mark Levinson's № 560 incorporates isolated digital and analog circuitry with independent power supplies, asynchronous clocking to ensure jitter-free performance from the dual 32-bit DACs, premium quality internal components throughout and many additional enhancements.

 

  

Meridian Audio is at CES' Venetian Tower suites 30-235 and 30-236 with their all-new M6 loudspeaker ($9,000 per pair). Matched with the Meridian Audio Core 200, the M6 speaker creates a complete discreet high-end audio system that is simple to use, easy to live with, and accessible to the whole family. Meridian Audio's M6 has a circular footprint and pleasing lines. The gently tapered column that creates the enclosure of each M6 is formed from a specially developed, barium-doped resin. Uniquely heavy and rigid, it is precision molded into a complex form. Acoustically inert, the cylindrical enclosure provides separate, isolated housings for the wide-range and the low-frequency drivers. There’s also a tuned porting system that further extends the loudspeaker’s low-frequency performance. Each M6 loudspeaker includes two powerful amplifiers – one (100 Watt) dedicated to the 85mm wide-range driver, and the other (150 Watt) to the 140mm bass driver. The woofer driver is crossed over at 200 Hz, just as in the company's DSP8000 speaker. Each M6 Loudspeaker incorporates a downwards-facing bass driver in a twin-ported enclosure. This method of design not only allows M6 its characteristic round footprint, but also delivers floor-loaded bass which is extremely well coupled with the room. Frequency response in-room is within 3dB from 38 Hz to over 20 kHz and maximum output is 106dB/W/m.

 

At the CES 2012 THX Ltd. announced their new high efficiency analog amplifier technology at the Renaissance Hospitality suites 632 and 639. This patented all-analog amplification technology calims to deliver superior sound quality in an energy efficient, compact design. This scalable THX technology enables the low-profile design of cool-running, high-powered amplifiers for use in everything from HDTVs, powered speakers, automotive audio systems and handheld devices to performance-driven applications, such as top-of-the-line audio/video receivers and audiophile-quality amplifiers. The fully analog design delivers sound quality on par with Class A/B amplifiers while eliminating the radio-frequency emissions problems that plague most digital amplifiers. "Having spent nearly 30 years measuring and setting audio and video standards that are difficult yet achievable, THX has developed an original approach to amplifier design to produce high performance sound quality while being energy efficient," said Laurie Fincham, senior vice president of audio research and development, THX Ltd. "This unique patented combination of a flexible format using low-profile components which allows for compact designs presents new opportunities for CE manufacturers, enabling them to be highly innovative in creating powerful and cool audio designs for consumers in the home, in the car and on the go." 

 

Atlantic Technology is at the Venetian Veronese 2501A with their new AT-2 compact bookshelf loudspeaker ($1800 per pair). This unit includes the H-PAS bass technology, which is said to produce much higher levels of deep, low distortion bass than is possible with conventional speakers of the same size. The new Atlantic Technology AT–2 is less than 16 inches tall and has an interior acoustic volume of less than 2/3-cubic foot, yet produces bass down to 41 Hz (-3dB). Atlantic Technology's AT-2 bookshelf loudspeaker uses a single 5.25-inch long-excursion woofer and the same 1.15-inch Low Resonance Tweeter (LRT) that is used in the AT-1. It has a crossover frequency of 2200 Hz and thus affording a much wider horizontal midrange dispersion. All the AT-2's crossover components are the very highest quality, and adhere to strict 1% value tolerances to ensure the best sound possible. The heavy cabinet is heavily braced for rigidity and acoustic inertness. Engineers used advanced cabinet accelerometer measurements, coupled with exhaustive listening evaluation, to finalize the bracing design. The cabinet dimensions are 8.75 x 15.675 x 12.5 (WxHxD in inches).

 

Aaudio Imports introduced the new Arcadia full-range bi-polar loudspeaker by B.M.C. Audio of Germany at CES 2012. Arcadia ($39,000 per pair) is the first entry in a brand new product category for the Germany-based electronics manufacturer and the first model in an anticipated series of three new speakers. In developing the Arcadia, B.M.C. Audio didn’t simply assemble a collection of off-the-shelf parts — they re-examined how speakers best work. As a result, the Arcadia is as technologically sophisticated as it is stylishly designed. The three-way speaker uses bi-polar balanced configuration and unconventional ceramic-composite cabinet to custom-made drivers, an external crossover plus an impressive 28 jacks. The connection package includes separate terminals for an amplifier, the woofers and midrange drivers, the Air-Motion tweeters, and the crossover box. B.M.C. Audio's Arcadia’s bi-polar design features the same driver set on the rear as it does on the front of the cabinet. Both front and rear baffles feature two 6.1-inch Kevlar-honeycomb-sandwich midrange drivers and an Air-Motion ribbon tweeter with large motor in conjunction with a light diaphragm. Two 11-inch Kevlar-honeycomb-sandwich woofers with multi-magnet drives at the sides of each cabinet. The speaker’s striking cabinets are constructed of an exclusive, innovative ceramic-compound B.M.C. calls Megalith. In development since 2002, this is a dense, acoustically optimized amalgam of several aluminum-oxide based ceramics with multiple grain sizes held together with complex acrylic binders. The crossover is external and weighs 37.5 lbs. Being external frees it from internal sound pressures, and makes it easy to upgrade with future solutions designed to improve the sound. B.M.C. Audio custom crafted all the Arcadia’s key elements, including its large air-inductors, inductance-free polypropylene capacitors, and unique polystyrene ‘by-passers’. Metal-film resistor arrays replace the usual MOX or wire resistors for superior precision and sound quality. Dimensions are 47.2 x 20.4 x 11.2 (HxDxW in inches) and each speaker weights 198 lbs (excluding crossover weight).

 

Dynaudio is providing a world premiere of the company's Xeo loudspeaker system, the company's first high-end wireless loudspeaker. The Xeo 3 compact monitor and Xeo 5 floor stander ($2300 and $4500 for complete setup) are wireless, remote controlled active loudspeakers delivering Dynaudio sound quality. Users can enjoy wireless audio playback with full CD resolution without no compression or loss of quality. These units are compatible with virtually any audio source via USB, TosLink optical digital or analogue stereo connection. These systems are ready for multi-room installations with multiple sets of Xeo loudspeakers. Both models utilize high performance Dynaudio drive units powered by integrated digital amplifiers featuring digital sound processing. The tweeters are 27 mm soft dome designs with Dynaudio’s precision coating, while the long-throw mid/woofers are 14.5 cm drivers featuring Dynaudio’s proprietary MSP (Magnesium Silicate Polymer) cones. Each Xeo 3 and Xeo 5 loudspeaker receives the music signal digitally from the Xeo wireless transmitter, and process the signal digitally until amplification. Each Xeo loudspeaker set is supplied with a Xeo transmitter and a remote control, with the transmitter communicating to the internal amplifier in the loudspeaker, with no need for any further connection to a router or LAN. Sadly, the Dynaudio Xeo Transmitter converts a digital, wireless signal, sending such at full CD resolution (up to 16-bit/48 kHz) to the Xeo 3 or Xeo 5 loudspeakers, yet can not provide full resolution of the far more popular with audiophiles pure digital USB 24-bit/96kHz or higher.

 

Click here for CES 2012 report / THE Show 2012 part 3.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
 

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