Publisher Profile

2011 CES Show Report III

Naim Audio, Dan D'Agostino System, Boulder, Peak Consult, Soulsonic, Solos Audio, Chapman Audio Systems, EARO High Definition Audio, Ayon Audio/Legacy Audio

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Solos Audio

Solos Audio at CES 2011

Not to be confused with the previous display, SoulSonic which makes speakers, Solos Audio distributes the Magico V3 speakers, Meridian 508 player, plus the following brands in this system: Tropos Audio Sarajida DAC-3 ($8,495), SonicCraft Opus Signature Preamplifier ($3,495), SonicCraft Opus Singature Monoblock Amplifiers ($7,390/pr), and cabling by LAT International.

According to Brian Kim, the General Manager of Solos, his local Magico dealer had tried several much pricier amps and settled on the SonicCraft for its compatibility with the V3. It certainly sounded agreeable to my ears; I thought I heard a slight lack of coherence between the midrange and bass drivers, but I did not have time to put the system through a full demo. Transients, however, were sounding quick and clean, so overall an intriguing system.

Solos Audio at CES 2011

Solos Audio at CES 2011

Chapman Audio

Chapman Audio at CES 2011

Chapman Audio speakers hold a special place in my heart as they were one of the first audiophile speakers I auditioned at a high end dealer as a younger man. I have owned two pairs of T-7 and one pair of T-77 speakers through the years. Steward Jones keeps refining a good design, in my demo the T-8 ($9,000) along with the Cary Audio CD306 SACD Player ($8,000), Cary Slp05 Preamplifier ($8,000) and CAD 211 Founder’s Edition Amplifier ($20,000/pr), and MIT Oracle Matrix HD speaker cabling ($22,000) sang beautifully. Many people know of Vandersteen speakers, but many more should be aware of Chapman Audio speakers; the former are laid back, but the latter are more vibrant.

Chapman Audio at CES 2011

EARO High Definition Audio

EARO High Definition Audio at CES 2011

Per Sjofors of EARO High Definition Audio dazzled my eyes with the $38,000 EARO Eight active high efficiency speaker! Some speakers are not meant to be fire engine red, but the color with the Eight works! The sound worked quite nicely as well; this was a single driver speaker with guts and power. High resolution and Redbook uncompressed files were fed to the speakers via USB through a Wyred 4 Sound DAC-2 ($1,499). It was obvious that synergy between the on board amp and speaker was at work in a more profound way than many passive high efficiency speakers. The smaller EARO The Ulf speaker ($18,000) is also active.

EARO High Definition Audio at CES 2011

Not to be outdone, however, was the Jadis Electronics Olympia ($46,800), a strikingly gorgeous two tone, two-way speaker with paint job by car maker Lotus! That should give some idea of the passion behind the speaker. In an absolutely barren room the Olympia sounded surprisingly controlled. Both speakers had melt-your-heart midrange. Along with the Olympia were the Orphee CD Player ($17,500), I35 Integrated Amplifier ($9,000), and on display new products, the JA120 Monoblock Amplifier ($25,000) and SE845NEC Monoblock Amplifier ($27,500).

Ayon Audio/Legacy Audio

Ayon Audio, Legacy Audio at CES 2011

I found an old friend in the Ayon Audio and Legacy Audio room, the Legacy Audio Focus SE Speaker ($9,250 as shown in black pearl), which I not too long ago “abandoned” for the Legacy Whisper DSW. As expected the Ayon/Legacy room had an exciting feel and sound, with two systems set up side by side to showcase the speakers and amps. The Lumen White Artisan with its ceramic mid and the Focus SE with its magnetic planar mid were nice contrasts, both being fronted by an Ayon Audio CD-5S ($11,995), the newest incarnation of the flagship player. These were fine examples of highly resolving, powerful systems.

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