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CES

CES 2013 Coverage

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Audio Power Labs, Stillpoints, Kaiser speakers, Wadax:  the Kaiser speakers, at least at low to moderate volume levels, have always been one of my favorites.  They create an immense sound field with very stable, well focused imaging.  They tend to be less left/right-beaming than most speakers; consequently, even off axis, they sound very good.  The amps are for other reasons fascinating.  They use some of the largest broadcast power tubes that I have seen to produce significant power in a relatively simple single ended design.  The sound of the system was very good, particularly on symphonic music and piano.  While it was somewhat counter-intuitive to pair a digital preamp with single ended tube amps, the combination worked.  While the Wadax is unique in a number of ways, the one that caught my interest was its phono stage.  It takes the analog signal from the cartridge and converts it to the digital domain for RIAA and other processing.  Most notably, Wadax provides a calibration record with the preamp which you play on your cartridge, which then allows the Wadax to correct any anomalies in the signal from the turntable.  For whatever reason, vinyl sounded very good.

Kaiser speakers at CES 2013

Audio Power Labs, Stillpoints, Kaiser speakers, Wadax at CES 2013

Audio Power Labs, Stillpoints, Kaiser speakers, Wadax at CES 2013

Audio Power Labs, Stillpoints, Kaiser speakers, Wadax at CES 2013

Zesto Audio Leto preamp and Andros phono, Merrill Williams Turntable;  this vinyl-based system was superb.  This was another room where I spent a great deal of time listening to vintage recordings- Illinois Jacquet, Swing’s the Thing (Verve MGV8023), the saxophone was magical;  Billy Holiday, Songs for Distingue Lovers (Verve VS 6021), Mehta, Holst, The Planets(Decca SXL 6529). This turntable was clearly functioning at a very high level and represents a real bargain.

Merrill Williams Turntable at CES 2013

Merrill Williams Turntable at CES 2013

Zesto Audio Leto preamp at CES 2013

Zesto Audio Leto preamp at CES 2013

Evolution Acoustics, Dartzeel, Playback Designs, Durand Telos:  Jonathan Tinn strikes yet again with superb sound at yet another show.  Female voice was superb.  Even though these were the smallest and least expensive of the Evolution Acoustics speakers, the sound was excellent.  Sound was delicate and detailed with good depth and a stable soundstage.  Harmonically, the system was spot on.

Evolution Acoustics, Dartzeel, Playback Designs, Durand Telos at CES 2013

Evolution Acoustics, Dartzeel, Playback Designs, Durand Telos

Evolution Acoustics, Dartzeel, Playback Designs, Durand Telos at CES 2013

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