Publisher Profile

CES And T.H.E. Show 2013

Show Report: Part 2

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Pass Labs system

Pass Labs system

Sony SS-AR1 Speaker

Sony SS-AR1 Speaker

FAST: Pass Labs and Sony at CES

Not to be easily outdone, I also elevated my respect level for the Sony SS-AR1 Speaker ($27K), another product which seemed much improved over previous hearing. It could hardly have sounded poor with the formidable Pass Labs XP-25 Preamplifier ($10.6K)  and the stunning new dual chassis Xs 300 Mono Amplifiers ($85K/pr). Also on static display was the new Xs Linestage Preamplifier ($35K). The Technics SP 10 Turntable with Micro Seiki arm was said to be priceless.  There seemed to be a trend pairing massively powered amplifiers with moderately sized speakers at this show. Pass makes ultra clean components with a generously appointed soundstage, and the Sony handled it superbly. Joining the amps and speakers were Silent Source Audio Cables, which seemed to be doing a commendable job of “getting out of the way,” of the performance.

mbl 101 X-treme Radialstraler Speaker system

mbl 101 X-treme Radialstraler Speaker system

mbl system

mbl system


I love the sound of omnidirectional speakers, and this year MBL brought their big gun system to CES. Comprised of the 1621A CD Player, 1611F D/A Converter, 6010D Preamplifier, a pair of 9008 Power Amplifiers and another set of 9011 Power Amplifiers all were in service to the formidable 101 X-treme Radialstrahler System with a grand total MSRP of $512,800. There is no denying the visceral, overwhelming nature of such a powerful system, which was able to pressurize even a large ballroom. In that respect it towered over all other systems at either show. However, the sound was so dissipated, so nebulous in definition in the bass, and strident in the upper end that it was impossible for me to consider this top sound. It didn’t help that the music played was extremely bass-heavy and at levels that would wake the dead. I would have enjoyed hearing the system breathe with some fine cinematic or symphonic pieces at sensible listening levels as I believe that the nearly warehouse size of the room worked against this system. Simply because a rig has stupendous capacity does not mean every session is guaranteed to be a winner.

Legacy Audio Aeris Speaker

Legacy Audio Aeris Speaker

Coda Technologies 15.0 Class A Amplifier

Coda Technologies 15.0 Class A Amplifier

FAST: Legacy Audio at THE Show

Having written up a number of Legacy speakers and using the Legacy Whisper DSW
“Clarity Edition” as a reference speaker, I usually stop in to see what system has been put together with the speakers that I perhaps know better than any other brand. I was pleased to see a return to the use of Coda Technologies gear, particularly the CODA 07 Preamplifier ($6.5K) and CODA 15.0 Amplifier ($10K), fronted by the Ayon CD 2s ($6,350). Legacy partnered for the first time with Morrow Audio, maker of a more affordable line of cables; the loom of cables for this system coming in just under $3,000. The new talk of the Legacy line, the Aeris Speaker with active bass ($17,750 in standard finishes; Wavelaunch processor included) held forth with a well-defined, yet powerful low end and much more forgiving treble than I recall hearing from it at RMAF. This combination of gear presented Eva Cassidy’s “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” with fullness and aplomb, and a scale few other rigs regardless of price matched.

4 Responses to CES And T.H.E. Show 2013

  1. Hank says:

    Who manufactures the complimentary electronics driving the Kingsound KS-10? Were the 120W capable of pushing them up to reasonable listening levels?

  2. Ant Slappy says:

    They were driven by Kingsound amps & a KS preamp. I don’t remember the CDP. Yes 120 watts was enough!!!!!

  3. Hank,

    God’s Joy to you,

    Ant Slappy is correct; the Kingsound KS-10 was driven by the P-100 Amp, but they were using the Consonance D-Linear7 High Definition Digital Interface and the Consonance D-Linear8 24/192 Decoder, I believe, as front end.

    Douglas Schroeder

  4. R D SOLHEIM says:


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