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2013 CES: Audio

Wireless solutions and high-end components mix it up

February 2013 By Nancy Klosek
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The diversity of audio solutions at CES shows that while manufacturers feverishly push wireless solutions and soundbars, there are still plenty who cater to dealers such as David Glassman, owner of IQ Home Entertainment, Fairfax, Va., who see great merit and strong margins in traditional audio.

“Our hot buttons are our legacy stuff—traditional speakers and two-channel audio separates,” Glassman said, adding that in a recent Asia factory tour with the ProSource group, tour members asked suppliers “to continue to innovate, and continue to give people reasons to upgrade.” Based on what was shown in Vegas, that wish is being fulfilled.

The following is a quick tour of audio intros at CES:

Polk Audio focused on the streaming audio category with the Woodbourne tabletop entertainment system. It encompasses both Bluetooth- and AirPlay-compatible circuitry and is slated to ship this spring ($599).

Klipsch offered up the Music Center Stadium, a streaming system with Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth and AirPlay. The 2.1-channel system uses two 5-1/4-inch subs that fire at each other at the middle of the aluminum chassis. It also features Klipsch’s signature Tractrix horn technology. The Energy Power Base Bluetooth under-TV speaker system with built-in sub also debuted (available in the fall).

NYNE showed off its Bluetooth USB-charging NB-500 speaker. It is device agnostic and connects to any mobile device. It also includes auxiliary and USB inputs.
Amidst a wide array of headphone introductions, Monster introduced the ClarityHD Katana wireless Bluetooth music system ($699.95). Available in both black and white, it features a three-way, triamplified speaker array and Monster’s Dynamic Presence Enhancement technology.
Audio Design Associates (ADA) showed its first all-in-one integrated home theater controller-amplifier: the seven-channel Class D 3D-compliant Cinema Rapture ($4,999).
Bang & Olufsen rolled out the built-in in-wall BeoLab 15/16. Comprised of two active speakers, an active sub and an outboard rack-ready amplifier, it uses a motorized tilt mechanism that angles the speakers out from the wall when the system is about to be used.
Bryston, a newcomer to the speaker business, showed its new Model T Mini bookshelf speaker ($2,550/pair). The speakers, which feature Axiom drivers, are designed to play high SPL levels without compression or distortion.
Thiel CEO Bill Thomas presented a prototype of his company’s CS1.7 floor-standing speaker, which is shipping soon at $5,490/pair, and conducted demos of the CS2.7 three-way floorstanding speaker.



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