It wasn’t just the consumer home entertainment market on offering at CES this year. The professionals put their high-end gear on display for the world to see too.
Away from the main crowd, the high-end audio companies preferred the comfort of hotel suites to showcase their new products. One of the highlights was the NAD M2 Direct Digital Amplifier. This features ultra-low noise and distortion and a streamlined signal path with a completely new amplifier design ($US5,999) and is complemented by the new M5 CD player ($US1,799).
The hero product within the Meridian suite was the 861 version 6 Reference Digital Surround Controller ($US26,000) with analog inputs, Meridian speaker link and MMHR input for up to eight channels from the HD audio processor. For the colour conscious audio file, Meridian debuted the Select system, which provides the opportunity to order specific colour variants of all DSP active loudspeakers and 800 series electronics. The eager should expect a 4-6 week wait.
Meridian also showed off the next stage of its Sooloos media server business, which was acquired shortly before CES last year. Sooloos is a server music system that classifies music by genre, age, artist and composer and provides the user with remote web access to the library from work or even on holidays. The new Meridian 808.3 CD player is now featuring the ID40 Sooloos card to communicate with the server.
You can now order your favourite Meridian DSP speakers and 800 series components in a range of colours.
Onkyo previewed the THX certified PAMC5500 power amp with 9 x 150 watts all-discrete amplifiers and the PRSC5507 nine-channel THX certified pre-amp. Both products are yet to be released and are expected to be rolled out over the coming weeks.
Klipsch North America claims it has survived the difficult economic times by releasing a number of products at key price points to meet consumer expectations. This has seen the brand release three of its least expensive home theatre products ever, and the first under $US1,000. One system is priced as low as $US399, and features a centre channel, sub and four satellite speakers.
Complementing these products are four sets of headphones that have broken the $US99 price barrier: the S2 and S4 both come with or without microphones for use with smart phones.
At the high end, the Klipsch Palladium P39 tower speakers have been 10 years in the making and are beautiful products with a stunning price of $20,000 a pair. They are complemented by matching centre and surrounds from $4500.
Other towers in the Palladium range sell for $US8000 and $US12,000 a pair, with matching centre and subs available. According to Klipsch’s Roger Kauble, “if we were Toyota, Palladium’s our Lexus”.
Despite both being family owned companies under the one banner, Jamo and Klipsch are being positioned differently, with Jamo representing a more European aesthetic. Jamo engineers are creating products with female consumers in mind and consequently they are being more involved in the creation of the products. New for Jamo at CES was a new on-wall THX system and a new architectural line of speakers.
Yamaha showed off its Neo HD media controller, which allows you to enjoy all AV sources using just a single remote control. The controller unit features five HD inputs, including 3 HDMI, as well as iPod and Bluetooth compatibility.