CES 2017

1st February 2017



An opportunity for manufacturers to unveil their plans for the coming year or show off the very best of their creations, the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is always a treat for audiophiles. Although not all of us are lucky enough to experience it firsthand, thanks to the joys of high-speed internet, we can share a glimpse of what went down at this year’s CES…


MOON by Simaudio


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Obviously aiming for domination in the global “My Monoblocs Are Bigger Than Yours” competition, Simaudio unveiled their greatest achievement to date: What Hi-Fi’s “Star of CES 2017”, the MOON 888 monobloc power amplifier. Named for its prodigious power output of 888 Watts (which is about 1.2 horsepower, for those interested), they apparently sound like nothing to have come before them, boasting unmatched clarity and detail reproduction thought unobtainable until now. These bad boys will be visiting Edinburgh very soon, so keep your eyes and ears peeled for that.


YG Acoustics


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If you were lucky enough to experience the Sonja 1.3 from YG Acoustics whilst they were in Edinburgh then you know how impressive these loudspeakers are. Beautifully detailed highs that you could listen to for hours, and a tremendous bass presence thanks to the added modules. Never one to rest on their laurels, YG Acoustics got the chance to show off their latest extension of the Sonja line: Sonja XV, an eXtreme Version commemorating 15 years of YG Acoustics. A total of four towers, with new drivers and a host of improvements making this iteration of Sonja the very best yet.




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Showcasing the brand new LS50 Wireless bookshelf speakers, the guys at KEF thought they’d try something new: Combining the LS50s with Amazon Echo, they created a system that sounds wonderful and is controlled by shouting at it. The perfect combo of wireless and hands-free control.




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The main star of the show for these guys was their new Valhalla 2 USB 2.0 Cable. Totally designed from the ground up to reach their exacting standards, they promise that this new cable will “push sonic boundaries.” Not content to stay in their own room, Nordost cables and accessories were spotted throughout the show, proving to be a favourite of Simaudio, Hegel, VTL, and many more.



Totem Acoustics


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The Canadian speaker specialists, creators of the much loved Arro, revealed their most recent work: the Sky. A compact bookshelf speaker dedicated to pure, honest musical reproduction. They boast that it can be placed on any surface, and that it works brilliantly up against walls. A perfect solution for those with limited space who yearn for great sound.

A pair of Element Metal floorstanders were spotted being driven by two brand new Bret D’agostino M5 monoblocs. After his unfortunate demise in January, these were the last amplifiers that Bret designed. Quite the swansong.





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Following on from the hype they generated with the Debut series, the engineers at ELAC decided to try and outdo themselves. Again. The result is the Adante range: a trio featuring a floorstander, the AF-61; a standmount, the AS-61; and a centre channel, the AC-61; all with brand new concentric midrange/tweeter, improved woofers, and a cabinet architecture that leaves nothing to be desired.



Tidal x MQA


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If you’ve not heard about MQA by now, it’s a super fancy file format that takes studio master recordings and encapsulates them to be streamed or downloaded, before being unpacked at the end and played through your hi-fi at quality levels thought unobtainable beforehand. You can learn all about it here at the MQA website.

By teaming up with Tidal, the CD-quality streaming service giant which you can read more about here, MQA can now be streamed straight to your home. The new service is called Tidal Masters, and already has over 1200 albums available (full list here).

MQA does require a compatible decoder to unlock the full experience, such as the Special Edition Meridian DSP speakers, Prime headphone amp, or Explorer 2 DAC.





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Aiming to create a masterpeice combining unbeatable sound quality and stunning (if somewhat bling) aesthetics, Focal took their reference Utopia headphones to master jewelers  Philippe and Mathieu  Tournaire. Priced at £100’000, and an extra £10’000. for the stand, we don’t imagine we’ll be seeing many people sporting these cans. However, if you can live without the glitz of 18-carat gold and 6.5 karats of diamonds, the original pair can be picked up for £3’900, and sound just as impressive as without all the jewels.

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