Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Okay, so those of you (both of you) who have been waiting for CES 2010 pics are in for a bit of a disappointment. I really didn't take very many pictures and for some reason (probably because I've attended the show so many years in a row now) the fire to really capture the experience on CMOS just wasn't there. But. I did see and hear some great stuff so maybe a pic or two over the next couple days.
To start us off I give you this image which seems to sum up the high end audio side of the show this year. It's hard to pin down prices in this arena sometimes, but as close as I can figure from the retail price list I brought home, this reference system by MBL costs somewhere north of $250k (including the wires). Now that number is downright average for this show, but if you look you'll notice that while this system has a $25k CD player in it, we were listening to music being played on a Macbook. The audiophile community is finally admitting that the digital music stream is here to stay. Most of the 200(ish) rooms we visited were playing music either from a music server of some sort (lots of Apple TVs, Sonos, and some proprietary systems) or vinyl.
I've now sat and seriously listened to hundreds of very high end systems over the years and the MBL kit you see here is one of the very best. It's strange looking, I know, but in this case the ugly is working for it. Those $60k Radialstrahlers are shockingly dynamic and while you would think that ANY speakers with a price tag like that should blow your mind, the truth is that some designs are just exotic engineering experiments that simply don't sound interesting in any way. That is not the case here.