Anything exciting at CES?

I wasn't able to go this year. What caught your ear (or eyes) at CES? Is there anything that you'd consider a breakthrough product? And why?
Home from CES last night at midnight, several things that stuck in my mind:

Musical Surroundings room:
Clear Audio turntable with Clear Audio Insider cartridge.
Ayre Amps
Avalon speakers
Aesthetix Io phono.

Kirksaeter Audio room:
Kirksaeter Silverline 90 bookshelf speakers
Monarchy amp, pre and CD.
I brought a reviewer from Absolute Sound and a Ex Fi magazine guy into this room and ask what they thought these cost. Both guys guessed in the multi thousand price range.

Show special and best dealer cost, $350.00. All three of us attempted to buy a pair of these tiny speakers, but everything in the room had been promised by the second day of the show.

Wilson Grand Slam, Karma, Rockport and Soundlab rooms were all at the Tuscany. Each impressive, very different, each with serious flaws (show conditions) and the occasional magic that "peeked out" to let you know they are world class.

Ken from Convergent (CAT) and I got to know each other very well at this show. His amps sounded terrific and after hours we auditioned a new cable, yet to enter the kingdom of high end audio. What I heard was amazing, clearly better than the most expensive Transparent Cable it replaced. The manufacturer has promised to talk with me about advertising images, maybe I will eventually be able to hear them first hand.
We (my wife and I) really enjoyed the Acapella Campanile speakers (along with the Capitole CD player and Capitole amplifiers, Nirvana cables) in the Audio Aero room at the Tuscany. Very impressive dynamic response and the solidity of the soundstage were both head-and-shoulders above anything else we heard there (or anywhere else for that matter). The speaker has an ion tweeter, horns, and conventional cone speakers for the bass.

Wish we had also listened to the Venture "Caractere Diamond" speakers Gendut3 heard - sounds like another great, 'unknown' speaker.
It was my first experience at CES, and I learned a great deal about the audio scene.

#1: All in all, the sound is quite bad. But great sound hits you like a ton of bricks in comparison.

#2: There are two types of people in the audio industry. Great, cordial types who are really excited about their product, and then there are those who only care about the product they are selling and couldn't give a hoot about their customers or what anybody else thinks about their systems (Linn comes to mind).

3#: I had never heard Pipedreams before the show, and I hope I never hear them again. To quote a friend of mine, "they sound like exactly what they are...a million drivers trying to make the same sound in unison." It's like the difference between a solo trumpet and a very, very in tune trumpet section. The trumpet section may be playing exactly the same pitch, but I'll be damned if they sound like a single trumpet.

I had the pleasure of tagging around with Albert Porter for the majority of the trip, and we are in ABSOLUTE agreeance about the best sounds of the trip. It was a shame the Sound Labs room didn't sound as good as it could (you could almost HEAR the potential that wasn't happening), but there was some magic to be found (Kirksaeter was, by far, the most outrageously impressive sound (for the money) at BOTH shows.

CES seems like it's on the outs, and I'll probably end up only going to T.H.E Show next year. MUCH, MUCH better sound, nicer people, all in all a better feeling event. Cheers!

Albert- Ken is something ain't he? I was fortunate enough to have diner with him-among others- one evening, he is IMO like an artist that designes home audio products. He is very particular about the way things get done on his amps, and very blunt about telling you! A very funny and clever fellow, I one day would really enjoy a pair of his monoblocks in my system!
I wish I could have been .... sounds liked lots of new friends and a chance to meet those behind the monikers on A'gon.

Heard those Capellas at a dealer up here in TO last week; I wasn't too impressed, although the speakers were smooth in presentation and startling in their size. Looked like Grande Utopias with Avante Garde Duos grafted on the side.

Wish I was at the show ...maybe in '03. --Lorne