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?
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
Lorne, I'd say Dunlavy SC5 or SC6's with, as you say, an Avantgarde horn grafted on the side :-)

If I may, can I ask why you "weren't impressed?", as we are considering ordering a pair of these...

The phenominal dynamics can be explained by the 4 large cone drivers and the horn - the Avantgarde also has terrific dynamic capabilities.

But the extraordinary solidity of the soundstage *might* be attributed to the ion tweeter (perhaps it is able to communicate the minute reflections of a singers voice off her arms and body) *or* it could have been the Capitole amplifiers (they do seem to make outstanding products).

Can I ask what equipment was driving the speakers when you heard them?

And (this is a funny question to ask) do you like the pipedreams? Some people (like the person (Brian) above) do not like them - so I can only conclude that whereas some people rely heavily on positional cues from their music (we are of this ilk: the solidity of the instruments is enough such that the thinking part of the mind is relieved of the task of reminding itself that there was originally a stage upon which there was a physical person making the music being listened to); others rely more heavily on other, different audible cues to piece together a pleasing musical experience.
Justacoder: the pair of Capellas I heard (all be it briefly) were at a well-respected dealer here in TO. The speakers were being driven by top of the line Audio Research amps and preamp. Source was vinyl (an Oracle). The system sounded quite good -- smooth with no "holes" but I wasn't blown away. I suspect the turntable was so-so and I'm not sure what cartridge was on the Oracle. Strangely, I felt the bass was a touch weak (could be the amps didn't have the guts to drive these monsters -- not sure of their efficency).

You need to have a long listen before you commit to or dismiss these. They certainly are attention getters. I'm used to SACD and have heavily modified XA777ES that's spoiled me rotten -- especially multi-channel SACD. But when my system sounds better than the dealer's 100K+ show piece -- I start to ask questions about synergy, room, setup and would suggest in this case that it probably wans't the Capellas. ( I could find nothing wrong with them)

I would love to here them with Tenors or another "sweet" tube amp, and a Clearaudio MR table or VPI setup. And if I was seriously auditioning, I would listened tehm with my source and material before passing judgement. Anyway, do not read too much into what I had said in my earlier post -- my observations were but a passing glance and not a full audition (they are too big and too expensive for me -- you need a humongous room for these, otherwise you'll be scraping fine laquer off your ceiling.

Regarding the Pipes -- it's well-known that these must be set up perfectly to sound good. At the Toronto show in the Fall, I listened to the outstanding room of Tenor amps and Pipes -- both before and after they were set up properly. Went from wierd sounding to a "wall of sound" -- the best I have heard. Tenor uses these to sell their amps at the show -- there is a strong synergy with the Pipes. I'm not sure how accurate or flat the response is -- I doubt they have the accuracy of say a Dunlavy -- but to me accuracy and enjoyment are not always a married pair. -- Lorne