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?
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
First, the sound of the Pipedreams at both the Alexis & the Tuscany rooms was HORRIBLE! One look at these towering monsters in the teeny Alexis room, and I knew why they didn't work. I've heard these properly set-up in a good showroom, and the sound was nothing like at the C.E.S. Can't tell you why they didn't work in the MUCH bigger Tuscany room, although Plinius wouldn't be my first choice of amp for these. They really do sound MUCH BETTER THAN THIS!!! Second, Avant've got to be kidding!!! The horns do not blend well with the powered cone sub woofers...more appropriate for PA sound re-enforcement than home audiophile. I thought that the sound of the Moon Dogs was how a horn speaker should sound! Totally blew away the Duo's! And this with puny 3 watt 2A3 mono blocks. Third, the Capellas had excellent mid-range that seem to leave the rest of the frequency spectrum behind! But considering that they probably had to grease the tops of these behemoths to stuff them into a totally inadequate room, I imagine much of the problem would vanish with a proper listening environment!
Lornecherry: Thanks so much!

I suspect the bass is a little weak (compared to, say, big wilsons). They are 92db efficient. I've seen a waterfall graph of their tweeter, and it is absolutely amazing.

I also would love to hear the tenors with the pipedreams! All they had at the show was Marsh and Plinius, both solid state, and VAC.

Fatparrot: I heard the pipedreams in all 3 rooms at CES/Show, and thought their character was quite evident in al three (I agree that the Plinius room was the worst sound of the three).

Re: Avantgarde - I was refering to their dynamic capability. Live music is quite dynamic and I would like my speakers to be able to reproduce this aspect of the sound. I have found that, in general, highly efficient speakers are much better at this than low efficiency speakers.

Re: The Moon Dogs. Yeah, I went back to hear these a second time, being impressed the first time as well. Unfortunately, they were playing them too softly to tell much (except that the bass was somewhat reticent when played softly :-). They only go down to 40hz or so, which is a negative for us. What did you think of the Inner Ear room with the Tenors and Churchills?

Re: The Capellas. Thansk for your impressions. I(we) thought they did darn well considering, as you say, they had very little room in which to work (what, a 1 inch clearance between the tops of the speakers and the ceiling? :-) And so this was actually a plus for us - that they could produce decent sound in such an environment.

Re: the overall sound at the CES/Show... I think some of you people are too picky! :-) Most of the systems we hear at high-end dealer showrooms are no better (and often worse) than those we heard at the conference.

And I think the character of a system *should* show through regardless, and if it takes extensive setup and tweaking to get something to sound good (not great, just decent) - then, how do I say this, the system is inherently unstable: any slight change will make it sound bad again. And, personally, I do not want a 'persnickety system' - but maybe that is just me :-)