CES 2012 Report - Steven Stone on Digital Products

Disc players,
Multi-format disc players,
Digital-to-analog converters,
Music servers and computer audio,
Headphone amps and amp/DACs
McIntosh Labs MV891
CES 2012 Report - Steven Stone on Digital Products

According to CES figures 2012 was the biggest show in history, both in attendance and floor space. My sore legs testified to its vastness. The range of new digital products was also more extensive, making it even more impossible to write about every new product. Here are the ones that stood out in this highly competitive environment.

CD and Universal Players

Disc players are anything but dead judging from the bevy of new state-of-the-art spinners unveiled at CES. First up, McIntosh displayed its latest universal player, the MV891 ($5500). It supports file-sharing, USB audio, 3-D video sources, and plays DVDs, CDs, SACDs, CD-Rs, and Blu-ray Discs. With classic McIntosh looks and a multitude of content delivery options, the MV891 is designed to last.

Marcel Riendeau introduced two new additions to the Oracle line, the Oracle Paris CD 250 Player ($3500) and Oracle USB DAC ($3500). The USB DAC supports high-speed USB 2.0 with bit rates as high as 192/24, while the CD player also doubles as a transport. Red, curvy, functional art, they’re both affordable and drool-worthy.

One of the most impressive looking examples of industrial design at CES was from a Singapore-based company. The LOIT Passeri CD player/transport ($21,900) features 8x oversampling up to 325.8kHz, a patented circuit current-to-voltage converter, and a high-speed differential transmission line in the master clock circuit, making the Passeri’s interior every bit as radical as its exterior.

Fremont California-based Napa Acoustic displayed its NA-208CD Player ($399) which sounded arrestingly good through a pair of diminutive Wharfedale 10.1 speakers ($349/pr.) driven by Napa’s 208A hybrid integrated amplifier ($399).

Copland’s latest CD player, the CDA825 ($6500), uses a Wolfson WM8741 24-bit 192kHz DAC. With a dedicated regulated power supply for the clock and a special pre-ringing noise filter, the Copland player is as cutting edge inside as out.   I especially like its sci-fi-looking circular pivot-out-of-the-way top-loading cover.

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