CES: Highlights from Venetian Floor 30 – Electronics, Source Components, and Servers/Streamers

Solid-state power amplifiers,
Tubed power amplifiers,
Solid-state preamplifiers,
Tubed preamplifiers,
Integrated amplifiers,
Disc players,
Multi-format disc players,
Digital-to-analog converters,
Music servers and computer audio,


Conrad Johnson showed its new MF2275 135 Wpc power amplifier ($3,850; standard; or $6,150 for the SE version with uprated resistors, capacitors, etc.). Controlling the MF2275 was ET3SE preamplifer ($4,500).

This C-J pair did a wonderful job powering a power hungry and thus not-so-easy-to-drive pair of Magnepan .7 loudspeakers with a DWM bass module.

Crystal Cable
Crystal Cable demonstrated its new 100 Wpc CCI (Crystal Cable Integrated) amplifier, which will sell in Europe for €12,000. The significance of the CCI, apart from its attractive and nearly cube-shaped industrial design motif, is that it represents an attempt to capture much of the sound (and underlying technology) of the spectacular, top-tier Siltech SAGA separates components, but in a relatively compact and semi-attainably priced package.

The CCI provides a fully-balanced line-stage with six analogue inputs, plus its own version of the optically decouple, standing bias, Class A/B ‘Light Drive’ output section of the Siltech’s SAGA amplifier.  As a final, very appealing ergonomic touch, the CCI can be controlled a beautiful little wireless CCC (Crystal Cube Controller) module. When matched up with Crystal’s excellent Minissimo standmount monitors, the CCI helps provide a system that sounds much like a true top-tier offering, but for a fraction of the price.

Demonstrating its vigourous commitment to all things analogue, EAT showed a new valve-type phonostage called the E-Glow ($9,000). Each channel of the E-Glow use a valve complement of 2 x 12AX7 and 1 x 6922 valves.

But EAT also had a new turntable to show, called the C-Sharp, priced at $4,250 for the arm and table, which can be had with an Ortofon Quintet moving coil cartridge at the special bundled price of $4,500.



EMM showed two very impressive new products for CES. First up were the massively powerful 1,500 Wpc (no, that’s not a typo) MTRX monoblock amplifiers ($130,000/pair), which feature Class A/B circuitry and are serious behemoths to behold.

Next up was the new DA2 Reference DAC, which features all new analogue and digital circuitry and is priced from $25,000 on up (depending on configuration).  The DA2 features EMM’s new MDA2 DSP engine, which also appears in other new EMM products.

​One of the most impressive new power products I found at the show is the new Isotek Evo3 Mosaic Genesis ($11,995), which can rightly be viewed as both an AC power regenerator and as a power conditioner.

In fact, the Mosaic borrows technologies from two of Isotek's present top-shelf products: namely, high-current power conditioning know-how borrowed from the Evo3 Super Titan and very low-distortion mains regeneration technologies borrowed from the Evo3 Genesis. In a sense, then, the Evo3 Mosaic promises to be a 'best of two worlds' design.

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