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,

Krell launched two key products at CES. First, we have the new 200 Wpc, Vanguard integrated amp ($4,500), which can be ordered with or without an optional digital module ($1,500) that adds USB, 2 x HDMI, Ethernet,  coaxial and optical S/PDIF inputs, and a Bluetooth aptX input. Interestingly, the Vanguard provides a Class A preamplifier section and a Class A/B power amplifier section.

Next comes the very impressive, reference-grade Illusion stereo preamplifier, which is offered in two versions: a single chassis model with an onboard power supply ($7,000) or a two-chassis model with a massive, supplemental outboard power supply ($15,000).

Server maker Lumin was showing its entire range of servers, which comprises four server models and one storage library device; servers included the S1 ($12,000), A1 ($7,200), T1 ($5,000), andD1 ($2,000), while the library device is the diminutive new L1 ($1,000). Designed as an ideal companion for Lumin’s servers, the LI is a UPnP compatible device that can serve high-res 

PCM and/or DSD 64 or DSD 128 digital audio files, and that can also serve music files captured in more conventional formats such as WAV, FLAC, Apple Lossless, and MP3.

Much of Meridian’s ‘thunder’ at CES centred on the launch of its thought provoking MQA digital music protocol standard, but as you might expect the firm is wasting no time in launching newly MQA-compatible versions of several of its classic products.

Two good examples would be Meridian’s now MQA-compatible 808 preamp/CD player and its 818 preamplifier ($16,000). Naturally, Meridian has also integrated MQA (and Tidal streaming music services) within its SooLoos music server system.

Micromega HD
The French firm Micromega HD took a ‘less is more’ approach to high-end sound, demonstrating its adorable little MyAmp integrated amp/DAC ($649), which put out a very conservatively rated 30 Wpc, offer three analogue and three digital inputs, a Bluetooth aptX input, and even incorporate a miniaturised flow-though forced air cooling system.

But the even cooler part was that Micromega HD showed the compact amp driving a pair of mid-sized MySpeakers two-way bookshelf monitors that sell for just $349/pair. In short, Micromega’s compact looking (but certainly not compact sounding) MySystem can be had for an oh-so-manageable $998. Bargains don’t come much bigger than this.

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