CM’s Best of CES 2011
Best Sound (cost no object):
The Crystal Cable Arabesque III loudspeaker as driven by the Devialet D-Premier class ADH integrated amplifier. Both the D-Premier and the Arabesque III push the limits of science, but always in the service of music.
Best Sound (for the lowest price):
A four-way tie between a quartet of superb loudspeakers—the Evolution Acoustics MM Micro One monitor, the Gallo Classico Series III floorstander, the GoldenEar Triton Two floorstander, and the Nola Contender floorstander. Certified bargains, all.
Most Significant Product Introduction:
HiFiMAN’s HE-6p (“p” for “portable”) planar magnetic headphones offer the unusual combination of near state-of-the-art sound with a fundamentally easy-to-drive character, meaning the HE-6p can be powered by small portable amps/devices. Easy-access high-end sound, anyone?
Most Important Technical Breakthrough:
The hybrid “class ADH” circuit topology used in the Devialet D-Premier integrated amplifier, which represents the brilliant, best-of-two-worlds marriage of a class A voltage amplifier with a class D current amplifier. A very clever design.
Most Important Trend:
The emergence of high performance headphones (both full-size and in-ear) as a new generation’s pathway of choice for entry into the world of high quality music reproduction. Think “high-end audio,” but on a personalized scale.