CES: Highlights from the Venetian and LVCC South Hall – Headphones and Related Electronics

Earphones and in-ear monitors,
Headphone amps and amp/DACs
CES: Highlights from the Venetian and LVCC South Hall – Headphones and Related Electronics


Ayre Acoustics
During discussions with the Ayre team I was reminded that none other than Neil Young had tapped Ayre to create the digital and analogue electronics for the new Pono high-resolution digital music player. Leveraging expertise cultivated through the course of the Pono development project, Ayre decided to build a new and even more powerful headphone amp/DAC to be called the Codex, which was shown in near-production form at CES. The Codex DAC section uses an ESS 9018 DAC chip and supports DSD64 and DSD 128 as well as most if not all high-resolution PCM format.  

The amplifier circuit of the Codex is fully balanced from end to end and is configured so that the amp can drive two front-panel-mounted 3.5mm headphone jacks so that the two jacks together constitute one balanced output (with each headphone jack carrying balanced signals for either the left or right channel), or with the two jacks each providing a single-ended stereo output. Pricing has not yet been finalised, but expect the Codex to sell for around $1,500.

Beyerdynamic’s high-end headphone lineup remained unchanged as of CES, but the firm did introduce two new affordable, near entry-level headphones: the collapsible, on-ear Custom Street model ($149), which incorporates the firm’s signature ‘Sound Slider’ 3-postion voicing controls, a detachable cable fitted with a mic/remote module. Expect to see the Custom Street in stores around March of this year.

Then, the firm rolled out the DJ-orientated, closed-back, 16 Ohm Custom One Pro Plus model ($229), which also incorporates ‘Sound Slider’ voicing controls and allows for a high degree of visual customization. 

At CES 2014, Calyx had shown its then under development Calyx M high-resolution portable digital music player; now, the Calyx M ($1,099) is finished and full released. The Calyx M is controlled by a Cortex A5 onboard processor with a proprietary Calyx user interface, features a USB DAC capable of handling DSD 64 and DSD128 files, DXD files, and PCM files up to 32-bit/384kHz resolutions.

The player provides 64GB of onboard flash memory, plus two memory card slots (one SD and one Micro SD allow theoretical capacity of up to 2 TB – once large enough SD and/or Micro SD cards become available).

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