In the last few years I generally expect CES Thursdays to be fairly mellow, sparsely attended afternoons. Not the case this year. I’m no pundit but the sense of economic recovery was definitely in the air and on the faces of exhibitors. My assignment for the show is solid state electronics under $15k. If today was any indication, it’s going to be a busy weekend. Here are a few tidbits.
April Music of Korea has been widely reviewed in TAS including their Stello and Aura components. But its flagship Eximus line is something really special. I sat down with president Simon Lee (we're pictured above) and examined their latest handiwork, the P5 reference preamp. Note the outboard power supply to its left. They say a picture is worth a thousand words so take a gander at the innards of this pre. (see below) Gorgeous. Dual mono and fully balanced all the way including input and output modules. It’s 100% discrete with no op amps and note the front panel with left and right channel input selectors. Lee has even jettisoned the thought of a remote control labeling it too noisy which may irk some couch potatoes but personally I find it refreshingly old school. Price: $9000
Solid state might be my beat this year but I just couldn’t resist this one. How sweet is this integrated amp? The attention to detail, the inspired styling. It could only be Pathos (pictured above). All new, there’s not a great deal of information to impart as of yet but this little beauty does have a curious name –the InpolRemix. That aside it outputs a modest 10Wpc so only sensitive speakers or desktop systems need apply. But the big news is that it’s equipped with a USB/DAC, 24-Bit/192kHz capable and a pair of USB rear panel inputs. What price beauty? Look for this svelte Italian in the $7k price range. To me it looks like a million bucks.
Tipping the scales at the opposite end of the power spectrum is the new Musical Fidelity M6-500i. That’s 500 as in watts per channel at 8 ohms, a figure that nearly doubles into 4 ohms–numbers that are underscored by the massive heat-sinking. Building on circuitry innovation and output devices gleaned from the flaghip Titan amp, the M6-500i is a true dual-mono design with separate transformers and MF’s most advanced volume control, it also sports six inputs (one can be reconfigured as a home theater bypass) and a balanced input. Price: $6999
Musical Fidelity M6-500i