Day one of CES 2011 Speakers $5k to $10k (Catch up post)

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Day one of CES 2011 Speakers $5k to $10k (Catch up post)

About half of Day One was taken up with me trying to figure out transportation, press badge pickup, and getting the basic lay of the land, since I had not attended a CES at the Venetian Hotel before. The sheer amount of attendees seemed to clog lines for everything: shuttle buses, road traffic, monorail, press meals, etc. The economic outlook must be improving because attendance is way up compared to recent years, apparently.

As for the rest of Day One, I was very pleased to see my coverage category of speakers ranging from $5 to $10k had a robust presence--a narrow price band, but a rich selection. For instance, the just-released Magnepan 3.7 ($5,500) is the first update to the already-fantastic performance value 3.6 model in twelve years. The Maggie rep was not in the room—and the Audio Research folks (who shared the room) felt is was not their place to discuss details about the speaker, but I gathered that some similarities in the improvements made in the 1.7 (from the 1.6) were translated to the 3.6-to-3.7 morphing, as in greater sonic materials- and sonic similarities among the transducers. Since the speakers were placed fairly close the back wall, the usual holographic soundstage depth of Maggies was a bit short changed, but that characteristic fine detail was very much evident.

Some interesting new speakers cropped up, too. Norbert Lindemann of Lindemann audiotechnik (Germany) known for his fairly expensive electronics has developed a new speaker line that uses birch plywood cabinets and ceramic drivers. The smallest model, a mini-monitor called "Dixie" priced between $7k and $8k—not firm yet—sounded coherent, detailed, and without a bloat the mid bass in an attempt to sound bigger than it looks. Coupled with Lindemann's electronics, the sound was even-handed and refined.