The most unusual product I saw at the show was a near-field listening chair from a new company called i-Fi. The chair incorporates small minimonitors mounted on the chair, electronics to drive them, a subwoofer, and a built-in iPod dock on one arm of the chair. The chair itself is a motorized recliner in gorgeous Italian leather. The idea is that the chair provides private near-field listening from an iPod or any other source. A very subtle shaker is also mounted in the chair to simulate very low bass. All this might sound rather gimmicky, but the i-Fi chair was designed and built with audiophile values (the company founder owns Wilson Alexandria X-2s). I played my own CDs in the i-Fi chair and was shocked at the way in which the system produced a soundstage well out in front of the listening position, the smooth tonal balance, and the effectiveness of the shaker. I was even more shocked at the price: $3995, which includes a very nice leather recliner.
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