CES 2017: Day 2 & 3
The big convention center thankfully behind me, I headed over to the Venetian high-end exhibits on Friday. There was a lot of grumbling after CES last year about the diminishing presence of traditional audiophile companies last year, and this year seemed to continue the trend.
Oddly, the aging demographic of audiophile attendees has begun to draw some new exhibitor blood: This year AARP and Serta (of Perfect Sleeper fame) were to be found in the hallways. I found it pretty hysterical...and informative. I picked up the AARP brochure.
I heard a prototype of this Heil Air Motion Transformer based headphone last year and was pretty disappointed. Sounds like quite a bit of work was done since then as this preproduction unit sounded much better. Full report coming.
I like Questyle's current mode electronics that reduce transient intermodulation distortion, and I doubly like the fact that their upcoming CMA 400i DAC/headphone amp is expected to have a price tag between $700-$800 when it becomes available in a few months. Lots of features in this new amp, including a 2.5mm balanced jack for IEMs. More with the full report later this week.
Paul Barton has definitely got the headphone itch. The upcoming M4U 8 wireless noise canceling headphones have a sexy stealth look and feel. Paul says to expect more wireless goodness from PSB...and maybe a few surprises in future.
HiFiMAN is about to introduce a new flagship planar magnetic headphone dubbed the Edition 6 that will go for a cool $6000. I really don't like the ever escalating prices of flagship cans and have been wondering where it will stop. Seems like $6000 might be the tipping point if these Head-Fi and SBAF threads are any indication. The SBAF guys are regularly ornery, but it's rare to see that much negativity in a Head-Fi thread. Details later this week.
Dirac is well known for their room correction software and more recently among headphone enthusiasts for their HD Sound headphone compensation software that EQs headphones based on measurements. Now their working on VR audio for headphones and were demoing it with a pair of HD 650s with a head tracker. They've done some pretty interesting research to develop their own HRTF datasets, and it sounded pretty good on quick listen. I'll spill the beans later in the week.
I was pretty skeptical about the Ossic VR headphone when it went up on Kickstarter last year, but the huge $2.7 milion response sure got my attention. Turns out these guys do know a thing or two about headphone design; in fact, I unknowingly met one of the engineers at the AES headphone conference in Denmark last year. At any rate...wow! Their 3D object oriented VR audio demo was wildly immersive. Details this week.
That's it for now, full reports with video will start rolling in on Tuesday. Back to the cold, clear, sparsely inhabited, nature filled place I live. Ahhh Montana, I'm coming home.