CES 2014

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Tyll Hertsens  |  Jan 23, 2014  |  25 comments

The headphone market has a birth defect. I figured I'd talk to some big-wig market players to see if it can be healed.

Tyll Hertsens  |  Jan 20, 2014  |  4 comments

Yep, two showstoppers for this year's CES. While I thought the Astell&Kern AK240 was very cool indeed, it's the Creative Sound Blaster Roar wireless speaker gizmo that I can't wait to get my hands on. If it sounds as good as I think it does, this thing is like a Swiss Army Knife for audio geeks like me.

Tyll Hertsens  |  Jan 20, 2014  |  12 comments

OMG! The AK240 makes my heart go pitter-pat. The look is pure sex, the user interface is sweet, it plays files of all types with a ton of storage, and sounds yummy.

The price? Yeah, there's that.

Tyll Hertsens  |  Jan 20, 2014  |  7 comments

Sennheiser's booth was a highlight for me not because I've got all that great an interest in gaming and DJ headphones, but because they did such a damned fine job of it!

Tyll Hertsens  |  Jan 19, 2014  |  4 comments

As usual, Fang Bien, CEO of HiFiMAN, has been hard at work developing new products and a whole bunch of new and prototype gear was available for the seeing and hearing in his room.

Tyll Hertsens  |  Jan 18, 2014  |  10 comments

Snake oil or genius? BSG Technologies q0l Signal Completion Stage is one of the most controversial products in all of Audiophiledom, but at $2395 a lot of people are never going to give it a shot. At $119 though, their little reveel headphone amp product makes it a no brainer for those curious about the technology.

Tyll Hertsens  |  Jan 17, 2014  |  0 comments

I was smitten with Paul Barton's NAD VOISO HP50 headphones earlier this year...and now he's digging his hooks into me yet again with his latest creations. Man, my inner-geek lusts after the new Bluesound streaming media products.

Tyll Hertsens  |  Jan 17, 2014  |  3 comments

If there's any doubt that headphones are part of high-end audio, McIntosh's introduction of the MHA100 should put that to rest. Heck, it's even got a cross-feed circuit!

Tyll Hertsens  |  Jan 17, 2014  |  2 comments

Two years ago I reports on the acquisition of Stax by giant Chinese speaker maker firm Edifier. Two years is about the amount of time it takes from deciding to move a brand forward, so now is about the time we should see something new from Stax.

And here it is!

Tyll Hertsens  |  Jan 16, 2014  |  2 comments

The headphone web-world was abuzz about the Hugo prior to CES. So I just had to check out this hi-rez, long-tapped WTA filtered FPGA array based DSD/DXD capable portable DAC/amp.

I think I just heard the AWSA (acronym warning system alarm) go off.

Tyll Hertsens  |  Jan 16, 2014  |  2 comments

Slowly but surely Velodyne has been quietly making better and better headphones. Quietly, in this case, is the operative word.

Tyll Hertsens  |  Jan 16, 2014  |  5 comments

DTS Headphone:X does a lot of subtle and very precise manipulations to the audio signal in order to provide the spacial cues needed to localize sound properly for surround encoded audio. So precise and subtle that they really need to measure, map, and compensate for small errors in headphone performance on a model-by-model basis.

A massive undertaking...but they're doing it!

Tyll Hertsens  |  Jan 15, 2014  |  0 comments

They all seem to look quite similar on the outside—big sweeping grill with stark black or white gloss finish—but inside, the wireless speakers of today are far from similar. Usually it's the Apple/Android split, and apps and connectivity that come with it, but in this case it's the actual speaker drivers that set the Minx apart.

Can you say "Balanced Mode Radiator"?

Tyll Hertsens  |  Jan 15, 2014  |  0 comments

While waiting for an opportunity to chat with Eric Suh in the Calyx room I felt a tap on my shoulder. I spun around to find myself face-to-face with Aurisonics CEO Dale Lott dressed to kill in a pistachio green jacket and matching sneakers.

"Dale! What's up?"

"Our new Rocket IEM Kickstarter campaign, that's what!"

Tyll Hertsens  |  Jan 15, 2014  |  1 comments

Last year saw the introduction of the $1000+ Astell&Kern AK120 portable media player. Much wailing and moaning about the price ensued. This year A&K introduced a PMP that will cost north of $2000! All of a sudden $1000 looks like a bargain, and the new Calyx M player with its sexy user interface feels really competitive.