Bowers & Wilkins (B&W)
Bowers & Wilkins was really showcasing their newest line of Mobile Hi-Fi headphones and MM-1 computer speakers more than anything else and while I'm not a headphone fanatic the Mobile Hi-Fi's were uber-comfortable and sounded very good indeed.
What really caught my eye at the Bowers & Wilkins booth was the new and improved 800 Series Diamond line. Not much was given on just what improvements were made at the show but visually they've stepped it up a notch or two, and take my award for the best looking speakers of CES 2010. Expect a full review of the new and improved 800 Series flagship in Home Theater Review soon.
Parasound / Atlantic Technology
Parasound was showing with Atlantic Technology this year and the pairing, especially with Atlantic Technology's new H-PAS based speakers was impressive. The bass and resolution the speakers were producing was jaw dropping, especially considering their suggested retail price is $2,000 when they go on sale later in the year.
Parasound was also showing, albeit on static display, the latest addition to their JC or John Curl series of Halo products, the JC3 Phono Preamplifier. Parasound says the JC3 will be available soon and should retail somewhere around $2,000.
Anthem / Paradigm
Paradigm had two rooms at the Venetian, one showcasing their products on static display and the other featuring a full demo of their updated Signature Series speakers mated with a full compliment of Anthem components, including their new Blu-ray/DVD/CD player. As good as Anthem's new Blu-ray appeared to be the real story of the showcase was Paradigm's new SUB 1 and SUB 2 subwoofers.
Both are complete monsters with the SUB 2 being the king shit of the line featuring six 10-inch high excursion drivers powered by a 4,500 Watt digital amplifier. Both subs are hexagonal in shape and are simply massive and a statement long before power up. While the conditions in the Venetian suite were far from ideal the SUB 1 and 2 proved they could rock and roll with the best of them.
Krell / Sim2
My award for best sound of the show has to go to Krell and their updated Evolution line of amplifiers. Krell was showcasing the improved Evolution 402 amplifier feeding a pair of Krell Modulari Duo's to a room of invited guests. 30 seconds into the presentation it was more than abundantly clear that the new and improved Evolution 402's weren't simply an evolutionary step forward but a whole other animal.
I've never heard anything like it and its hard to describe, for the original 402's were near perfect in my opinion, so to improve them the way that Krell has done still has me scratching my head. The purity, speed, openness and control the 402E's exhibited was otherworldly. The good news is I'll be getting one for review and current 402 owners will be able to upgrade their units to 402E spec in the very near future.
Krell was also showcasing their new Blu-ray player, which will retail for a cool $15,000 when it goes on sale later this year. Their Blu-ray player was connected to Sim2's new Mico50 projector and the pairing was quite possibly a match made in heaven. Look for a full feature review of the Mico50 projector this summer.
All in all it was a good show, one of the better CES's of recent memory. It was good to see that both the manufacturers and consumers seemed to have a little bit of their mojo back, given the thrashing we all took in '08 and '09. While I still think there is a long way to go in terms of getting consumers to part with their hard earned money the way they did in the late 90's, it's nice to see that manufacturers have gotten the memo and kept prices obtainable while offering more features and value for the money. If CES 2010 is any indication of things to come, 2010 should be quite an exciting year.
Read CES 2011 Coverage including 97 photo slideshow from HomeTheaterReview.com - click here.