A tie between the Nola Baby Grand Reference Series II speakers driven by ARC equipment and the MBL 101 X-treme speakers powered by MBL electronics. The former sounded supremely evocative, while the latter sounded simply majestic.
GoldenEar Technology’s cool three-channel SuperCinema 3D soundbar ($999) with dual ForceField 4 subwoofers ($499 each), driven by Arcam home-theater components—a soundbar system so good that audiophiles might buy it for music playback alone!
HiFiMAN’s stunning HE-400 planar-magnetic headphones are bargain-priced at $399 and sufficiently sensitive to be driven directly from iPods. Those seeking a delightful, compelling, and accessible entry point for high-end sound need look no further.
Cambridge Audio’s 851C DAC/CD transport, which might be the most balanced and versatile “digital Swiss Army knife” produced to date. It’s a disc player, a multi-input high-res (24/192) DAC, and a high-quality digital pre-amp.
The dawning realization, one voiced by manufacturers throught the show (not just at the Venetian), that the enduring value of great sound quality trumps the transitory buzz of "technologies du jour" or passing marketing fads.