Best Sound (cost no object)
The Wilson Alexandria X-2s tethered to a pair of Lamm ML3 signature amplifiers playing Peter McGrath’s recording of Leonard Shure’s rendition of Beethoven’s Op. 109 was so beautiful that it brought me in tears.
Best Sound (for the lowest price)
PSB’s new $799 a pair Imagine Mini driven by a S899 NAD C 165BEE preamp, $1199 C275BEE power amp and $799 C 365BEE CD player was the best budget sound I heard.
Most Significant Product Introduction
Sony’s new $27k/pr SS-AR1 gets my vote. Source and control components from EMM Labs, a pair of Pass Labs X330.5 power amps, and Kimber select cabling all worked together to make Ray Kimber’s recordings sound as real as anything I’ve ever heard through a loudspeaker.
Greatest Technological Breakthrough
The almost overnight ubiquity of DACs that support USB drives and memory sticks. With 96/24 being the new 44.1/16 a memory stick is the new CD.
Most Important Trend
Amarra, Pure Music, or Ayrewave playback software could be found on nearly every computer playback system in the Venetian. Mac Minis and MacBook Pros were the overwhelming computers of choice for computer playback.