Transparent has just completed an overhaul of its long-running digital cable line, introducing at CES new models in every configuration. In AES/EBU cables, Transparent showed the Premium, Reference, and Reference XL digital interconnects, priced at $895 for the Premium, $1795 for the Reference, and $3595 for the Reference XL. RCA terminated cables start with the $99 Performance model and go up to the Reference XL at $3195, with three model in-between. The RCA-terminated High-Performance Digital Link ($395) features solid-core OFHC conductors, Teflon dielectric and multiple shields. The upper models include even more technology. USB, the hottest cable category, was well represented by Transparent’s new Performance ($95), High-Performance ($275), Premium ($595) USB cables.
• Best Sound (cost no object)
Magico Q7 driven by Constellation electronics and MIT cables, Rockport Altair powered by Absolare electronics and Echole cables at T.H.E. Show, YG’s new Sonja with D’Agostino amplification and dCS front end, Raidho D1.1 powered by Rowland 725 amplifiers and Aeris DAC
• Best Sound (for the lowest price)
The Triton 7 tower from GoldenEar Technology was miraculous at $1398 per pair, as was the minimalist Audience Clairaudient 1 + 1 at $1695 per pair. Two radically different approaches, two great values.
• Most Significant Product Introduction
Magico’s new $12,600 S1 loudspeaker. Although not inexpensive, the S1 brings many of the Magico virtues to a more accessible product.
• Greatest Technological Breakthrough
A new DSP algorithm for the Meridian DSP7200 V2 active digital loudspeaker that corrects the bass-lag problem in loudspeakers. Existing DSP7200 owners can upgrade to the new software.
• Most Important Trend
The targeting of younger music lovers with high-performance products that fit this generation’s lifestyle. Portable products, headphones, sub-$500 DACs, and all-in-one systems with wireless streaming are being introduced by savvy high-end companies hoping to capture new customers and create lasting brand loyalties.