Quite frankly, Denon showed a much broader range of new headphone/earphone and personal audio offering than I have space to discuss here. Still, four products in particular caught my eye. First, Denon rolled out its new AH-D7100 full-size headphone ($1299) which replaces the AH-D7000 as the top headphone in Denon’s line-up (click here for a review of the conceptually similar Denon AH-D5000 headphones). Since Denon’s top models have traditionally had their ardent proponents, the roll out of a new flagship model certainly qualifies as big deal.
Second, as what is in essence a substantially cost-reduced “junior” version of the AH-D7100, Denon introduced its new AH-D600 headphone ($499). I must confess, though, that I have mixed feelings about Denon’s new marketing tagline for these ‘phones, which are known as “Music Maniac” headphones
Third, Denon stepped up into a higher echelon of earphone performance than ever before with the introduction of its new flagship AH-C400 in-ear model ($349), which—like many other high-performance models—sports dual balanced armature-type drivers.
Fourth, Denon introduced not one but two new Cocoon-series ”home speaker dock” single-chassis audio systems—a product category that is being embraced both by Denon and its sister brand Marantz. Two different Coccoon systems are offered: an in-home model ($599) and a portable version ($499), which features a 5-hour battery life for listeners on the go.
KEF also chose CEDIA as the launching pad for a new desktop/computer audio-oriented speaker system called the X300A—a system plainly influenced by some of the design thinking behind the firm’s spectacular new studio-quality LS50 mini-monitor. The X300A system ($799/pair) consists of two small monitors each equipped, naturally, with KEF’s Uni-Q driver arrays, and each fitted with dual Class A/B amplifiers (one for the tweeter portion of the array, the other for the woofer part of the array). For maximum convenience, the X300A features three inputs: a 96/24-capable USB input, a 3.5mm mini-jack analog input, and an optional Bluetooth dongle. Think of the X300A, then, as significantly a cost-reduced, but still highly capable desktop implementation of the LS50 concept. My thought: this system might be ideal for use in college dorm rooms and other small listening spaces.
Like its sister company Denon, Marantz is venturing into the world of very high quality tabletop audio systems with built-in iPod docks, as the firm’s posh new Consolette system ($1199) demonstrates.
CEDIA market our first public sighting of MartinLogan’s recently announced Mikros 70 earphones ($149), which promise MartinLogan sound a t a very attractive price point. We hope to receive Mikros 70 review samples in the not too distant future and will report on their sound as soon as we can.