CES '98 Daily Coverage Notes
Saturday January 10 - Day Three
'On the Spot' reporting from Las Vegas, Nevada
The world's best audio reporting is on SoundStage!

Daily Coverage by Doug Blackburn and Doug Schneider
Digital Photography by Doug Blackburn using a Kodak DCS-210 Zoom Camera

Frank Derrigo, Designer/Engineer at Von Schweikert Research, with the new VR-4 Gen.2. Frank worked extensively on the crossover. This new model was introduced at CES '98 (note: new angled back of speaker).  The main differences of the Gen.2 version  from the original VR-4 are in the bass cabinet.  Using a new crossover and woofers, the same bass response has been maintained in a smaller enclosure.  Based on the success of the first model, this version looks very promising.  Look for an upcoming SoundStage! review.
G & D Transforms is enjoying a reputation for delivering very high performance digital sound for the dollar. Shown here is the UCD-I ($1,449) CD player incorporating a Pioneer transport and DACs. New at the show was the UCD-II (price estimated under $2,200) with similar appearance but using Crystal Semiconductor DACs.
Gershman was showing off their highly regarded GAP-520 loudspeaker, however, new for this show was the much more cost effective X-1 loudspeaker.  It's a high performance 2-way monitor priced at $1,600 pair. Once again, SoundStage! has been promised a review pair that we're looking forward to.
And now for something completely different... from the guys with the unusual product names, Linn. This little number is the Classik. Inside the box are a CD player, amplifier, remote control capability, bass & treble controls, and... an alarm clock! The Bose Wave Radio too schlocky for you? This ought to be just what you were looking for for the bedroom, office or beach house. The price will be around $2,000. The amplifier is rated at 75 watts into 4 ohms which would put it close to 40 watts into the more often quoted 8 ohm load. The CD drawer is open in this shot which is a little hard to see with the black speaker behind the Classik.
Pass Labs introduced several new products. Shown here is the D1 which can decode 16 bit to 24 bit audio data. 4 Burr-Brown DACs are used in balanced configuration, 2 per channel. There is an analog volume control for those wishing to not use a preamplifier. Price for the D1 will be around $5,000.
Styling of the Pass Labs X2 Preamp matches the D1 DAC. This well built $2,500 line stage is equipped with single ended and balanced inputs. At this price point, remote control was not possible, but the circuit is balanced and is class A, single ended. The volume control is via custom stepped attenuators.
It seems that Stereophile magazine always throws a heck of a good party during each Las Vegas CES. This one was no exception. Furthermore, somehow JA manages to get Bass ale on tap every time. Great wine selections are another trademark.

Hungry show-goers, many of whom seem to have failed to stop their exhibiting duties or bustling from room to room long enough to have lunch, were eternally grateful for the food.  The big food hit was fresh pasta prepared right in the room by chefs. Tortellini with marinara or fetuccini (or was that linguini) Alfredo were the choices. There were a lot of very blissful expressions on the faces of many attendees who were beginning to get just a bit show-weary after 3 days. Of course there was plenty of time to talk with new and old friends. The next group of photos were all taken at the Stereophile party Saturday night.

We corraled famous cable designer George Cardas (center) for some cable-chat. Watch for some new digital, video and audio interconnects to come out of George's work trying to optimize Bernie Grundman's recording and cutting facility. SoundStage's Dave Duvall is on the left and SoundStage! Publisher Doug Schneider is on the right.
This is Chris Sommovigo who has now branched into a new company - Sommovigo Design Consultants.  Of course, Chris is well known for the Illuminati digital cable as well as other highly respected digital cables.  Look for some more interesting products this year too. That pesky Doug Schneider is in this shot too.
The Sonic Frontiers amp design and production team joins Doug Schneider for a quick shot. Mike Kerster on the left was one of the main designers on the top-of-the-line Power 3 mono amplifier.   Sonic Frontiers showed of all of their products at the show, including the brand new Assemblage products that include a 40 watt stereo amplifier and a linestage that retails for $599.
Jud and Marianne Barber, owners of Joule Electra. Their OTL tube amps, tube preamp and phono stage turned many heads at the show with their gorgeous appearance and wonderful sound quality.  Joule Electra was displaying with Merlin Music Systems.  Marc Mickelson's Sneak Peek of their products is online now and the full review of the Joule Electra 80 watt stereo amplifiers and LA-100 mk.III preamplifier will be featured in an upcoming issue.  This is a company to watch out for.

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