Main Standout Demos Boulder Amplifiers
Boulder Amplifiers

Boulder Amplifiers produced one of the finest-sounding setups at CES, with their 1000-series components at the helm: a 1021 CD player ($24,000), 1012 preamplifier-DAC ($19,000, DAC section not used), and 1060 power amplifier ($24,000). (No analog was used during our visit, though the new $12,000 1008 phono stage and Spiral Groove turntable are featured in this photo.)


The sound was ultra-smooth and so clean you could eat off of it. But it wasn't antiseptic or lacking body -- in fact, it was full of tonal color and beautifully rendered. Boulder's components have a way of banishing noise and of all the electronic reminders that let you know you're listening to reproduced music. In short, it sounds live. This characteristic was especially evident in this room on the day we heard it. Of course, the Focal Maestro Utopia loudspeakers ($50,000 per pair) and Transparent Audio cabling and power conditioning also had a lot to do with the sound. In fact, we've never heard a Focal speaker sound better than what I heard here.


Lastly, it should be noted that although the 1021 is a CD player, we weren't listening to CD at all. The 1021 is now also a DAC with Ethernet connectivity for use with your favorite music server (inquire with Boulder about the upgrade if you already own a 1021). That little laptop that you see to the right was serving up songs for our demo nicely.

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