CES 2016 Show Report Index

Welcome to the CES 2016 Show Report

It could be said that this show has devolved into two shows.

One is a show with lots of rooms for businesses to do business with other businesses (B2B). This is now about 80-90% of the show. The system setup, if any, is perfunctory in these rooms. There is lots of talking by people standing in front of speakers. If they detect you are an audiophile you will be snubbed. These are often well-known, large brands and why they do not take this opportunity to show their dealer networks just how to setup their gear to best effect is probably because only their sales people are sent to the show.

The other is a show where people try and make the best sound they can to try and convince dealers (yes, some B2B) and audiophiles (B2C – business to consumer) to buy their gear and reviewers to post good reviews in their show reports and order up some gear to review later for their publication.

And then there are those that are just confused and do not know what they are doing here.

The B2B rooms tell me that the number of international businesses they meet with during the show is down to 10% of what it was 8 years ago. Maybe this is exaggerated but you get the idea.

Many of the rooms that are traditionally B2C did not come this year. So if you are an audiophile this year was not a banner year. Then again, not many audiophiles came this year either.


The SANDS – the ground floor conference halls. ‘start-ups’. This row is one of about 50 to 100 rows of booths.

What happened, especially on the latter days of the show were that people came up to the Venetian Towers from the main CES conference. The Sands, connected to the Venetian, entertained roughly [my guess] 40,000-60,000 attendees. Maybe [my guess again] 2,000 – 3,000 of these people ventured to the High Performance Audio part of the show.

They were polite, asked basic questions, and picked up lots of brochures. These people would have been, in aggregate, served best by high-quality reasonably priced well-setup systems playing ‘real’ music. Of which there was like none [that I can readily recall] at the show this year.

‘Real’ Music

I do not hate any genre of music.

But I have come to have a severe reaction to ‘audiophile music’. 3-piece jazz with or without female vocals. Simple pop – also usually with prominent female vocals. New age ‘calming’ music. You know it when you hear it. Neli and Hermann played some of this in our room too – we too are not immune from this rampant disease that threatens showgoers with zombiesque comas each show.

You know what brings most people in [esp. at this show with few hardcore classical-only audiophiles]? Music they are intimately familiar with and like: rock (DSOTM, Dire Straits, etc.), well-known jazz (Take 5, Girl from Ipanema, etc.), anything they might have heard on the radio a lot. Then they can realize that their music does sound way, WAY better on a nice stereo. Otherwise, they hear some bland shlopp they never heard before that would probably sound just as good [they think] on their car Bose, but maybe with a little more bass.

Good Sound

This show turned in the tale of two rooms for me this year [some otherwise possibly good-sounding rooms were ruined by only playing audiophile music]. Our room with the Cellini High speakers this year [compared to the base Cellini last year] taught me more about good sound and my personal preferences – as did the larger Lamm room (showing together with Kharma after a long hiatus). For people who want to read further on my thoughts about these systems I will update their individual pages in this here show report when I get over my stupid post-CES nasty cold I get each and every year.

Why we now only talk about the sound of our favorite rooms at shows

The Future?

Does CES have a future in High Performance Audio?

With the success of the other parts of CES, hotel rooms and show rates this year were at an all time high. And yet ROI for high-end audio exhibitors is falling, falling falling here. I think many exhibitors who braved the tide this year will not be back next year, or will partner up with other brands to make their investment in this show commensurate with the reality. The reality being that High-end Audio at CES has all but completely moved to Munich.

For the past 15 years that we have been attending CES, it has had several rooms that tried to push back the boundaries of what could be done. [Our industry’s version of Listen to This Eddie]. These rooms had way better sound than anything that could be heard at other shows. It was awesome fun. The U.S. no longer has a show with rooms like this. Perhaps the Newport Beach show will absorb this part of CES as well… it does have several large rooms and lots of positive [and crazy :-)] energy… Or maybe it will be spread out among all the other shows [i.e. surround sound MartinLogan Neoliths on Emm Labs MTRX amps last year at RMAF, or the Wilson Alexandria and THOR at the previous year’s show]

The Camera-stopped-working-during-the-show Blues

Yep. A disappointment. 100K photos and then something – the flash, the flash batteries, the shutter… something is not syncing. I finished the show with the camera in my Nexus 6 smartphone. Several people did not recognize me without the big camera. Kind of nice. I could get a new camera but cameras are dying [replaced by smartphone cameras] – just like so many other technologies – that it is hard to pony up the bucks. I mean, how soon will smartphone cameras be as good as my current 6 lb., 10 megapixel Canon 5D camera? I got some great lenses, but at what point will software trump hardware?

So far… 141 rooms … Missed Nordost (Neli and I wanted to go together, but she was not able to get away), VTL (they hate us), and… hope that was it. Sorry if I missed anyone else.


Floor 34

YG Acoustics: CES 2016
Cardas Audio, Ayre Acoustics: CES 2016
Boulder Amplifiers: CES 2016
NAD, Bluesound, Lenbrook, PSB Speakers: CES 2016
Esoteric, Cabasse: CES 2016
TAD/Pioneer Electronics, Audio Alchemy: CES 2016
ZenSati: CES 2016
Constellation Audio: CES 2016
Pass Laboratories: CES 2016

Floor 35

Light Harmonic: CES 2016
April Music: CES 2016
MoFi Distribution, BAT, Mobile Fidelity, QUAD, Solidsteel, TAD, Wharfedale: CES 2016
Bluebird Music, Audeze, Chord Electronics, Vienna Acoustics: CES 2016
Believe High Fidelity: CES 2016
Lamm, Kharma, EMT room – CES 2016
Lamm Industries, Kharma, SORAsound, ZenSati (smaller room): CES 2016

Floor 29

Auro Technologies: CES 2016
Creek, EPOS, Music Hall: CES 2016
Aurender: CES 2016
Amplifier Technologies, SAE, CAT – California Audio Technology: CES 2016
Amplifier Technologies, Theta Digital, BGW, CAT – California Audio Technology: CES 2016
Gamut, Pear Audio Blue: CES 2016
Questyle Audio: CES 2016
Kubala-Sosna, AudioNet, GTT Audio, Kronos Audio, Kii Audio Speakers, Mola-Mola: CES 2016
Straight Wire, KEF: CES 2016
Manley Laboratories: CES 2016
Straight Wire, Bryston: CES 2016
EMM Labs, Kimber Kable: CES 2016
AXISS Audio, Accuphase, Air Tight, Franco Serblin, Keith Monks, REED, Transrotor: CES 2016
AXISS Audio, Critical Mass Systems, Soulution: CES 2016
AXISS Audio, VAC/Valve Amplification Company: CES 2016
AXISS Audio, AVM Audio, Gauder Akustik: CES 2016
Absolare USA, Laufer Teknik: CES 2016
Ryan Speakers: CES 2016
Master & Dynamic: CES 2016
Kharma International: CES 2016
Linkplay Technology: CES 2016
Danville Signal Processing: CES 2016
Metronome, Espirit: CES 2016
Rogers High Fidelity: CES 2016
AURALIC North America: CES 2016
Westlake Audio: CES 2016
Ocean Way Audio, Malvicino Design Group, Viola Audio: CES 2016
* Acapella, Audio Federation: CES 2016
Furutech, ADL: CES 2016
BSC Audio: CES 2016
Pahmer Enterprises: CES 2016
High Resolution Technologies, Elite AV, Furutech, Kuzma, L’Art Du Son, REL Acoustics: CES 2016
Technics: CES 2016
Opera Loudspeakers, Unison Research, Cardas Audio, Colleen Cardas Imports: CES 2016
REL Acoustics: CES 2016
Wolf Cinema, Seymour – Screen Excellence, Waterfall Audio: CES 2016
Cardas Audio, Bel Canto Design, Joseph Audio: CES 2016
Vandersteen Audio: CES 2016
Vandersteen Audio, Brinkmann Audio, Harmonic Resolution Systems: CES 2016
Arcam Meeting room: CES 2016
American Audio and Video, Flexson, HeadsUp, SoundXtra: CES 2016
Arcam: CES 2016
ECLIPSE by Fujitsu Ten: CES 2016
MSB Technology, Analysis Plus Cables: CES 2016
Grand Prix Audio, NVS Sound: CES 2016
Zanden Audio, Verity Audio: CES 2016
LOUDSOFT, SoundMatters: CES 2016
The Sound Organisation: CES 2016
Bluebird Music, Chord Electronics, Leema Electro Acoustics, Spendor Audio, Van Den Hul: CES 2016
Prism Media Products: CES 2016
Arceau Arts, Brodmann Loudspeakers: CES 2016
Evett & Shaw: CES 2016
McIntosh Labs Meeting room: CES 2016
Ningbo Sonice Electroacoustic Sci. & Tech Co.: CES 2016
McIntosh Labs: CES 2016
Audio Research, Sonus Faber: CES 2016
Genesis Advanced Technologies: CES 2016
Cardas Audio: CES 2016
MBL North America: CES 2016

Floor 30

HiFiMAN: CES 2016
MOON by SimAudio: CES 2016
Audio Plus Services, Focal: CES 2016
Audio Plus Services, Mu-So, Naim Audio: CES 2016
Audio Plus Services, Micromega: CES 2016
Audio Plus Services, Crystal Cable, Siltech: CES 2016
Audio Plus Services, Cambridge Audio: CES 2016
Audio Plus Services, Cocktail Audio, IsoAcoustics: CES 2016
Mitchell & Johnson, Electrostatz: CES 2016
Emotiva Audio’s second room: CES 2016
Emotiva Audio: CES 2016
HDtracks, Chesky Records: CES 2016
Audio Technology Switzerland, Nagra Audio: CES 2016
Merus Audio: CES 2016
miniDSP: CES 2016
EgglestonWorks: CES 2016
Lumin Music: CES 2016
Shunyata Research: CES 2016
Burmester Audiosysteme: CES 2016
Burmester, Thorens, Hafler, Artnovion: CES 2016
T+A Elektroakustik: CES 2016
ELAC’s second room: CES 2016
ELAC: CES 2016
Plinius Audio, UandK Sound: CES 2016
Source Systems, Apertura Loudspeakers, DigiBit Technology, Lumin, M2TECH, SBooster: CES 2016
Source Systems, Apertura, DigiBit, Lumin Music, M2TECH, Sbooster: CES 2016
Pro-ject: CES 2016
Scansonic Acoustic: CES 2016
Raidho Acoustic: CES 2016
KONDO Audio Note: CES 2016
Audience: CES 2016
KimberKable, WattGate: CES 2016
Audioengine: CES 2016
ATOLL Electronique, ATOHM, Absolue Creations: CES 2016
RBH Sound: CES 2016
Cary Audio Design: CES 2016
Musical Surroundings, Aesthetix, Analog Manufaktur, Benz Micro, Clearaudio, DS-Audio: CES 2016
Dynaudio’s third room: CES 2016
Dynaudio’s second room: CES 2016
Dynaudio: CES 2016
GoldenEar Technology: CES 2016
VANA, Audio Physic, Blue Horizon, European Audio Team, IsoTek, Primare, Vienna Acoustics: CES 2016
VANA, Acoustical Systems, Audio Physic, Feickert, IsoTek, Primare, Vienna Acoustics: CES 2016
Velodyne: CES 2016
High Fidelity Cables: CES 2016
Saidi Audio: CES 2016
ESS Labs: CES 2016
Dayton Audio: CES 2016
ESS Labs: CES 2016
DeVore Fidelity, Well Tempered Lab: CES 2016
Dan D’Agostino Master Audio Systems, STROMTANK: CES 2016
Hegel Music System: CES 2016
Paradigm Electronics No.2: CES 2016
Paradigm Electronics: CES 2016
MartinLogan: CES 2016
Aaudio Imports, Finite Elemente, Lansche, Stage III, Thales, Ypsilon: CES 2016
Morel: CES 2016
Sony Electronics: CES 2016
THIEL Audio: CES 2016
AudioQuest, Lyra Analog, Quest Brands: CES 2016
Cardas Audio, Conrad Johnson, Fidelis: CES 2016
Nola Speakers: CES 2016
Wireworld Cable Technology: CES 2016
Rogue Audio: CES 2016