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Audio Arisen: Latest Products from CES

Hot new sound gear steals the Consumer Electronics Show

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Cambridge Audio Minx speakers
The Focal Bird system
Magico Q3 speakers
Thorens TD 309 turntable

Every year for more than a decade, TVs have upstaged audio at the Consumer Electronics Show. But at the 2011 show in January, while the flat-screen sets on display at the Las Vegas Convention Center were eliciting mostly yawns, the excitement was palpable in the audio exhibits over at the Venetian Hotel. Rooms were packed with everything from cutting-edge high-tech products to classic hardware that wouldn’t have looked out of place in Wes Montgomery’s living room.

Surprisingly, this year’s audio innovations were mostly in products made for music listening; I speculate that the dearth of excitement in TV has dampened the interest in home theater and surround sound. For jazz fans, obviously, this is great news. Whether you’re looking for a good set of $30 in-ear headphones or a showpiece $300,000 stereo system, CES had plenty to offer.

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