Most of our manufacturers and suppliers have launched new products at this year's Consumer Electronics Show held in Las Vegas last month.

Avalon Acoustics had a nice sounding system in their own suite, which presented the new Transcendent 2-way, 3-driver loudspeaker system. As well as the usual strategic presence in a number of other, very good sounding systems ran by other exhibitors. Three (3) new products have been announced for this year. First to arrive will be the LCR (left, centre, right) that has been primarily designed as a centre channel speaker to visually and performance-wise go with other Avalon Masterpiece products. It can, of course, be configured as a stereo pair, too. Another interesting option for the customer is the choice of HF drive units. When used for the centre channel, the LCR can be specified with either the ceramic or diamond tweeter to compliment speakers within the main pair. The projected UK price of one LCR unit will be £14,900 inc VAT (ceramic) and £19,900 inc VAT (diamond).
Next in line will be a design called Compas. This loudspeaker system will be priced slightly above today's Eidolon Vision/Diamond models, and will also be available with ceramic or diamond HF drive units. Interestingly enough, Avalon executives stressed the fact both Eidolon variants continue to show global demand and will remain available in parallel with the Compas for most of this year. We expect to market the Compas in the UK at the retail price of £32,000 inc VAT (ceramic) and £37,000 inc VAT (diamond) respectively.
Last, and perhaps, most important addition to the Masterpiece range for 2011 will be a design called IDEA. This is Avalon's new entry level concept and is, in a way, Neil Patel's 21st century rendition of the Avatar speaker which remains one of the best selling Avalon products to this date. IDEA is expected to be shipping before the end of this year and the projected retail price per has been set at £7,900 inc VAT.

conrad-johnson design had, for the first time in many, many years a shared exhibit (with Running Springs Audio) and, much more importantly so, their products were actively presented and demonstrated within an "music making" audio system!!! Only two new products were displayed for the occasion of the CES, with more coming in the course of the year. The new vice-flagship preamplifier, ET5 has been launched - a single chassis, reference standard remote line stage. ET5 follows the very successful principles of THE GAT and, for half od the cost of the "very best", those who choose to acquire the ET5, will get an extremely natural, correctly transparent and musical sound of the highest quality. First samples of the ET5 are coming into the UK in a matter of days and the suggested retail price of this product will be £9,500 inc VAT.
The other new product cjd showed us at this CES, was their first entry into the USB DAC arena. The new HD3 USB d/a processor (retail price to be £1,500 inc VAT) has been demonstrated during the show and quickly pointed at its very high potential in processing streams of high resolution data stored on its host. HD3 has a valve analogue (output) stage, which, of course, enables the product to retain all the classic trademarks of the exceptionally musical conrad-johnson sound. First deliveries of the HD3 are expected towards the end of March 2011.

Running Springs Audio presented a very important product for the wider audience in need of effective and thorough clean up of their electrical installation for hi-fi purposes. For some time now, RSA mains line conditioner designs (Dmitri, Jaco and Duke) established their leading position within the field, albeit it a cost that some may have found prohibitive. Hence the introduction of the Elgar, the very first RSA product of the latest design generation which will provide a large percentage (more than sufficiently) of the performance of the expensive counterparts, have 4 outlets (either UK or Schuko for Continental Europe) and cost a reasonable £1,100 inc VAT. We cannot wait to lay our hands on the first Elgar units to verify all the positive comments that reached us after the CES. This, possibly ground breaking, product of the kind will be available from mid-March 2011.

Zanden Audio Systems is one of the very few remaining traditional Japanese producers of finest high-end audio components. Kazutoshi Yamada, alpha & omega of all Zanden creations, would never convert an idea into a finished product unless it met all his stringent expectations. After some years of no truly new products (but many refinements of the existing state of the art ones), this year's CES gave us a preview of two new and significant designs. Model 6000 integrated amplifier is another first of this particular kind for Yamada-san. Very powerful (100W per channel into any load), designed and built to sound as good as all other Zanden products, it should become available "some time" this year and cost £17,000 inc VAT. Model 1000Mk2 is a more affordable descendant of the Model 1200Mk3 phono preamplifier, which has established itself as the very best solution of the kind. The new single-chassis design maintains all the relevant features and virtues of the 1200Mk3 (polarity inversion, numerous EQ settings, etc) while also incorporating the power supply circuitry within the same enclosure. When it becomes available, the new Model 1000Mk2 should have a UK retail price of £12,000 inc VAT.

We hope you find this selection of CES2011 novelties as exciting and interesting as we do. All our other manufacturers are also preparing a number of intriguing products in the course of the 2011. How about some high-end internet radios with valve output stages? Or, perhaps, Music Streamers that would be made to be used with headphones? Or, even a very large Avalon loudspeaker that we would rather not mention the possible cost of??? Stay tuned, lots more in the months to come.

Avalon Transcendent

conrad-johnson ET5

conrad-johnson HD3

Running Springs Audio Elgar

Zanden Model 1000Mk2

Zanden Model 6000
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