Great Days for Audio at CES
• Panasonic is, at last, leveraging the equity of its Technics label with the re-introduction of the legendary audio brand beginning in March in the U.S.; the lines had been announced at the Fall 2014 IFA Show in Berlin. The Technics R1 reference-class system and the C700 premium-class system are targeted at the “new generation of audio enthusiasts,” said Panasonic Consumer Electronics Co. president Julie Bauer. The Reference R1 Series consists of three hi-fi audio components: the SE-R1 Stereo Power Amplifier; the SU-R1 Network Audio Control Player and the SB-R1 Speaker System (priced at around $60,000 total). The premium-class C700 Series includes four hi-fi components including a stereo integrated amplifier, network audio player, CD player and speaker system ($6,000 total). No turntable models have been announced as yet.
• Altec Lansing has expanded its successful rugged/waterproof speaker line from two to six SKUs. The iMW576 BoomJacket Bluetooth speaker, one of the new models, is IPX67-rated waterproof/dust-proof/shock-resistant, and provides up to 40 hours of battery life before needing recharging; it also serves as a power supply when needed for a smartphone. It also has a built-in mic for when it’s used as a speakerphone, and has a talking battery charge indicator ($199; April availability).
• A good deal of the action at the Sound United booth, housing both the Definitive Technology and Polk Audio brands, was around headphone demos. The Definitive Symphony 1 “executive” Bluetooth headphones ($399) – the brand’s first-ever headphones – feature active noise cancellation. They are of an over-ear seal, closed-back design, and house four dedicated noise-cancellation microphones and 50mm drivers. A built-in D/A converter, tactile on-ear controls for convenient control of all primary functions, and two built-in mics complete the package. On the Polk Audio side of the booth was shown the Hinge Bluetooth wireless line of on-ear headphones ($199.95 each) in multiple color choices. They feature NFC one-touch pairing technology and 12-hour battery life, along with Polk’s Sound Clear technology.