Stars of CES Awards 2014 winners

9 Jan 2014

Our Stars of CES 2014 Awards have been revealed! The best audio and video products at this year's Consumer Electronics Show, chosen by What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision.

As the international media partners for the show, our team has been scouring the rooms of the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas for the hottest audio and video products unveiled at CES 2014.

MORE: All the news and new products from CES 2014 

Our Stars of CES are the top 10 most exciting products that we've seen launched at this year's show.

We’ve been spoilt for choice once more, from high-end amplifiers to wireless speakers, high-res audio players to compact DACs. 

But there could be only 10 winners. In no particular order, here they are... 

 

Naim Statement 
Pre/power amplifier
$200,000

Naim Statement

You don’t get a more ‘statement’ product than this extraordinary new Statement - comprising the NAC S1 preamplifier and NAP S1 mono power amplifier - from British hi-fi specialist Naim.

 

Astell & Kern AK240
High-resolution portable audio player
$2400

Astell & Kern AK240

A ground-breaking portable music player that plays high-res audio files and includes a series of new features not currently offered by any other high-res portable player on the market.

 

Chord Electronics Hugo 
DAC/headphone amp
£1200

Chord Hugo

A new reference-class portable DAC (digital-to-analogue converter) and headphone amp which supports high-resolution audio and is designed to offer optimum sound quality when playing music through your headphones.

 

Monitor Audio Airstream A100
Stereo digital amplifier
£400

Monitor Audio Airstream

Monitor Audio has broken from tradition – and its established speaker business – by creating a modern, forward-thinking and radical-looking digital amplifier with AirPlay and DLNA streaming built in.


Philips Android TVs

£tbc

Philips Android TV

Philips’s 2014 television range combines the Android OS with a new-look Philips smart TV interface to bring Google Play store access to its HD TVs, adding apps, games, music and movies.


McIntosh MXA70

Integrated audio system
Price £tbc

McIntosh MXA70

Legendary US hi-fi company McIntosh brings a slice of high-end to this compact, beautifully constructed audio system designed to work with a variety of digital sources and includes a bespoke headphone amp for personal listening.

 

Martin Logan Crescendo 
Desktop speaker with AirPlay/Bluetooth
Price £tbc

Martin Logan Crescendo

Best known for its hybrid electrostatic speakers, Kansas-based Martin Logan has taken an innovative approach to create this distinctive looking AirPlay/Bluetooth wireless streaming tabletop speaker.

 

Focal Dimension + sub 
TV soundbar/soundbase
Price $1699

Focal Dimension

Everyone knows flatscreen TVs sound thin and insubstantial, but French company Focal has used its expertise in speaker design to develop this soundbar and separate sub to boost the sound of your telly. You can buy the soundbar on its own, or add the sub which sits under your telly for even bigger bass.

 

Eclipse TD-M1 
AirPlay desktop speakers
$1300

Eclipse AirPlay speakers

Eclipse’s iconic Time Domain desktop monitor speakers have now been given the wireless treatment with the addition of AirPlay compatibility for streaming from portable devices. Power is supplied by a Class D digital amp built into the base of the speaker, and hi-res music files can be played from a computer via the USB connection.

 

Meridian DSP 25th Anniversary speakers
Digital speakers
Price £tbc

Meridian DSP speakers

It was back in 1989 that Meridian introduced its first digital speaker, the legendary D600. Now it has designed three new Special Edition models to celebrate its 25th anniversary, available in a range of bespoke colours.

 

MORE: CES highlights

MORE: Stars of CES 2013: our Top 10 picks from last year

 

by Andy Clough

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Comments

astracouple, we did indeed mention the Arcam amps to be made in the USA as you can read here:

http://www.whathifi.com/news/arcam-a49-stereo-amplifier-%E2%80%93-designed-in-the-uk-built-in-the-usa

And it's probably worth mentioning that under the agreement we have with the CEA, which organises CES, our Stars of CES Awards can only be given to hi-fi and AV products on show at The Venetian hotel, where we exhibit.

As for the rest of the show, that's covered by our sister title Stuff.tv in its Hot Stuff Awards for CES.

 

The Focal Dimension is a soundbar and soundbase combined is damn ugly and much too big!

Totally agree with Roth, the only intersting thinhs are the A&K product and the Monitor Audio Air Amp. And no mention of the Arcam amps to be made in the USA,

 

The "high end" Wolfson DAC inside the X3 costs £10 and is also in Astell & Kern X100 which is about £600 and you get two in the X120 which is about £1000. Could it be the file format making the difference like comparing VHS - DVD - BLU RAY - 4K?

Won't argue with that, in fact one of the more interesting products I saw at CES today was the Fiio X5, so I've asked for more info on it.

This magazine should cover Fiio more, which has done wonders for the budget DAC/headphone amp/hi-res portable audio market.

The X3 is a steal, with a high-end Wolfram DAC chip, and the X5 is due out soon (better UI). Only the Gramophone critic/WHF critic, Andrew Everard, seems to have picked up on this brand, which is disappointing.

I also feel that CES this year hasn't been particularly eventful for the audio industry...But I feel the Astell and Kern player looks intriguing...

Also, I think the Chord Hugo is exciting and quite so a futuristic product. I have always thought that a 'bridge' between the portable market and the home hifi market with good quality sonic reproduction was required... So that we don't lose the quality of music while on the go... I think that new unit is a killer! And if it is anything like or better than the QuteHD... I think Chord has struck platinum! Smile

About the Statement, I think it's quite bold for any company in this industry to come out with such a "push the envelope Bugatti veyron" sort of a product, and it should be appreciated! I don't think the asking price is such a big deal if they deliver, KEF came out with the muons and I thought they were just simply a marvel (if matched well)! I only feel that when companies price products this high, all aspects and not just the utility (in this case the sound) should be obsessively looked after. I mean, If I buy a Bentley Continental GT, I'm buying it for the horse powers, the ride and the speed yes... But I do expect the interiors to be well crafted, the seats to be thoughtfully stitched etc. etc as well... So if naim can deliver a truly 'premium' product built and finished with literally no compromises, then I think anyone in their place deserves to set that price...

i love those little jet engine looking speakers the most though! Smile

There's an interesting article on The Guardian's website about things that won previous official 'product of the show' awards at CES, and that turned out to be total commercial disasters!

I wouldn't like to speculate on which of the above items will be flops (although a $2400 MP3 player seems a safe bet), and I doubt if some of them are actually expected to sell, more like vanity statements.

Has something gone wrong with the reproduction of the photograph of the Focal tv base?  It looks ridiculous with the skinny tv on top of it.

As to being the Stars of 2014, one could be the star of the 70s/80s/etc and another the 90s/00s/teens.  

Does anyone really think that the Naim combo will be purchased by anyone interested in music?  It will be a willy wagger for those that nature passed by and have too much money.

And they wonder why kids aren't into audiophile stuff ...??? These prices are just ridiculous.

I second Roth's POV. like, a 200K USD pre-power or 2400USD MP3 player or 1200 GBP portable DAC/ headphone amp is what people deem to be essential gizmo of the year or exceptional VFM? neither is particularly innovative too.

IMO Naim needs special treatment in this context. I haven't seen measured performance of this "wonder" and I truly doubt anyone would but I'm pretty much sure this thing won't offer anything more over what Hypex or Benchmark have already on offer with their NCore and AHB2 for a small fraction of Naim's asking price. But I guess that's what real hi-fi is all about; possibly the smalest bang for the buck for the customer and the highest to the CEO and the rest of the board.

Most of these items look incredibly ugly to me.

Am I the last dinosaur who likes to relax when listening to quality music?

What an odd bunch.

The majority of those selected don't even have a retail price (£tbc), yet they make the cut into the "Top 10 stars of CES" ?

In what way are these products 'exciting' ?

Sure - a couple of them look great and look market-appropriate (e.g. Monitor Audio Airstream), but the rest are way outside the budget of all but a handful of people in the UK, assuming that those products with '£tbc' next to them will follow the usual pricing of the brands concerned.

Is this the really the best/most interesting that you saw at CES ?

If so, it must have been an abjectly poor show this year.

Bet you wish you stayed at home.