It is the last few days of CES 2024, and with all eyes on the show after a tough few years following the pandemic, there has been a flurry of new products confirmed to get us excited for the year ahead.
Although the TV and AV announcements coming out of the show may have stolen a fair bit of the limelight, there has still been some great hi-fi launches to get us talking, showing there is plenty of life in the old trade show yet for us audiophiles.
If you've not had chance to catch up on all the news from the show just yet, worry not. We've rounded up the nine hi-fi and audio stories that you need to know about right here.
Sonus Faber Suprema
Sonus Faber delivered the wow factor with its new Suprema system, an impressive — and expensive — loudspeaker system that’ll set you back £695,000 / $750,000 for its set up of two speakers, two subwoofers, and one electronic crossover.
The company has described the Suprema as its “most ambitious project to date” but the design of the Suprema system remains very much ‘Sonus Faber’ in its styling.
The speakers are 4/5-way designs with eight front-firing speakers in addition to two back-firing drivers, while the subwoofer system uses two 38cm transducers, carbon fibre membranes and a neodymium magnet motor system for undistorted pressures up to 16Hz.
As for the external electronic crossover, it is a dual mono and fully balanced design, with all phase cutting and control circuits purely analogue.
The range is available in a choice of red, graphite or walnut finishes. What isn’t included is a house large enough to keep it in.
Focal Aria Evo X
A slightly more accessible speaker line up came from Focal, in the shape of its Aria Evo X — successors to the Aria 900 line released 10 years ago.
With speakers covering both traditional stereo and surround sound setups, the range consists of five new models, including the No.1 standmount speakers, the No.2, No.3 and No.4 floorstanders and the Evo X centre speaker.
The range offers varying options for different budgets and room sizes, with prices starting from £1299 / $2398 per pair for the compact No.1 speakers, rising to £3999 / $5998 per pair for the larger No.4s. The centre channel is available for £699 / $999.
You can pick up this new range now in a choice of Black High Gloss, Prime Walnut or the new Moss Green High Gloss finish.
FiiO launched three brand-new products at CES 2024 in Las Vegas (including the CP-13 cassette player — yes, you read that right), but it was the flagship R9 desktop streamer and headphone amp/DAC that most caught our eye.
It represents an all-round upgrade over last year’s R7, with a larger 6-inch Full HD touchscreen, upgraded components and more than double the power — now 7300mW, up from 3000mW.
You can enjoy 64GB onboard storage and a range of connections, including a new HDMI ARC port alongside the SD, USB, optical, coaxial and ethernet inputs found previously. Headphone users are well catered for too, with a choice of single-ended 6.35mm, balanced 4.4mm, and balanced 4-pin XLR outputs available.
From a wireless perspective, there's Bluetooth 5.0 and 2.4GHz / 5GHz wi-fi capabilities, with support for high-resolution PCM files up to 32-bit/768kHz, native DSD512 audio, and MQA decoding. It also supports AirPlay ad DLNA streaming, and is Roon Ready — plus as it runs on Android you can directly install streaming services like Tidal, Apple Music, Spotify and Qobuz.
You can pick it up from mid-January and will cost £1399 / $1499.
Sennheiser Momentum Wireless 4
Sennheiser unveiled a trio of new products at CES 2024, but it's the Momentum True Wireless 4 wireless earbuds that we're most excited about.
The current Momentum True Wireless 3 picked up five stars in our review, but they are coming up to two years old now, and that's starting to show against newer competition.
Promising a "larger-than-life sound", some of the enhancements you'll find this time round include improved ANC, longer battery life of up to 7.5 hours on a single charge (with 30 hours in the case) and Auracast support — a new Bluetooth feature that opens up the world of audio sharing between various compatible devices and sources.
There's also support for Qualcomm's S5 Sound Gen 2 platform and Snapdragon Sound Technology for aptX lossless codec and ultra-low latency capabilities when streaming via Bluetooth.
They'll be available to pre-order on February 15th in a choice of black copper, metallic silver and graphite, and will cost £260 / €300 / $299.95 / AU$499.95.
Audio Pro C20
Audio Pro added a new flagship speaker to its What Hi-Fi? Award-winning C Series at CES 2024, created with both music and TV sound in mind.
All wrapped up in the brand’s signature Scandinavian design, the C20 packs all manner of inputs to make the most of that versatility, including a dedicated line-in, a built-in MM phono stage, and an ARC optical input for your TV.
The C20 can also stream music wirelessly up to 24-bit/96kHz via your choice of Tidal Connect, Spotify Connect, AirPlay 2, Google Cast, Audio Pro Multiroom or Bluetooth.
There's 190W of power here, plus you can stereo pair a couple of C20s together using the Audio Pro app, or Apple AirPlay 2. There's even a sub-out for more low-end oomph if you need it.
The C20 will be available in a choice of soft satin white, stylish grey or classic black from February, and will be priced at £450 / $550 / €550.
McIntosh MC2.1KW Monoblock Power Amplifier
As part of its 75th anniversary celebrations, McIntosh used CES 2024 to announce one of its most powerful amplifiers to date.
The new MC2.1KW Monoblock Power Amplifier builds on the legacy of 2005's MC2KW, with a tri-chassis construction and 2000 watts of power to give what McIntosh promises will be "a new industry standard for power and amplification".
Some of its improvements include a large-capacity power supply for better performance of low-end frequencies and improved dynamic headroom, while four bespoke McIntosh heatsinks on each power module ensure efficient heat dissipation for more consistent audio quality.
Further enhanced circuit designs with upgraded components and shorter signal paths should also aid sonic performance, as should the MC2.1KW's updated electrical wiring and interconnect cables.
The MC2.1KW will be available from January 2024 at authorised dealers for an eye-watering £59,995 / €64,990 / $50,000.
Victrola Stream Sapphire
The Victrola Stream Sapphire was one of four turntables unveiled by the brand at CES 2024, but this one caught our eye for its ability to wirelessly stream gorgeous vinyl sound all around your house.
It follows in the footsteps of last year's Stream Carbon, which worked with Sonos to do just that. However, the Sapphire adds to this with UPnP and Roon support too, enabling playback through a whole load more compatible devices, all without the need for any further equipment.
Of course, there are also gold-plated RCA outputs for traditional wired systems and powered speakers too. Expect it to cost £1599 / $1499 / €1799 when it’s available in the Spring.
JBL Xtreme 4
JBL announced the latest iteration of its rugged Bluetooth speaker, the Xtreme 4 — and this time round, it’s leaning on AI to get the very best sound quality from it.
The AI Sound Boost feature sees an AI algorithm analysing your music in real time to optimise what you hear, resulting in a more powerful and less distorted sound.
The Xtreme 4 is also one of the first JBL wireless speakers to support Auracast.
It retains its rugged capabilities, with an IP67 rating, plus a 24-hour battery life, with the ability to use it as a charger for your phone if you’re caught short. You can even replace the battery further down the line if you need to.
It’ll cost £330 / $380 / €350 when it goes on sale in March.
Roon Nucleus Titan
Mark this in the “serious hi-fi purchase” column, but Roon used CES 2024 to announce a new flagship server, called the Nucleus Titan.
Like Roon's previous flagship, the Nucleus Plus, the new Nucleus Titan is a dedicated server/streamer solution that has been optimised to work with Roon's OS to deliver "bit-perfect playback" of your hi-res digital music collection to a Roon-compatible hi-fi system.
Where the new top-tier server surpasses its predecessor is in performance quality and a self-cooling design with "silent, fan-less operation".
The Titan also sports two USB-C and two USB-A inputs, along with two audio-only HDMI ports. Its internal storage comes in three sizes: 2TB, 4TB and 8TB. Multiroom audio setups are also supported.
Costing $3699 before adding storage (and your Roon subscription), this is a something of luxury purchase, to say the least. But if you’re serious about Roon, this is undoubtedly the ultimate partner to the Roon software platform.
Check out all the CES 2024 news and highlights – LG and Samsung's groundbreaking TVs, hands-on reviews and more