(CES, GRAMOPHONE, LAS VEGAS) With CES welcomed the year 2014, the advancement within the audio technology will remain as minor as before; or will it not?
Consumer Electronics Show 2014, the largest global gathering for the consumer electronics and technology industry, is history. The International CES 2014, which was held in Las Vegas from January 7 to 10, is often viewed as a barometer for where technology is headed in the coming year.
As probably expected, the show is centered on the race to be the next kings of convenience: curvier, smarter and more wearable devices. Many manufacturers have been claimed that 2014 will be the year of technology contestations; from the once cutting-edge products as mobile phones, tablets, video games, and TVs, to more forward-looking ones such as automated cars, home automation, and the attractive smart watches.
In audio technology, particularly on the advancement of audio equipment, the race is on as well. Manufacturers such as Arcam, Naim, T+A, Cambridge Audio, Meridien, Sony, and many more, are competing to please music enthusiasts—especially the audio hardcore ones. Not just to please the ear with staggering 300 kg Statement amplifier system from Salisbury’s Naim Audio of output in Class A for clarity and sweetness for instance, but also to provide more convenience in arranging your home audio system with high-end digital (and wireless!) speakers and amplifiers from Meridien and AirStream.
In 2014, change will be in the air, literally and figuratively, where manufacturers have big plans for wireless sound and smarter compo, such as introduced by the T+A in its Caruso Blu, an all-in one system combining CD, SACD, DVD and Blu-ray playback, internet radio, FM and DAB tuners, and access to music on network servers, USB storage or Bluetooth devices.
From CES 2014 al0ne, many perceived that audio technology is progressing. However, the progress is frustratingly slow, compare to other product categories that make big leaps forward year after year. More probably expected as well, the audio section (within the Home Theatre and Audio category) were less visited and less widely covered than a curved TV, or automatic cars, or smart watches.
In times of all things digital like now, perhaps the primary convenient in most of audio consumers means small, smart, mobile, and cheap; while the high-resolution sound—the best way musicians want their music to be enjoyed —may comes in second, or third, or even means nothing at all. In CES 2014, many manufacturers and the whole industry were seemed to agree that this year is not the right time to expect consumers to move up from MP3 files to much more data-hungry high-resolution content. Hence, little surprise that the technological advancement is progressing slowly.
However, there is much to learn from this. CES 2014 has shown to the world that things has pretty much turns up-side down lately. Perhaps in just several years ahead, there will be cars that drive you home, or watches that’ll be ‘smarter’ than books, or computers that will be composers and called ‘compusers’. So, who’s progressing slowly anyway? The technology or the human?