The 2023 Consumer Electronics Show returned to Las Vegas on January 3rd, after a brief pandemic hiatus. Past attendance for CES was between 200,000 to 250,000, but this “smaller” comeback show had an estimated attendance of 100,000, which has been touted as the largest indoor gathering in the USA since the pandemic began.
This year’s show featured a newly constructed West Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center, adding to the already massive convention complex. Three BUDDY Magazine staffers each walked about 20 miles per day at the show, checking out literally hundreds of new products and displays.
Perhaps the biggest showstopper was seeing the large-scale hologram technology. The HYPERVSN booth provided a “phygital experience” for non-stop throngs of wide-eyed gawkers. One platform featured a 2-story hologram of Mark Cuban, giving a truly larger-thanlife talk.
We would place our bets on seeing much more of this tech rolling out on the strip in Las Vegas in large scale form, while making deeper footprint into branding and advertising in the not-too-distant future. It is absolutely stunning to experience in a live setting, and pics and video do not do it justice.
Here are some of our other top finds at the show:
Fuse Audio Vertical Turntable https://fuseaudio.net/
This was released a couple of years ago, it was one of our favorite pieces of hardware at the show. Making a vertical turntable that actually works efficiently and accurately is an engineering feat in- and of-itself.
Regarding the physics and design on the turntable, Fuse Audio’s Aaron Thompson gave us this run down: “We use a variety of measures to ensure a smooth playback that minimizes wear and tear on records. The biggest factor that affects our players is the reduction of the force of gravity. To offset the reduced gravitational force we counterbalance with (several different) mechanisms. (The) platter angle is set to 85° instead of 90°. This ensures that even if a record has a wobble, gravity can assist with keeping the tone arm in position and reading the vinyl. We use a large spring-loaded counterweight as our anti-skate mechanism. This is a larger weight than would be used for a traditional turntable. A tracking force of 4g keeps the needle in the groove. By removing most of the gravitational force that is applied to a traditional turntable’s tone arm, a higher tracking force is required to ensure consistent playback. This tracking force is within recommended specs for the Audio-Technica AT3600L needle cartridge. A magnetic clamp is used to mount/release vinyl to/from the platter mat quickly. This keeps vinyl stabilized and ensures proper vinyl playback speed. We have played our Bob Marley vinyl over a thousand times with minimal wear on the record.”
Amazon Price at time of pressing: $219.99
Epilog Laser Engraving Machine www.epiloglaser.com
Epilog is the etching machine of choice for many musical instrument manufacturers, including Rickenbacker, Deering Banjos, Schecter, and Grover Jackson Guitars. It can etch on glass, metal, wood, and other surface types. It is commonly used in the instrument industry for custom pickguards, fingerboards, and inlays. An Epilog rep told Buddy that Taylor also uses their machine for cutting the spruce reinforcements used in some of their acoustic guitar bodies.
Audio Technica ATHM50xSTS StreamSet™ Headset For Digital Creators www.audio-technica.com
Audio-Technica debuted the ATH-M50xSTS StreamSet™, designed for digital streamers and content creators, which combines the studio sound of the ATH-M50x headphones, with the clarity of their 20 series microphones. The ATHM50xSTS is equipped with a cardioid condenser microphone, and two distinct ear pad styles to be utilized according to preference.
Audio-Technica Sound Burger Turntable Re-Release
In commemoration of their 60th anniversary, Audio-Technica also released a l i m i t ed- e d i t ion Sound Burger portable turntable in November, over forty years after its original debut. An Audio-Technica representative told BUDDY Magazine, “The Sound Burger sold out globally in two days, before we started our promotion of it. We are going to bring this back as part of our standard line in spring of this year. It is a serious piece of audio equipment.”
The Sound Burger is an entry -level machine in terms of both features and price. With Bluetooth and USB-C connectivity, Audio Technica says the Sound Burger is useful for parties, outdoor gatherings, and that it fits in well with smaller living spaces. It connects to Bluetooth headphones or speakers for up to 12 hours of wireless record listening.
Roland 50th Anniversary Concept Piano
Roland USA featured a stunning organically-modern piano with their 50th Anniversary Concept Piano. It was showcased with drone speakers – yes, flying drones – that hover above the keyboard, and can conceivably fly over an audience or listener to literally find the sweet spot in any room. They were unable to demo these speakers inside the conference hall, however, due to restrictions by the Federal Aviation Administration, which regulates drone airspace – indoors, or out.
Here is how Roland describes the speaker design built into the concept piano: “The key was a 360-degree speaker, a “speaker ball “capable of firing sound in any direction. By placing them in critical areas of the piano – namely the lid and top edges – Roland Piano General Manager Takahiro Murai could reproduce the sound of any piano. To achieve this, they needed an unprecedented number of speakers.
“There are 14 general 360-degree speakers,” (said Murai), “seven on the right and seven on the left. This unique 14-speaker array can recreate a three-dimensional sound space not achievable with conventional stereo speaker systems found on digital pianos.” Roland also says “the new system could faithfully reproduce the immersive sound fields of acoustic vertical pianos or grand pianos. This completely changes the breadth of the sound and the width of the expression. Ultimately, it doesn’t sound like listening to speakers. The experience is closer to being surrounded by natural piano sounds.”