CES 2017 • TABlog

by Dennis Davis | January 26, 2017

or years one of the refrains at CES and other shows has been that turntables were making "a comeback" and showing up "in record numbers." This year at CES there was no mention of a comeback, because it was almost as though turntables had never left. Although there were rooms that had no turntable, it was these naked rooms that seemed in the minority.

Even Magico, which frequently played only downloaded music, had a CD transport and, yes, a turntable (a DeBaer). VPI’s Mat Weisfeld was bunny-hopping all over the show, and he had published a helpful guide on the VPI website to make sure you knew the nine systems that included VPI 'tables, including the VPI joint ventures with Shinola and Mark Levinson. Andrea Brinkmann was tending turntable in some of the most interesting rooms at the show -- the VTL and DS Audio rooms. Allen Perkins of Spiral Groove appeared with MoFi Distribution to promote the Mobile Fidelity turntables that he has helped design and to show off his own Spiral Groove Revolution turntable (above, $24,000 with Spiral Groove tonearm).

Other turntable manufacturers elected to show static displays of their entire line of turntables. Musical Surroundings devoted an entire room to Clearaudio turntable packages ('table, 'arm and phono cartridge), ranging from a Clearaudio Concept package priced at $1600 . . .

. . . all the way up the range to a Master Innovation Wood Package at $50,000.

At the other end of the price scale was Pro-Ject. If you can’t afford a $50,000 Clearaudio Master, then Pro-Ject offered its lowest-priced 'table, the Debut Record Master, for between $399 and $449, topping off its display with and Xtension 10 for $3499.

Not that the show lacked for over-the-top statements, like the Triangle Art Reference SE ($27,998) paired with a room full of shiny gold Triangle Art electronics.

The big Kronos was in the YG Acoustics system -- a $61,500 package consisting of the Kronos Pro for $31,000, Black Beauty 'arm with armboards ($10,000) and optional SCPS-1 power supply ($13,000).

Then there was the classic (i.e., no longer in production) EMT Model 927F used in one of the Lamm systems.

But for sheer fun, the display I most enjoyed was over in the Convention Center, where Crosley Radio was pitching its slogan “a needle for every groove.” The Crosley name goes back to the 1930s, and here they were pitching turntables in every color, starting at $89.95. It carried me back to my first fold-up stereo system that quickly turned into a lifelong obsession. It’s still not a bad way to get hooked.

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