Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Does Sound Quality Still Matter at the 2013 CES Show in Las Vegas?

Despite high fidelity audio makers trying to make their presence felt in every Las Vegas CES show since it began, does the “concept” of sound quality still matter?

By: Ringo Bones

The 1992 CES was probably my first thoroughly toured CES show where I first learned the ropes on how hi-fi and high end audio manufacturers make their presence both felt and known in these kinds of exposition environments. When I was fortunate enough to return back in 1997, it seems like hi-fi and high-end audio exhibitors were rather dramatically eclipsed by new personal computer and personal computer related products aimed at the first-time consumer. With the concept of high fidelity audio / sound quality or the factual representation of it no longer registering in the consciousness radars of the mainstream press like the BBC or CNN, does hi-fi and/or the factual representation of sound quality still matter in the annual CES Show in Las Vegas, Nevada?

It might be a tad ungrateful for me to blame PC makers – or current portable internet capable smartphone, tablet computers and what have you manufacturers – for pushing hi-fi audio into the obscurity corner at every annual CES Show after 1997 because most of my “willingly wasteful hi-fi budget” was made via on-line trading during the Clinton Administration. And it was only possible via both the 1990s era internet and the desktop personal computers of the day.

But the truth is high fidelity audio and high end audio had been a shrinking violet in every annual CES Show way well before George Dubya Bush screwed the Clinton era economic expansion that created Google and gave the late, great Steve Jobs of Apple very much to invent whatever he pleases back in the 1990s. Ever since IBM made desktop personal computers got priced within the threshold of affordability of every American public high-school’s allotted Federal educational budget, parents across America suddenly got the impression that a 1,500 US dollar mid to late 1980s era desktop personal computer is more useful than a 900 US dollar second-hand hi-fi composed of a still-functioning Fisher 500-C receiver, a pair of Acoustic research AR 3a loudspeakers and a Garrard turntable and a bunch of Beethoven and Mozart Classical LPs.