Audio News for January 24, 2014

New Sony Hi-Res Mobile Audio Player – was shown at CES. The Walkman NW-ZX1 is set to be the company’s flagship portable jukebox. It looks like a premium product and has a built-n small speaker, but Sony doesn’t supply any headphones, so you need your own. There is a dedicated headphone amp and 3.5mm audio jack for the best possible audio quality. It fits in your pocket and is powered by an Android 4.1 Jelly Bean for a four-inch display, but altho you could watch movies or play games on it, the main focus is the music. There is 128GB of onboard storage, which will hold about 800 hi-res tracks in most any file type, including 192K/24-bit files. It has Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and NFC for streaming music, but you’ll need a hard-wired audio cable to hear tracks in their hi-res glory. You can download apps thru its Wi-Fi connectivity. Sony’s Digital Sound Enhancement Engine (DSEE) technology is used to improve the sound quality of any regular MP3 files. It will go on sale first in the UK next month at about $900 U.S., which is clearly high end and more than the cheaper Astell&Kern unit.

International CES 2014 – was, according to all reports, as crowded and crazy as usual. It is said there were less distributors and retail store people. The high end exhibits in the Venetian Hotel Tower were few, but the Hi-Res TechZone at the Sands Convention Center—designed to introduce the general public to the wonders of high resolution audio—was a success. People who knew nothing about hi-res audio before were educated. David Chesky was up-beat about Sony getting into the hi-res audiophile market. The competing T.H.E. Show down the road was poorly attended.  According to Stereophile, not only hi-res, but also headphone listening, portable listening devices and small DACs are transforming the high end industry.

D&H Reminds Dealers of Winter Sports Events Helping Sales – D&H Distributing reminded its customers to profit from the sales of large-screen HDTVs and complementary appliances leveraging 2014’s upcoming winter sporting events. They mentioned the NEC 65-inch LED-LCD HDTV and the Samsung 60-inch LED HDTV. Accessories would include items such as a Midea mini-fridge or the West Bend Air Crazy popcorn maker. A recent survey by FatWallet shows that many purchasers will be looking for TV bargains in the coming days. 30% of those surveyed said they were likely to buy a new TV sometime this year, and approximately one-third of those will probably make their purchase during the Super Bowl sales period.

LG Display Reports Lower Q4 Sales – but their annual operating profit was up 28% compared with the previous year. This was do a steady demand from TV manufacturing customers and expanded sales of premium products such as small- to medium-size panels.  LCD TV panels accounted for 37% of revenues, monitors 17%, tablets 20% and mobile applications 15%.

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