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Monday, January 11, 2010

2010 CES Show Overview - Part 2

In part 2 of my 2010 CES overview we look at some of the more absurd audio products at the show. Keep in mind that I never even got to the high-end audio exhibits at the Venetian due to a lost show  pass. Otherwise, this report would've been filled with examples of $300 power cables, $100 wooden volume knobs and polarized speaker cables that make your stereo sound great even if there is a car parked in your driveway or it's below 50 degrees outside (if you don't get it, this is some of the foolishness that some of these companies try to pull on unsuspecting medical and legal professionals with too much money in their bank accounts).

One last thing about the video world that I forgot to mention yesterday - handheld camcorders were everywhere and most of them were capable of 1080p, even the least expensive of them. Tape as a storage medium has gone the way of the CRT, meaning there probably wasn't a machine in entire city of Vegas that uses it. What was interesting is that a few years ago the top floor of the South Hall was flooded with Chinese and Korean manufacturers who all had iPod knock-offs. This year those same manufacturers had small 1080p camcorders. We now officially live in a hi-def world.

There was a lot of this kind of table top and portable audio gear around this year, but the difference from other years was that all of it was capable of online connectivity, and/or had flash card or SD card inputs. A reasonable trend for some marginal devices.

There was also an ever expanding world of iPod docks, one stranger looking than the next. Who buys these things? Do dealers even carry them? Would a consumer actually consider purchasing such a thing? Does the color really matter?

Yet another iPod dock that left me scratching my head. This one was so special that it was behind a plexiglass case. Didn't have a name, model, price or any information. I didn't even know it was a dock until I pressed my face up against the plexi.

Here's another Internet radio from an unknown foreign company that makes you scratch your head and wonder, "Why?"

For some reason, female DJs were everywhere this year. I guess some manufacturers must think that if a DJ is cool, a good looking girl DJ is even cooler. "Yeah, that's right. It'll help us fill out our order books."

This one actually gave me a dirty look when I was taking her picture. Sorry babe, you gave up your privacy when you took this meaningful job.

It seemed like whenever there was a female DJ, there was some kind of designer audio product around. Designer headphones were big this year. They don't have to sound good, just look cool and match your outfit. Plaid was the in color this year, in someone's mind at least.

Speaking of headphones, there were a lot of 5.1 surround sound headphones at the show. Having made my living as a surround mixer for a while, this caught my interest until I learned they were aimed only at the gaming market. After I thought about it for a while, I had to agree that was a much better application for pseudo-surround than anything I could think of.

Now we come to some of the even more absurd audio products. Once again, it makes you wonder, "Who buys these things?" or even worse, "Why would a company even consider creating them in the first place?" In any event, I hope these are the guys that are building military products for the foreign governments that we're afraid of.

First we have a karaoke box, complete with microphone. Why does it look like one of those center channel soundbars for your television sound system? Maybe because it's a center channel karaoke soundbar for your television? Or maybe not.

This is only one of many speaker systems that were pretty off the wall in their design. There was no audio pumping through it to tell how it sounds, but I guess it's only supposed to look pretty. Maybe it's there to hold up that Ming vase I bought at a yard sale.

And finally, here's what must be the worlds beefiest subwoofer speaker. This is when you've tried everything to get enough volume from your car stereo to crack your windshield, but nothing will do the job. It must be good though, since the frame is made from silver colored cast iron. I'll take 4 please. Maybe I can blow my windshield right out of its socket.

Tomorrow we'll finish up with some interesting accessories that are somewhat less absurd.

1 comment:

DonD said...

I once stopped at a light next to a guy whose car was booming so loudly, I could feel it in my chest. His windows were up. MY windows were up. Still, my keys were jangling. But best of all, he was wearing headphones. Headphones!!! I just now realized the phones were a fashion statement. Or maybe they were for ambient noise reduction (like airport workers wear). Or they were for catching the blood dribbling out of his ears. So, yes, there's a market for this stuff.

Go figure.


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