Connected. Robotic. Virtual Reality. And a few practical things.
Handheld digital recorders were popping up like weeds when it was a fresh idea, but things have been pretty much dead in the past couple of years. Roland broke the silence with their new R-07, a cigarette pack sized stereo digital recorder that’s quite feature-packed. In addition to the on-board controls, it can be remotely-controlled over Bluetooth with a dedicated app. According to the rep, you can also monitor in real time through the app. It offers the dual-recording feature of optionally recording secondary track 10 dB or so lower than the set level to provide a backup if something gets too loud and clips before you can take care of it. Further, it uses the secondary track as a limiter – when it detects a clip, it replaces the primary track with the secondary track normalized to full scale. I first saw this from Sony, then TASCAM adopted it, and now Roland – most transparent limiter ever.
The Hyper range from Sanho Corp is a comprehensive line of support products for the USB-C interface. They offer several hubs, video adapters to Display Port or HDMI, charging stands and a combination battery pack and hub.
I reported last year that Rane had been resurrected, and they were here at CES this year, along with their partner company, Denon. Rane is mostly concentrating in the installed sound and commercial market, and this year showed a multi-channel processing box that’s software based and computer-controlled. It’s similar to the Peavey Matrix system of a dozen or so years ago in that you can construct and adjust a processing chain by dragging and dropping processors on a screen. Denon has a batch of single rack space audio players with assorted combinations of input sources – CD, USB, memory card, Bluetooth, etc.
In what I call Cosmetic Audio, the Victrola line from Innovative Technology has a large collection of vintage-styled phonograph players, all of which play records, some include a radio, CD player, file player, Bluetooth receiver, etc. Some even have a trumpet or morning glory horn. They also have some decent looking mid-priced turntables that look like turntables.
I didn’t make it to the robots section yet, but it seems that there are a lot of robots to entertain little kids and older folks who can use a companion. There’s a huge wave of integrating smart voice control with things that, just a few years ago, achieved some level of intelligence and connectivity. But along with this, there seems to be a bit of common sense, with people not being too sure if they want all that information about what they do in their private lives to be access to distribution beyond what they’re talking to.