2018 was an interesting year at CES when it comes to audio. While the 2-channel high-end show held at The Venetian shrank, soundbars and lifestyle audio systems were ascendant. Soundbars in particular had a good year, with advances in terms of smart functionality. To recognize these achievements, AVS Forum handed out 8 Best of CES 2018 awards to interesting audio products. Another 10 were given to outstanding video products, which AVS Forum Editor Scott Wilkinson summarizes here… Best of CES 2018: Video.
Notably, the addition of far-field voice recognition and voice assistants for soundbars has arrived. And there were advances in terms of the fidelity offered by mainstream models, including support for Dolby Atmos with virtual height effect in one model.
Soundbars were not the whole story, of course. There were subwoofers and speakers and AVRs and amps and DACS and headphones all over the place. Ultimately CES is too big a show for any one person to cover. Nevertheless, here are some products I saw and heard that impressed. Be sure to click through to the post about each winner to read more.
Is it possible to recreate a Dolby Atmos speaker system with headphones? Can it be done affordably and easily? Creative thinks so, thanks to Super X-Fi.
Denon grants the wishes of 3D immersive audio lovers who have been asking for front wide support and more overhead channels with the 13-channel AVR-X8500H.
Andrew Jones has yet to disappoint. In the final demo of CES 2018, his new Argo B51 wireless, powered bookshelf speakers impressed with their great sound.
At CES 2018 Polk Audio unveiled the Command Soundbar that offer Alexa built-in. It sounded great at the press conference and will cost only $299.
Samsung’s gaming-oriented HW-N650 soundbar has new tweeter technologies called Acoustic Beam and Hole Array. It sounded great at CES 2018.
The Sony HT-Z9F 3.1 soundbar is able to render a 7.1.2 virtual soundfield. I underestimated its effectiveness, but then I took the demo.
SVS may be be in the speaker-building business but its roots are in making kick-ass subwoofers. Its 4000 series subs deserve a Best of CES 2018 award.
The TCL Roku Smart Soundbar has farfield voice recognition, just like Google Home and Amazon Echo. Good news for fans of Roku.
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