Precision Transducer Engineering is the name of this new company and about as apt a descriptor as one could imagine if you want to know what the these loudspeakers sound like. A year ago, perhaps in the same room, I felt a sense of relief walking into this room because these guys know a thing or two about jazz. Not regular new-wave or new-age jazz either. I'm talking Miles, Monk, 'Trane, Diz and Hub just to name a few (Hub as in Freddie Hubbard). As a matter of fact, it was Hub's Grammy Award winning album First Light that lured me lured me into this setup and a first listen to the big PTE Statements. It was only after intense enjoyment did I discover these were an active line of loudspeakers. Surprised by this, I asked designer Jim Rush to tell me why he'd decide to build something like this besides the obvious "because it's better" answer. Audiophiles want to have something to play with and we just love to play with amplifiers. His answer was "because it's really better than anything else we can build! The degree of freedom this loudspeaker has due to active crossovers is astonishing." You're preaching to the choir Jim, I explained. I too am very familiar with crossover-less products as the Behold electronics come equipped with a very sophisticated crossover software. Of course, this is where we got very serious into the discussion of high-efficiency drivers and then more listening ensued. To think a loudspeaker of this merit is available for $44k while other much smaller designs are costing much more is one of the many things that baffle me about this hobby. This room is open to everyone else and I'm certain others had the opportunity to hear these very remarkable transducers. Too big? Yes. Too heavy at over 400 lbs per side? No doubt. Inspired? Hell yeah. [My reference Sunny Horns are 900 lbs per side and I was so inspired over them I got them up two flights of stairs!] As a worthy alternative, but not nearly in the same league with respect to dynamics and sense of ease, there's much to like in the PTE Phoenix (another $5400 active loudspeaker). I have this loudspeaker in for review and am my admiration deepens with each passing song. The Phoenix performs well beyond what one would, or should, expect at its asking price. Stay tuned...

 

 

 

 

Peeked in the room directly next door to PTE and saw these huge trapezoidal shaped line-source loudspeakers built out of glass. The Soulsonic Impulse loudspeaker is certainly an impressively built and elegant looking dipolar designed in Slovenia by Miro Krajnc (right). Quite reminiscent to my favorite CES loudspeaker, the Swedish-made Perfect 8, Krajnc adopted a slightly different approach with the very same objective goals - and most importantly - at a fraction of the Perfect 8s outrageous $325,000 asking price (was originally $375k but this year the folks at Perfect 8 reduced price by $50k). The Impulse ($100k) is a simple 2-way that boasts four custom built 12" woofers per side handling all frequencies from 25 Hz up to 500 Hz. A  6-foot long dipolar ribbon handles the remaining frequencies from 500 Hz to 25 kHz and beyond. Upon closer inspection revealed hi-end innards such as Dueland capacitors and specially soft-tempered silver wiring through and through told me a great deal about the quality of this transducer way before any listening began. As I was musing over the the Impulse's look Boston Audio Society founder Alvin Foster walked into the room (photo above left), took a seat and pulled out some of his very personally recorded own on-site classical recordings (specially designed microphones and all). The sound was really impressive and I had no idea what they were supposed to sound like. It appeared that Alvin thought so to as he looked extremely impressed by the synergy of this setup. As soon as he got up and looked around, I jumped into the sweet spot and listened to my own jazz samplers. I was very impressed with the absolute sense of openness these loudspeakers demonstrated with what seemed like the greatest of ease. They behaved as if they were not even trying. Extremely delicate with oodles of bloom, the Impulse loudspeaker turned out to be one of a personal highlight at this year's CES and a most auspicious debut for this new company.