Sound is a very subjective and visceral experience. For that reason Automotive Rhythms dove heavy into HARMAN’s audio products at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada this week. Never heard of CES? Well, it’s only the Super Bowl of all things electronic and high technology including home entertainment systems, automotive infotainment, GPS navigation, portable audio and now digital health applications. During the week of CES the Las Vegas Convention Center becomes littered with thousands of audiophiles, technicians, sound and automotive companies and some of the most innovative and goofy breakthroughs the industry has to offer, ultimately representing a $208 billion U.S. consumer electronics industry.
Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association, delivered the State of the Consumer Electronics Industry address. “We are at the forefront of a momentous wave of innovation,” said Shapiro. “The incredible growth that emerging product categories such as Ultra HDTV, wearable electronics and 3D printers will experience this year underscores the significant role new technologies play in the total consumer electronics story.” Quite naturally HARMAN was in town showcasing all of their brands under one roof. Set away from the heavy crowds at the Convention Center, HARMAN built an impressive and interactive stand in the MUSE of the Hard Rock Hotel. Were you aware they are the company of choice for over 20 automotive manufacturers represented by Infinity, harman/kardon, Lexicon, JBL, Mark Levinson and Bowers & Wilkins? Moreover, HARMAN has brand partnerships with BMW, Kia, SRT, Ferrari, Subaru, Maserati, Lexus, Dodge, Chrysler, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, MINI and Hyundai while continuing to ascertain revolutionary technology to premium audio systems.
Of course I was in heaven as a flurry of noise canceling AKG headphones in every size and color dominated my peripheral vision. Then there were the portable JBL audio solutions such as the manly Bluetooth loudspeaker that could easily play DJ at your private beach party. Better yet, I become fond of the timeless and profound JBL AUTHENTICS L16 tabletop audio system that can stream music from smartphones or computers over Wi-Fi. The resonances from its fully digital path were clear and precise. Though, the most impressive equipment of all was the $30,000 LEXICON REVEL home entertainment surround sound finished in white as well as the $200,000 ultimate concert SYNTHESIS Mark Levinson and JBL concert hall. Yes, that’s how pure the acoustics are.
But under the illuminated speaker covers, fancy surround sounds and vehicle displays such as the FIAT ABARTH is Signal Doctor. Please do familiarize yourself with this new innovation which restores audio quality lost in mobile listening environments such as MP3s, web and streaming. It is projected that up to 90% of sound is lost when music files are compressed which leaves only bland tunes. This audio degradation is tainting the authentic quality of the music industry. Signal Doctor examines the files during playback and reconstructs the misplaced elements of the tracks to its best ability. HARMAN will bring Signal Doctor to all platforms including your in-car audio systems since our vehicle is the number one source where we listen to music. There are also plans to license Signal Doctor to other audio manufacturers.
The icing on the cake was a surprise performance by mega rock band Linkin Park at The Joint in partnership with HARMAN. The two forged a five-year marketing deal that allows mutual benefits including Linkin Park designed Infinity speakers, some of which will be auctioned off for their defining charitable and global relief efforts. “This partnership is a natural fit for us since the Infinity brand is designed precisely for people like us, who have a deep and abiding love for music,” said Linkin Park co-lead vocalist and producer, Mike Shinoda. “Our band is serious and discerning about sound quality, and Infinity’s 46 years of relentless audio innovation to progress sound purity is both inspiring and motivational.” Rock on!