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High-End Audio Lives On

LAS VEGAS -- Believe it or not, there's still a thriving high-end audio business presence at the 2008 Consumer Electronics Show.

I say believe it or not because everything on the planet is being geared toward computer-based music systems.

This year approximately 100 hospitality suites in the Venetian Hotel tower are showing off some very expensive and great-sounding hi-fi gear.

I was privileged to hear some amazing-sounding loudspeakers, small and large, from DeVore Fidelity, Quad and Siltech. Just so you know, we're talking about products selling for $2,000 (DeVore Gibbon 3s) to $130,000 (Siltech Pantheons) per pair.

I also got to listen to a few great amplifiers, CD players, digital-to-analog converters and some very expensive turntables and phono cartridges as well as a line of brand-new Dual turntables. In case you didn't know it, playing vinyl LPs is making a big comeback with today's youngsters. They think records sound better than MP3 files.

At least someone is actually listening.

If you like the way your music sounds after being squeezed, compressed and manhandled by the current crop of computer programs like Apple's (AAPL - Get Report) iTunes, Microsoft's (MSFT - Get Report) Windows Media Player or AOL's Nullsoft Winamp, then you can stop reading now.

But, if you prefer your music files sounding like real music -- and think MP3, AAC and WMA files aren't all that good -- help may be on the way.

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