If you're familiar with the the brand Acoustic Systems and the mad scientist Frank Chang, well, forget everything you know. The story from CES isn't the stick 'em tweaks, but the new Acoustic Systems Tango loudspeakers ($20k, big pics here). The speakers combined with 1200 watt (yes, into 8 ohms) monoblocks by Karan Acoustics simply blew me away and provided one of the very best Vivid style sounds at the show.
I last heard the Acoustic Systems Tango speakers at RMAF and wasn't thrilled. Same Karan equipment, but at CES the Tangos appear to have new midrange and bass woofers. While at RMAF the sound was nice and laid back, at CES it became lively and exciting and just made me want to get up and dance. Vivid sound is defined by a warm tone with in-your-face precision and attack. The sound isn't laid back or mellowed for everyday listening, but big and full and tons of fun.
While the magic is in the midrange and treble, the bass is in another world entirely. I put on the loudest, most annoying hiphop track I had then took a gander at the triple 8" drivers -- no movement. The system was hitting in the low 20s and the drivers were barely breaking a sweat. I asked Frank Chang about the driver technology and he was either coy or confused by my questions. I'm a junky for driver specs but I could find out a thing.
What he did reveal is a unique "pressure releasing" port system in the form of a little notch the size of a fig newton. A few other companies have used tiny pressure ports (typically in subs) with great results and the new Acoustic Systems Tango really takes it to the proverbial 11. Fantastic job and I can't wait to hear the speakers and amps again.