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John Legend Loves Sony SS-AR1 Speakers: Hear Them at CES

Legend cuts track for new album, enjoys playback on SS-AR1 speakers from Sony. Listen to the $27k towers at CES 2013.


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John Legend with Sony SS-AR1 speaker at House of Rock in Santa Monica, Calif.

Recently I had the great privilege of watching and listening to John Legend cut a track for a new album being released this summer … and the even greater pleasure of watching him enjoy the song two hours later through Sony’s new SS-AR1 speakers.

Could he even tell the difference between that faithful reproduction and the one he heard in the studio?

“Of course,” the Grammy award-winning singer/song told me. The studio sound is meant to be pure, whereas the speakers “give it personality.”

Surrounded by a handful of press people and eager Sony representatives, Legend and his fiancée Christine Teigen listened intently as the new song, which I can’t say anything about, poured through the tower speakers, which retail for $27,000 per pair.

Following the “performance,” Legend huddled with the sound engineers to discuss the mixing but clearly he was pleased with the piece.

I always say I’m not an audiophile and I rarely listen to music, but every time I hear these speakers – this was my third listening over the past year – I break out in a grin. They make me love music.

I didn’t have much of an opinion about Legend until I heard him “live” through the speakers.

In fact, every CD I heard that night at the House of Rock in Santa Monica, Callif., made me fall in love with a new genre. I never cared much for jazz, but miraculously, I loved jazz that night. Gospel? I’ve never loved it so much as I did listening to it through the SS-AR1s. I wanted to rush straight to a church. And I’m Jewish.

What makes me love it more is the passion of Motoyuki “Yuki” Sugiura, who designed the speakers.

Here he is waxing poetic about the days of vinyl. You will never see someone speak as passionately about music and audio than Yuki-san. At one point, I think he sheds a little tear.

VIDEO: Motoyuki “Yuki” Sugiura, developer of Sony’s SS-AR1 speakers

That passion is definitely embodied in the SS-AR1s.

These days Sony isn’t all that well known for audio, but the company has its roots in audio – literally. The “son” in Sony means sound, as it does in Sonance, Sonos and other audio brands.

I’m at CES 2013 in Las Vegas right now, and I left all my Sony SS-AR1 notes back at the office, but I did want to encourage CES attendees to check out the Sony demo during the show: Venetian Tower, Suite 34-209

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Sony SS-AR1 Demo
CES 2013

Venetian Tower, Suite 34-209
(Pictured: Sony audio engineer Motoyuki “Yuki” Sugiura)

Since audio isn’t really my “thing” (you can ask me anything you want about home automation), I’m not wise enough to gush over the specs. I just like what I hear.

Here’s the PR on the speakers, which will be showcased with the new dual-mono Xs preamplifier from Pass Laboratories.

Sony’s SS-AR1 Loudspeakers are designed to recreate music as faithfully as possible, delivering an unparalleled listening experience. Each SS-AR1 is a 4-unit, 3-way floorstanding system featuring one 5-inch midrange driver with an exclusive resonance-suppressing paper cone, twin 6.5-inch aluminum cone woofers, and a 1-inch soft-dome tweeter with a ring of six neodymium magnets in its motor system. Bass reflex ports and piano-black contoured cabinets of hand-selected Japanese maple and Nordic birch contribute further to the speakers’ beautiful sound.

Read the entire CES 2013 press release here.

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John Legend Loves Sony SS-AR1 Speakers: Hear Them at CES


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Article Topics

News · Product News · Slideshow · Audio · Speakers · Events · CES · Ces 2013 · Sony · John Legend · Ss-ar1 · All topics

About the Author

Julie Jacobson, Co-Founder, EH Publishing / Editor-at-large, CE Pro
Julie Jacobson, recipient of the 2014 CEA TechHome Leadership Award, is co-founder of EH Publishing, producer of CE Pro, Electronic House, Commercial Integrator, Security Sales and other leading technology publications. She currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. She's a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player currently residing in Carlsbad, Calif. Follow her on Twitter @juliejacobson. [More by Julie Jacobson]

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