If you’re not seriously into high-quality drivers, there’s a good chance you haven’t heard of Chinese audio brand HiVi. But that’s the beauty of CES: you never know when or where you’re going to stumble onto a little piece of awesome. That’s what happened when we crossed by the HiVi booth which was showing off the MS2, a $10,000 piece of audio awesomeness that looks a little like Johnny 5 from Short Circuit, and sounds almost as good as its price point suggests it should.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that HiVi can muster such a marvel in the premium speaker world. After all, the company has been crafting drivers for high-end audio companies for years. What is surprising is the strange design of this hi-fi contraption, which bears a four-driver headpiece, if you will, housing dual two-inch dome tweeters and dual five-inch woofers. That’s matched by a 10-inch subwoofer below that looks almost like a timpani drum topped by a speaker screen.
The odd design is what drew us in, but the sound is what kept us there. Even in the chaos of the Las Vegas Convention Center South Hall it was obvious that the MS2 has some incredible audio chops. We were surprised at the price point, but then again, in the world of audiophilia things get crazy pretty fast — $30,000 speakers are hardly an anomaly.
The other odd thing about the MS2 is the fact that there is no wired audio input — it’s all wireless. That might turn off a lot of hardcore audiophiles, especially those with a turntable or high-end Blu-ray player. There’s also not a ton of stereo separation, given the fact that the drivers are all piled into a single piece.
Still, for those with the cash, this is truly a one-of-a-kind audio device — one that should be right at home with a modern decor and will start plenty of conversations.