Audi's CES booth for 2013 was not set up in the Central Hall with the likes of LG, Samsung, Sony and Panasonic, but a good five minutes walk to the North Hall where they were joined by Ford, Hyundai and others.
Visualize a brightly glowing tunnel in the shape of a D-pad. High sealings made the experience breathable with the CES crowd of around 150,000 circulating within it. From afar, all could be seen were people floating around peering downwards at an Audi model. Taking center stage was the Le Mans 24 Hour race winner, the R18 e-Tron Quattro, driven by Marcel Fassler, Andre Lotterer and Benoit Treluyer on race day. Just behind it was the new RS 5 convertible in a striking red, flaunting its front and rear LED lights, carbon fiber rear spoiler and aggressive front grille.
To the left of the two heavy weights was a Q7 demoing Audi's latest in in-car sound technology.
Once the three finished taking up most of your time, you were naturally attracted to the last little tunnel at the Audi booth. This tunnel began as brightly as the others, however faded into black as you entered a special little room decorated from ceiling to floor in Bang & Olufsen sound. Six BeoLab 5's were positioned evenly in front of something that resembled a BeoVision 12 television screen. Adding to that were around two dozen BeoLab 3's spread evenly on the ceiling and the two side walls.
There was light chat amongst guests as they were viewing a silent clip of an Audi Q7 visually demonstrating new sound technology.
Then it became immediately mute. The chatter had subsided and the television screen turned black, a slight buzz from each and every speaker began making its way to my ears, and it hit me. The Iron Man 3 trailer began playing. Normally, I would not have cared to watch a trailer of a movie I've already watched many times, coming out in the Spring. And yet, I found myself mesmerized, hypnotized by the sound that all so suddenely and powerfully filled the small, dark, sound-proof room. It was wonderfully loud, the type of loud you cringe at waiting for some sort of ugly distortion. It was nothing like that. I had never heard sound any crisper than in that moment.
The trailer ended a few minutes later, I turned around and walked out of the glowing tunnel and had a found appreciation for Audi and Bang & Olufsen, much more than I had when I had just walked in.