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General Meeting Reports for 2001 Return to Index
December 2001 Members DIY Night

No report as such but plenty of nice photos of members DIY gear for you to look at in the Photographs and Memories page.

November 2001 Rockian Trading Presents

After thanking Ian Robinson and Greg Osborn for providing the equipment for the, night’s musical presentation, Ian Hooper started the evening on a personal note with, regards to the events of September 11, with Chesky Records and two other record, labels based in New York, it became difficult for Rockian to fax their friends in the, first 48 hours. Thankfully all the people they deal with are safe and well.

Ian’s presentation for the night was to inform us of the new developments in audio. Now with a number of major record companies backing the SACD format, the four labels that Rockian carry have brought out a total of 50 discs over the last 12 months. Ian sees this as a growing market, not just for the world but also for Australia. October 2001 saw Philips, Marantz, Sony and Rockian get together to promote and introduce to the local market the new multi channel SACD format. With two channel SACD establishing itself in one audiophile market, multi-channel is seen as a new medium for the younger generation to disc over high quality music. This generation has only grown up with movie surround sound.

In the last 12 months Rockian’s number one label Dorian, have been busy releasing 40 new titles onto the market, including 8 multi SACD titles, the greatest number of new releases by any independent label. Opus3 have released four SACD titles. With, their twin figure 8 recording techniques they are able to steer the ambient information into the rear channels of the multi discs. Calen Records were a bit disappointing with only one unexpected release, while AudioQuest is now owned by Valley Entertainment, America’s second largest media distributor who also have the rights to DTS music discs. DMP released 4 SACD’s onto the market plus a set-up and test CD for multi-channel SACD.

Reference Recordings have started to release their old recordings onto the HDCD format, plus 3 new recordings for the year. Since Microsoft has purchased Pacific Microsonics, HDCD has become a very popular seller for Rockian. HDCD has suddenly had a resurgence because a number of high quality DVD players have HDCD chips, so people are trying to buy the discs. Unfortunately the Australian pressing plants do not know how to follow the instructions when it comes to transferring the information from one master tape - DAT. If the level is altered when transferring from the master tape, it upsets the HDCD coding. Be warned as Ian says, what may say HDCD on the disc may not decode on your machine, particularly the local pressings.

Up until the end of last year there were only two SACD pressing plants producing, discs for the world. The start of this year sees a third plant (based in Sydney). This will allow Sony Music to put out the gold alloy hybrid discs onto the local market a lot quicker, and at a cheaper price.

Equipment Listing:

Rockian Music – Redgum Electronics – Osborne Loudspeakers

CD Player: Sony XB940 SACD player. Also used as CD transport for PCM discs running into the Redgum DAC.

Redgum pre-amp – new finish and badges with single volume control.

Redgum Amplifiers – 300 Watt mono blocks with large heat sinks, no fans, using eight FETs, internal mains filter, circuit breaker (no fuse), immune to high power RF radiation.

Osborne Loudspeakers — Grand Monument Reference Flagship model using the Audiom TLR tweeter, a 20 mm titanium ferrofluid cooled neodymium ring magnet with phase plug. Three way speaker configuration with two 12" poly glass bass drivers. Cabinet construction: 64mm front baffle, 32 mm MDF all other sides, heavily braced, lined with felt-leadfelt and dacron-filled. Weight is 175kg each.

Rockian Playlist:

Roger Landes - Dragon Reels - Tr2, Sarsfields March. Dorian.
Mason Brown and Chipper Thompson - Am I Born to Die - Tr1, PrettyPeggy-O. Dorian.
Jacqueline Schwab - mark Twain’s America - Tr1 Medley: Love’s OldSweet Song. Dorian.
Buring River Brass - Russian Carnival, Mussordgsky’s Pictures at anExhibition - Tr7 & 8, Promenade & Gnomes. Dorian.
The Conga Kings with Phil Woods on Sax - Jazz Descarges - Tr1, UnPoco Loco. Chesky.
Anan Caram - Blue Bossa - Tr9, The Telephone Song, Chesky.
Bucky Pizzarelli - Swing Live - Tr1, Lester Leaps In - Chesky SACD multichannel.
Eric Bibb - Sprit and the Blue - Tr4, I am Blessed. Opus 3 SACD.
Tiny Island - Tiny Island - Tr2, Vaquero, Opus 3 SACD, plus Tr4.
Ominbus Wind Ensemble - Music of Frank Zappa - Tr14, Peaches En regalia.Opus 3 SACD.
Terry Evens - Mississippi Magic - Tr1, Big Bad Daddy Good. AudioQuest SACD.
Chris Whitleyu - Pefect Day - Tr3, China Gate. Valley Entyertainment.SACD.
Warren Bernhardt So Real - Tr6, On the Wake. DMP SACD.
Pilhoffer Jazz Quartet - Full Cricle - Tr1, Full Circle. DMP SACD.
Dallas Wind Symphony - Jerry Junkins - Tr11 & 21. Sousa: The LibertyBell. RR HDCD.
Minnesots Orchestra - Eiju Oue - Tr 9, Respoghi: The Pines on the AppianWay. RR HDCD.
Barooque Favourites - Tafezmusic - Tr1, Handel: Entrance of the Queenof Sheba. RR HDCD.

October 2001 PBS and Len Davis - The Music Nut Funk/Fusion Meister

It was probably fair to say that most MAC’rs just weren’t quite sure what to expect, when Len Davis fronted to our October MAC Meeting to talk Jazz/Funk/Fusion. Foreign to most, and arguably with little air play, these genres of music have not, garnered wide appeal (undeservedly I would add!). It is interesting to note that the goals of PBS are basically not that far from those of, MAC on the whole – essentially they have been around approximately 25 years, serving the community as a non-profit organization, presenting music by volunteers, because they feel passionate about it!

Although Len was not a techy as such, he advised the station has recently begun digitally broadcasting via the web and can, now support 1000 users logged in to hear PBS tunes, 24/7. PBS costs around $10000, per week to run and this money is met by active sponsors and subscribers, including, Friends for Life ($1000 donation).

Membership is $66 p.a. and includes many discounts, at local music and entertainment venues. (There is also a discount membership, (concession) of $33 for pensioners/students). Len began the night by establishing the foundation of fusion, that being with Miles Davis and bands like Return to Forever. Although old recordings, the musicianship, innovative and inventiveness of jazz in these times seemed timeless and in many, ways as cutting edge as today’s hot groups. We then moved into a brief foray on Jaco Pastorious who brought bass guitar to the front of the band as a lead instrument, and after manually levering off his frets established a new sound of flowing basslines. The jazz/rock pseudo-schizophrenia of Mike Stern was demonstrated on Lose the Suit where Mike blends from a jazzy style playful touch to a more rock distortion, based canvas. Funk was nicely captured via a few pieces (the Dean Brown was, new to me - must check this out) of Dave Weckl, Dean Brown and Marcus Miller -, each brilliant in their own right. If you want toe tapping grooves coupled with slap, bass (the latter two), these are the guys you should be looking for. I did manage a small demonstration of the chicken-funk across the room to change discs during these tunes. I just couldn’t help myself!

There was then a shift of music, more, towards the Smooth Jazz end of the spectrum. Artists like George Benson, Keiko Matsui, Lee Ritenour, Acoustic Alchemy are probably reasonably well known. Then, there were others like Spyrogyra with a more Latino influence and Smooth Africa, both which are bound to appeal to many MACrs also. Some of the discs played on the night included:

Miles Davis Runs The Voodoo Down Bitches Brew Columbia,
Return To Forever Medieval Overture Romantic Warrior Columbia,
Weather Report Barbary Coast Black Market Columbia,
Mike Stern Lose The Suit Between The Lines Atlantic,
Dave Weckl Wet Skin Synergy Stretch,
Dean Brown Take This Here E S C,
Marcus Miller Power M 2 Telarc,
George Benson El Barrio Absolute Benson GRP,
Spyro Gyra Florida Straits In Modern Times Heads Up,
Various Artists Manenberg Smooth Africa Heads Up,
Lee Ritenour Mr Pappa This Is Love I E,
Acoustic Alchemy Same Road Same Reason Arcanum GRP,
Guy Strazzulo Mandela Blue Phoenix ABC.

It is clear to see the influences the early fusion of Miles Davis and Return to Forever, had on all forms of jazz and pop today. I am confident those who attended found a few selections to seek out in the future, hence widening their musical vocabulary. Our thanks again to Len for an informative fun filled night of a great variety of music, as is typical on his show. Subscribe and tune in to 106.7 PBS-FM Saturdays, from 11-1pm for more of this "fusified" music genre.

How is PBS-FM Different?, One of the major aims of the international community radio movement is program, diversity. PBS is a public broadcaster that offers a genuine alternative. PBS is a station which provides a clear alternative to both commercial and government radio programs. We broadcast specialist programs on the innovative, and historically significant, music, arts and comedy that don’t get a fair hearing anywhere else. We have developed a specialist format so that audiences with a taste for a particular form, such as a musical genre, can get a satisfying serve. Our audience is anyone who appreciates interesting music, non mainstream arts or, independent news.

See (or listen): http://www.pbsfm.org.au

September 2001 Alan Gregory and Electrostatics

For our September General Meeting there was standing room only for the EST Electrostatic display provided by Alan Gregory. He was also accompanied by two other gentleman, one of whom was Rob Leahy. Rob brought a nice looking EL34 tube power-amp. The EST’s were a hybrid design using two separate panels for mid-bass and treble and a conventional 8" bass reflex driver to supplement the bass below 180Hz. There striking design in audiophile black stood some 1890mm high, 470mm wide and 420mm deep, this depth mainly to house the woofer which also formed the base of the speaker. I’d love to see a pair with some real wood veneers, this might add an even classier touch. Sensitivity was claimed at 86db/W/1m and amplifier power recommended to be 100-150W rms. Great to see a tube friendly electrostatic!

Alan uses a 12V plug-pack power supply to make the speakers easy to adapt to any country’s electrical system, although past experience with electrostatics indicates shipping overseas could be problematic. Panel voltages are in the range of 2.5- 3.5kV so not one for the kitty-kat to crawl up! Meeeow indeed...however this is less likely to eventuate into a charred chat as the speakers automatically switch off after six minutes of silence – good home pet insurance indeed. The first amplifier used to drive the EST’s was the ME, a considerable behemoth, as well as the ME pre-amplifier. After interval we switched to the EL34 tube power amplifier.

A wide variety of music was enjoyed as usual at our meetings. Some of the play-list included:

Larry Carlton
Loreena McKennit - The Mystic Dream
Chris Smither - Catfish
Some classical by popular demand (Siebert?)
Mark Cohen - Dig Down Deep
Hank Jones
Shirley Horne
Nirvana Unplugged - Come as you are
and others

As Alan mentioned first up himself, these speakers are a work-in-progress. Their strengths were their smoothness of sound, their ability to disappear in the far field and resolve image depth well. However, there were some design issues that became apparent after listening to several tracks. It appeared that something was clipping through transients and at higher listening levels. (This doesn’t normally worru people at GM’s! - Ed.) The left speaker in particular looked like the panels were moving more than expected, so perhaps something worked loose in shipping. Also, although the Willis room can be a difficult room to get good bass balance, the EST’s did seem a little woolly down low and perhaps a touch high in gain. Sometimes this can be a result of tuning for a quick transient response at the expense of settling time. This is a compromise inevitable with an electrostatic hybrid matching the speed of the panel with that of a conventional driver. I am sure Alan is working on refining these aspects before product release.

The tube amplifier (70W/ch) was a better match to the EST speakers offering a more natural tonal balance and some subtler cues of the actual performance. Svetlana EL34’s were praised for their value for money (although rumoured to be out of distribution in the US possibly), and GE 12AT7s used in the input stage. This amp was solid state rectified, used a single power supply with 470uF, silicon dipped power transformer and a PCB to mount its components. Transformers were sourced locally to detailed specifications to achieve a full power bandwidth from 15Hz to 15kHz. This amplifier was said to be priced at RRP $3500 and the EST speakers, below $5000.

Alan can be contacted via email at martin42@optusnet.com.au or mailed to at 1/11 Frances Av, Vermont, 3133. Our thanks to Alan for introducing us to this promising speaker concept and a sweet sounding tube power amplifier.>

Rob Leahy of Total Technologies can be contacted at 28 Phillip Drive Sunbury, Ph 9740 8003, Email totaltech@iprimus.com.au, Web http://home.iprimus.com.au/totaltech/

July 2001 AXED by AKSA!

Pole axed that is! How could something so simple and so affordable sound that good? It certainly flies in the face of experience. Most of us by now are so used to the Richter scale of retail audiophilia. Where, loosely speaking, a 100 percent increase in price may, if one is lucky, deliver something that might manage a 10 percent improvement in sound quality, so that "cheaper and significantly better" usually does not compute.

Standing room only was the order of the day on Wednesday July 17 th’s General Meeting when club member and amplifier designer Hugh Dean, together with President Ron Newbound demonstrated their collaborative effort. Ron’s prototype of the kit-set speaker he designed to meet ("exceed" is probably more appropriate) Hugh’s criteria was driven by Hugh’s exciting AKSA 55 watter. This little power amplifier with a BIG audio impact has a steadily growing overseas acceptance with some 150 sold to enthusiastic buyers in little over a year. That’s USA, Asia and Europe not Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane etc. Hugh’s www.printedelectronics.com.au web- site receives around 200 hits per day. For everything you could ever conceivably want to know about AKSA and it’s HOT amplifier I strongly recommend you stop reading right here and log on to the web-site.

Long term members know just what an amp and speaker killer the Willis room can be. Well, this seemingly diminutive, spritzig pairing had no difficulty producing delicately articulated levels of sonic finesse that, in the past, other monsta audio products have sometimes struggled to achieve. By now many will be familiar with the feisty AKSA power amplifier so let’s look a little more closely at the transducer. Ron’s kit-set speakers are so new they’re still at the prototype stage.

The speaker kit-set is sparse but sufficient containing all fittings (crossover, bolts, screws polyester filling etc.) and DIY design specifications. Purchasers need only to obtain drivers, wood and glue. When assembled it's a trapezoidal floor stander with, as demonstrated in the Willis Room, a Peerless 1" fabric dome tweeter and 6.5" bass- midrange. The polyester-stuffed cabinet has no bottom enabling the Allen key bolted rear panel to be moved so users can adjust its internal volume over a range from 15 to 28 litres. This mechanism also enables the rear panel to be lifted up creating a floor level bass reflex port to augment the action of the upward firing port at the top of the speaker. This little speaker is clearly a tweaker's delight.

The AKSA pairing delivered clean, fast, tight sound over a wide range of recordings. There was air around individual instruments, clear Below: The AKSA amplifier from the inside and out. imaging and a wide embracing sound-stage. All together it was almost too good a result, given the less than optimal demonstration environment, short set-up time, plus the fact it was only the second time these two AKSA products had actually been connected and played as a combination.

As was only to be expected from two individuals who, in their different audio disciplines, are passionately committed to sonic excellence the evening's playlist was made up of high quality recordings chosen for their ability to focus a designer's attention on specific sonic attributes. Although the list itself is far too extensive to enumerate here I will give a couple of examples to make the point.

Espoo Big Band: Live at April Jazz Espoo 1993 - Carla Bley, EBB CD-2 (private label), 'The Lone Arranger', Track 5. Chosen for brilliant dynamics and unmatched clarity and space.

Haris Alexiou: World Concert Tour 92-97 1997 Mercury/Polygram, 536964-2, Track 17 (title unknown). Chosen for its breathtaking rock concert ambience, powerful dynamics, and scintillating, emotional vocals. This Grecian songstress is a stunningly beautiful doppelganger of Edith Piaff.

A memorable evening especially enriched by the fact that the products show-cased were, in the truest sense of the word, created by our own members. 

All photos kindly supplied by Glenn Baddeley.

May 2001 Gary Cawsey Ear Science

Perhaps the most apparent first impression upon walking into the Willis Room for the May GM, was that there were no loudspeakers sitting where they usually would be. On closer examination however, there were two rather "loud" framed prints hanging on the screens that were on the stage area. Well, it looked like the GM would be an interesting one!

The evening’s entertainment was to be presented by Gary Cawsey, from Ear Science, with help from Mike Levi from Elac. The equipment included:

CD player: Teac VRDS 25 $4,500
Pre amp: Cawsey Pre amp $4,500 to $8,500 depending on options
Power amp: Cawsey Modular Amplifier System, 100 watts per channel $5,000
Speakers: Elac Imagio NXT concept Panel Speakers and Sub-woofer with 7" driver
$4,000 the set

A few notes made a number of scribes for the evening show:

Mike Levi mentioned that the speakers were NXT technology straight off the boat, so even he had not had an opportunity to listen to them before tonight. The panels had two 1 inch voice coil transducers I each panel, mated to a 7 inch Elac sub. The theory behind the panels was that they gave a wide horizontal and vertical dispersion, and produced a good, flat off axis response. Some body also mentioned a WAF factor, but after seeing the print chosen for the panels I am not so sure. However Mike mentioned there were a wide range of prints available, and in fact you could get your own design made up if you wished.

In discussing his amps, Gary Cawsey mentioned:

Power amps were two monobloc design with a separate power supply. Large capacitance power supply with 100 watt per channel output. He used jfet, bipolar solid state design, pure class A drivers.

Pre amp, also jfet, with solid state switching and controls.

Gary briefly talked about his design philosophy to counter EMI and RFI. This was evidenced in the case, power cords, use of solid bus bars and other proprietary techniques used in the connections. He did not use any plastic coated wire in the amps. He used materials and construction to absorb radio frequency and noise energy within the amps.

Among the playlist of CD’s for the demonstration was:

Talvin Singh The World is Sound; Pat Metheny Trio; Cassandra Wilson Travelling Miles& Run the Voodoo Down; Manfredo Fert (SACD) playing Carlos Jobin Girl from Ipanema; Paquiti D’Revera Tropicana; Concordu de Orosei Miserere (traditional Sardinian song); Charlie Haden & Kenny Barron Night In The City; Victor Wooton What Did He say; Carlos Jobin 1963 Verve Girl from Ipanema; Dee Bridgewater Live At Yoshi’s and more.

A great evening’s entertainment, and we thank Gary Cawsey and Mike Levi for their interest in showing the Club their latest pieces of equipment.

Ear Science (Products by Gary Cawsey)
126 Walnut St Richmond Vic
Ph: (03) 9629 7964

Elac’s web site is www.elac.com where you can also find links to NXT speaker technology.

Some pictures, click on thumbnail for larger pic.

April 2001 Pictures from our Analogue Demostration

Set up for the evening:

Aura turntable designed by Dave Whitaker from Auckland NZ. High mass platter filled with plaster of Paris surrounded by constrained layers of aluminium. Flywheel weights filled with lead. Servo motor - does not rely on electrical regulation and has constant rotational speed. The motor is outboard, driving an external capstan via rubber belts. Capstan drives the platter via magnetic tape. Souther Clear Audio linear arm (SLA-3), Lyra low output moving coil cartridge.

Turntable into step up transformer (either Lucas’ DIYer or Quicksilver) into Audio Note Phone pre into Cary AE1 SE tube line stage into Radford STA-25 power amp using EL 34 tubes (25 watt class A) into Sonus Faber Amator speakers.

Photos courtesy of Gordon Mac & Graeme W.

March 2001 Gerry Koster from Newmarket Records

Gerry Koster has become a well known identity in the Melbourne Jazz scene. Seen regularly around jazz venues, often as a presenter, and as an ardent supporter of our local jazz talent as a member of the audience. Gerry’s dulcet tones can be heard on FM radio station 3PBS. He presents jazz in its various modern guises on his program ‘Dizzy Atmosphere’ on Sunday afternoons, as well as occasional visits to other programs on the station. At our March General Meeting we were privileged to have Gerry as our guest.

He visited us with his (figurative) business hat on. He is the General Manager of Newmarket Music. Gerry explained that he is actually the one single employee of Newmarket. He does the lot; from choosing the music, doing the deals, placing the orders to sweeping the floor. Those of us who have bought Newmarket CDs know what a sterling job he is doing for the local music buying public. Newmarket is owned by Dex Audio, a Melbourne company whose bread and butter comes from producing recorded cassettes in bulk volumes. (Dex themselves were guests of the Club at a GM a few years ago.) They set up Newmarket as an operation to market a range of CD’s, from ‘boutique’ labels around the world to locally recorded music at their studio in North Melbourne, and had the acumen to appoint Gerry as the person to run it.

Known for his eclectic musical taste, Gerry presented a wide range of music from around the world in a most interesting program. A self confessed man of adventure when it comes to listening, he led us on the following escapade:

1. Kenny Werner. A pianist with bass and drums recorded in New York. Excellent playing. Fairly familiar to most of us

2. Then came Dhafer Youssef, a Tunisian vocalist and Oud player from his album Malak, recorded in Vienna for Enja. Something exotic for an Arabian night. (Even in good old Nunawading)

3. A Concerto for Bass Trombone by Daniel Schnyder performed by the Absolute Ensemble, on their album Absolution, also recorded by Enja and featuring Dave Taylor as the soloist.

4. Then a ‘Night in Tunisia’. The Dizzy Gillespie composition was played by Sylvain Luc on guitar with bass and drums. That was on the French label. Dreyfus Jazz.

5. Then we crossed the Atlantic to Canada for a recording of Jeri Brown by the Justin Time label singing Irving Berlin’s ‘Blue Skies’ with scat and Leon Thomas.

6. After supper we heard a recording by B&O of the album Iced Dreaming made at a live performance at The Melbourne Jazz Coop by Andrea Keller on piano, Anita Hustas on bass, and Danny Fischer in drums.

7. Finally we heard a Newmarket recording by the superlative Fiona Burnett on soprano sax with Mark Fitzgibbon on piano, Darryn Farrugia on drums and Matt Clohesy on bass.

It was a challenging selection of music. Never boring, always interesting and stimulating, and often very enjoyable. It was music for the person who wanted to listen, and all of us discovered something new on our musical expedition.

Gerry explained to us how he chose the music from the overseas markets and remarked on the vibrant jazz and non commercial music scenes in Germany and France. A big selling jazz release over there would typically sell 5000 in a year. In Australia, a big selling jazz release was likely to be just 300 in a year. Population wise, and everything else being equal, the Australian figure should be five times higher. In fact, Joe Chindamo, an Aussie jazz pianist recently back from a tour of Japan, sold 3000 of his latest album ‘Good little Ploy’ in that country alone.

The scene in Australia was producing wonderful music, but Gerry lamented that with few exceptions, our radio stations did not play anything other than the most commercial product. That is not the case overseas.

The Club is indebted to Gerry for being our guest and his generosity in contributing seven CDs as prizes in our raffle was especially appreciated by all of us there.

Thanks Gerry for everything.

And all you listeners out there, make a point of giving a listen to 3PBS FM on 106.7 to continue the musical discovery. Newmarket discs are sold at Discurio, Basement Discs, most good stores and many JB stores. Give them a listen. You will be glad you did.


Gerry can be contacted:

Newmarket Music
393 MacAulay St
Kensington Vic 3031
Ph: 9372 2722

February 2001 Vass Electronics - Charlie Van Dongen

I have described the main comments and discussion for the night followed by my comments and then the music played on the night.

Gear provided:

ME preamp ME14
ME amp 850
Pioneer CD player
Charles was meant to have brought the ELS7s but they weren’t kid proof so the ELS5s were brought along.

The ELS7s are $1,999 pair. They have a crossover of 600Hz and tend to be not as directional as compared to the ELS5. The 7s have a sensitivity of 88dB/W which matches most cone speakers. Electrostatics are typically directional but with continuing research the new ones are less so. The future looks promising.

Now to the speakers on show:

The ELS5s are $4,590 pair. Charlie advised that the treble has been brightened with an overall increase in available volume. The ELS5 is a 2 panel unit each split with a bass section in the middle and a tweeter section either side.

The main previous problem was the 200Hz suck-out of 9-12dB. An impedance method of compensating for this brings the impedance to about 2 ohms at 200Hz. Consequently, you need an amp that will drive low impedance loads such as the ME850. As with other Vass speakers it uses mylar film. An elaborate transformer is used.

Charles recommends a room size of 2-3 squares or 18-27 sq. m. With the right room size it will give 40Hz. He went on to say that electrostatics have good phase response throughout the frequency range which gives good imaging.

Q. Suitability of valves and ELS?
A. Not suitable for loud levels but sound good at low levels.
Q. PushPull or Single Ended?
A. Push Pull class AB used. No research into SE valve amp use. It requires a redesign of
Q. Tension on mylar?
A. 7-8 years research has given no problems. Vass uses 1/3 less tension than the ESL63 (Quad). Only had flashover or abuse problems.
Q. Humidity?
A. Tried various coatings over 2 years and finally set upon a mixture of carbon particles in a waxy paint. Works well.
Q. Does sound go both sides.
A. Yes, they are a true dipole speaker. The rear sound is emitted out of phase with the front. They are best situated about 1.5m from the back wall. The bass is deceptive. Clarity is more important.

All Vass’ speakers are now available in kit form. From the website: www.electrostaticspeakers.com the following prices were found. Check out the website.

ELS7: $1999 pair, add your own sub 600Hz bass speaker. $999 as kit.
ELS5: $4590 pair, $2990 as kit
It is always wise to verify these prices with Charles.


Bass seems to be the Achilles’ heal of his narrow speakers. I’ve found the wider panel speaker such as the ELS2 & ELS3 to have quite acceptable levels of bass. I suggest it may simply be a matter of panel width. Nothing is ever that simple of course.

Position is vital. The speakers must be away from the rear & side walls by at least a metre to prevent reflections smearing or muddying the incident sound. For bass though it is an admirable trait: the dipole nature of the bass tends to provide less severe standing waves in the room and provides superb bass albeit at modest volumes.

Tracks played included:

1 Buddy Holly 1958 - vocal
2 Paco Pena - Flamenco tune
3 Karla Lowther "Roll Away" vocal
4 Madonna "Vogue" the bass was a bit disappointing on this track, I know how it can sound and "Eyes".
6 Ralph Williams - Classical bit
7 Kenny Ball "I love you Samantha" - Very brassy and bright.
8 Doug Tipping recorded Concerto track 5
9 Camarillo - Blue Drag track 13. Dramatic strings.
10 Spanish vocal. Dated but sounded very musical.
11 Don Giovanni - from another Doug Tipping recording.

Charlie Van Dongen and his Vass speakers have been visitors to the Club on numerous occasions over the past years. We have seen the progression of his work from an enthusiastic "amateur" to his current level of expertise. Charlie has always been keen to demonstrate his wares and expand on his design philosophy and after sales service. If you are an electrostatic fan, give his products a listen, you will find Charlie very keen to help you.

Vass Electronics Pty Ltd
Factory 1/42 - 44 Garden Boulevard
Dingley Victoria Australia, 3172
Phone: 61-3-9558 0970
Fax: 61-3-9558 0082