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General Meeting Reports for 2005 Return to Index
December 2005 DIY night

The meeting went well with four good men and true, fronting up with their projects to present to the members. The presenters were:

Bob

Wally

    1. Two-way version of Wally’s three-way mini tower speakers, finished in a magnificent burgundy piano finish. The tweeters were Response and the woofers Arista.
    2. Wally also presented a set of matching speaker stands.

Doug

    1. Dipole system with TDL alloy dome 25mm tweeter; handmade 100mm alloy cone mids; and SEAS 25cm bass units.
    2. Crossovers (passive) at 200hz, and 2.5khz.
    3. The speakers are normally used in conjunction with an active crossover and sub-woofer at 70 – 80 hz.

Rob

    1. An interesting triangular shaped set of speakers with 12” woofers in an open backed enclosure, and the mid and tweeter in a sealed enclosure.

The were also some interesting (?) static displays such as:

    1. A very nice centre speaker by Ron Newbound with Vifa drivers.
    2. Sansui AV-X1 amplifier from Jonathon.
    3. A VERY UNUSUAL FM band radio antenna from Gordon, with a very exotic looking, and extremely functional roll of cellotape on one of the front arms – hmmm

Gentlemen, a big thank you from all the club members for taking the time and making the effort to bring along your projects for the edification and entertainment of the all.

David Alexander

November 2005 Rockian Trading and Osborn Speakers

Ian, Bev, and Melissa Hooper from Rockian Trading, and Greg and Yvonne Osborne from Osborn Loudspeakers came for their annual visit to the club. The selections chosen and presented by Ian included:

Saint-Saens The Swan on Cala Records
Catfish Row (porgy and Bess) on Mobile Fidelity
“Classical Banjo” from Bela Fleck on Mobile Fidelity
Changing Your Demeanour from The Chieftans on Mobile Fidelity
Mind Games from John Lennon on Mobile Fidelity
We’re Only In It For The Money from The Mothers of Invention on Mobile Fidelity
Happy Feeling from Earth, Wind, and Fire, on Mobile Fidelity
When Lights are Low from Claire Martin and Richard Bennet on Linn Records
Handel Operatic Arias from Emma Bell on Linn Records
Constantinople from Hero Y Leandro on ATMA Classique

The equipment supplied by Osborn Loudspeakers comprised:

MAIN - Consonance Cyber 800 - 75 watts per channel monoblock using 4 x 6CA7EH tubes per side
PRE - Consonance R1.3 - Passive Pre using a multi step attenuator to multiple windings on transformers for completely linear gain
SACD - Consonance SACD - Tube output CD/SACD Player SPEAKERS – Epitome and optional Epitome bass units

All in all it was an evening of music from many genres to suit all.

David Alexander

October 2005 Vinyl Magic

We had the ULTIMATE vinyl system at the GM, with the system comprising:

    1. Custom built turntable ($30,000 with all accessories) from Brian Nesbitt and Russell Spokes
    2. Phono stage from Mohan Varkey
    3. Power amps from Lewis Miratori
    4. Speakers c/- yours truly i.e. Trevor Lees tweaked up by resident club speaker guru Ron Newbound

The turntable was two years in the making, utilizing an acrylic platter with adjustable stainless steel feet. The heart of the turntable is a precision machined stainless steel shaft running in a brass bearing housing sitting in a lead shot and oil damper. The DC motor incorporates rare earth magnets and precious metal brushes, and is fully regulated and controlled by a custom microprocessor for speed and accuracy. The turntable has very obviously achieved its design brief of simple, accurate, and neutral. Russell and Brian are producing a small run of turntables for sale, so if you are interested in buying one (approx $20,000), contact Brian on 0425 817 615/ 9265 9546

The amplifiers were designed and built by Lucas over a 5-year period. The design brief was an amplifier that had dynamics, speed, and solidity. The selection of the components was most critical e.g the power supply was designed to be very fast and fill very quickly to allow for the dynamics of the music that Lewis plays. All the components run flat out except for the rectifier tubes, with the amplifier putting out about 30 watts. An interesting sideline unanticipated by Lucas was that with the size, weight, and very high voltages of the amp, very special care was required, and often Lucas had to lie on his back under the amp with his arms outstretched for hours at a time to build and measure. His advice for anyone wanting to go down the same path – DON’T.

The meeting was held in the Committee Room, which unfortunately was not ideal from an acoustics point of view but allowing for this most members agreed that the sound from the system was “stunning”, being very pure and detailed.

David Alexander

September 2005 Members Request Night

The member’s request night was a very pleasant evening of various members’ musical tastes. The process was for anyone bringing along music to write his or her name on a ticket and place it in one of the barrels, which were marked, “pop”, “classical” “jazz”. Matt would pull a ticket out of the barrel and the selected member would introduce his piece and the music then played.

The later part of the evening was also used to compare Emmanuel’s Benchmark DAC against the standard DAC in the Marantz SACD player using the track from the Naim Compilation. With very few exceptions, members present agreed the sound improved significantly when Emmanuel’s DAC was used.

David Alexander

August 2005 Car Electronics

WWho would have thought that the humble car radio would become the central point for all the electronics for our cars? We found out that the improvements in vhicle technology over that last few year's with ABS, ESC, and other three letter acronyms (TLA's) is nothing comared to what is coming out now and in the future.

Bosch is now the largest automotive electrical manufacturer in the world and the Australian company is in the vanguard of electronic technology for the automotive industry. Bob Tait, who is Research and Development supremo at Robert Bosch Australia gave a terrific presentation of automotive electronics that would have been pure science fiction a short time ago. With the burgeoning technology of the past 10 years and the advent of ultra-reliable computers, the vehicle we all drive is going through a revolution never before seen.

With an excellent PowerPoint presentation and actual samples of hardware, Bob informed us of future and current (bad joke) changes, such as the soon to be introduced 42 volt electrical system, "fly by wire" communication between the driver, camless engines, four wheel independent braking, adaptive cruise control, total engine management by a interactive computers, plugs changed every 100,000+ Km, normal car services likewise, etc. With the latest GPS units, it won't be long before we get into a car, have it adjust to our requirements, tell it where we want to go and it will go there while we nap.

This was NOT audio and it generated a great deal of negative feedback, but as we all drive, this was a taste of what could be coming in all electronic systems. I look forward to this sort of adaptive electronics in our speaker systems.

Vince Butler

July 2005 VAF speakers

Last month's monthly meeting was one of the most unique and best meetings I have been to. VAF CEO Philip Vafiadis and chief designer Simon Wilde came across from Adelaide just to attend our meeting and brought a pair of their impeccable speakers with them.

What a refreshing change to hear someone, although commercial, has an enthusiastic, almost altruistic approach to audio and who actually knows and passionately believes that he has built the "better mousetrap".

The evening was divided into two halves. In the first hour Philip and Simon sat back and had what was really a "fireside chat" about what revolutionary changes are just around the corner for the audio industry and how the users of the technology (us) will react. They went into the design philosophy of the VAF company which, although dealing directly with it's consumers, still has the fire and passion of the true aficionado in its approach to its products. This was in direct contrast to some of our recent demonstrations where the presenters were "salesmen" who did not really understand their product.

After supper came the time for the New Generation DC-X speakers to do their stuff. To drive them an AKSA 100w/ch amplifier was pressed into service with Matt's DIY pre amp and Ken's top line Marantz SACD player.

The units are four driver vented floorstanders, a d'apolito pair of 20 cm carbon fibre cone bass/mid with a pair of dome tweeters in a special arrangement between them. All the drivers are time aligned and the tweeters are symmetrically angled to the front of the baffle to aid dispersion. The Willis Room is notorious for what it does to loudspeakers but here was a very lifelike reproduction with no obvious vices. The thing I noticed most was the precision of the sound stage. Imaging was terrific. The bass was most prolific but accurate - Philip mentioned that most users do not need to use the .1 "subbie" with the system for home theatre.

The musical fare was most varied. I think most genres were catered for and the DC-X's seemed to reproduce all types well. Altogether, a night to remember.

Bob Toll

June 2005 AGM

The June Annual General Meeting was very well attended this year mainly because of the entertainment when the preliminaries were out of the way. The Meeting held no real surprises and the new Committee was confirmed, no voting needed as there was only one nomination for each position. Nominations were taken from the floor for positions where prior written nominations had not been received.

After the AGM legal responsibilities were out of the way the meeting was treated to an audio display par excellence. Hugh Dean brought his new AKSA Nirvana Plus power amp (100 w RMS/Ch.) and AKSA GK1 tube hybrid preamp. These were teamed with Matt Jelicich’s Lewis Muratori/Ron Newbound speakers using 15” Audax bass, Focal mid and the fabulous Scanspeak Revelator tweeters. Peter Huttemeier supplied his Marantz SACD player as the sound source.

Hugh also supplied the first part of the program: Debussy’s Arabesque and Golliwog’s Cakewalk by Alain Planes on piano, followed by some orchestral and opera works and then some Big Band from Finland and selections by Keith Jarrett and Jackson Browne. After supper it was Peter Hutt’s time to display some popular jazz and other material on SACD.

The equipment excelled (even in the Willis Room!). I am sure that all who attended appreciated the evening.

Bob Toll

May 2005 East Coast Audio and Revolution Audio Visual

Our guest presenters for the May Monthly Meeting put in an incredible amount of effort. Three firms, East Coast Audio, Revolution Audio Visual and company distributing a new type of back projection TV amalgamated to present an Audio Visual extravaganza. Matt Jelicich met Darren Springthorpe from East Coast who offered to host this evening for us. On stage was around $40,000 of top end audio and video gear.

We were first treated to a video feast with a 42” LCOS System (Liquid Crystal on Silicon) rear projection HD TV. The pixel spacing in this system is around .4 micron which is less than half the size of the picture elements in a plasma screen. This was teamed with a state-of-the-art Ikusi digital tuner (set top box). Off air HDTV was absolutely STUNNING!

5.1 audio was then demonstrated using a Cabasse system with five very small speaker enclosures with matching subbie driven by a Harmon Kardon AVR 330 5.1 amp. Jungle Noises! The speakers, which were VERY heavy for their size sounded much larger.

Two channel audio was provided by the feature system of the evening consisting of two Cabasse Baltic speaker systems, spheres of around 28 cm. diameter with co-axial drivers on high pedestals of Baltic Pine. Both MF and HF drivers, concentrically mounted, use convex diaphragms, very nice at around $13,500 a pair. These were driven by two Stello M 200 monoblock solid state amps capable of 140w. RMS each. Pre was also Stello, the DP 200 which included an outboard DAC for the CD transport which was the matching CDT 200. Interconnects were by Analysis Plus. Included in the system was the Cabasse Thor II Sub.

Darren first played two classical instrumental pieces then some opera featuring a soprano. This was followed by the well known Spanish Harlem by Rebecca Pigeon and a cover of Black Coffee from the Linn SACD Sampler. More jazz in the form of Opus 3’s Lars Erstrand Quartet and a track from Supertramp. After supper the mood moved electronic with Jean Michael Jarre. using Matt’s Rega Planar turntable we were treated to some vinyl by Matt Jelicich. An interesting presentation all round.

Bob Toll

April 2005 Richard Hunt guitar night

Last month's Monthly Meeting really was a highlight of our year. Eminent Guitar guru Richard Hunt came along with two other guitarists and a drummer to give the assembly a taste of real, live music. Richard brought around $40,000 worth of guitars with him including 6 string classical with both nylon and steel strings, a 12 string, a Dobro, various electric units and three electric bass guitars with four, five and six strings respectively.

The evening started with the classical nylon string instrument and two well-known pieces, Romance and Popular Andaluz. This was followed by some fireworks on steel strings, Duelling Banjos, a Spanish Piece and a demonstration of the use of the Capo with "Here comes the Sun" by the Beatles.

This was followed by a 12 string demo with Wish You were Here, a Seekers piece and the intro to Hotel California. Then the Dobro, a very unusual instrument was brought into play for a Dolly Parton number with a slide demo on Silver Sand Rag. A volunteer (?), Martin Bray was taught a few chords and played along with the ensemble on one number. Hilarious stuff.

During these numbers, all acoustic only, Doug Tipping set up his home made microphones and recording equipment and made a recording for playback later in the evening. Also during this time Billy Hyde Music made a brand new six string nylon guitar available to give away on the night and this was accomplished by sticking a sign to the underside of a randomly chosen seat. The winner was a new member who joined the Club at the Home Show. Four free lessons went with the giveaway.

Then came the electric guitars turn. All three guitarists went to town on Steve's Blues, a traditional jazz piece and then various pieces showcasing just what a quality electric instrument can do. Richard's son, Joth demonstrated all three types of bass guitar and the uses they can be put to.

All in all a fabulous evening of many different types of music.

After supper the reproducing equipment was assembled, consisting of Doug Tipping's Minidisc Recorder, Bob Field's 40w./ch. Class A amplifier and a pair of Doug's home built speakers. Doug even hand built the bass and mid drivers. The playback was nothing short of sensational. Having just heard the original, most members thought the reproduction was extremely close to the real thing.

A great night was had by all.

Bob Toll

March 2005 Advanced auto electronics & audio

The Bosch presentation at the GM was by Jason Javaherian from Bosch Australia, “Auto Audio Visual” division, essentially Blaupunkt car audio. One of the world’s largest manufacturers of car radio and audio, Blaupunkt from Germany make and sell most of the units installed in European cars, including Mercedes and Audi.

Auto audio has crystallized into two distinct groups – car radios with or without CD players or stackers for ordinary people, and the no-holdsbarred fanatics car sound (cynically called “doof doof”).

The latter area is where the makers’ efforts are directed, as that’s where the money is – some installations cost 3 times the value of the car! OEM is the order of the day. More and more car makers are customizing dashboards to include the sound system and it is getting increasingly harder to find a space to hang an after market system.

Jason showed with PowerPoint show some of the systems that people with no budget have built into cars. Some vehicles have NO back seat , a wall behind the front seats is the baffle for the 38 cm subs.

The AVERAGE power to a sub is 400 W rms and one we used 2000 watts! At 12 volts 2000 watts = 166 amps, so this vehicle had a boot full of 12v accumulators to drive it. Alternators are upgraded to those used on huge Kenworth type Gardiner diesel engines, supplying 200+ amps. Each driver in this car (about 10!) had its own dedicated amplifier. You wouldn’t have to be deaf but you would be in short order.

But here’s the paradox – no sound can achieve it’s potentia l unless it can occupy a half wavelength in air, and for low bass the average car is just not big enough. That’s why you can hear some vehicles 300 metres away, yet the sound inside the car is not unbearable.

Bob Toll

February 2005 $1000 5.1 Audio System

At the February General Meeting John Corneille demonstrated his $1000 5.1 audio only system. The requirements for home theatre are such that the front and rear speakers in pairs, need not be similar, and the centre channel is usually a horizontally mounted atop the screen. For audio only, John decided that all five main speakers and enclosures should be identical (the .1 subbie aside).

John constructed five 50 litre vented enclosures, each using Audax AM 20160 200 mm bass units and TWO 25MO dome tweeters. The crossovers were just 6 db (first order) to the highs.

John chose the Waratah Room for the demo as it is over half as big again as the usual Willis Room, as he believes that to give a good surround effect the speakers need to be further away from the listeners. Other equipment (supplied by John) included a Pioneer “play anything” DV 6674 player, a Rotel RSP 970 Surround Processor and a Rotel RB995 five channel 150 W/ channel power amp. With tens of metres of high quality speaker cable this was all set up and tested before the meeting.

John played a good variety of music including classics, jazz and pop, with mixed results because (I believe) the recording engineers responsible for the software in most cases have not yet got it right.

After supper discs were called for from the floor which many members took advantage of. Missing of course, was his subbie which is just too big to bring.

The equipment performed flawlessly and, although John substituted some ancillary equipment that pushed the system over $1000, it was a demonstration of good, above average surround sound. A most informative evening.

Bob Toll

January 2005 Buy, Swap and Sell

Last month was our annual “Buy, Swap and Sell” meeting but it really turned into an evening of good fellowship for all who attended. The evening started with a selection of music presented by Graham Cobb and Matt Jelicich on a system supplied by both Graham and Wally Roche. Graham wanted to play a SACD selection and provided his Marantz SACD player as the source.

Wally brought his newest secret weapon, a smaller version of his hybrid ribbon speakers which he had just finished building. They were so new the crossovers were contained in an amazing box, also constructed by Wally using tapped inductors and selectable capacitors that could supply ANY combination of crossover frequencies and attenuation required. Amplification was by way of a Leak “clone” tube amp, lovingly constructed by Stephen Spicer, 50 w/ channel using KT88s in the output.

This brought the meeting to Buy, Swap and Sell time. Unfortunately, because of short notice, there was not much on offer in the hardware area. Plenty of original CD’s appeared which the members snapped up.

Next was the highlight of the night. At 9.40 p.m. TWENTY large Pizzas appeared with all sorts of liquid refreshments provided by the Committee. Much eating, drinking and generally good fellowship ensued for the rest of the evening. In fact, I have never seen so many people still talking and enjoying themselves after 11 p.m. when the Council lock-up person arrived. I hope he got everyone out . . . .

Bob Toll