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General Meeting Reports for 2006 Return to Index
December 2006 DIY Night

Every year we see something new and, as often as not, something that rivals the best commercial audio products. This year was no exception. Ron's prototype speakers with the revolutionary internal cabinet design (he’s sworn to secrecy but our spies have gleaned it’s something like a hybrid T line/folded horn – no internal reflections the man says!) with their rectangular boxes angled semi skyward generated more than their share of questions. And they sounded good too. I hope there’s a photo in this issue as their appearance is very difficult to describe!!

Greg's two way floorstanders had most of the evening’s sonic duty and boy, did they sound sweet. Piece de resistance was Martin's lovingly (and ingeniously) restored Mitchell (Gyrodeck?) Hydraulic Reference Transcription turntable. Not only was it in 70’s showroom condition but, using just the humble ShureV15, it delivered classic vinyl sound.

Our thanks too, to Glenn for demonstrating his excellent own design hand built complete stereo system and Kendrick for revealing just how good a PC based audio system, with it’s thousands of immediately accessible songs, can sound.

Manuel Stamatiou

November 2006 Rockian comes to town

Another November G.M. and another series of music revelations! The powerful pairing of Ian and Bev Hooper with their consistently dazzling array of audiophile label product and Greg and Yvonne Osborn, speaker builders par excellence, always guarantees a quality evening.

Audiophiles are still sometimes wary of Chinese Designed and Made Hi Fi product even though more and more examples continue to both meet and match acknowledged High End standards. The evening`s Droplet CD player was one such product. Its superb finish was more than complimented by the grace and authority with which it delivered beautiful music. Similar observations apply to the Consonance Cyber 845 monoblock amplifiers used on the night.

And what of the music? Regardless of personal taste there was something for everyone. Nowhere was this more obvious than at Bev`s Bazaar with its consistent brisk trade in both bargains and new audiophile delights. One of the evening`s many highlights was the incredibly stylish Barb Jungr`s 5th album Walking In the Sun distributed by Linn Records.

Manuel Stamatiou

October 2006 Music on the Move - Move Records

Owner and founder Martin Wright explained how Move had come into being and the particular Australian musical niche it satisfies. Early in the presentation he demonstrated how the recording process takes place by using an unusual example of ‘throat music`. This was all the more interesting because the gentleman featured on the demonstration track is an Australian living here in Melbourne and not some exotic tribesman from a remote corner of the world! Recorded together with a local choir we were able to listen to the various ‘layers` of sound both in isolation and in combination.

To say the evening`s musical choice were eclectic would be an understatement. Just prior to the coffee break we were treated to examples of 13 different church organs from around the Bendigo region! Members were able to purchase Move CDs at a discounted rate and had the unique benefit of actually hearing one track from their newly acquired CD played on the evening`s sound system. Our thanks to Martin for a highly informative evening and also a special thank you to the club members who brought the items of equipment that made up the evening`s presentation system.

Manuel Stamatiou

September 2006 Redgum Signature Stereo System

Ian and Lindy from Redgum Audio provided an excellent evening's entertainment when they gave us the first public demonstration of the new Redgum Signature stereo system. Totally new components were the pair of fully shielded, front ported 2 way bass reflex RGS Regnan floor standers with the muscle supplied by a pair of dual mono RGM175ENR monoblocks.

These conservatively rated 175wrms per channel power amplifiers which truly double their power output as speaker impedance halves sport a unique cooling system. Instead of conventional fins either on the sides of the case or hidden internally the RHM175ENR's fins cover the power amplifier's entire base. Their scalloped design means there are two primary lengths which, like rails, support the amp and thereby provide a good sized gap for air to circulate underneath. Unusual as this may sound the design is attractive as well as practical.

Several members commented the sound was "the best heard in the Willis Room" and, indeed, there was an astonishing breadth to the soundstage with crystalline clarity in the upper registers, haunting vocals and a deep satisfying bass. Even at $5800 a pair the RGS Regnans certainly deliver their money's worth.

Members who stayed after supper (and, by golly, there were a lot of them) received a rare treat. Lindy's love of Opera came to the fore and it was hard to decide which was the most satisfying—her fascinating personal insights to the artists and the compositions or the musical experiences themselves. It was truly a memorable evening.

Manuel Stamatiou

August 2006 Total Recoil

Boyd Kraigher owner and audio savant of Total Recoil demonstrated his ‘Wide Range` stereo speaker system to an enthusiastic roomful of members. ‘Wide Range` is Boyd`s proprietary name for what lesser mortals would call Full Range speakers.

The speakers demonstrated consisted of 8" drivers mounted in what appears to be a unique speaker enclosure. Boyd was a little cagey about the design itself which, although not a fully sealed enclosure, was not bass reflex either. Each speaker was observed to have 8 small vents in the rear. Presumably to reinforce bass although Boyd was reluctant to be drawn on the ‘secrets` of his original box design.

The speakers were powered by a Genius 300 wrms mosfet amp built by Tasmanian Anthony Holton. The front end utilised a Denon 2900 as transport feeding into Boyd`s custom built pre amp.

A feature of the presentation was a the real time 1/3 octave spectrum analyser which ran the entire presentation providing a colourful display of dancing lights. This was connected to a microphone on a stand mounted in front of the speakers. Boyd used this during the night to demo the response, not so much of the speakers, but with particular reference to what was on the CDs played.

Members commented on the delightful mid range presence and fast transient response. Typically these speakers are used in conjunction with a sub woofer which explains why the bass at times lacked authority. Overall a thoroughly delightful evening.

Manuel Stamatiou

July 2006 The last Australian record plant

Members were treated to a highly informative, detailed presentation on the processes involved in pressing LP records plus some of the problems associated with moving an entire processing plan from Moorabbin to Richmond.

Blanks and master stamping plates were passed around so members could ‘get a feel` for the critical elements in the manufacturing process.

Tirren Staas, owner of Obese records, fielded many question from the floor, each expanding members knowledge of what goes on behind the scenes in the recording industry. Tirran`s plant uses premium quality vinyl sourced from the UK – no recycled materials are used – and the resulting LPs are of World Class standard. To the bemusement of some members Tirran took time out to explain the origins of Hip Hop and its relevance in today`s contemporary music scene.

Finally I would like to thank Tirren for his unexpected generosity in donating 100 free copies of the Hilltop Hoods latest CD single ‘Crown Prince.` Any members who were unable to attend the G.M. and who are interested in obtaining a copy please contact me. me as per my details in the MAN.

Manuel Stamatiou

June 2006 AGM

Thank you to all who attended plus a very BIG thank you to all our newly elected club officers. Typically June AGM evenings finish with the new President scratching his/her head wondering what on earth will need to be done to fill vacant committee positions and home meeting convenor roles. THIS time, with exception of Opera – which is usually self fulfilling – we closed the meeting with a full muster of officers. Fantastic! My thanks, too, to the 2005/2006 club officers who served us so well over the past year. Your contribution is greatly appreciated.

Matt Jelicich

May 2006 Jeff Mai / Kendrick Pavey – Computers and Music

Jeff and Kendrick put on a VERY INTERESTING evening where they presented their computers as music servers and compared the results against traditional music servers.

Jeff`s computer was built and optimised specifically to be a music server, and therefore Jeff went to a great deal of trouble to choose components which were very quiet, eg the number of fans used was minimised, and the actual fans chosen were slow spinning fans. The central processing unit had no cooling fan at all, and the case had sound deadening.

Jeff`s computer hardware included a P180 CPU; 200GB hard disk drive; HAG soundcard assembled from a kit; and USB SPDIF -> DAC. Software included Foobar 2000 shareware music software; and Exact Audio software for copying CDs to hard disk drives

Kendrick on the other hand, was looking mostly for convenience, and his computer is an all-purpose computer for business, video, as well as music.

Kendrick`s computer hardware included P2.8 CPU; 2 x 200GB hard disk drives, one of which was dedicated for music and movies. Software included Itunes music software, and Feedertech DVD emulation software.

Both compressed and uncompressed music was played from the computers and compared against music from a normal CD transport. Most members found it quite difficult to tell the difference.

Most people came away from the meeting with a better understanding of the role that computers can now play in music, and how that role will become increasingly more important as traditional music equipment and computer technology continue to converge.

David Alexander

April 2006 John Corneille – How Far Have We Come ?

John went to an ENORMOUS amount of trouble to organise 3 separate systems, each about 20 years apart ie 1960, 1976, and today. Where possible we tried to play the same music on each system so that members could form their own opinions on what (if any) advances had been made in the reproduction of music as we progressed from older to newer equipment.

John used the following setups:

1960

    1. Thorens TD 124II/Grace arm/Shure M33 Cartridge
    2. Either Quad II/22's amps
    3. Tannoy 12" red speakers.
1976
    1. Linn LP12/Fidelity Research arm/Denon 103 cartridge
    2. Luxman CL32 tube amps
    3. Yamaha NS1000 speakers.
Today
    1. Sony 333 ES SACD/CD player
    2. ME 25 Preamp
    3. ME 850 Power Amp
    4. "Heavily breathed upon" Note Perfect "Maestro" speakers.

A special thank you to John for all of the effort he put in to put on a very special night for us, and to the other members who contributed hardware.

David Alexander

March 2006 Gil Askey – Legendary Motown Producer and Jazz Musician

Gil began his extraordinary music life through being unwillingly drafted into the school band at the age of eight. He didn`t want to be in "that" band; bands were for "sissies", and he wanted to play football. Anyway, luckily for the world, he did end up playing in "that" band.

Gil remembers when as a little boy he was at his uncle`s music club and the performer on stage was Louis Armstrong. He was really inspired by Louis to practice his trumpet.

Gil played in military bands as a young man, and ended up in New York playing with stellar performers like Nat King Cole, Duke Ellington, and Ella Fitzgerald.

Gil started doing the arranging as well as playing, and looked after the musical arrangements for the 4 Tops when they were backing singers for Billy Eckstein. When the 4 Tops moved to Mowtown, Berry Gordy wanted to know who had produced their music, thus Gil was invited to join the Mowtown family, where he stayed for 20 years.

During Gil`s time with Mowtown, he produced music for the likes of The Supremes, The Temptations, The 4 Tops, The Jackson 5, Stevie Wonder, Jackie Wilson, and many, many others. Gil has arranged, played on, and produced more than 60 albums, as well as writing film scores, and musicals.

Gil came to Australia in the mid 80`s on a tour with The Supremes, met a lady, and as they say "the rest is history". We are INCREDIBLY FORTUNATE to have one of the finest musicians in the world living right here in Melbourne where we can enjoy his music at Dizzy`s or the Mentone Hotel, anytime we wish.

David Alexander

February 2006 Tony Floyd – Percussionist Extraordinaire

Tony put on an extraordinary night`s entertainment for the benefit of the MAC members. He took us through the highs and lows of a professional musician`s life.

Tony started down the music path at the age of eight when his parents asked him if he wanted to go to scouts or learn a musical instrument. He obviously chose the latter and so a career was born.

Tony went to Eltham College where he played in the school jazz band and then at the age of 13 played drums in bands with his older sister`s boyfriends.

When Tony was 19, Vince Jones manager approached him on a Tuesday to join the band and begin playing on Saturday. In his naivety he turned up on Saturday at the duly appointed time and was sat at the drums and told to play; there was no rehearsal, no preparation, no nothing. As it turns out, the previous drummer had been fired on the Tuesday and Tony contacted to replace him. Tony played us a CD that he had made when working with Vince Jones with some very nice pieces on it.

In the mid to late 80`s Tony was living in England and playing in many different bands and ensembles, mostly Jazz with a little bit of pop. After a number of years Tony moved back to Australia and started a band called "Things of Stone and Wood" which had a top 10 hit. Tony related how easy it is to go from "hero to zero" in the popular music business, and now prefers to play in jazz bands that he says are much more musically satisfying and far less fickle.

He explained the different types of drum kits and played a number of solos to demonstrate the different beats and rhythms appropriate to the various types of music. Now Tony teaches at the Victorian College of the Arts and plays, produces, and records.

Anyone wanting to contact Tony to buy some of the very excellent CDs Tony has played on, or to just “chew the music fat”, can do so to floydy@bigpond.com

David Alexander

January 2006 Buy, Swap and Sell

The meeting went particularly well with lots of members bringing gear to buy, sell, or swap.

There were 12 tables set up around the perimeter of the Willis room, and these tables were groaning under the weight of huge piles of audio "goodies". Our stomachs were also well catered for with 20 delicious pizzas; red and white wine, beer, and soft drinks.

We also managed to fit in a music session with classical, blues, and jazz being played. Pieces included Bach; a Melbourne based Japanese blues player playing "that`s alright my mama"; Cream playing "Stormy Monday Blues"; and Sony Rollins Saxophone Colossus.

Thanks to Ron for the speakers, Andrew for the amp, and Ray for the DAC and CD player.

There were approximately 70 members present and ALL went away replete with audio goods, full tummies, and empty wallets.

THE "BUY, SELL, AND SWAP" IS A GREAT MEETING AND NOT TO BE MISSED, SO START COLLECTING YOUR GEAR FOR THE JANUARY 2007 MEETING

David Alexander