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December 2007 DIY Night

David Cathro

November 2007 Rockian Trading & Osborne Loudspeakers

I would like to thank Ian and Bev Hooper of Rockian Trading, and Greg Osborn of Osborn Loudspeakers for putting on a great evening for the club. Greg Osborne very kindly provided the replay system for the evening, and it was certainly a treat. The system comprised of the Audio Aero Prestige CD/SACD player, the Consonance Cyber 211 Class A Monoblock Tube Amplifiers, and the Osborne Eclipse Tower Louspeakers.

Details can be found at www.osbornloudspeakers.com.au

Bev and Ian brought along a great range of new releases on their audiophile labels. Material was played from labels such as: Dorian; Reference Recordings; Arabesque; Sheffield Lab; Opus 3; Chesky Records; Linn Records; Stockfisch Records; Mobile Fidelity; ATMA Classique; Cala Records; Maxjazz; BePop Records; and Fidelio.

There was music to interest everyone, and many members took advantage of the discounts being offered on the evening.

David Cathro

October 2007 DIY Presentation

With Kendrick called away at the last moment on an unavoidable business trip to the UK, we had to do our usual last minute program change. In the one program, we attempted to demonstrate Kendrick`s DIY 'Millenium XP' power amplifier, Greg`s DIY speakers, and compare three different sources: Turntable; High End CD/SACD; and Non Over Sampling (NOS) CD. Unfortunately, I think we were a bit too ambitious, and with a late start, we were not able to get the vinyl replay going.

Greg spent the first 45 minutes demonstrating the Millenium XP Power Amplifier, after which, I spent 30 minutes playing some short CD excerpts on the two digital sources, Peter Huttemeier kindly finished off the evening by playing a few SACDs.

Unfortunately there was no time available to set up the system properly, and I was not entirely happy with the sound. However, most comments I heard from members were very positive. I would like to apologise to members who went to the trouble of bringing their vinyl. Unfortunately, with the late start we were unable to get the turntable going.

I would like to thank Kendrick for the loan of the Amplifier, Greg for his Speakers, and Peter A and Peter H for the Marantz SACD/CD Player. Thank you all for your participation.

David Cathro

September 2007 Ron's Ultimately Configurable Loudspeakers

Ron`s Ultimately Configurable Loudspeakers certainly provided an interesting centerpoint for the September General Meeting. We had Passive Radiator Bass, followed by a Sealed Enclosure Bass; Passive Radiator Midrange, followed by Open Baffle Midrange; and a Tweeter with or without an Optimus Dipole Tweeter.

I won`t go into describing the sound of the various options, and I guess which ones you preferred may depend upon where you were seated which is exactly the intention of the design. Anyway the consensus from the meeting was that Ron had designed one special pair of speakers, and I believe that the owner was pretty chuffed!

Hugh`s Saryah Amplifier was heard to do an absolutely superb job of driving the speakers, and a lot of people, including myself, were very impressed with the job it did. I didn`t hear a sound that I could contribute to the amplifier. Well done and thank you Hugh!

We had two Preamplifiers on the night, the first one a Solid State unit, followed after the break by Hugh's Aksa Swift Valve Preamplifier complete with expensive Teflon output capacitors. The System was completed with a Non Over Sampling 16bit CD Player.

Overall, everybody seemed to enjoy themselves, many stayed for the second session to take up Ron`s challenge of hearing Tweeter differences. It was another late finish, which is always a good sign.

Thank you all for your participation

David Cathro

August 2007 Vinyl Night

The High-End Vinyl night was not as we had originally planned, but with the help of the club members who kindly loaned their equipment, the program turned out to be an enjoyable evening. The system ended up comprising Chris' Oracle Turntable and Koetsu Cartridge, Red's Valve Phono Stage, Peter's Valve Pre-amp, Ernie's Power Amps, and Chris’ DIY Loudspeakers.

Although we tried to provide a wide variety of material, it was mainly Classical and Jazz original pressings and high quality reissues courtesy of Manny. After the break we listened to a selection of material brought along by members. During the evening I heard a wide variety of comments from members regarding the quality of the sound. They ranged from 'Bloody Awful' to 'you could not buy better no matter what you paid'. That seems to sum up subjective audio for me!

A great bonus for the night was the number of guests we had for the night, which I believe was between twenty and thirty!

David Cathro

July 2007 CD Mastering

With the postponement of the Vinyl night till august, the Program Co-ordinator filled in with an evening on CD Mastering.

A short discussion was given on the purpose and techniques of Mastering, followed by some comparisons of commercial material that had been mastered at different times (ie. the original release and subsequent remasters). Most members could hear a difference for the comparisons, and in all but one case, the majority prefered the original less compressed and processed releases. Although the majority of the material was Pop, there were also some interesting examples of Classical and Jazz

The system used for the demonstration was simple, inexpensive, easy to set up, yet revealing of the subtle (or not so!) differences between the mastering. The CD Player was a special NOS prototype, whilst the integrated amp and speakers were made in England by Orelle.

David Cathro

June 2007 Annual General Meeting

First, a big thank you to all those who attended and, an even bigger thank you, to the members who came forward to take on club positions.

At the end of the evening the unfilled positions were President (as at the time of writing we still need one), Pop Convenor (since accepted by John Cornielle), Classical (Bob Field now has this in hand) and our Supper Coordinator. Last week at the changeover Committee meeting Treasurer Ernie and Secretary Simon agreed to share this responsibility. Given they both have responsible club positions to attend to we're hoping that volunteers will come forward on the evening to assist with this duty.

Wally Roach provided the evening's equipment and, from his vast treasure trove of vintage gear, produced a pair of rare Beam Echo Avantic monoblocks. We've come to expect the unexpected from Wally and this evening was no exception. His own design speaker towers, beautifully finished as always, sporting four three inch drivers and driven by a vintage 22 wpc valve amplifier delivered a sound worthy of name brand equipment with bank breaking price tags.

David Cathro

May 2007 Canton Speakers

James Kruss of Canohm Distributors treated us to the high quality performance of two elegant floor-standers from the German loudspeaker company Canton's range.

First, the $2500 RRP 3way Karat 7111 DC utilising two of Canton's signature metal coned mid bass woofers plus a tweeter and secondly the $6000 RRP Ergo 611 DC, a four driver 3 way system. The Ergo's drivers, although not metal, are still manufactured by Canton exclusively for their use.

As was to be expected, the Ergo's delivered a more polished performance most noticeably in the bass to lower mids. However the sonic difference between the two models was not chalk and cheese. Both were exceptionally listenable speakers. One of the club's speaker gurus commented to me later "one always expects a bit of a 'whiz, bang, wow' factor when first listening to smaller speakers with their inevitable over emphasis on mids and tops which later translates into listener fatigue. However both sets of speakers maintained their presence right throughout the programme."

High praise indeed! Also noticeable was the number of favourable comments from members who approached me after the presentation, many of whom rang me at home. In each case they said what an enjoyable evening they'd had. Well done Canton.

Manuel Stamatiou

April 2007 Members request evening

Always a popular event, this meeting was no exception. The evening started with President Matt's selection "What's Going On" from Canadian group Blue Rodeo from their acclaimed 5 Days in July CD. Unforntunately neither of us had a chance to check volume settings prior to playing with the result that, as the bass intensity climbed later in this haunting piece, the speakers clipped. Fortunately this did not occur again during the evening.

Ken Tripp successfully polarized the audience with "Can't You Hear Me Knocking" from the Rolling Stones legendary 1971 album Sticky Fingers. That's the thing about the Stones, you either love 'em or hate 'em. One of the evenings more popular tracks was opera convenor Stephen Myles choice Recitativo Aria - La Contessa which, for opera buffs, is track 4. CD 3 from The Marriage of Figaro produced by Renee Jacobs featuring the Cologne Concert Orchestra.

last, but not least, of specific mentions is Peter Huttemeier's acoustic track performed by Larry Coryell, Badi Assad and John Abercrombie off Chesky's The Three Guitars. My thanks to all who presented tracks for the evening. Your sometimes eclectic and other times beautiffy engaging music made for another superb evening.

Manuel Stamatiou

March 2007 DALI

Our thanks to DALI‘s Anthony De Leo for a thoroughly enjoyable evening. Ably supporting his delightful speakers was a front end comprising an accomplished belt drive CEC TL51 CD player (RRP $2999) said to feature the 'worlds highest level 24 bit balanced ultra high performance modular DAC' and a 200 Wpc Boulder Colorado AX7 integrated amp (RRP $5000).

DALI‘s 'entry level' floorstander, the award winning 2.5 way IKON 6 (RRP $2599), certainly proved its worth delivering clean, articulate sound with an impressive soundstage. It wasn‘t hard to imagine why this speaker has become the centre piece of DALI‘s very popular entry level Home Theatre package.

Later, the packed audience, was treated to the bookshelf MENTOR 2 (RRP $5000). Clearly justifying its price tag, the MENTOR 2 delivered the refined musicality normally associated with the likes of Sonus Faber.

Last, but not least, there was widespread agreement that the selection of tracks on DALI‘s test CD was exceptionally good. See more about this and the opportunity to hear it in your own home in President Matt‘s column elsewhere in this issue.

Manuel Stamatiou

February 2007 Aspen Swift & Lifeforce 100

On 21st February, Ron Newbound and Hugh Dean presented three of their products for club membership. They were a tube hybrid preamplifier called the Swift, a new SS 100W power amplifier dubbed the Lifeforce, and a three way speaker, designed by Ron and loaned for the night by Peter Oakley, both well known club members.

The amplifier was housed in a large, strongly built metal enclosure, which used massive heatsinks as the sides. The preamp was attractively packaged in Tasmanian Maple front and sides, with large chromed transformer domes and stainless steel construction. The source was an Onkyo Integra CD player, and Peter‘s speakers used plastic coned woofer, mid and silk domed tweeter with passive third order crossovers.

The night was memorable for the quality of the sound, the music choices, and the dissertation which accompanied the evening. Hugh first presented a test disc, given to him as a gift by a Danish customer for the express purpose of testing audio systems. The recordings chosen – 14 tracks in all – were specifically selected for their excellence and their representation of some genre or quality particularly telling on audio systems. Here they are, with the distinguishing qualities:

#1 Yello "Get on" (from the movie) Very deep bass, good rock n' roll test, clarity test related to intermodulation and deep bass.

#2 Eva Cassidy "Over the Rainbow". Archetype female vocal, well known, good test of clarity and engagement. Blooms badly on high notes if system is compromised.

#3 Mussorgsky, "Pictures at an Exhibition". Large orchestral, very revealing of smearing of strings and intermodulation issues. Excellent imaging and focus test.

#4 Mickey Hart, "Temple Caves". Japanese Kodo drums, outstanding test of the natural sound of drums, with their subtle shades of skin, wood, and percussion.

#5 Jennifer Warnes, "The Panther". Very close miked, well recorded, with emphasis on presence of voice and crystalline triangle sounds. Extremely revealing of high frequencies, and any distortion is highly audible.

#6 Johan Strauss, "Die Fledermaus, Act III". This track is the definitive imaging and sound stage test; operatic, the performers move about on stage. Clarity, resolution and imaging are well tested.

#7 Anuna "She Moved through the Fair". Excellent test of highly layered, complex, Celtic music, with marvelous rendition of voice and choir. Clarity and intermodulation test.

#8 John Horner, "Titanic" theme (from the movie). Beautifully recorded, large orchestral, with huge dynamic range. Good test for signal/noise and intermodulation.

#9 Sinead O‘Connor, "In My Heart". Duet, no instrumentation, the best test on the disk for human voice. As human animals, we are extremely critical of voice, and this remains the definitive test for realism.

#10 Kodo, O-Daiko. More Kodo, dynamics, imaging, loudness and clarity test.

#11 Shostakovich, "Symphony No 5, 2nd movement Allegretto". Large orchestral with huge dynamic constrast between orchestra and solo violin. Good imaging test.

#12 Gladiator, "The Wheat/The Battle". Haunting, distant melodies, effective soundstage and dynamics test. Extremely well recorded.

#13 Patricia Barber, "Romanesque". Superbly recorded female vocal, with unbelievable clarity and precision. Very good test for tweeter and HF rendition.

#14 Bliss, "Song for Olabi". Danish trance music, very fast, all electronic, astonishing arrangement of a very appealing melody. Good test of speed and musicality.

Both Ron and Manny played excerpts from their collections which sounded outstanding, even in the large Waratah room. The output from the speaker was surprisingly loud for an auditorium with at least 70 members on the night.

In closing, after the break, Hugh explained the futility behind the objectivist/subjectivist camps of audio, a battle which has raged for more than fifty years. He suggested that it really was not too relevant to the manufacture and sale aspects because people generally only bought products they liked, both in appearance and sound. While the debate goes on without resolution, people continue to buy products they like, and the idea is to make what the market wants, give them the appearance people want, offer the service they need at a price they can afford.

Manuel Stamatiou

January 2007 Buy, Swap and Sell

This year, even though we met in the rather compact half Waratah Room, we had an exciting array of audio goodies much of which changed hands at bargain basement prices.

Thanks are due to Bob Toll who manned the door with membership list in one hand and "you’re a member" lapel badges in the other. Thanks to his sterling efforts the `dealer invasion` was stopped in its tracks. Later, after members had had plenty of opportunity to graze in peace one or two, as it turns out remarkably well behaved, dealers were allowed to join us. All in all, our `policing` was very successful.

Due to Council’s policy refreshments were served by their staff from their own bar resources and your club will be picking up the tab.

My thanks to the many members who came with their surplus `treasures`.

Manuel Stamatiou