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General Meeting Reports for 2011 Return to Index
December 2011 Members DIY Night

Once again we had a very successful December DIY night. The projects were speakers by Wally Roche and Rob Batten, a passive Lightspeed preamp kit and Greg Kerr's power amp built by Bob Field.

The first system was Rob's creative spherical speakers that he made by covering a plastic ball with plaster, then he removed the ball through the speaker hole. They stood on a small tripod bases making them suitable for use as book shelf speakers. They had a downward firing port and used 4 inch Jaycar drivers that were running full range and they were powered by the Lightspeed pre and Greg's amp.

Wally's speakers were one of his hybrid ribbon designs, that were beautifully hand-crafted featuring solid Jarrah baffles. The ribbon sections were hand made by Wally some years ago and installed in the new enclosures,using Audax drivers for the bass sections.

Both Rob and Wally presented a varied musical program to demonstrate their speakers. After supper some members requests were played on both systems.

Thanks to all who contributed to this entertaining evening.

Ian MacKenzie

November 2011 Rockian Trading

Ian MacKenzie

October 2011 Computer Music

Ian MacKenzie

September 2011 Members Request Night

Ian MacKenzie

August 2011 Victorian Jazz Archive

Peter Edwards from Victorian Jazz Archive was our guest presenter for the August GM.

Peter's detailed knowledge of local jazz history and personalisation of commentary about the artists featuring on recordings we played made for a very enjoyable evening. No doubt this awareness will swell the ranks of Jazz devotees in the MAC.

The play list was extensive and too numerous to mention here while CDs were available for sale on the night.

We were a little unsure of what to expect in terms of playback quality of the recordings some of which were re-recorded but overall the standard was very good.

While the Willis Room does have its pecularities in terms of acoustics however the system on hand managed to retrive the ambience and soul of the recordings.

Ian MacKenzie

July 2011 Wally's big speakers

Well they certainly were big and impressive. I liked the bass. I thought there was a sound stage presence and there are not many speakers that do present a sound stage in the Willis room (whether that's a function of where people have to sit or the room itself).

Member opinions were divided about how they sounded and I know that Wally wanted people identified when they are quoted. "Opinions" however have only limited value. Ron Newbound liked the Elvis track for instance yet someone else didn't like it because it was so different to the way he was used to hearing it on his system.

I heard that these speakers were sold at the end of the night. So someone liked them to that extent and to that person no one else's opinions really matter. What I would like to know is how they passed the Wife Acceptance Factor?

Rob Batten

June 2011 AGM + Michael Barabasz

As is usual with the annual elections and finance reports, Michael's presentation got off to a late start and the night was the longest that I can remember, but it was so interesting that nearly everyone stayed until "closing time" about 11.30!

It is hoped that a return visit can be arranged for some time next year and perhaps cover some aspects of electrostatics, ribbons, horns, driver arrays, Open Baffles, and possibly the advantages and difficulties of amplifier current drive in comparison to the normal voltage, etc.

Thank you everyone for the assistance to tidy up the room after the late night it's much appreciated.

It is also a great source of satisfaction to have so many beginning their "room acoustic" journeys the easiest and cheapest system/room upgrade never started! The Acoustical Pads are still readily available for loan, plus various books and instructions it ISN'T difficult, just different!

Thank you also for your company, and patience, on our monthly sojourns over the last 2 years and welcome to Ian Mackenzie who is our new Co-ordinator for the next 12 months.

James Hill

May 2011 Morantz

Our thanks to Marantz's Paul Astbury and his Qualifi team for the well organised, informative and entertaining evening members were privileged to enjoy. During the evening two quite different systems were showcased.

The first, a pairing of the Jamo C805 with the Pearlite integrated Amp, was a delight to listen to. If one was to be exceptionally critical it could be said at times this sound had a slightly discernable "digital" overtone plus some room gain which, on isolated tracks resulted in bass accentuation. But, considering the tortuous path the signal travelled from mobile phone &/or computer, processor, DAC, etc to the transducers, and the well known hostile Willis Room acoustics it's to Marantz's credit the net result was such good sound.

Second system time: With the renown SA-KI Pearl SACD player as source feeding directly into the PM-KI amp driving the Mordant Short speakers, the sound was excellent both with standard CDs and SACDs it does makes you wonder why Sony has abandoned the SACD format.

Marantz's Network Audio Player caught most of us by surprise. This astonishing versatile device is, as happy post meeting purchasers have found (due to the very generous discount Marantz offered to club members), more than sufficient to keep any audio "techno" happy for some time. With the rapid development of DSP (Digital Signal Processors) more sophisticated systems are just around the corner.

The discussions about the equipment, the technology behind it plus the excellent selection of music provided for a very enjoyable evening. Our thanks to Paul and the Qualifi team, also David Orr for facilitating this meeting, and last but not least, Marantz.

James Hill

April 2011 Alternative Presentation

This year's monthly GM presentations have been somewhat disorganised with the Lenehan Speakers (Queensland flooding), The Theophany Speakers (Earthquake), and last night's AvanteGarde system's demise.

However, the system of Consonance CD Player with external dac, Dared amplifier and the High efficiency Vintage Coral beta 8 FR (full range) speakers provided quite satisfactory music for our entertainment and, once again, many thanks to John Corneille for not only the loan of the equipment but also for the extra trouble to supply the substitute/backup amplifier and transporting it to the venue - thanks again, John.

Despite the shortcomings of FR speakers, there is something about them that is very appealing. Now that the computer design programmes have reached the point that complete control of the speaker design parameters is readily available, we are beginning to see a rapid expansion of high efficiency drivers in the market place and with steadily improving performance & quality without the high price tags we have become accustomed to.

To accompany this, there has also been an increase in the number of low/ medium power amplifiers on the diy/kit front without the customary high price or complications that have been normal in recent years.

I think we will see a number of these at our GMs over the next year.

James Hill

March 2011 Simon Brown The Wand tone arm

In the audio world innovative design, precision engineering and high performance are terms not commonly associated with affordability. Simon's Wand tone arm would appear to be an exception to the rule.

Its unusual appearance makes sense when explained by the designer. The carbon fibre arm though very light is much wider than the norm because rigidity increases significantly with diameter. Its counterweight sits as close as possible to the pivot in order to reduce angular momentum. All in all it's a mean machine.

Simon's presentation was excellent though being a tad softly spoken we realised all too late we should've provided a microphone so members further back in the room could hear him clearly. The evening's Dali speakers the best John C. had available in the shop that day - did many very good things, especially with instruments but tended to be a little muted on vocals. Never-the-less it was abundantly clear the combination of the Wand and Grado Gold MM cartridge, mounted on a basic Rega Planar TT, was very detailed and musical.

Included with the arm kit is a customised laser cut steel protractor enabling precise installation plus vertical and horizontal alignments. It looks a bit like a huge flat spanner but is a precision tool with which 90% of the usual painstaking set up procedure can be accomplished quickly and accurately.

At $600 NZ plus postage we believe Simons has more than achieved his stated objective. The Wand arm plus its very useful accessories are certainly value for money. So much so that our beloved president is seriously considering purchasing one as a backup for his FR 12.

Simon's LP's plus those brought by members covered a diverse range and there were many occasions when the audience was entranced by the music. Such was their enjoyment, later in the evening a couple of the jazz related offerings were actually clapped when they finished! Thank you Simon for a memorable evening.

James Hill

February 2011 Members request night

What can you say about an evening where everyone pitches in and contributes a favourite track or two. It was both fascinating to hear some great versions of classic tracks and educational in the sense that there is always something you've never heard before that you want to make sure you will never be without again? Yes, it was one of those.

Yet again, our thanks go to club members who generously contributed the equipment that made up the evening's system. We used Dave Duffin's Rega Saturn CD Player and his Cat6 interconnects with the familiar PassX2.5 preamplifier driving Madrigal Audio's Proceeed BPA2 amplifier (Levinson design) and the excellent Epos 2.5 Speakers both amp and speakers thanks to John Cornielle and Dave.

It was only recently these same speakers sitting on the floor gave such good results with Matt's AKS Nirvana + amplifier so I didn't stop to consider the difference another amplifier/leads pairing might produce. Without any stands to lift the speakers off the floor we had noticeable bass boom on some tracks. Of course this varied with the type of music played.

This problem aside the music was as enjoyable as it was varied. My thanks to the many members who brought along such a delightful selection of tracks. President Matt, using a 'democratic' selection method whereby each convenorship in turn was invited to submit a track characteristic of its musical genre, ensured the evening had both variety and eccentricity. A good night was had by all.

James Hill

January 2011 Swap Meet

As usual, space was at a premium, we all squeezed together, there was a remarkable array of goods on offer and it was great to see so much of it change hands.

Software in terms of CDs, videos and LPs was in abundance with more than a thousand individual items available on the night. There was no shortage of hardware either which, when traded, gave members an opportunity discuss their various project with each other promoting the exchange of audio ideas which is an important feature of our club.

Being a social function, for which we have to thank the Whitehorse Centre for kindly permitting us to serve pizzas and refreshments, the chance to chatter about anything at all, not just audio was so enjoyable and the big turnout indicated that it was, as always, one of our most popular annual fixtures.

This year we had an extra with a surprise presentation from Buzz Cousins, inventor of the explosives detector. Unfortunately this had to be brief due to the full schedule of activities already planned for the evening. Hopefully, at a future meeting, we may be privileged to hear more about his other designs. Especially the complete audio system he designed and built from scratch.

James Hill