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  1. Rockian Trading and Osborn Loudspeakers 7:45pm Wednesday 20th November Willis Room, City of Whitehorse Offices Maroondah Highway (Whitehorse Road), Nunawading Melway Map 48 Ref G9 Contact: 9437 1249 Once again we thank Greg and Yvonne Osborn for providing superb audio equipment to demonstrate some of the recordings we distributed in 2019. As usual Beverley's bazaar will have a selection of recordings for sale to MAC members at special prices, and some particular bargains will be offered from the Rockian Trading catalogue. As many MAC members know we recorded and produced our own CD of The Delmatics rock and roll band in June and we were privileged to play some of the music live to the members at the July meeting. Although the band members all enjoyed the evening they thought it was the most demanding performance we have made in a very long time. Instead of playing to a room full of dancing people singing along with the familiar songs, we were on stage before a seated audience of audio and record enthusiasts. It was like, "Being under the microscope," according to one band member. It was fun, thank you. We have almost sold enough CDs to cover our production costs, so further purchases by MAC members will be most welcome And, although it may not be immediately obvious, The Delmatics is an audiophile album. Put the CD on a good, big system, turn it up loud and enjoy what The Delmatics actually sound like live. (And perhaps you can also dance a little.) As always there have been changes in our industry. Mobile Fidelity have shifted their recorded music output from quantity to quality. Instead of releasing ten or more 180gram LPs and SACDs per annum, this year they have produced three 180gram LPs, about five SACDs, and three One-Step double LP Box Sets. Time at the quality pressing plants has become precious so they are trying to make the best of a limited resource. We are waiting, impatiently for the anticipated release of four more Dire Straits albums. Cala Records sold-out to another British label that already have distribution in Australia. This meant no more new releases from the label. Cala Records founder, chief conductor and CEO, Geoffrey Simon, has partnered with his brother to return to the Simon family tradition of commercial property building and development. Geoffrey is the son of Leo Simon, the founder of LU Simon Builders Pty Ltd. NMC continue to supply us with contemporary classical works from The United Kingdom. Besides their own brand they also provide a number of other small independent, modern labels. Some challenging material and some rewarding gems on CD, and recently on LP and compact cassette. Opus 3 Records have released a few new recordings and re-masters from past efforts. These days Jan-Eric is kept busy making and distributing his "Open- Reel Tapes." This is not a format we have really embraced. Open Reel Tape is too limited in Australia and too expensive for normal distribution. Almost all reel-to-reel tape is purchased direct from the producer by the end user. Thankfully ATMA Classique record and promote a growing list of great Canadian artists and repertoire. Their releases can be very interesting because the Quebecois are reputed to be more French than the French, and the Impressionist composers are interpreted with great passion. Recent releases from Reference Recordings have provided me with a number of what I classify as "goose-bump" moments. Their recent double LP release of The Dallas Winds performing "John Williams at the Movies" has several such moments and their SACD of the Hermitage Trio performing Rachmaninoff piano trios is passionate Russian virtuosos performing passionate Russian repertoire. And, Reference Recordings have provided me with another "Organ Recording." Several of their releases on Fresh! from RR have also provided some interesting and rewarding listening. Stockfisch Records from Germany continue to produce interesting new recordings released on both SACD and quality LP. They have also exposed two more "Analog Pearls," gems from the Stockfisch Records tape vaults. Of particular interest to me is the latest collection of Allan Taylor songs released on his second In The Groove LP. This is of particular interest to me because I recently uncovered, in my own LP library, Taylor's first recording from 1971 titled "Sometimes." His beard is gone, his hair colour has faded and his tone has dropped a full octave. I thank the club for inspiring me to spend the best part of a week to playing the best recordings released through Rockian Trading this year. I hope to provide MAC members with some interesting listening and commentary. Rockian Trading continues to supply Mobile Fidelity, Chesky Records, NMC Records, ATMA Classique, Reference Recordings and Opus 3 Records through stores like Readings Books and Music. We also provide audiophile labels to specialist stores like Quality Records in Malvern, Greville Records in Prahran and Audiophile Reference Recordings in Cheltenham, as well as to hi-fi stores like Tivoli Hi Fi in Hawthorn, Audiophile in Heidelberg Heights, Audio Trends in Ringwood and a number of other specialist stores all around Australia. Ian Hooper - Rockian Trading Ken Tripp Wise and Wonderful Webmaster Melbourne Audio Club, Inc. http://www.melbourneaudioclub.org.au
  2. Rockian Trading and Osborn Loudspeakers 8pm Wednesday 21st November, visitors welcome. Willis Room, City of Whitehorse Offices Maroondah Highway (Whitehorse Road), Nunawading Melway Map 48 Ref G9 Contact: 9437 1249 Once again we thank Greg and Yvonne Osborn for their technical and moral support for our annual November MAC meeting. This year Greg intends to use his Epitome Tower Reference speakers driven by AM Audio 833MS power amplifiers controlled by an AM Audio RT-3 Ultima pre-amp with signal from an Audio Aero LaFontaine SACD player and a Consonance Die Walkure turntable with a treasured old Clear Audio cartridge. As usual Beverley will have a selection of recordings for sale through to MAC members at special prices. Some particular bargains will continue to be presented from the Rockian Trading catalogue. With the continuing growth in digital downloads and streaming our sales of digital discs has continued to decline this year. Thankfully, sales of LPs have increased. And I notice the variety of exotic turntables, cartridges and phono-preamps seems to increase every time I visit the relevant web sites. We can buy a Koetsu Blue Lace Onyx Platinum MC Phono Cartridge for $14,995.00 (US$), and there are a growing number of specialist phono preamps. Amongst these preamps are units that digitize and process the analogue signal to removing all the clicks and noise before feeding it to the USB port or outputs to power amplifiers. I have a close friend and music associate who has just purchased a "digital" preamp so he can play his extensive LP collection through his computer system. He does have a fine pair of modified Tannoy Monitors that were once part of a quality stereo system attached to his computer. He hasn't had a dedicated stereo sound system for at least a decade. The Tannoys are set up behind his work desk about two meters from his chair. They are regularly used in conjunction with a very subtle subwoofer under the desk to produce music. Stuart Beatty is a singer/guitarist I have worked with for about forty years. This situation has become particularly relevant to me because I am in the midst of producing a CD of The Delmatics, a rock and roll band I have lead for more than thirty years. We have found a great, small studio owned by a genius digital engineer, Michael Zammit, who is also an accomplished musician. I quickly discovered his skill in manipulating multi-track digital signals to be outstanding. He works in a control room dominated by a pair of Yamaha HS8 (8inch two way) Monitors with an appropriate Yamaha subwoofer. The studio doesn't have a pair of quality full range speakers so I will borrow a pair of Osborn Eclipse speakers to use in the studio to finish the final mix and perhaps produce a master. We reached the point where a 'first' mix was done and CDs burnt for band members to audition and report any changes they required. What interested me was discovering what they used to audition the first mix CDs. Apart from Stuart's near-field Tannoy set-up Stan, our second vocalist and guitarsynth player has a pair of JBL EON 615, PA speakers, d-class powered 15inch 2 way speakers. He also auditioned the CD on his TV with an attached sound-bar. Rob, our vocalist and drummer, only had the CD player in his Hyundai i-load sound system. For my part I have seven different operational stereo systems plus five different sound systems attached to computers in our offices, workshop and studio. I have three working turntables. Never mind! The aim is to produce a recording that sounds exciting on all devices and systems. This production process has reinforced my long held understanding that making music is such a subjective activity, no one is wrong and every opinion counts. At first it seemed to me the mp3 generation had taken over and people like us who are interested in discreet stereo systems had become an outdated minority. Then I witnessed hundreds of people attending the two recent audio shows in Melbourne and I was encouraged to continue promoting and selling quality recordings. The exhibits at these shows varied from quaint, expensive curios to awesome systems producing sonic magic with quality staging, with stereo imaging and depth of field. These are important stereo qualities I have yet to encounter using headphones or near-field monitors. When I was seeking quotes from replication companies to manufacture The Delmatics recording they all asked if we required LPs or CDs. They all report that it is now common for independent music producers to release LPs and include free access to download the digital file with each LP. One of Melbourne's major replicators has recently installed an LP comparator for clients to select their preferred pressing plant. They have set up four identical turntables with identical cartridges playing the same recording, mastered and pressed in four different factories. I have yet to visit this facility in Richmond. I recently experienced some of the magic enthusiasts encountered regularly in pre-CD days. I replaced the Vandenhull modified Adcom high output moving coil cartridge with a Micro Seiki VF-3200e moving magnet cartridge in my Ariston Q-Deck turntable. This turntable is attached to a sixty watt per channel Hafler system driving a pair of Chesky C-1 speakers. The difference is so marked it's like having a completely new collection of records in my racks. Every record has a much more detailed upper midrange and a wider, more defined stereo image. The Micro Seki cartridge has been stored for years in my 'jobs to do box' with a bent stylus cantilever. It was damaged years ago when we moved house from St. Kilda to Balaclava. I finally found a source for an OEM replacement elliptical stylus. $75.00 well spent. I remembered the Micro Seiki being 'a really nice cartridge' but I had forgotten just how 'nice.' This development is important to us because we are auditioning more and more LPs on the Ariston Q-Deck these days. Where possible I will use LPs to demonstrate the 2018 releases. Besides the Original Master Recordings from Mobile Fidelity, Reference Recordings, Opus 3 Records, Stockfisch Records and Chesky Records produce LPs. Rockian Trading continues to market mainstream labels like ATMA Classique and Cala Records through stores like Readings Books and Music stores. We also provide audiophile labels to specialist stores like Quality Records in Malvern, Greville Records in Prahran and Audiophile Reference Recordings in Clayton, as well as to hi-fi stores like Tivoli Hi Fi in Hawthorn, Audiophile in Heidelberg Heights, HiFi Exchange in Clifton Hill and a growing number of other specialist stores all around Australia. Ian Hooper Arthur Dent Wise and Wonderful Webmaster Melbourne Audio Club, Inc. http://www.melbourneaudioclub.org.au
  3. Rockian Trading and Osborn Speakers 8pm Wednesday 15th November, visitors welcome. Willis Room, City of Whitehorse Offices Maroondah Highway (Whitehorse Road), Nunawading Melway Map 48 Ref G9 Contact: 9437 1249 Once again the month of November has arrived and our regular presenters for this month, Ian and Beverly from Rockian Trading, and Greg from Osborn Speakers will be introducing their products. Stocking a selection of high quality vinyl records and CDs from Mobile Fidelity, Chesky, and Stockfisch Records, Bev will have her bazaar set up for eager MAC members to purchase some bargains. This is always one of the most entertaining evenings for the year, with lots of anecdotes from Ian and his playing examples of new discs. I am told that a lot more of the black vinyl will be featured on the night. After last month's presentation with the new Mobile Fidelity turntable, it looks like we are in for some grooving sounds. Who would have thought that records would be cool again? Note: Beverly will have her bazaar set-up to go by 7:00 pm. Nick Karayanis Program Co-ordinator Once again we thank Greg and Yvonne Osborn for their technical and moral support for our annual November MAC meeting. This year Greg intends to use a 100 watt per channel Consonance system driving a pair of Osborn Reference Epitome loudspeakers. As usual Beverley will have a selection of recordings for sale through to MAC members at special prices. Some particular bargains will continue to be presented from labels that have left Rockian Trading or ceased regular production. In 2016 I reported on the decline of CD sales and the proliferation of on-line streaming. The transition from "the real world" to "the virtual world" continues. Music recordings are now "sound files" and the programs that control them are "apps." Telephones, computers, tablets and walkmans are now devices, and devices are all pervasive. Artists, from world fame like Madonna to local heroes like Mike Brady are regularly struggling with audience members who persist in waving iPads above their heads to video the performances. Never mind the view of those sitting behind them. Like the modest mobile telephone transformed into an incredible "Swiss Army Knife" of portable gadgets, technology has also transformed the humble gramophone into dedicated audio devices that reproduces the best possible sound. Or has it? Something happened. I recently re-commissioned my 35 year old Celestion 18" 3 way P.A. system, powered by two Hafler Pro500 amplifiers. Looking for a dramatic, dynamic recording to check the system I selected one of my FIM 'Producers Choice' CDs and put it into my trusty old Denon DCD 815 CD player and pressed play. It sounded horrible. The 1" metal dome RCF compression tweeters made the strings sound gritty, like sand-paper dragged across the back of a panel saw. I was horrified and feared the system a failure. Then I changed tracks to one produced by Keith Johnson at Reference Recordings. Glorious huge, clean, dynamic sound. Finally I played a GRP Live In Session CD and Dave Grusin, Lee Ritnour, Carlos Vega and friends performed live in my basement. Remember this is very big Class A-B public address system designed specifically to reproduce live bands, and it performs very well to purpose. The question was, why did the first track sound so bad compared with what followed? It had to be the CD player. In its day the Denon DCD 815 CD player was a decent mid-priced unit. The DAC is good but the error correction is primitive compared to modern devices. Quality modern players extract raw digital information from the disc and reconstruct it before the output in a signal computed to be the best possible sound. When your player makes a humble off the shelf CD sound so good, who needs an expensive audiophile quality CD or SACD. Our sales suggest only a few people now require audiophile digital discs. On the other hand, more and more people are returning to analogue. LP sales continue to firm. No digital trickery here, just good production standards of "real music." Now all I have to do is compare the mono mix with the stereo mix. Hmmm! Besides the Original Master Recordings from Mobile Fidelity, also Reference Recordings, Opus 3 Records, Stockfisch Records and Chesky Records, are producing LPs. Rockian Trading also continues to market mainstream labels like ATMA Classique and Cala Records through stores like Thomas Records and the Readings Books and Music stores. We also provide audiophile labels to specialist stores like Quality Records in Malvern, Greville Records in Prahran and Burwood Music Centre, as well as to hi-fi stores like Tivoli HiFi in Hawthorn, HiFi Exchange in Nunawading and Vinyl Revival in Fitzroy. Ian Hooper and Bev Ken Tripp Wise and Wonderful Webmaster Melbourne Audio Club, Inc. http://www.melbourneaudioclub.org.au
  4. Melbourne Audio Club monthly meeting - Rockian Trading 8pm Wednesday 19th November, visitors welcome. Willis Room, City of Whitehorse Offices Maroondah Highway (Whitehorse Road), Nunawading Melway Map 48 Ref G9 Contact: 9437 1249 At the November 2013 General Meeting we were surprised and very pleased to be presented with Honorary Memberships of the Melbourne Audio Club. Thank you again to the club for the honour. Once again we are indebted to Greg Osborn for supplying a pair of wonderful speakers, amplifiers and a player to use to demonstrate some key releases we have sold in the last year to our regular list of Australian retail outlets. As usual Beverley will have a comprehensive selection of recordings for sale to MAC members at special prices. Unfortunately sales of the new Pure-audio Blu-ray discs have not been positive. Although these new, high bit-rate discs sound amazing through a good system, public perception of the format is very similar to that of the failed DVD-Audio format. Many customers ask how come there isn't any video on these Blu-ray discs when the format was originally designed to display high definition video? To compound the problem, the relevant labels are not packaging or marketing the format very well. The positive trend in our sales this year continued to be specialist audiophile recordings, and we have sold more products from the audiophile labels like Mobile Fidelity, Chesky and Stockfisch Records. With some price adjustments made to remain competitive, our sales of mainstream labels like ATMA Classique, Cala and Linn Records have continued. In the last six months we have received substantial shipments from Mobile Fidelity that contained only LPs. It seems more people are discovering, or rediscovering, the joys of a high-quality vinyl based stereo systems. Whilst most of the good old record stores have gone, shops like Quality Records in Malvern and Greville Records in Prahran continue to provide a great service to LP fans. Sales through hi-fi stores like Tivoli Hi Fi, Audiophile and Burwood Music Centre continue to grow. More "record" companies are producing a wider range of their catalogs on vinyl and LPs are more accessible now than they have been for at least a decade. The popular interest in the sound reproduced by quality LPs has prompted Stockfisch Records in Germany to produce their DMM-CD/SACD (Direct Metal Mastered - CD/SACD ) compilation disc. This Hybrid SACD was produced by first cutting a copper Direct LP Metal Master on a Neuman VMS-82 cutting lathe. The Metal Master was then left clamped on the lathe for play-back using an EMT TSD-15 Pick-up on an EMT 997 tone-arm through a top of the range EMT JPA66 valve preamplifier into the Meitner EMM Labs adc 8 MK IV A/D converter to pro- duce the final DSD master for the SACD. By this process Stockfisch Records has produced a Direct Metal master hybrid SACD. For comparison I will play some tracks from this disc and the same tracks from their previous digital disc releases. I will also play a selection of the other outstanding and interesting releases from labels like Mobile Fidelity, Chesky Records, Reference Recordings, Cala Records, NMC Records, Sono-Luminus and ATMA Classique. Ian Hooper - Rockian Trading Ken Tripp Wise and Wonderful Webmaster Melbourne Audio Club, Inc. http://www.melbourneaudioclub.org.au
  5. Melbourne Audio Club monthly meeting: Wednesday 20th November, 8PM Rockian Trading with Osborn Speakers 8pm Wednesday 20th November, visitors welcome. Willis Room, City of Whitehorse Offices Maroondah Highway (Whitehorse Road), Nunawading Melway Map 48 Ref G9 Contact: 9437 1249 As with all of the November MAC meetings Rockian Trading have attended with the exception of 2012 we are pleased to be sharing this meeting with Greg Osborn, who will supply the amplification and a pair of his speakers. As usual Beverley will have a comprehensive selection of recordings for sale to MAC members at special prices. (Also known as Bev’s Bazaar) Rockian Trading continue to supply a diminishing list of bricks and mortar retail stores and a growing number of on-line retailers. Music stores like Thomas Music, Readings Books and Music and Quality Records Plus buy and sell selected ranges of our labels, as well as some quality Melbourne audio stores including Tivoli Hi Fi, Audiophile and Focus Sound and Vision. We also have a list of interstate stores like Caxton Audio in Brisbane, Challenge Hi Fi in Adelaide and Simply Hi Fi in Perth. The chain of ABC Shops continue to purchase a small selection from us and a number of stores like Dymocks Books and Music have reestablished trade after more than a decade of silence. Most Rockian Trading sales continue to be audiophile products, like limited edition LPs, Hybrid SACDs, Audiophile Gold CDs and a growing number of Pure -audio Blu-ray discs. These Blu-ray discs offer a variety of formats on a single disc. Sono-Luminus, the company that took over Dorian Recordings, continue to release their double disc sets. Besides the standard CD, there is a blu-ray disc that contains the complete program in 7.1 24-bit/96kHz DTS-MA; 5.1 24-bit/192kHz DTS-MA and 2.0 24-bit LPCM formats. All of these formats are capable of producing outstanding audio quality, depending on the attached audio system. A few of these Sono-Luminus releases have been well reviewed in the Super Fidelity review column of Australian Hi Fi magazine. In the past, some new audio formats like DVD Audio have struggled to achieve popular acceptance. The problem with DVD Audio was the absence of motion picture content. A Digital Video Disc without video seemed to be a ridiculous idea. It seems few people grasped the concept that the V in DVD indicated Versatile NOT Video. I believed that a similar fate was likely to overcome the Pure-audio Blu-ray concept. After all, Blu-ray is primarily a high-definition video format. What is required to build the format is a large catalogue of popular record titles to market beside the specially recorded audiophile albums. Perhaps this is beginning. One of the world’s largest labels, Universal Music, is in the process of releasing about 75 titles on Pure-audio Blu-ray titles. The releases include Queen, Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder, Diana Krall and a selection of quality jazz and classical titles. These discs are mastered in 24-bit/96kHz from the original master tapes and are available on the Blu-ray discs in PCM, Dolby True HD and DTS-HD Master Audio formats. Of the labels we promote throughout Australia, Mobile Fidelity has proven the most successful for us. Their regular supply of excellent new releases in a variety of formats every month has provided us with a regular flow of interesting new material. They have expanded their catalogue of recordings by artists like Bob Dylan, Billy Joel, The Band, Ricky Lee Jones, INXS, Men At Work and numerous other interesting artists. Chesky Records have continued releasing their binaural recordings and labels like ATMA Classique from Canada and Cala Records from the UK have released some wonderful and interesting classical titles. Opus 3 from Sweden has produced some more blues-music gems and a new organ masterpiece. German label, Stockfisch Records, have supplied some more wonderful acoustic singer/ songwriter recordings. Reference Recordings have expanded their Fresh! from RR catalogue and are also pressing an ever growing list of 200gram audiophile LPs. We hope to demonstrate a wide selection of recent releases to the members of the Melbourne Audio Club and offer some special interest items for your consideration. Ian Hooper – Rockian Trading Nick Karayanis Program Co-ordinator Ken Tripp Wise and Wonderful Webmaster Melbourne Audio Club, Inc. http://www.melbourneaudioclub.org.au
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