Jump to content

Sign in to follow this  
coffeemachinist

An afternoon with Nick Hulgich

Recommended Posts

I should preface the following by saying - I've got no particular motivation or agenda apart from, being a loudspeaker DIY'er for some years,  a genuine interest in the story of a local manufacturer who seems to share many of my own ideals of what a loudspeaker should be and do! Thank you Nick for indulging me!

 

I was fortunate to catch up with Nick on a recent trip to Adelaide and we spent a great afternoon chatting about his journey as a designer/constructor and listening to the Maestros, as well as the Serenade and Mikro bookshelf models. I had heard the Astors at the recent GTG hosted by @Marc, and knew the others would be worth a listen if I got a chance.

 

What struck me after a few hours with some familiar program material was just how pleasantly non-fatiguing and consistent in virtues of imaging and spatial presentation all of these designs are. Nick's painstaking choice of drivers, crossover design/components and optimisation of cabinet structure/volume has yielded a really defined synergy across the range. Strange, because I would have thought this should be the basic stuff for any loudspeaker manufacturer, yet so many seem to miss the mark in trying to be all things to all people. 

 

To me, the most important characteristic about any good loudspeaker design is neutrality and accuracy across the human vocal range, and the ability to convey the depth and breadth of the recorded soundscape and pinpoint performers within it. While the latter especially is hugely subjective and reliant on the system and room as a whole, I believe the former is really down to the priorities of the designer and the lengths they will go to in order to get the basics right. 

 

Plainly, no loudspeaker driver is without it's quirks and flaws, and while technology in driver design has come so far, the fundamental game of loudspeaker design is still won or lost in careful driver matching and crossover/enclosure design. Seems almost ridiculous that it needs to be said, but I think it's here especially that Nick's dedication to nailing the fundamentals have really paid off. Looking at the drivers, in all models (apart from mid range in the Astor @HA_Nick, correct me if I'm wrong?) SB Acoustics with natural cone materials and powerful, highly optimised motor/voice coils are used. I think this, along with careful crossover development plays a big part in why they image, and handle particularly vocals, so consistently well across the range, and are immensely engaging without being fatiguing.

 

So, nothing particularly revolutionary or unique there, but all the Hulgich products present a convincing argument for the value in a traditional approach to loudspeaker design. I was very pleasantly surprised by the Mikro's ability to fill a moderate sized room, and the sonic virtues of the larger models were there in spades. Bass extension of course improved substantially with the stand mounted Serenade, and the new floorstanding Maestro came to the party with added authority and weight in the lowest octaves, with two drivers and dedicated internal volumes acting as one.

 

I am hugely impressed with Nick's work, and it's so refreshing to meet a designer who is prepared to talk with genuine passion and humility about his priorities and goals and how they've evolved, and how keen he is to use both international design expertise and local talent in cabinet making and finishing to weave together the promising threads of Hulgich. Thanks again and kudos, Nick!

 

Hulgich_Serenade_8562_web.jpg.4fe64b5891ba8336b6bed44291afe99c.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Rick,
I am very happy to know that you have liked my speakers so much. The truth is that we had a great time that day and as a bonus I was unexpectedly fortunate to count on your professional services as a photographer for some shots I needed.

 

One of my favourite hobbies is to discover new music that serves me as well as for speaker demonstrations or just to enjoy in my leisure time. And I must say that thanks to your varied and exquisite musical taste I have discovered new artists both local and international and thank you for that too.

 

The doors are open for when you decide to come back on any other opportunity.

 

Best regards.

 

Nick

HULGICHAUDIO

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not a professional these days by any means, but happy to oblige!

 

Yes, it's a treat discovering new artists, and one of the small joys of streaming services. I was in Adelaide on a quick holiday which turned into a minor family medical emergency, and I would never have gone to the trouble to bring any music, yet it's so easy now to chuck on a favorite playlist, any time anywhere. All we need is faster internet....

 

Until next time!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Similar Content

    • By TomW
      For our May club meeting we are very pleased to have Nick Hulgich of HulgichAudio present his new flagship speakers, the Duke.  As well, Nick is bringing lots of new gear like the AudioGD Master 1 Class A preamplifier and AudioGD Master 2H monoblocks.
       
      After the club meeting, you’ll have the opportunity to hear Nick’s new Duke speakers in a dedicated and optimised music room.  If you are interested, see here for full detail.
       
      Details of the system…
       
      Speakers: HulgichAudio Duke (new flagship speakers)
      http://www.hulgichaudio.com.au/duke.html
      Source: Mac mini using JRiver.  Music in 2TB Solid State Disc (SSD).

      DAC: AudioGD R8 resistor ladder DAC
      http://www.audio-gd.com/R2R/R8/R8EN.htm

      Preamp: AudiogGD Master 1 Class A preamplifier
      http://www.audio-gd.com/Master/M1_2017/Master-12017EN.htm

      Both preamp and DAC are connected with ACSS cables.  ACSS is a non-feedback technology made with discrete amplifiers. Most people know that global feedback design can offer better specs in test measurements, and non-feedback can't do well in test measurements but can offer better sound for the human's ears. Here is a conflict of the classic circuits. But ACSS opens new opportunities - it can offer a less colored sound which is more neutral with very low distortion and high linearity. So it can retain the dynamics, detail and neutral sound but not sound bright or harsh.  [Copy from Audio GD website].

      Amplifier option 1: Nord Acoustics Revision D monoblocks (latest upgrade) using Sonic Imagery op amps. Connected to preamplifier via XLR cables.  Nord Acoustics amps are Class D amplifiers based on Hypex NCore Technology.

      Amplifier option 2: AudioGD Master 2H monoblocks. Connected to preamplifier via ACSS cables. Krell amplifiers uses the same technology which they call CAST technology.
      http://www.audio-gd.com/Master/Master-2H/Master-2HEN.htm
      Features:
      ·       This is a real balanced ACSS Non Negative Feedback Power Amp.
      ·       Supports XLR and ACSS inputs.
      ·       The Master 2H applies "Linear Fidelity" technology on the output drive stages. The output drive stages have no negative feedback but can keep the distortion low and steady, and have ultra-excellent linear performance [copy from Audio GD website].
      ·       Soft Start Power Design.
      ·       80 wpc output transistors.

      All Power cables done by HULGICHAUDIO based on shielded copper cables and copper connectors.

      Speaker cables: HULGICHAUDIO “FTM” cables. These cables use the same silver plated copper cables used inside the speakers to guarantee the same sound quality from the amplifiers to the speaker drivers. They are terminated with Rhodium locking banana connectors to ensure a proper and safe connection to the audio system.

      Oppo BDP-105D – additional source for BYO session.
        
      The second half of the music sessions will be our popular BYO.  Members and guests are welcome to offer music to share with us all.  So bring along your favourite music on CD/SACD or USB thumb/flash drives (sorry, no vinyl this month).  All we ask is that the music and recordings be interesting. We'll ask you to tell us a little about the artist/recording before it is played. Tracks over 6 minutes will be faded out, to give everyone a fair go. 

      Whether you are a novice or a seasoned veteran, you will have the opportunity to listen, learn and share your experiences with others.  Feel free to come and hear the capabilities of the system, or to just share the experience with like-minded music lovers in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. 
       
      Guests are welcome – we are a very friendly club so you don't need to know anyone to join us for an afternoon of fine music and sound.

      Venue:  Epping Creative Centre, Dence Park
      Address:  26 Stanley Road, Epping

      When:  Sunday 19th May 2019
       
      Doors open 1pm
      Meeting starts at 2pm
       
      Tom Waters
      President
      Sydney Audio Club
      W: http://www.sydneyaudioclub.org/
      FB: https://www.facebook.com/sydneyaudioclub
      E: tomwaters@sydneyaudioclub.org.au
       
    • By TomW
      For our March club meeting we’ve got something quite different arranged.  What does it mean when we say the sound is ‘bright’, ‘hard’ or ‘compressed’… ?  Edgar Kramer of Soundstage! Australia will be explaining audiophile terminology and playing specific tracks to demonstrate.  Edgar is an accomplished listener and has many years’ experience as a reviewer.  There are few people here in Australia that are as qualified as Edgar for this presentation.  So get ready, prepare yourself so you can ask about those audiophile terms that puzzle you… 
       
      Detail of the system…
       
      Hulgich Audio Ella MkII speakers with Gaia II feet on basalt blocks.  Refer to links below…
      http://www.hulgichaudio.com.au/ella.html
      https://www.soundstageaustralia.com/index.php/news/90-hulgich-audio-ella-mkii-speakers
      https://www.stereo.net.au/news/hulgich-audio-releases-ella-mk2-loudspeakers
      https://www.stereo.net.au/reviews/review-hulgich-audio-serenade-loudspeakers
      https://www.stereo.net.au/reviews/review-hulgich-audio-astor-loudspeakers

      Plinius Reference amplifier.  Refer to https://www.stereophile.com/solidpoweramps/506plinius/index.html.
       
      Classe CP-800 (or valve preamp).
      https://classeaudio.com/cp-800/
      https://www.stereophile.com/content/class233-cp-800-da-preamplifier
       
      Gryphon Mikado Reference CDP – source for Edgar’s presentation.
       
      Oppo BDP-105D – additional source for BYO session.
       
      ZenSati #1 & #2 Interconnects and ZenSati #2 Speaker cables.  Refer to links below…
      https://www.zensati.com/shop.html
      http://www.zensatiaustralia.com/

      The second half of the music sessions will be our popular BYO.   Members and guests are welcome to offer music to share with us all.  So bring along your favourite music on CD or USB thumb/flash drives (sorry, no vinyl this month).  All we ask is that the music and recordings be interesting.  We'll ask you to tell us a little about the artist/recording before it is played.  Tracks over 6 minutes will be faded out, to give everyone a fair go. 
       
      Whether you are a novice or a seasoned veteran, you will have the opportunity to listen, learn and share your experiences with others.  Feel free to come and hear the capabilities of the system, or to just share the experience with like-minded music lovers in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere.  
       
      Guests are welcome – we are a very friendly club so you don't need to know anyone to join us for an afternoon of fine music and sound.
       
      Venue:  Epping Creative Centre, Dence Park
      Address:  26 Stanley Road, Epping 
      When:  Sunday 10th March 2019
      Doors open 1pm
      Meeting starts at 2pm
       
      Best regards,
      Tom Waters
      President
      Sydney Audio Club
      W: www.sydneyaudioclub.org
      FB: https://www.facebook.com/sydneyaudioclub
      E: tomwaters@sydneyaudioclub.org.au
    • By Mungbean66
      This will mostly just be some thoughts on what I've observed and how I've felt these wonderful speakers have performed. I will try and steer away from describing music choices as I listen to most music and I don't feel it will add to this 'review' as so much can change based on the source and amplifier.
       
      Although I don't really believe in burn in, I've waited around 300 plus hours to do the review so as to be fair to Nick from Hulgich Audio.
       
      The Serenades are a statement piece. Beautiful like a painting, slightly imposing but impressive, they make the room feel like is has a purpose without overpowering the room like a set of floor standers can. They have a high WAF and the finish is top notch; many of our friends (including women) comment on how nice they look. The high gloss white is gorgeous. Nick must be a perfectionist because it has a finish that looks like it would suit a piano. Even the speaker connectors are top notch and look all class. The speakers’ cabinets feel really inert and easily pass the knuckle test. So overall, build quality is what you expect from something made in Australia. 
      The matching stands really do make the speakers and are equally well made.  Mine are a gloss black, with an unmistakable style, a beautiful match for these large standmounts. Although you could live without them, I don't think I could, now knowing how well they suit the speakers. Undeniably worth every penny and very stable (child proven).
      The speakers were delivered packaged better than anything I have seen to date. They would have survived anything including a drop from great heights. Too give you an idea, it took me 45min to unpack the speakers and stands (frustrating but worth it).
       
      In terms of sound: The sound seems to be generated from the ether, almost like if you’re were floating in the inky blackness of space and somehow music just started to flow out of nowhere. Another thing of note is the amount of bass generated by the 6 inch driver. This is a speaker that does actually reach below 40Hz. How Nick does this is anyone’s guess. You can hear kick drums and bass guitars and I've found that a sub for music isn't necessary unless you need depth below 35Hz or love chest thumping bass. Although the mid-range is magical on these speakers the treble is detailed without being too bright but won't be polite if the recording is 'hot' or a singer/instrument is hitting powerful high notes (this is how a speaker should sound...'live'). Live music is awesome, well recorded music is equally fantastic and even poorly recorded music is still listenable. You will hear and understand what makes it so. The Serenades really are a window in the music without feeling that something artificial is helping create the sound.
       
      The biggest thing I've found though is what people call tone. Does it sound right? Spendors, Harbeths, some higher end speakers and now the Hulgichs are the only speakers that have done Missy Higgins' voice justice. Having heard her live on multiple occasions, I would always feel disappointed hearing a song of hers on a hi-fi system. For information, the worst audition demonstrating her voice was on a KEF LS50W.  This is not a knock on the KEFs but unless the room was at play, they did not reproduce female vocals well.
      Not only are female voices created beautifully with the Serenade but so are their male counterparts, instruments feel equally well developed and honestly just sound 'right'. I have yet to hear something and felt it sounded 'wonky'.
      I am also a huge fan of drums and the Serenades do really show what great recorded drumming sounds like. An example is how good the recording at Sound City was like for drums. Tool's Undertow, Rage Against the Machine's self-titled album and Nirvana's Nevermind; all excellent examples of this. Hearing every strike of a drum or the rim and how hard it was struck is something new to me and I quite enjoy it with the Serenades.
      On top of this is the fact that every instrument, voice and nuance has its own space and it is easy to track each separately.
      With every DAC I've used this remains true, even the NOS based Paradesia 3, Aune X1S, Hifimediy UDA38 and the PDX DAC (level 2). Two of these DACs contain tube outputs if that helps. I found that these speakers are far from coloured and really do give you an insight into what is feeding it. DACs (within this, even tube choices) and amplifiers make huge differences; this was not the case with my previous, rather modest speakers. It was during some testing that I realised that my NOS Paradesia 3 paled in comparison in terms of the 'width and depth' compared to the PDX DAC (this was alleviated somewhat with a tube and op amp change in the Pardesia). On my old speakers (Monitor Audio S6) the DACs sounded quite similar but after changing to the Serenades the gulf widened to the point where, I simply couldn't listen to the Paradesia 3 on my main system.
       
      I never really knew what people meant about pressurising a room but now I do. These speakers can easily pressurise my 3.5m x 4m room with ease without losing composure and do this without having to increase the volume to ear splitting levels. One of the best things I've discovered is that like most people my lounge is a shared space so the speakers need to be close to a wall, fortunately these speakers are made to be close to a boundary. 
       
      Are there negatives? Of course, all speakers have some. For example, these speakers need power, 80W into 8ohms is just enough but I would say that over 100W is more ideal and after getting a 130W amplifier they just opened up another level. They do take a bit of power to come 'on song' as some people might say, which means that in some instances a preamplifier with gain may be needed. They will need the additional compensation circuit to be able to be driven from tube amplifiers. The stands are expensive but after seeing and using them, I believe they are necessary and the cost is justified. They are just as gorgeous as the speakers and I imagine, probably take as much work if not more to produce.
       
      When it comes to music reproduction or when watching a movie, I don't hear any shortcomings and this seems like the end goal for many people, including me. The serenade is a very well rounded speaker that I believe would not be embarrassed being driven by high end amplification and sources.
       
      If people would like me to give a detailed breakdown of some of the songs I used to test please just ask and I'll add to the end of this review after I've sat down for another critical listen of a few songs.
       
      In case it's of merit I am currently running the following gear (Pic attached):
       
      Power Regulation: 700W pure sine wave UPS
      Streamer (USB): ALLO USBridge running DietPi
      Media player (TOSLINK): PS4 Pro
      Source:  HIFIMEDIY UDA38
      PRE: Schiit Saga 
      POWER: Sansui 707i
       
      Cheers,
       
      Mung

    • By Marc
      Following Adelaide based Hulgich Audio's success of their Astor and Serenade loudspeakers, today they have announced the Maestro 2.5-way floor-standing speaker which will debut at the Melbourne International HiFi Show, November 3rd-5th, 2017.
       
      View the full article
×
×
  • Create New...