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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

Edited by ArthurDent

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