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Sydney Audio Club Meeting - Sunday 10th March 2019 - Edgar Kramer of Soundstage! Australia

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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…

Plinius Reference amplifier.  Refer to https://www.stereophile.com/solidpoweramps/506plinius/index.html.


Classe CP-800 (or valve preamp).


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…

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
Sydney Audio Club
W: www.sydneyaudioclub.org
FB: https://www.facebook.com/sydneyaudioclub
E: tomwaters@sydneyaudioclub.org.au

Edited by TomW

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 Our March meeting was attended by David Gibbons of the Hunter Audio Enthusiasts (HAE) club (based in the Hunter Valley).  David took copious notes during the meeting and immediately wrote a meeting report for the HAE magazine.  He sent me a draft, and I immediately thought that, hey, this is much more complete than what I could have written up!  So I asked David if we could publish it as well, giving full credit to David and the HAE of course.  Fortunately for you, he said yes.  So here it is below.  Below David's report are some comments from the Feedback forms.  





How would you like to meet a real and respected Audio Reviewer? David had the chance when he

was able to attend Sydney Audio Club's Sunday afternoon meeting on 10 March as a guest. The real

live reviewer was even Australian ... Edgar Kramer, Editor in Chief, SoundStage! Australia. In the invite

that we Hunter Audio Enthusiasts received via our Secretary from Sydney Audio Club's Tom Waters



"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."


I found Edgar's presentation revealed someone who loved music, with a systematic and rigorous

approach, honestly reporting what he heard and felt. Edgar's humour popped out too - for example

when he said (truly) he likes chocolate ice cream, some of us like strawberry, some prefer vanilla, some mango

... but ... we ALL like ice-cream! A great analogy I thought. All of us like music, and all of us like it

reproduced at the high end, but all of us have different tastes - so before you commit to something a

reviewer writes - listen to it yourself and make up your own mind!


Edgar's details and info about SoundStage! Australia are given at the end of this article. Edgar is shown presenting further below.



But first about the Venue and the "Gear-phile" guff


The Venue is a "large-ish" hall in a community centre (Epping Creative Centre, 26 Stanley Rd Epping)

- because Sydney Audio Club is large. Over 40 were in attendance - and I noted all male with a

"high-end median age" it could be said. The venue is shown below.


Of course I immediately commented to Tom about my pleasure at seeing the room treatments as a

acknowledgement that "the room is part of instrument" - as my Uni Physics lecturer would say. Tom

said they go some way towards treating the room, and the ceiling shape would help with some sort

of diffusion.


A great room audio test is (NOT to clap hands) but to listen to the spoken voice. When humans

spoke both from the front and the floor, I didn't notice any excessive exaggerations. The voices if

anything sounded a bit dull and muted to me. I certainly didn't hear any flutter echoes or the like.


In a word I thought the room was reasonably "tame". Of course the room is not a normal home

listening environment!


The kit was supplied by two Sydney Audio Club members. Full details and links are given in Tom's

meeting notice email that Barrie circulated to all of us. A sense of the kit can be garnered from the

few photos below.


Avery Fisher - a pioneer audio developer, music lover and philanthropist to music and musicians

(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avery_Fisher) once said to never linger when listening to evaluate

sound quality - just listen quickly and go with your first impression. When I walked in before the

meeting, a drum recording was playing ... and my instant impression was "fantastic"!



Edgar's Presentation

This is necessarily a summary of highlights to me.


Edgar's "Biases".


How refreshing for a professional reviewer to be right up-front saying that (like all of us!) he has

"biases". Perhaps Edgar was being more humble than accurate because he then structured his

presentation on what I thought were a logical set of review criteria rather than "biases". 


Edgar's prime evaluation targets are:

· Tone / Timbre

· Dynamics

· Detail


Other evaluation markers for Edgar include:

· Scale

· Clarity / Presence

· Stage width and depth

· Bass Depth

· Bass punch

· Image focus and placement

· Resolution / separation / Micro dynamics



Demonstrating the Criteria


Tone / Timbre

CD: "Duet" / Sylvain Luc, Biréli Lagrène / Dreyfus Jazz ‎– FDM 36 604-2 / Track 9 "Stompin' At The

Savoy". As a guitarist, Edgar said he finds this a great reference for timbre. The piece includes some

guitar body tapping ("thumping").


CD: "BOYS FOR PELE" / Tori Amos / EastWest ‎– 7567-80696-2



CD: Dave Brubeck's drummer - Joe Morello - Take Five


CD: Jackson Browne, "Sergio Leone" from "The Naked Ride Home" / Elektra ‎– 7559-62793-2



CD: "On Earth as it is in Heaven" from the movie soundtrack The Mission on the CD titled Great Movie Soundtracks.



CD: "Ten Songs from Live at Carnegie Hall" / Ryan Adams / the track was “Gimme Something Good”

Pax Americana Record Company ‎– PAX-AM 053, Blue Note ‎– B002263402


Comment by David: Definitely "present", but also distractingly reverberant and scratchy in my opinion.


Stage width and depth

CD: "BELAFONTE at Carnegie Hall - The Complete Concert" / RCA ‎– 6006-2-R.  Track was “Jamaica Farewell”.


CD: "Living in Clip" Ani Di Franco ‎/ Righteous Babe Records RBR011-D - Amazing Grace


Bass Depth

"Poems of Thunder" by Yim Hok-Man.  Chinese Drums / Naxos World


Bass punch

CD: Rage Against the Machine (1992) - Track 3, Take the Power Back


Image focus and placement

CD: "Tangents" / Track 3 "December Wings" / Gary Peacock Trio / ECM 2533


Resolution / separation / Micro dynamics

CD: "Curandero ‎– Arás" / Featuring Béla Fleck / Silver Wave Records ‎– SD911.  The track was “Seque”.



The absolute standouts for me were: CD: Dave Brubeck's drummer - Joe Morello - Take Five; CD:

"On Earth as it is in Heaven"; CD: "BELAFONTE at Carnegie Hall - The Complete Concert"; CD:

"Poems of Thunder" by Yim Hok-Man - Chinese Drums;


Curiously for me, the reproduced sound had a significantly different timbre to the natural spoken

human voices - a tilt for higher frequencies and more clarity. Speculation: Maybe this could be due

to the speakers being more forward facing (directional) than the human voice. Maybe if dipolar

speakers were used this would be less pronounced????



COMMENT from David - Perhaps Hunter Audio Enthusiasts could consider adding some of these sources to

their reference collection.





After his presentation, Edgar invited questions and got a lot!


Edgar was able to confirm a complete independence in his review process - and confirmed this is the case for all "high end" reviewers known to him.


He said that his set up is definitely "high end" (eg. speakers about $100,000) in a great listening environment as it happens (a room the right proportions with a vertical slot to a higher level giving bass control). He indicated his trepidation now as he is in the process of moving houses.


I asked a question - thinking about Dr. Floyd E. Toole and consistency and repeatability - if Edgar had had opportunity for separate listening by other reviewers in the same environment, and then comparing conclusions. He replied that no, this was not really practical - eg. the distance Greg Borrowman was away - but he regularly invited reliable friends to give their opinions and these very often confirm his own conclusions. They are audio enthusiasts, most of them with decades under their belt in terms of listening experience and hobby involvement.


The Break


During the break three club members came up to me and heartily endorsed my mention Dr. Floyd E. Toole and the essential need to have firm scientific foundations for our reproduction of the sonic musical arts.


After the break


Just like Hunter Audio Enthusiasts, this second segment is for folk to bring what they wanted played.

This showed a healthy diversity on musical tastes which I mostly enjoyed.


More About Edgar Kramer and SoundStage! Australia

"In charge of SoundStage! Australia is well-respected hi-fi journalist Edgar Kramer. Prior to leading SoundStage! Australia, Edgar contributed to the following print and online publications: Audio Esoterica as editor, and Australian Hi-Fi and Sound+Image as a reviews editor, and 6moons.com as a senior reviewer."


"From his headquarters in the beautiful Blue Mountains in Sydney, Australia, Edgar’s responsibilities include writing feature articles and reviews, in addition to leading the site’s team of reviewers, who are all Australians. SoundStage! Australia was created as a platform for the Australian hi-fi scene, so it’s natural that all the content originates there." (www.soundstageaustralia.com)




My sincere thanks to the Sydney Audio Club, to Tom Waters and other members for making me feel most welcome - and to Edgar for a simply presented - yet profound and insightful presentation - openly sharing his knowledge and expertise accumulated over many years.


Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect any policy or position of Sydney Audio Club, or SoundStage! Australia, or Hunter Audio Enthusiasts. 


Author:  The author is David Gibbins (President Hunter Audio Enthusiasts) \ davidrgibbins@gmail.com \ 0404 999 623.







Here are some comments from the Feedback forms....


"Superb."  "Great."


"Interesting meeting. Very enjoyable. System sounded great."


"Well conducted meeting. Excellent choice of presenter."


"Very interesting meeting."


"Very coherent system. Very good slew rate."


"System gelled well.  Not enough classical or Jazz."


"The system held my attention well and had me closing my eyes and no longer listening to the equipment but the music."


"Well informed presentation. Interesting."


"Very dynamic speakers. Enjoyed this meeting tremendously."


"Ed Kramer Preso Great!"


"Excellent meeting. First rate presentation from Edgar."


"Very interesting. Excellent CD player. Meeting format was excellent."


"Very enjoyable meeting. Great sounding system."


"Great presentation and suitable music to demo the points made. Excellent equipment synergy."


"Thanks Edgar. Very informative."













Edited by TomW

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Images of the brochure Edgar brought on the day.... and more photos courtesy of David...





Edited by TomW

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I felt so welcome - and privileged to be at the meeting as a guest.  I will certainly be encouraging Hunter Audio Enthusiasts to attend Sydney Audio Club meetings - for the love of music at the "High End".   This time I happened to be in Sydney for a concert at the Sydney Opera House the night before, so stayed over to attend once I "joined the dots". 


For the record too ... I was so enjoying and engrossed by the meeting I actually didn't take any notes (pen and paper or typed in) despite what Tom wrote above   -  that would have been a distraction, and I am a terrible note taker!  


Thanks again for having me!! 


David G (Hunter Audio Enthusiasts) 

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