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Sydney Audio Club Meeting - Sunday 13-Mar-2016 - new Avantgarde Zero 1 XD

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The March 2016 meeting of the Sydney Audio Club sees us once again gather for an afternoon of fine music, great sound and amicable company.

Each month, the Sydney Audio Club presents the finest in high end audio systems for our members and guests.  It's a bit like a private audio show once a month where you can hear and discuss equipment that you might not otherwise have the chance to audition.  And you can bring along your own music to test the capabilities of the system or to just share with like-minded music lovers in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere.


For March, we are very pleased to say we will have Cameron Keating of MAXMEDIA (refer to http://www.maxmedia.com.au/) back for an encore presentation of the excellent Avantgarde Acoustics Zero 1 speakers.  You might recall that Cameron presented the original Avantgarde Zero 1 speakers to us in September 2014.  Since then, Avantgarde has made considerable improvements to the Zero 1, the result being the new Zero 1 XD.  Refer to http://www.maxmedia.com.au/www.maxmedia.com.au/High_End_News.html.  Cameron will be presenting the new Zero 1 XD speakers to us on the day!  They very recently won another Editors’ Choice Award (refer to page 62 of the March 2016 issue of The Absolute Sound), plus the prestigious German Design Award for 2016. 


As well, the Zero 1 XD’s will be parameterized for our room.  And we will also be trialling some room treatment (RealTraps Mondo and Vicoustics) to hopefully improve the room acoustics a bit more. 



Details of the system….


Avantgarde Acoustic Zero 1 XD speakers.   These are radically different speakers.  They are a combination of digital processors, digital-to-analogue converters, power amps and speakers – all in one package.  All you need is a source and you have a complete system.   Jonathan Valin’s extensive review of the original version of these speakers is in the September 2014 issue of The Absolute Sound (refer to http://www.theabsolutesound.com/articles/avantgarde-acoustic-zero-1-pro-loudspeaker/).  He quite loved them – it was a long review in which he raved about their speed, vitality, accuracy, timbre rightness and resolution.  And he went so far as to say are likely the very first horn loaded speakers he’s heard that don’t sound like horns.  Also refer to http://www.maxmedia.com.au/www.maxmedia.com.au/High_End_News.html and http://www.avantgarde-acoustic.de/en/home-zero1.html.


Olive One HD music player – Refer to http://www.myoliveone.com/Ones


Mac Mini with Roon


Oppo BDP-105D Universal player – Refer to https://www.oppodigital.com/blu-ray-bdp-105/blu-ray-BDP-105D-Overview.aspx and http://www.whathifi.com/oppo/bdp-105d/review


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 flash drive.  (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 of a similar mind.

Guests are always 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.  We will welcome you at the door.

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

When:  Sunday 13th March 2016


Doors open 1pm
Meeting starts at 2pm


Best regards,


Tom Waters


Sydney Audio Club



Edited by TomW

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Well, if you didn’t make it to see and hear the Avantgarde Zero-1 XD speaker system, it was your loss!   This smallish but big sounding system is quite a marvel.   I say “system†because these speakers have a DSP engine, preamp and power amp all tidily wrapped in a simple but elegant cabinet… which also has speakers!   True, you don’t buy a pair with pocket money, but at 24K retail for a pair, I reckon they are a bargain.  Why..?  Because all you need is a source, and you’re up and running with sound that is dynamic, detailed and possessed of exceptional timbral accuracy.  Vocals sounded clear, articulate and with good body.  And in spite of their horn heritage they weren’t “shoutyâ€.   They sounded good at loud and low volumes.  And you don’t need an expensive amp that can double as an arc welder to drive them. 


Most audiophiles know that horns speakers can be coloured sounding, but the Zero-1 XD speakers play by different rules.   A few people thought they sounded like box speakers without the box.   They had the openness and “speed†that you might associate with a good dipole or stat. 


We had a reasonable sized audience on the day, about 40+ people.  As always, Cameron was a gracious and considerate presenter.   He’d driven all the way up from Melbourne just for our club meeting, so we made sure he had a warm reception (and lots of pizza!).   Cam explained the system and played us some music from his Olive One music server as well as his MacBook (via Roon music player software).   The Zero-1 also has DSP EQ that you can adjust to suit your room and even your preference in sound.   The current version of the EQ system doesn’t use microphones to measure the room – you don’t do room correction in the manner of say a DEQX, Holm or Trinnov system.  (Avantgarde will soon be releasing an applet to do this, and you'll then plum the results into your speaker pair.)  Nevertheless, it was very effective in boosting the mid-bass a bit and reducing the midrange and treble to eliminate some hardness introduced by our room.  In our room, it seemed that the sound was slightly different depending on where you sat – that was evidenced by the varied opinions of the listeners.  I too noticed how the sound changed a bit as I moved around the room.  (That said, it always sounded good, just different.)  However, unlike many speakers, the Zero-1’s SQ was much less dependent on whether you were seated or standing.   Overall, I think that in a more hospitable home environment you could get exactly the sound you like.


I dare say that if I was starting out in this “hobby†and I had deep pockets, I’d most certainly give the Avantgarde Zero-1 a serious consideration.   Colour me impressed.



Edited by TomW

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