DC Hi-Fi Group Meeting—February 29, 2020

It was a big Leap.

I think half, or it just seemed like it, of the club’s membership squeezed into Russ Katz’s townhouse—home of The Vinyl Revivers.  Russ has been a corporate member of the DC Hi-Fi Group from the beginning and is a big supporter of the club. Hosting a club meeting takes a lot of work and Russ has done many.  Be sure to thank Russ and Roslyn at the next gathering. It was a beautiful day, a little chilly, but anything above freezing in February around here is a blessing.

The meet followed the usual format. Meet, greet, drink, eat.  Really good sandwiches with all the accouterments that a polished host provides.

Chris filled us in on the latest pertinent news including a discussion about the ramifications of the Apollo Masters fire. This was one of only two manufacturing plants that make lacquer masters for the vinyl production industry.

For the DIY’ers in the club, Chris let us know about a great suggestion for a new affordable high-end 2 x 40 W Class D audio amplifier HAT board that attaches onto a Raspberry Pi Zero. This creates a solution ideally suited for DIY audio projects. Link to the article is here

Chris recently told us about one of his new speakers (Magnepan LRS) that has received great reviews. I have heard them twice at audio shows and I agree with the reviewers and Chris that this speaker performs way above its price point. Chris has found a simple mod to push this speaker’s transparency even further by replacing the factory stands with Magna Risers.

For the guitar enthusiasts in the group, there is going to be an open house and concert at PRS Guitars in May.

And Qualcomm is pushing the Bluetooth protocol further in speed and audio quality with new chips.

In Russ’s basement showroom he had Sonner Legato Duo’s that are just plain fine. These are 2.5-way bass ported enclosure with a reasonably high sensitivity of 90db and a freq range of 37Hz to 23kHz.  I wish I could have spent some quality time with them. I have only heard the smaller monitor styles at the audio shows and loved them. Bryce Allen from Rega was showing off the Rega Planar 8.

In the first floor sound room, we had the ATC SCM 19 bookshelf speakers on stands demoing the Geer-Fab D.Box SACD Player-to-DAC HDMI/DOP interface. This magic box can extract DSD64 and PCM 24/192k from the HDMI data of a player/transport with HDMI output. Don’t give your SACD’s away just yet! Since Oppo stopped making their universal player, this is one of the only ways to get Audiophile SACD sound these days. The system also included the Gold Note DS-10 DAC/Preamp/Streamer. The DS-10 is the latest generation of DAC using the brand new AKM AK4493 chip with PCM resolution up to 768kHz/32-bit and DSD up to DSD512. In addition to converting the audio signal, it is also capable of sending it directly to a power amplifier. This makes it very versatile analog line preamp. It is also the latest generation streamer with a high-performance headphone amp that features two sensitivity levels to drive any type of headphone. The muscle behind this high tech front end is the Goldnote IS-1000 integrated and streamer box. This is a 125 watts/ch box. Way cool.

Amar Krajvansh of Aurorus Audio Headphones set up a listening station with his Borealis open-backed headphones. These are in production now and he has been selling them as fast as he can make them. They are really sweet, detailed and refined. A completely mature product after a couple of years in research and development.

This was a very full agenda and a ton of information was exchanged. We had just a few raffle items and the winners were pleased.

Again many thanks to Russ and especially Roslyn for opening up their home to our invasion.

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