The DC Hi-Fi Group

All Things Must Pass

Hot, Hot, Hot. It was not just the weather on Saturday afternoon at our fearless leader’s (John Gatski) home for the “All Things Must Pass” demo.

Nelson Pass only made three speaker models in the company’s 30-year history, including the infamous Rushmore, which still fetch $40,000 per pair on the used market. John has decided to oblige the inquiring members with a full-system Pass demo, including the SR-2’s (Son of Rushmore number two), the mammoth stereo X350.8 and an XP-10 preamp. The XA350.8 is a current model; the XP-10 preamp is the pre section in the INT-60 integrated but sounds fine. The SR-2’s are circa 2012-2015. These bad boys were custom all the way. The speaker featured custom manufactured tweeter, midrange, woofer, crossover, and a beautiful, hand-built, hardwood cabinet (165 pounds). They sold for $20,000 a pair at the end of their run!

After a libation or two and belly full I was set for a listen. I can see and hear why these speakers are considered most special. I would love to hear them in a room more fitting for their size and capabilities.

We had four happy winners in the early drawing then it was time for me to depart and make room for the next group. It was a good day.

DC Hi-Fi Group June 2022 Summer Vinyl Event

On a warm and sunny Saturday, we had about twelve vendors and individuals presenting their ware for the public to peruse and purchase. Most vinyl sales were brisk, both used and new LP’s, CD’s, and even cassette tapes were available. Lots of vintage gear was available too. The beautiful weather kept the big crowds away but there was a steady stream of participants.

An enjoyable time for like-minded people interested in good music.

DC Hi-Fi Group May 15th Meeting

It was one of those special spring days for a drive down to Annadale from Baltimore.  Luckily, this time the traffic on 495 was tolerable.

Dave Raden’s house is on a magical lot with one thousand azaleas just past their peak but still beautiful.

The main club business was to announce the June 25th Summer Vinyl Event at the Garrett Park Town Hall. Past events have been successful for the sellers and for attracting new club members. There is always a lively turnout.

Our club members have been treated to the evolution of Dave’s speaker since early meetings in 2016. It is the cumulation of years of tweaking and tuning and is a revelation. What he presented was highly defined and clearly focused on musicality.

The Model 1 speaker system is a two or three-way system comprised of the Model 1T and the Model 1B. The 1T is a two-way MTM D’Appolito design. The 1B incorporates a single twelve-inch driver.

The 1T is a slot-loaded cabinet and incorporates two six-inch mid-bass drivers and a ribbon tweeter. The crossover is external to isolate it from vibration and eliminate microphonic coupling to the crossover components from the drivers. When operated at full range the 1T delivers deep and well-defined bass that will satisfy many users without the need for the 1B.

Adding the 1B to the 1T provides deeper bass and even more impact to the already impressive 1T. With an 80 Hz crossover between the 1B and 1T, the 1T is relieved from delivering the most demanding bass frequency range resulting in higher power output capability in the range above 80 Hz. The 1B has a significant power handling capacity (700 Watts RMS) and delivers more impact and deeper bass than the 1T on its own. Together, they can deliver startling dynamics across the entire audio frequency range. The price of this impressive speaker is $13K. For further information see DR Audio Works.

Dave also sells an interesting interconnect. I use a pair between my preamp and power amp in a 14ft run. This is a pure silver cable that I find transparent to the music without any harshness or grittiness that is usually attributed to silver cables.

For coverage of 2022 Audio Shows please visit MyAudioPhrenia.com.

As always, the club provided a great lunch for those that made the trip.

The Vinyl Revivers Open House – May 17, 2022

This was a real treat. We gathered on a Saturday at Ron Ziegel’s incredible Penthouse apartment and party room for a great afternoon of food, drink, tunes and camaraderie. There was a good crowd of forty or so club members and guests.  Russ made eight trips from his Columbia townhouse to set up two large systems and a countertop of LPs for sale. We had the big Quad ESL 2912s with Hegel electronics in the Party Room and the KEF Blade One Meta’s and Martin Logan Renaissance ESL 15 A’s in Ron’s Living room.

Ben Hagens – KEF Speakers

The KEF Blade One Meta’s were the star of the show. Ben Hagens, KEF Product Training Manager, talked about KEF’s design history and backstories that kept us focused on the marvelous sound of the beautiful speakers. I have heard earlier versions of these speakers at Audio Shows and this version with the Meta disk behind the Uni-Q driver brought more clarity and coherence to the music.

Russ made every effort to impress with a great catered lunch of sliders of beef, ham, chicken salad and a vast array of finger delicacies. We washed this down with delicious wine and beer.

And there were door prizes.

The grand prize was a set of KEF Quincy’s followed by a few albums and audio accessories.

This was a fun and great afternoon.

Overture’s First Open House in Two Years

Eerik Dickerson drove through the muck and mire of a very rainy Saturday putting up with I95 traffic up to Wilmington for the first open house Overture has held in two years. The drive was not that terrible. We made it there in under 90 minutes from my house in Baltimore which went by very quickly because of the lively conversation covering all subjects from Audio (since I am just back from Axpona) to politics (well, you know).

I am sure the weather held back the crowd and it’s a shame because this was one of the best open houses that Overture has held for two reasons. The highlighted manufacturers were ones I can find no fault with. Acora Acoustics seems to be coming on strong these days with its amazing speakers. I first noticed it at CAF. Then in Florida, it was one of the best sounding rooms with Dr Vinyl (Jose) manning the analog side. Then recently at Axpona. The other featured manufacturer was the venerable Audio Research which has been supplying super electronics since 1970. Audio Research also seems to be making a big push in marketing because they were all over in many rooms at Florida and Axpona.

The second reason for the high marks for the open house was the lunch Overture provided. This was much more than your typical pizza or sub lunch. This was a gourmet buffet with bacon-wrapped scallops, steak-on-a-stick skewers, spring rolls, tomato canapes and some of the best pulled pork and chicken sliders I have ever had. You missed a great lunch.

In the number two large room was the Acora SRB 2-way stand mount powered by the Audio Research Reference 160 S Stereo power amp. Every time I have heard these speakers, I am just astonished by the big sound from these little boxes. They are made from granite and weigh almost sixty pounds each. With an average efficiency of around 86 dB, they need some power to plumb the lower notes.

In the main listening room, Acora’s chief designer and CEO, Valerio Cora, was on hand to spin LPs and answer our questions. We were listening to the Acora SRC-1 floorstander. This is also a two-way with a larger mid-woofer and bigger volume granite cabinet giving a deeper bass and more overall richer sound.  The SRC-1’s were powered by a pair of Audio Research Reference 160M monoblocks.  Again, the sound was magnificent. Overture goes to significant effort to treat their listening rooms with state-of-the-art room treatments. They certainly know how to set up a room for music reproduction.

In one of the smaller listening rooms, we had Trent Suggs, President and Director of North American Sales, showing of one of A-R’s newest and most affordable products the integrated I/50. This is a way cool product and can be configured as an all-in-one box. There are slots inside for both a phono preamp and a DAC board. This is a push-pull design using the 6550 family of tubes. It comes with a metal remote. There is a pair of Lexitubes (patent-pending, like nixietubes), used as a digital display of volume level. This unit is handcrafted in Minnesota.

I/50 Integrated – Audio Research

I had a quick chat with Chris Murphy, our host, to discuss all things in the audio industry. First, I have heard from many people in the industry that the past two years have been incredibly good for business. Audiophiles being shut in by the pandemic have upgraded their systems at a feverish rate. I asked about supply chain issues and Chris said that most people are aware of the issues and they are accepting of the 6 months wait on some products. Then, I asked about the most recent issue of inflation. Again, Chris has not seen that it has affected sales that much. Manufacturers are doing their best to deal with these real-world issues and absorbing as much as the costs increases as they can. The biggest problem now is the costs of shipping which in the past year have exploded. Overture used to provide free shipping on their producs but no longer can.

After another quick go around the store and I realized what a great dealer Overture is. It’s a beautiful store with great listening rooms, top-of-the-line products and some of the best home theater demonstrations I have seen. We are lucky to have this dealer just up the road from us.

Overture Ultimate Home Electronics