The DC Hi-Fi Group

DCHFG September 2019 Meeting — LTA Demo

DC HiFi Group will be beginning its fourth year soon. This is actually quite a milestone. Most clubs like this do not survive past the first two years. We should all be proud of the support the community puts forth to keep the club vibrant and healthy. Please give John and company a big “Thank-You!!!” the next time we see them for all the effort that goes on behind the scenes to keep this part of our hobby going

On Saturday Gary Gill opened his home again for us to have our end of summer meeting. It was a beautiful day for over 45 members to get together. It was fun to meet many new members. The club has grown to over 150.

After chatting and partaking in the lunch spread, we had the usual committee reports. Gary Gill let us know about the upcoming Capital Audiofest on the first weekend in November. This year will be the largest show ever with around 80 rooms. Lots of live music and a bunch of extras. There is a call for volunteers to help out mostly with the front desk reception area all three days. Volunteers get a free three day pass. Gary is providing a room for The DC Hi-Fi Group. This year’s theme will be High End Audiophile sound on an extreme budget.

Chris Barker let us know about Amazon’s new and very affordable HD and Ultra HD music streaming service costing about half what competing services charge. He also spoke about the brand new Schiit Audio Sol turntable with a few teething issues. Finally, this month’s book of the month is Neil Young’s new book To Feel the Music: A Songwriter’s Mission to Save High-Quality Audio which documents the failed Pono product and Mr. Young’s passion for sound quality. Russ let us know about the latest Audiophile LP’s that are available and had a bunch on hand for sale.

DCHFG member Amar Rajvanshi announced his new company, Aurorus Audio (Web site is under production), and showed off his production ready and very good sounding headphones. They are scheduled to go into production soon and at a selling price of around $900 these will be a steal. I listened closely to these. First, let me freely admit I am not a head fi guy. These have to be one of the most comfortable headphones I have ever had on my head. I could easily listen for hours with these. The sound was very much to my liking. Very free flowing, rich and smooth, yet detailed and quick. There are too models — Borealis (open) and Australis (closed). I only listened to the closed back because there was just too much ambient noise to carefully listen to the open back set. But since they use the same drive I am sure I would be positive about them also. Nicholas Tolson of LTA set up the headphone demo area using the Linear Tube Audio Z10e Headphone Amp.

Before the Linear Tube Audio Demo, Tom gave a brief overview of the MidWest Audiofest Speaker Design Competition he judges each year. The designs were spectacular.

Next up we had Mark Schneider from Linear Tube Audio providing the electronics for the demonstration part of our meeting.

Linear Tube Audio is a high-fidelity audio manufacturing company on a mission to bring life back to music at an affordable price. Their amplifiers provide unparalleled accuracy and realism, putting you “in the room” of the original performance.

The heart of all LTA amplifiers is the the patented Berning output transformerless ZOTL technology. Sonically, this delivers the best of both worlds — tube tone and solid state detail. Each unit is expertly built by hand in the Takoma Park, MD.

We listened to the Integrated amp with Gary’s vintage rebuilt Quad (57) ESL speakers. Of all the many times and hours I have listened to music in Gary’s dedicated music room on the second floor this was the best and most exciting. I do have to say I am a big fan of dipole speakers so I was right at home with this system. LTA had on display the complete line of microZOTL electronics.

It was hard for me to turn away from the music and we all went back downstairs for the raffle give away.

Next up is the Rummage sale October 13. Last year we had quite the crowd and many of our members cleaned out their audio closets. See you there!

Second Annual DCHFG Rummage Sale – October 13, 2019

DC Hi-Fi Group Rummage Sale+Vinyl Event
When: Sunday, Oct. 13, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Where: Historic Garrett Park Town Hall, 10814 Kenilworth Ave., Garrett Park, MD 20896

The DC Hi-Fi Group is holding the Second Annual Member/Dealer Audio Rummage Sales+Vinyl event in Garrett Park, MD on Oct. 13th. Individual and DCHFG dealer members are selling off their used gear, b-stock, scratch and dent, and classic audio pieces, as well as new/used vinyl and turntable gear, home theater and pro audio.

Over 20 tables of gear will be at the event. It is open to the DCHFG membership and the public. Free admission. Cash-only sales unless otherwise noted by the vendors. Drinks and lunch will be available to DCHFG members. Non-members who sign up for annual or bi-annual membership terms are eligible to win prizes.

DCHFG Members who want to sell their used gear (we hall have lots of stuff, don’t we) and records at the Oct. 13 event need to reserve their table space by Oct. 4. We have space for 22 tables. Table space fee is $30 per table for individual members and $50 for dealer/manufacturer/service provider members. Non-member space fee is $100. Click here to download the table reservation form that can be mailed back with the check, payable to The DC Hi-Fi Group.

Members are encouraged to bring their own tables. We recommend the Rubber Maid-style, six ft. plastic folding tables. Street parking and nearby school parking lot available to attendees.

DCHFG August 2019 Meeting @ The Vinyl Revivers

For a meeting that had to be kludged together at the last minute because of scheduling problems, John, Chris got together with Russ of The Vinyl Revivers providing a place to meet and we ended up with a great time. Packed with demos and new info, lots of fun, great pizza and snacking stuff.

Chis let us know about some good discounts for digital downloads from both Naxos and Qobuz.

Our fearless leader let us know about up coming events including the next meeting with Linear Tube Audio

We had three separate demonstrations. In the front Home Theater room with Chris Barker at the helm showing off a media management application called Plex that organizes your video and audio files. Chris said it was “Roon” for video. As an added plus Chris was managing video files from his server 20 miles away and watching a movie streaming across the internet.

On the second floor Russ was presenting the group a very highly reviewed new speaker from across the pond, the Wharfedale Linton Heritage. I found this speaker very musical and natural. It is reviewed in the September Issue of Stereophile, Herb Reichert gave it a thumbs up. This 3-way speaker sounds much more than its less than $1.5k price with stand. You can get it with or without the stands which very smartly provides some album storage while providing a high mass stable support. If you are in the market for a speaker at this price point I really suggest you give this a listen. You will love it.

In the lower level sound room John was showing off the The Pioneer Elite UDP-LX500 Universal Player. This is a good alternative to the defunct Oppo BDP-205. For audiophiles who have big collections of SACDs, DVD-As, Music BDs, or want an easy to use a high-end player for hi-res file play from USB Drives. When I was down there I was hearing the excellent KEF R11. Some of the best sound I have heard at Russ’s.

This month’s meeting was just chock full of interesting demos and it would not be a DC HiFi Group meeting without the raffle. Lots of winners. Actually we are all winners. See you next month.

DCHFG July 2019 Meeting/Party/Overture Open House

This was a multi-part, two location, extravaganza set up by our majordomo John Gatski. This was a lot of work and he deserves a pat on the back. Our group meetings are just getting better by the month.

First was a special open house at Overture in Wilmington, Del.

Wow, what a great time we had at the Overture open house. For the members that made the trip up to Wilmington, Chris Murphy really rolled out the hospitality for us and treated everyone with a couple of special demonstrations of some pretty spectacular listening rooms. A nice lunch was spread out for us too! This was my second open house this summer. I previously wrote about the McIntosh Birthday bash last month. Overture has been going through some major renovations and plans more improvements and in the near future. Since Chris has joined Overture, they are moving to a higher level of quality listening experience for their clients. This is truly a high end audio environment.

I was attracted to this open house with the promise of hearing the Magnepan 30.7 for the first time. Even though this speaker has been out for almost two years now, I had not heard it. Magnepan does not do audio shows. They do dealer demos. I’m a big fan of dipole speakers. My system includes Maggy llla’s and Quad 57’s. Both heavily modded by me but still dipoles, meaning that the sound presentation is equally the same from both the front and the back of the speakers. These speakers do need to be quite far from the front wall. At least three feet out if not more. They have a very natural presentation.

So, this was going to be a real treat for me. I was not disappointed in the least.

The 30.7′s were set up in the smaller of the two high end rooms. Overture did not hold back on the electronics with all PASS amplification and VPI Signature TT with SoundSmith cartridge.

Equipment used included PASS XP17 Phono, PASS XP22 Preamp, and PASS X600.2 mono blocks. Yes, that’s 600 watts per side.

All interconnects and power cabling were top of the line Cardas.

This was what I like in a system sound. Yes it was polite, laid back, very west coast. Deep and wide soundstage.

The image of a solo instrument does get quite large but a full orchestra image is very real. This system did draw me in wanting to sit and really listen. Luckily I was allowed to run the system and change records at will.

I spun a nice variety of music from Cannonball Adderley’s 1958 Something Else, this classic Jazz album had Miles Davis and Art Blakey, I could listen to this all day and on this system never tire.

Stevie Ray Vaughn’s, Couldn’t Stand The Weather, sounded appropriately gritty.

Next was Stokowski’s Rhapsodies album from which I chose the Smetana’s The Moldau. You could not help but feel the flow of the Vltava River—or, in German, the Moldau—from its source in the mountains of the Bohemian Forest, through the Czech countryside.

There is a tremendous sense of space with these speakers.

It was hard to tear myself away from the Maggy’s but I did want to hear the main high-end room.

Overture set up the Magico M6 with Audio Research Reference 6 Preamp and References 160 Mono blocks.

This was the best I have ever heard Magico‘s in many years of traveling to Audio shows except the in 2010 CAF’s first show I heard the first Magico’s Birch ply monitors and I thought they were great.

Well, this presentation of the M6 was magnificent. Full dynamics without any edginess in the highs.

This was an exciting sound. Drop the Banana!!!

But, I had to go back and listen to the Magnepan 30.7 one more time.

The time flew by and all of a sudden we had the drawings. Some records and a turntable were given away and we had to say goodbye to Chris and Overture and head down to the beach for John’s party.

John and Mila put out a great Latin American spread. Great salsa’s and toppings for the beef and rice and beans. Sangria flowed. We watched some Woodstock footage on John’s HT using the KLH towers, center, sub and surrounds.

Dave Kelley, President of KLH, told us about his plans to bring the famed KLH 9 electrostatics to market. Wow!

The Raffle giveaway included KLH Ultimate Ones headphones, two Woodstock Concert DVDs and an LP’s for all.

Sadly it was over but we had a full day of Audiophile Nirvana. I was well fed, well imbibed. Time to dream.

DCHFG @ Overture AV, July 20, 2019

Just because there’s a lot of talk about the Moon this weekend doesn’t mean there aren’t other things going on! DCHFG visits Overture AV on July 20th, 2019 at 11 am in their Wilmington, DE store.

Some lucky member will win either a McIntosh Headphone Amp or Rega Turntable w/Cartridge at the Dealer Event/Demo. Twenty five LPs will also be given away as well.

Demos Include:

  • Magnepan Speakers
  • MartinLogan Speakers
  • Magico Speakers
  • Focal Speakers
  • Pass Labs
  • Rogue Audio
  • Acoustic Research Amps
  • VPI Turntables
  • Clearaudio Turntables

Where:
Overture UHE
2423 Concord Pike
(Route 202)
Wilmington, DE 19803
Take I95 From DC Area

When:
July 20, 2019 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The Party will continue at the DCHFG Beach House in the afternoon.