The DC Hi-Fi Group

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

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

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

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

DCHFG June 2019 Meeting

Greg Viggiano again arranged for the party room at his condo to be used for our monthly meeting. It’s a bit of a trek for Erik and I (the two lowly Baltimoreans of the group) to make it to Alexandria. It seems no matter which route or which day or time the trip is always full of trepidation being at the mercy of the beltway around Washington.  This trip was not too bad — just under 2 hours with only a handful of backups.  What makes it easy going is having the company of someone like Eerik.

The gathering started off slowly and I was a bit nervous about the possibility of a low turnout due to the great weather.  But it did not take too long for the room to fill out to a nice crowd.  Thinking about this as an afterthought, it was one of the best meetings ever.  I cannot really say why but the vibe was great.  It could not have been the broccoli pizza, but something was in the air that just made me feel good about being there.  Even the sound system was musical.  John set up a really neat kit that presented good tunes to a fairly large room. We had digital files served up by a Macbook Pro into either Prism Callia or Mytek DAC. Boosting the signals from the sources was handled by Rogue tube electronics with RP-9 preamp and Stereo 100 amp. Johns go-to speakers for this type of installation was the very smooth Amphion Argon 3S.

Committee reports were from Chris with always great stuff on a new affordable IEM (Tin HiFi P1) and Russ letting us know about the new lines he is carrying.  This is what makes our group special because we have members really interested in what’s going on in the industry and are willing to share with us.

John let us know what’s coming up in the near future.  Tying two events together, John has set up a special time for a June 20th Delaware dealer demo at Overture AV highlighting the new Magnepan 30.7 speakers from 11 am to 1 pm. Chris Murphy sets up a professional demonstration that always includes refreshments.  Then, for those who do not want the party to end, it’s off to John’s beach house for Latin American food, those famous Pisco drinks; and plenty of liquid spirits. The 50th Anniversary Woodstock movie will be featured in hi-res surround, courtesy of KLH. Look for music giveaway items and a guarantee of fun for all. We will be coordinating ride-sharing with members who need a ride.

We had a pile of raffle give-a-ways and all enjoyed the fun. The trip back to Baltimore was uneventful and peaceful.

See you in Delaware next month.

Preview: Overture Open House

DCHFG Member, Paul Elliot, recently visited Overture AV on the occasion of McIntosh Labs 70th Anniversary celebration. This is a preview of what DCHFG members will see and hear during our visit on July 20, 2019.

A few Saturday’s ago, Overture AV in Wilmington, DE held an open house for McIntosh Labs 70th birthday. 

Chris Murphy, Overture AV
Chris Murphy, major domo of Overture.

The Wilmington store went through a major renovation last year and was warm and inviting, filled with many rooms and an impressive array of systems of all sizes, including two Home Theater rooms. Overture put out an very nice lunch spread of sandwiches, tomato pie, and chips.

Once lunch had settled it was off to visit the rooms.  They had set up two main rooms with alternating demos every thirty minutes.

The “Big” system featured the Sonus faber Aida ($130k) speakers driven by a pair of the big McIntosh-MC1.25KW Monobloc’s.

The slightly more intimate room run by McIntosh rep Ken Zelin had the new McIntosh Anniversary C70 tube preamplifier, MC2152 2-Channel Vacuum Tube Amplifier, and the Sonus faber LILIUM ($70K) speakers.

Chris told me since he joined Overture, the company has spent a lot of energy finding products to bring to the public that makes sense. They have explored the synergy between manufacturers that are additive to the musical experience.

McIntosh actually got their start here in Silver Spring, Maryland in 1949 before moving to Binghamton, NY in 1951.

Who could forget that the Grateful Dead unveiled the “Wall of Sound” on March 23, 1974 at the San Francisco Cow Palace.  A total of 48 McIntosh MC2300 amplifiers – delivering 28,800 Watts of power – were used in this groundbreaking sound system.

McIntosh believes in supporting the customer, providing service for every product they have ever produced.

I asked Ken “What makes McIntosh a McIntosh”.

His response, “Smoothness”, this is the McIntosh sound.  It adds nothing that gets in way of the music. Ken said that most of this McIntosh sound is due to the output transformers.  Very wide bandwidth out to 100khz.

I heard the smoothness. No harsh high frequency nasties. I heard nothing to complain about.