The DC Hi-Fi Group

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.

DCHFG May 2019 Meeting

The DC Hi-Fi Group Meeting at John Gatski’s Home May 18, 2019 by Paul Elliott.

Spring time in our area is supposed to be such a lovely time and it seemed to be a perfect time for John to have an open house for our group.  Best laid plans of mice and men. Man was it hot and sticky. The warmest day so far this year! It happened to fall on Saturday so we suffered through it with beer and sliders. Even a surprise birthday cake for John, still a baby at a mere 60 years, could not dampen our spirits. But we were damp. There was a steady stream going in and out of the house to cool off.

We sort of muddled through a meeting. Mike McGary of McGary Audio was there letting us know what is new with his amp company.  He let us know that his newest amp the SA-2 is in production. A P-P KT-88 stereo amp pushing  80 watts. I saw and heard this amp at Axpona in April and it sounded great moving air easily with Salk speakers. Mike has updated the look from industrial sheik of the SA-1 to retro Googie architecture (also known as “populuxe” or “doo-wop”).

Can you imagine? It was so hot that Tom Perazella only spoke three sentences. Something about some stuff. LOL!

Anyway we did have fun. It was not all sweat and chafe. Giveaways were just three this month.  Michael got a 8TB USB drive (darn that’s what I wanted). Chris got a Parasound ZDAC, and Peter got a CD. See you all next month.

DCHFG April 2019 Meeting

DC Hi-Fi Group April Meeting at The Vinyl Revivers, April 28, 2019, by Paul Elliott

It was another great Sunday at Russ’s. 

Russ Katz, The Vinyl Revivers, opened his home business to our club in grand style. I would guess there were about 30 club members on hand to meet three company representatives, have a hearty lunch, and take home some goodies.

In the lower level sound room, Patrick Thompson, National Sales Manager, from KLH Audio Speakers, presented three-floor standers including the Cambridge, the Quincy, and the Kendall.  

Rob Pleyer, Director of Sales Rogers High Fidelity, had set up the Rogers KWM-88 CORONA integrated amp to drive the KLH’s in fine style.    

Jack Rainey represented both Parasound and Integra in the upstairs front bedroom

Conversations were typically lively between members discussing what is new in their systems.  We were light on committee meetings this session with only a few words from Tom Perazella about upcoming Midwest Audiofest Speaker Design Competition in Ohio this summer.

We did have the usual raffle with just about everyone getting at least a t-shirt.

DCHFG March 2019 Meeting

Paul Elliot provided pictures and the narrative for this report.

Gary Gill graciously provided his home for an afternoon of good eats, good drinks, good talks, and good listening.

Dennis Clark, owner of the Leesburg Listening Room, was the special guest for this meeting. This is a new home audio dealer located about 10 miles west of Dulles just off Rt. 15. He carries PS Audio, Legacy Speakers, VPI, and many more notable products. The “Store” is located in a beautiful home in Creighton Farms private community. Dennis was exuberant in describing his philosophy of sound presentation.

Chris Barker talked about a very new affordable DAC called the Khadas Tone Board. He also mentioned he had completed a turntable kit build using the SRM Tech Azure Turntable Kit using Rega parts. It was also mentioned that Emotiva was now shipping mono block amplifiers featuring IcePower modules. Finally, there was a brief mention of the brand new Magnepan LRS ribbon speakers. Tom Perazella told us about interesting new developments using HRTF (Head Related Transfer Function) technology to make headphones present a more natural sound stage.

Demo of iFi Pro Dac and Dynaudio Special Forty Speakers

We then clambered upstairs to Gary’s dedicated listing room for a listen to the iFi Pro DAC ($2500). This DAC is interesting because it is designed with a high-quality DSD up conversion/direct DSD engine and custom Alps volume section with a selectable tube or solid state buffer analog stage. The UK designed, China manufactured, DAC decodes to 768khz in PCM and up samples to 1024khz in DSD using the Crysopeia FPGA Digital DSD Engine. The PCM/DSD core DAC chip is from Burr Brown. The iFi Pro has tons of features including an onboard micro-SD card player that can be accessed via a Wi-Fi phone app (DLNA). Five user selectable digital filters are also available. Russ from Vinyl Revivers loaned a beautiful pair of Dynaudio Special Forty speakers. Gary’s room was tough for these small bookshelf speakers but if you got up close in a near field position you could hear what these speakers can do. They are very nice and would do very well in a small den or listening room that is better damped than Gary’s echo chamber.

Dynaudio Special Forty Speaker

Regular raffle winners included Walter and Gary Gill.

See you next month at Russ’s