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8pm Wednesday 13th December - Willis Room, City of Whitehorse Offices
DIY Night

It's that time of year again when the DIY group get to show off their Hi Fi projects at the December General Meeting. It looks like another busy year for the group as they have managed to put together three systems for the night's presentation.

This year we are lucky to have a wide range of equipment on show, everything from vinyl to a music server, and both Class-D and Valve amplification. The Audio Action group will be demonstrating their finished project, a Phono Preamp designed and built by a team of MAC members.

The first system will be playing music from a DIY "Raspberry Pi" music server. Based on a low cost but very powerful computer board aimed at the educational department. This same system will feature a 250W Class D amplifier powering a pair of 2-way stand mount speakers.

The second system will showcase the MAC Phono Preamp, designed with two 'best in class' head-stage amplifiers, one for MC and one for MM cartridges. The rest of the system will have an opamp based preamp running into another Class-D power amp. A pair of 3-way speakers with American 12" bass drivers, Scandinavian 5"mid's and 'Raal' ribbon tweeters, will be providing the sound for the night.

The final system will feature a valve amplifier with a modest 15 Watts. The design is a hybrid of Dynaudio ST70 and Alan Wright's ideas using EL34's in ultra-linear mode. The amp will be partnered with equipment from the other two systems.

As in previous years, each system will be allotted 30 minutes. Each presenter will get to explain their gear as well as play some music. This should see us finish the session by 10:00pm, allowing the members on the night to hear all the systems. Its going to be a cracker of a night.

Nick Karayanis - Program Co-ordinator.

General Meeting is held on the 3rd Wednesday of the month except sometimes in December when it's the 2nd Wednesday
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Previous General Meeting
Rockian Trading

Once again the month of November has arrived and our regular presenters for this month, Ian and Beverly from Rockian Trading, and Greg from Osborn Speakers will be introducing their products.

Stocking a selection of high quality vinyl records and CDs from Mobile Fidelity, Chesky, and Stockfisch Records, Bev will have her bazaar set up for eager MAC members to purchase some bargains.

This is always one of the most entertaining evenings for the year, with lots of anecdotes from Ian and his playing examples of new discs. I am told that a lot more of the black vinyl will be featured on the night. After last month's presentation with the new Mobile Fidelity turntable, it looks like we are in for some grooving sounds. Who would have thought that records would be cool again?

Note: Beverly will have her bazaar set-up to go by 7:00 pm.

Nick Karayanis - Program Co-ordinator.

Once again we thank Greg and Yvonne Osborn for their technical and moral support for our annual November MAC meeting. This year Greg intends to use a 100 watt per channel Consonance system driving a pair of Osborn Reference Epitome loudspeakers.

As usual Beverley will have a selection of recordings for sale through to MAC members at special prices. Some particular bargains will continue to be presented from labels that have left Rockian Trading or ceased regular production.

In 2016 I reported on the decline of CD sales and the proliferation of on-line streaming. The transition from "the real world" to "the virtual world" continues. Music recordings are now "sound files" and the programs that control them are "apps." Telephones, computers, tablets and walkmans are now devices, and devices are all pervasive. Artists, from world fame like Madonna to local heroes like Mike Brady are regularly struggling with audience members who persist in waving iPads above their heads to video the performances. Never mind the view of those sitting behind them.

Like the modest mobile telephone transformed into an incredible "Swiss Army Knife" of portable gadgets, technology has also transformed the humble gramophone into dedicated audio devices that reproduces the best possible sound. Or has it? Something happened. I recently re-commissioned my 35 year old Celestion 18" 3 way P.A. system, powered by two Hafler Pro500 amplifiers. Looking for a dramatic, dynamic recording to check the system I selected one of my FIM 'Producers Choice' CDs and put it into my trusty old Denon DCD 815 CD player and pressed play. It sounded horrible. The 1" metal dome RCF compression tweeters made the strings sound gritty, like sand-paper dragged across the back of a panel saw. I was horrified and feared the system a failure.

Then I changed tracks to one produced by Keith Johnson at Reference Recordings. Glorious huge, clean, dynamic sound. Finally I played a GRP Live In Session CD and Dave Grusin, Lee Ritnour, Carlos Vega and friends performed live in my basement.

Remember this is very big Class A-B public address system designed specifically to reproduce live bands, and it performs very well to purpose.

The question was, why did the first track sound so bad compared with what followed? It had to be the CD player. In its day the Denon DCD 815 CD player was a decent mid-priced unit. The DAC is good but the error correction is primitive compared to modern devices. Quality modern players extract raw digital information from the disc and reconstruct it before the output in a signal computed to be the best possible sound. When your player makes a humble off the shelf CD sound so good, who needs an expensive audiophile quality CD or SACD. Our sales suggest only a few people now require audiophile digital discs.

On the other hand, more and more people are returning to analogue. LP sales continue to firm. No digital trickery here, just good production standards of "real music." Now all I have to do is compare the mono mix with the stereo mix. Hmmm! Besides the Original Master Recordings from Mobile Fidelity, also Reference Recordings, Opus 3 Records, Stockfisch Records and Chesky Records, are producing LPs.

Rockian Trading also continues to market mainstream labels like ATMA Classique and Cala Records through stores like Thomas Records and the Readings Books and Music stores.

We also provide audiophile labels to specialist stores like Quality Records in Malvern, Greville Records in Prahran and Burwood Music Centre, as well as to hi-fi stores like Tivoli HiFi in Hawthorn, HiFi Exchange in Nunawading and Vinyl Revival in Fitzroy.

Ian Hooper and Bev