Saturday, March 31, 2012

LSAF. The little show that can?

Two years ago JJ and I had some fun in Dallas at the Lone Star Audio Fest .  This show is different since there is no promoter and it simply puts a bunch of audio junkies in the same place at the same time with out the constraints of having to host, organize or charge for an event.

We had fun and met new friends like innerurban who did this blog post  that was the source of the opening picture.   Flash forward nearly two years and I'm headed back.  Unfortunately Munich is happening on the same weekend so JJ and I will cross paths in the air in an attempt to spread the junkie gospel.

Since I will be 150 pounds light of the 300 pound workforce that is emia, we are taking it old skool and showing something very similar to what JJ and JVH took to VSAC 2008.

As I travel to dallas and JJ travels to Munich, we will have each other in spirit in the form of 150 pounds of emia gear.  In addition to the Lowther field coils, Dallas will have the phono, some 50 amps, sut's, attenuators, a LR crossover, strain gauge phono and 100% vinyl as a source.  Acting as the emia missionary to convert amsterdam, JJ has me in spirit if not in mass.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Ionovac Tweeter - Omahaul pt I...


hello friends... well, I finally got my old school theatre gear score.. alas, it was second hand from the guy who actually removed it from the theatre thirty years ago.. but it was an old-school deal none the less... the guy did not want to eBay it.. he wanted it to go to a loving home... he is an electronics and audio guy himself, and had all sorts of things he was cleaning out of his basement..

as I had to drive to Omaha, Nebraska to get this stuff.. and as the gear that I will show you in later segments came from a theatre in Omaha, I have to call this the Omahaul of a lifetime..

first up is the Ionovac tweeter.. I was super stoked he gave this to me as dave and I have had these half cooked plans for a plasma tweeter for a long time.. I really dig the plasma tweeter sound.. the way it just makes the room size grow when you turn it on.. effortless and big.. it made me understand that audiophile term "air"...

even though large flames can play down low.. (use an Eimac transmitting tube and make it play down to 500Hz? madness!)... it seems to not quite have the impact of the best tweeters.. but the best tweeters (big Goto and ALE, original WE tweeters, and those amazing GIP gold tweeters!) do not do what the plasma does.. so I am thinking to roll the plasma in above the classic WE tweeters... best of both worlds will be the goal.. we will find out...

Another key reason to play with these is to finally have a tweeter that is the efficiency of these powerful midrange horns.. it is not easy.. the laws of physics catch up by the treble.. and as these are self-powered, you can say goodbye to those damaging attenuators on your midrange horns.. let them run free!..

If you are interested in a plasma tweeter to keep up with your horns, please drop me a note offline.. I need to gauge how much interest there is in this project... I want one, but I have been accused of valuing music as high as religion...

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

objet d'art

I never thought of a dead mesh 50 as art.

I see the remote LR crossover from Chapman as art.

Some like the hudson as art.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Western Electric 16a and 16b - verifying the model with the measurements...


so if you take measurements two different ways... and actually make paper templates using heavy stock.. and they all match up to within 1/16", you celebrate with a beer (or whatever floats your own personal boat)...

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Treehouse...


OK... I had a third request for the treehouse... so here she is!

I had the kids draw and come up with ideas. After removing some great ideas (like a zipline from the roof of our house to the treehouse) that I knew would never pass the "Mom veto", we were left with a rather plain affair for now. It does serve its purpose very well, however. It is great to get twelve feet off the ground. It feels totally different up there... we did manage to sneak in the trap door and the rope ladder... oh, and the rope and bucket for getting "stuff" up and down...

the halfpipe from above:

My little woodshop and open work area:

the trap door:

I will update you as the kids add and modify... it does make me very happy that they will stay up there for hours at a time... especially as I found out I am a bit afraid of heights... laying the first long and heavy cross beams while balancing on a single 2" beam was a bit more distressing than I had imagined...


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

the river.

I remember the early stories of the NY triode Mafia and how once herb mentioned something like circuits and sound should flow like a M-effin river.   Back in those days I was known as clippy for some unknown reason and recently things came home to me when an early 'drug through the hudson' strain gauge supply came back to me with a new owner.

To rip off herb, the blood and guts of the sound was well chosen quality parts.  The only trick thing on this unit was the inclusion of an early set of the Chapman remote autoformers.   In any event we fired it up last weekend for some listening and it was really nice to have an old reference back home for comparison to where things have gone.

The current equivalent to that circuit that I listen to daily sure makes the 'drug through the hudson look appealing to the end consumer so i guess i still have a lot of latent "clippy" hiding in my soul.

Everyone loves the 437A and I have to be honest that back in the day, $50 was a lot for a tube when I could get a 5842 or a 6c45 for 1/10th the price.  On Saturday we blasted through a bunch of alternatives in the "clippy rig" and it was very comforting that while each tube had its tone,  the sound was all great.

another thing to be addressed is the inherent inaccuracy of the historical strain gauge cartridges and how to adhere to that pesky riaa accuracy demanded by some of the all-knowing.  The clippy filter pictured above takes a device that has about a 5dB variation from an arbitrary zero to a 2dB variation.

the good news is... the filter just seems to change the presentation a bit and doesn't seem to have an impact on the emotion (tone) of the music.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

New room layout....


hey kids... over the holidays.. actually, on my birthday in December, I decided to rearrange the listening room... not that it had sonic issues... more that it was not a comfortable room for just hanging out.. the sweet spot was great, but the traffic was a mess.. just no room..

the new layout is wonderful... the overhead rails make adding and moving horns very easy.. the sound is already better than it was and I have yet to really get into the details! having a coffee table is nice... the kids hang out and do homework.. I can set a computer down.. plenty of room to have a small project out as well as a sketch pad..

and I could not have done it without my new favorite tool - the CM Puller.. it made the job easy....

oh, and I noticed this view from the throat of the horn... too funny.. and Lisa's least favorite thing about the room.. she hates these albums more than the steel railing! I like the way the colors on each album are slightly different (I only read it for the articles?)...

anyway.. there is the first installment of the new room.. and yes, dave, that is an Experience Music Electrodynamic 650 without a horn.. I have to finish up pete's horn and then it will return.. why don't you drive down my lathe?



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