Flaming June. Flaming June indeed! The rather soggy start to meteorological summer continued into Saturday morning, but at least the start of summer means it's Owston time again!
Every Owston meet I come away with renewed enthusiasm to get on with my own projects, and yet again another year slides by with very little actual progress. This next year will be the year!
Now this room presents some photographic challenges - the light is poor so the autofocus hunts and rarely locks on in focus. So I usually end up manually focussing, which is a bit of a pain in low light with a modern autofocus SLR as it doesn't have much help when you're off autopilot. Most of the photos are reasonably okay though. And I prefer not to use flash if I can as it bleaches out a lot of the detail. And things that glow :-). I've tried to make a note of what people brought but it gets trickier each year as we become an increasingly broad church.
Anyway, enough chuntering, let's get on with it.
As usual, after setting up and some catching up our organiser Steve S called us to order.
With the housekeeping done we kicked off with Ali. Ali had brought a table full of gear, a lot of it the 4 channel active system he uses with his OB speakers - amps and DSP.
Ali had to set me right with a fair bit of this (thanks Ali :-)). The turntable is one of Cressy's modified and replinthed Lenco GL75 with a Long Dog Audio power supply. Arm is a Mission 774, with a Benz Gullwing SLR. The phonostage is a Firebottle. The woofers are driven by an Artcoustic 500W class AB amp, 200Hz-800Hz is handled by the Visatons driven by a 3000W class D amp, 800Hz-5kHz are Crysler D500 compression drivers driven by a Transcendent Mini Beast OTL, and above 5kHz are SB Acoustics Sartori tweeters driven by a Monarchy Audio SRM 70 feedbackless class A amp. All brought together with an active crossover, a miniDSP 4x10HD. Phew! That's a lot of boxes.
Music played was:
St Germain - something from the Tourist album
Mighty Sam McClain - something from Give It Up To Love
Yello - The Race
Next up, going around the room was Philip, Pre65. Phil pointed out he didn't use any DSP!
His system was a Philips 1541 DAC (I think), an Audio Note copy preamp, and a pair of 50W MOSFET monoblocks amps based on a Nelson Pass design. Speakers are his OBs with 18" Fane bass helpers with Alpair 12P main driver, and a Mark Audio tweeter on top.
Music played was a Russian choral piece, Acker Bilk (to much amusement), and Pachelbel's Kanon.
Next was Mike with his system which he'd brought in his motorbike sidecar.
A laptop as source, I think there was a small DAC perhaps, then EL84 PP which is now boxed up and looking rather swish. Speakers are from an old Music Centre which Mike hotrodded with Altai? drivers, and a Coles tweeter. He has also has added cardboard tube port - adding that nothing had been designed!
Music played was The Three Ravens by John Harlech from the album Secret Story: Songs From A History Of Britain, Another Wierdo by Gerard Presencer from the album Groove Travels, and Chicken Pox by Booker T. & The M.G.s from the album Melting Pot.
Chris was next, and introduced his system by saying he'd actually brought 4!
There was an impressive amount of kit, which takes a lot of bringing and setting up. Amps were a PA rig, with various, um, control gubbins, with his own design and built speakers, plus the Behringers, plus Dave Dlugos Fostex FE126EN specials.
Music played was Frim Fram Sauce by Diana Krall with the PA system, Buena by Morphine through the Behringers, and then Back in Black by AC/DC with the small Fostex. And as a Brucey Bonus additional track before lunch a choral piece.
During lunch in one of the breakout zones our Dave The Bass showed his versatility with a ukelele (might be a rather large download - maybe 33MB).
Now fed and watered Alan went next. Apparently Alan is better known as Firebottle, though I suspect he's best known for his trousers.
Alan was also using a Lenco GL75, with a valve preamp of his own design, and also a power amp he designed with a valve driver and a MOSFET output stage. Speakers were rather bijou Neat jobs.
Music played was Rock Around The Clock, something from Delta Time by Hans Theessink and Terry Evans, and something by Yello from the Toy album.
Steve was also using a Lenco GL75, and another conversion by Ant. It had a Mayware Formula 4 arm which Greg gave to him as a "box of bits". An NVA 1 phono stage connected to one of Ant's passive switchers with phase splitting transformers to Steve's balanced EL84(?) monos. Love the port and starboard illumination! Speakers were his own Flatback Banned metronomes using Faital 6" main driver and SB Acoustics tweeter.
Music played was Graham Street Station(?) on vinyl, That's Amore by Ray Gelato on cd, and finally something by Level 42 on vinyl.
And then on to our "host" Steve S.
Amp was Steve's usual PX25 with 4 power supplies providing a heady 5W! His latest speakers use a Beyma air motion tweeter (without horn this time) and a Fane 12" driver below 1500Hz. The bottom end is reinforced with a Fane 18", and the top with a Fostex T900A supertweeter.
Music played was Black Dog from Rivers Johansson's Righteous Liar album (notable as it features Steve's daughter on lead vocals!), something by Bowie I think, and Marie Boine.
Next was Stojan using his speakers with Steve C's system.
The speakers are Bulgarian designed, 87dB, using Seas H1333 dual concentric drivers. They're made by laminations glued together to form the complex horn mouth. They were superbly finished it has to be said.
Music played was Me or Him from Roger Water's Radio K.A.O.S., Lee Harvey Oswald, and Diana Krall live I think.
Ray P was next using Steve S's source and speakers.
Ray had brought his Transcendent 300B SE OTL build with 8 300Bs. That's 8. For 1 of the sweetest watts of power you will ever hear!
Music played was some classical - Arcangelo Corelli performed by La Serenissima (tracks 4 and 5 of this), Elbow - This Blue World, and then Walk On The Wild Side.
Yeah, this is what the boxes for 8 300Bs looks like...
I had a crafty listen to Stojan's headphone amp whilst some other fettling was going on. The CD player looked fairly well modded with maybe a valve output stage(?), the amp uses a EZ81 rectifier, E88CC driver and 6H30i output valves. Headphones were Grado Reference.
Stojan had also brought a phono stage which we didn't get chance to listen to unfortunately, but he says he's coming again next year with a full system, so we'll be able to hear whatever he wants to bring.
Back to Steve S's rig for another Steve, vinylnvalves. (The more observant will have noticed the looming presence of The Tower Of Power :-).)
Steve was using Ncore amps and we had another blast of Walk On The Wild Side.
Then we had a blast on Steve's PX25 amp.
And then on Firebottle's 6080 OTL.
Now make way for the Tower Of Power - here's Thomas!
6SN7 DC (I think) to 6SN7 IT to 801A for a whole 2W of goodness. Also using vinylnvalves phono stage.
Then Steve made a switch to the power supply of the phono, a switch mode. It was inconclusive which was best - I thought the second but the amp had been turned up too which made it difficult to tell.
At that point tea was taken for some recharging. Afterwards it was Doc Mods time. Chris set up Doc's own Doc Mods, and they certainly sounded better up against the wall where they were voiced to be rather than in space.
Then it was the turn of the Cubes on Steve C's system.
And then Dave The Bass' Doc Mods, which he really rather likes.
Finally, for me at least, Dave's old workshop speakers got an airing. I don't remember now which Fostex driver.
And that was my lot. Another super day out with old friends and new. And I really must get my finger out for next year...