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Author Topic: Audio Club meeting with RTR as a focus.....April 9th, Seattle area  (Read 4519 times)

Offline mikel

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On April 9th, this coming Thursday night at 7:30pm, our local Seattle audio club, the Pacific Northwest Audio Society will have the April monthly meeting at my home. The focus will be how reel to reel tape, including some 'Tape Project' tapes, compare to other formats including redbook, SACD and vinyl.

I will be using mostly a stock Studer A-820 master recorder, and possibly a deParavicini modified Technics RS-1700. Turntables will include a Rockport Sirius III, a modified Garrard 301/Triplaner, and possibly a modified Technics SP-10 Mk3. Digital will be played on a Playback Designs MPS-5. Steve Dobbins, who built the plinths and tweaked both the Garrard and Technics tt's, will be here to make sure the tt's are at their very best.

The actual meeting will go from 7:30pm to 9:30pm but we will be playing music and 'such' prior and post. There is plenty of room. Any tapeheads are most welcome to attend.

My home is in North Bend, about 30 miles east of Seattle. E-mail me for directions.... [email protected]

Hopefully it won't snow.....as we have had lots of the stuff recently. If it does people can park down near the Interstate and i can pick them up. At this point the weather looks to be just fine.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2009, 08:59:02 AM by mikel »
Mike Lavigne

Offline ironbut

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Re: Audio Club meeting with RTR as a focus.....April 9th, Seattle area
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2009, 10:09:58 AM »
That sounds like it'll be a great time Mike. I had such a great time at Larry's get together that anyone within reason should go. Heck, if your lucky you'll get totally snowed in there and Mike will end up adopting you!
I was wondering how your DD Technics/idler wheel Garrard compare in sound . It seem like you'd be a great person to know what the "sound" of the different drive designs is. IIRC the Rockport is a magnetic drive (or was it mag-lift bearing?) but your other tables are pretty maxed out so isolating the sound of the drives should be much easier to isolate in your system than with others. Also, it seems like you've had quite a parade of gear in and out of your listening room so I bet you can really isolate what changes each stage of equipment makes (not many of us have that luxury).
Well, I don't mean to hijack your thread. I hope you guys have a great time. Mike's listening room pictures have drawn ooh's and ahh's from every corner of the audiophile universe and the next time it comes up you'll be able to say "Oh yeah,.. I've been there,.. haven't you?!"
steve koto
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Offline mikel

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Re: Audio Club meeting with RTR as a focus.....April 9th, Seattle area
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2009, 10:45:55 AM »
I was wondering how your DD Technics/idler wheel Garrard compare in sound . It seem like you'd be a great person to know what the "sound" of the different drive designs is. IIRC the Rockport is a magnetic drive (or was it mag-lift bearing?) but your other tables are pretty maxed out so isolating the sound of the drives should be much easier to isolate in your system than with others. Also, it seems like you've had quite a parade of gear in and out of your listening room so I bet you can really isolate what changes each stage of equipment makes (not many of us have that luxury).

Thanks Steve.

my reason for adding the Garrard and Technics last summer was to discover how they differ? do i like them? how do they stack up to the Rockport and can they be good enough to compete near that level? my goal was to have more arms and cartridges ready to use beyond just the Rockport.

so far i don't yet have the final answers to these questions. originally i had the Technics SP-10 Mk2. soon after i recieved it with the new plinth from Steve Dobbins, i found a Mk3. so i only had the Mk2 for a few months and never really spent much time with it. now the Mk3 is (nearly) done and Steve may bring it with him for the meeting.....i've not heard it or even seen pictures. my viewpoint is that the Technics is more neutral and refined than the Garrard with a lower noise floor. The Garrard sounds a bit more colored, rounded, and has 'bigger' bass.

i'm looking forward to having both the Garrard 301 and Technics SP-10 Mk3 together. I'm especially excited that Steve will be here to optimize both tt's. When i originally had them last summer i found out just how marginal my pivoted arm set-up skills were and i don't think i did either tt justice. I am getting better and will pay close attention to Steve's coaching.

The Rockport has an eddy current direct drive motor ($12k off the shelf, developed by NASA) and uses an air bearing.

based on listening i am a fan of direct drive tt's, or idlers. i've heard many really wonderful sounding belt driven tt's......all of which would sound even better with direct drive. it's just like what the Studer A-820 or the Ampex ATR-102 do; better, more accurate approaches to time based issues reap big rewards in music reproduction. our ears and brains are particularly sensitive to these issues as we deal with reality every moment of our lives.

when you hear a piano or any stringed instrument on a high quality direct drive tt it is easy to hear the leap it takes beyond a belt drive. also; the whole groove modulation thing has quite an effect on musical peaks.

modestly priced direct drive or idlers (Technics and Garrards) can compete with belt driven tt's costing many multiples more. of course; there are lots of varibles and perspectives.
Mike Lavigne

Offline ironbut

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Re: Audio Club meeting with RTR as a focus.....April 9th, Seattle area
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2009, 11:06:42 AM »
Excellent Mike. Thanks for info. Keep us apprised of how things develop in this area.
Have fun next week!
steve koto
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Offline mikel

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Re: Audio Club meeting with RTR as a focus.....April 9th, Seattle area
« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2009, 09:57:53 PM »
the meeting was great fun. but.....as i sat way over on the right side attending to the Studer the whole night i thought that the first impressions of the night should be from a friend of mine who is (as a result of what he heard during the meeting) planning on jumping into RTR in a big way. so with his permission i am posting his comments below here (he will be joining this forum presently).

this is from my system page thread on Audiogon.

here is a link to my thread if you are interested in the context of this post;

http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?vaslt&1036349020&openflup&1427&4#1427

"Hi Mike

Thanks, first of all, for having all of us at your home to enjoy listening to music, and for a very entertaining evening ,,,,,,, and for allowing me to crash in your "Barn". Also, thank St. Pam for putting up with all of us.

For those that missed the event , you missed a BIG ONE !!

The evening was a huge eye/ear opener for me and I am quite sure for several others as well.
To be in a room, meeting with so many music lovers and aficionados, was a great
experience. This is something that we do not do in Vancouver..... Hello Vancouver BC.

I arrived early at Mike's place, the border line up being ONLY one hour at that early hour.

For those of us that were there early, music was played on a request basis and if you brought your own it was also played.

The first album that Steve Dobbins cued was Roger Waters "Amused to Death" on LP.
This album on Mike's system made it sound like there were speakers all around the room.
Never have I heard it played back with such resolution, energy, and ambiance. J. Tinn did work his magic on the placement of the EMM 3.

Once all of the members showed up at the meeting the business part of the meeting was conducted, concluded, and then onto the music.

The evening unfolded with music listening, first through Mike's Rockport and Garrard 301 as sources played through the Allnic phono stage. First time that I saw this phono stage in person......... stunning sound quality, versatile and build Q is first rate.
"
We got into playing "Jazz at the Pawn Shop" on vinyl. Gary, one of the members, had first and second pressings of this album. To listen to these two pressings was very enlightening. The differences were so profound that you could tell the second pressing was missing dynamics.
One person asked to hear this on SACD, which Mike had of course.........lasted all of 20 seconds.

Now for the highlight of the evening...
One of the other members brought a R to R tape of "Jazz at the Pawn Shop". We then played the the first pressing of "Jazz at the Pawnshop" on the Rockport again and then switched to the tape copy on Mike's Studer 820 R to R. Holy sh!!. Nothing but oohh's and aahhh's!

It became so obvious that the tape just "had it all over the vinyl".

It makes me wonder, why did reel to reel disappear as a source - convenience ?

We did this comparison with a number of different artists for many hours. The R to R won every time except for one cut, cannot remember which one it was.

The evening played on with music and laughter that was brought on by the clear superiority that the tape demo's had.

Steve Dobbins needs to be thanked as well for the excellent turntable set-ups and
for being the DJ on a very entertaining evening. Mike kept him hopping all night long.
The Garrard 301 that Steve builds is shockingly good, remember the other table is the Rockport that we were doing the comparisons.

IMHO some of us came away discovering how superior R to R is a source.
The evening ended for with us listening to more of Roger Waters until the time hit 1:30 am and it was time for me to hit the sack upstairs in the Barn.

Until next time.
Thanks again Mike & Pam!

Mike R"
Mike Lavigne

Offline mikel

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Re: Audio Club meeting with RTR as a focus.....April 9th, Seattle area
« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2009, 10:00:25 PM »
further thoughts on the Thursday night meeting.

i'll try to list some of the tapes and Lps we played.

we started off with Pink Floyd's 'Wish You Were Here' on vinyl, 1st domestic pressing--the best one i've heard, then on 15ips 1/4". the tape killed the vinyl....not close.

then the 'Jazz at the Pawnshop' that Mike describes above.

then we played the Mose Allison from The Tape Project.

in no particular order;

-'Kind of Blue', 45rpm Lp and 15ips 1/4".....the Tape was much better.

-we did Patricia Barber, 'Companion', Premonition 33rpm Lp (better than the MoFi 45 which i also have), then 15ips 1/4"......tape much better.

-the XRCD and Lp of 'Albeniz, Suite Espanola', then the 'Tape Project' version.....again the Tape was much better.....and the very very good digital not even in the ballpark of the vinyl.

--the Speaker's Corner Decca Lp 33rpm reissue of Ostrakah on the Bruck 'Scottish Fantasia and then 'The Tape Project' 15ips 1/4". it was on this comparison that many preferred the Lp. my opinion as to why i think that happened was that the tubed Allnic H3000 phono stage brought a sweetness to the sound that my stock Studer A820 could not match. we are talking about 2 tt's which were vinyl at it's best. Oistrakh's violin communicated so much emotion and the tone was wonderful.....the Allnic simply went further with this.

--Ben Webster-Sweets Edison, 45rpm Lp.....15ips 1/4".....the tape smoked the Lp.

--we played the 'Jazz in the Pawnshop' Lp--Tape comparison again for those who did not come early.

--Dark Side of the Moon, UHQR Lp and 15ips 1/4".....not close...we played the whole side one of the tape. magnificent!

--Count Basie and Orchestra, 1961 Party in L.A.--no Lp, never released. 2 reels, live to 2-track....15ips 1/4". breathtaking!

we started at about 5:45pm and ended at 1:30am.

What a night of music!!!

i cannot speak for anyone besides myself. but i would be stunned if anyone came away from this event not fully convinced of the clear superiority of 'tape done right' over vinyl, and that digital is not close to either.
Mike Lavigne

Offline Ben

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Re: Audio Club meeting with RTR as a focus.....April 9th, Seattle area
« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2009, 10:48:26 PM »
Sorry I don't live in Vancouver BC anymore ...
Still I am glad you had fun over there. Oddly I had the R2R on thursday
night too, a good night for music all around.
BTW ... could it be lack of advertising for R2R tapes and cheape 8 tracks
that killed the R2R format.
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