Author Topic: Iconic moments in your audio career  (Read 943 times)

Online Cross_over

Iconic moments in your audio career
« on: March 22, 2020, 10:17:04 AM »
I know that there must be some amazing stories out there of members having "life changing" experiences in their audio lives. As most of us will have some time on our hands, why not share your stories with us?

In my case, the first formative experience was picking up a Hi-Fi News magazine in CNA in the 80's and reading reviews of ecotic gear like Krell and Audio Research. Reviewers like Martin Collims and Ken Kessler left a lasting impression and sowed the seeds for what would become a life long hobby.

Then forward a few years to the hi-fi shows held in the President Hotel in Cape Town in the late 80's and early 90's where I fell in love with products such as Krell, Theta and Magneplanar.

Forward to the mid 90's to the first time I met AJ van den Hul. A listening session organised by the Cape Town Hi Fi club presentrd an opportunity to meet THE MAN and experience his wisdom first hand. An absolute master and gentleman!

And then, a few years ago, I had the priveledge of meeting THE Ken Ishiwata. Just as I thought that I have seen and heard everything, he proved that I hadn't.

There were plenty of other moments like the first time I heard Apogee Diva's and the Wilson XLF's, but I think it is time for other members to share.

Sent from my SM-G960F using Tapatalk

The only exercise I get is jumping to conclusions

Offline Hi-Phibian

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Re: Iconic moments in your audio career
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2020, 03:56:01 PM »
Cool topic.  Let me give it some thought. 


.
Croak Audio
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Offline Jozua_2019

Re: Iconic moments in your audio career
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2020, 12:18:10 AM »
I had a Quad 44 with a Quad 405 mk2 amp- when I hooked up a Krell Ksa 100 Mk1 I knew within seconds the amp is going nowhere - the quality jump was stratospheric...

Offline chrisc

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Re: Iconic moments in your audio career
« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2020, 07:58:26 AM »
When I was 15 years old (back in 1964) I used to baby-sit for my neighbour.  She referred me to her friend whose sitter had let them down

As I walked in their front door, I heard this Mozart coming from the speakers in his living room.  I was immediately astonished at the purity and absolute "gloriousness" of the sound

I think it was a Fisher valve amp and two corner horns with Lowther units.  Anyway, the husband was very pleased that I appreciated the sound his system could reproduce and said I could come around at any time.  He had a collection of about 2000 LP records

That was that.  I was hooked
Music is the shorthand of emotion

Offline Hi-Phibian

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Iconic moments in your audio career
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2020, 12:42:50 PM »
I have met quite a few known hifi people but these come to mind first.

I always enjoyed the writing of Ken Kessler and despite not seeing all he wrote about here it was a great monthly thing reading his stuff.  Did bump in to him at a hotel bar a few years ago.  Had a few words.  Telling me he was all headphoned out with all and sundry launching cans and not seeing much exciting that year. 

Meeting Ken Ishiwata and sharing smoke breaks discussing CD player tweaks does rate as a highlight.   He was amazingly open about them. 
Found out why Elna Cerafin caps we were buying from parts connection weren’t as nice as the ones bought as Marantz parts.  He told us how he specified the tension on the winding of the paper for marantz orders. 
Discussed diodes and it turned out the Sonus Faber Musica amplifier has his hand in it. 

Garth Leerer, the Benz and ClearAudio distributor for the US.  Very inspiring guy to listen to and changed my mind being judgy about the 30 Disc million buck hifi guys.  It’s all entertainment. Who are am I to judge. 

AJ van Den Hul whom I have met a few times,  explaining to SA acoustics consultant Ivan Lin how the CD damper Lin developed actually worked using the human body (lins) as an example.
Since then we have spoken quite a few times.  I understand he is a physics prof and seems he never really stopped teaching. 

Andy Regan who is now with Mr Speakers but at the time with Cardas telling me the Lakers and Beats (whom he worked for) Story first hand. Really cool.   

Mike Moffat.  Then Theta, now Schiit.  . He is a laugh.   When someone asked why he doesn’t add the amplifiers which were
“Some
sh1t I threw together myself” to Theta digitals line up he laughed.  He said something like: “ Because we don’t have a fork lift needed to lift one”.  Theta amps came after he left. 

Attending a technical lecture by Wally Malewicz on cartridge set up. A legend.  Shows how little those who know, know. 

Willibald Bauer of Bauer Audio in Munich with some of his friends
Including Stig Bjorge and Jonathan Carr from Lyra.  Jonathan has his hand in a number of iconic analog hifi designs that is less known. This was very informative.  Despite much beer. 

Meeting the legend Joachim Gerhard, founder of Audiophysic, showing his first Seusskind designs.  Thought it was funny when he told me how at 50 something years he makes speakers because he likes doing so.   And doing so in Germany. He is no longer in to pleasing all and chasing $$$. If someone thinks his nextel finish of 2500 Euro bookshelf speakers is too bland and he sells a few less.  That’s ok.
Actually that attitude is quite strong with many of the designer owned manufacturers but  it’s getting rare as venture capital has entered the high end.   Sometimes sad to see how legends become financially successful but less iconic.

Supper with a Yamaha sales manager (Satushi?, BJ may recall) moons ago giving us some comparison numbers for our market size.  A sizeable proposed order for the then AV flagship amplifier for South Africa for which we wanted some discount was explained to be equal to one dealer Circuit City New
York’s order.   We didn’t get any discount.


.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2020, 12:49:00 PM by Hi-Phibian »
Croak Audio
Analogue by birth, digital by design. Mostly a StereoType though known to enjoy some Mono too https://wa.me/27835651236?text=AVF%20 http://www.croak.co.za

Offline Agaton Sax

Re: Iconic moments in your audio career
« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2020, 04:41:59 PM »
1. On certain summer days the light in Cape Town’s northern suburbs (then called Bellville) can make everything  seem washed out,,like an old Kodak photograph, colours dull and faded with Table Mountain a distant brown hump in the haze.. It was on just such a day in the very early 80s that a fellow student and myself entered  the temple that was Tafelberg Furnishers’ sound room. Against one wall was the ubiquitous  Wall of Speakers. More important there was a brand new Linn Sondek turntable. It was like meeting God or Buddha or Raquel Welch face to face ,or in Raquel’s case, face to bosom.We were told that we were listening to AR 18 speakers but to be honest it was difficult to tell as all the Kenwoods and Technics and who knows what’s woofers were clearly moving as well.. My friend pulled a face ,saying it sounded too bright but I was  hearing individual instruments instead of molasses and somehow instruments had audible shapes . Music was never quite the same.

2. My elderly neighbour was in earlier life what was known as a “Radioman”. In the late 40s and early 50s they were a bunch of ,mainly ex World War, electrical technicians (and hooligans) who trekked in herds repairing everything from radiograms to ship’s radars. He had a stupid and obnoxious cousin who told me that he had an old Mullard 5-10 that he built himself. I rolled my eyes but soon my neighbour called me over to give me this piece of horribly built junk. It barely worked but yet I could hear magic. My neighbour painstakingly rebuilt it and it was absolute magic. A fascination with valves started.

3. By now it is the mid 80s and I am as poor as ever.. Martin Colloms had written an article in Hi Fi News& Record Review on his visit to Japan. In a tiny little block was a photo of a Luxman 300B SET amp that was all the rage in Japan that summer. Colloms pooh poohed it. I mentioned this to that same neighbour. He disappeared in his terrifying garage to come out with the most beautiful thing I had ever seen . A stunning cast chassis with chrome faceplate.It was the audio amplifier part of a Pathe cinema projector and it was a SET with 2a3 or 45 tubes (I forget which). Despite being pre war and in at terrible state it worked with sound that certainly shook my world. He was going to rebuild it but I had finally grown up and  moved away and the silly old man fell from a roof and died.

4. During my latter student years,I had built an enormous class A power amplifier. I slaved for weeks over this thing, blowing all the money I didn’t have. My sympathetic landlord, who was an electronic engineer who actually in the late 70s did a thesis on Delta Sigma digital checked every single thing I did. Proud moment  on switch on…. and the whole thing exploded. Surveying  the chaos my mentor shrugged and said. “Oh well ,but why not build a tiny 10 W class A amp and a horn speaker? That horn will act as a huge amplifier with no components ,no distortion ,no heat and be faster than any amp can.”  That seed grew and nearly 40 years later that is exactly where my personal audio nirvana lays

5. Fast forward a good few years where on a dusty hot Free State  summer  Saturday  I ran into a hardware store to buy something before closing time. It was one of those one man stores in a dusty strip mall in one of Bloemfontein’s less affluent suburbs. You know the thing; Hardware store ,hairdresser, repair shop and always a butcher shop.There was the obligatory Wors Braai with DJ playing really bad music on an awful sounding system. However, like that Linn all those years ago, those poorly built JBL horn clones with rubbish drivers and bright, bright sound made me stop in my tracks. There was that speed, that slam ,that magic that only horns can do  peeking through the glare and amp clipping and early CD  awfulness. My circle was complete

And that is where I am and shall stay.: Highest possible quality analog source, valves, low power amplifiers and horns. End of life-for me.




« Last Edit: March 23, 2020, 04:44:21 PM by Agaton Sax »

Online pwatts

Re: Iconic moments in your audio career
« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2020, 07:39:03 PM »
Including Stig Bjorge and Jonathan Carr from Lyra.  Jonathan has his hand in a number of iconic analog hifi designs that is less known. This was very informative.  Despite much beer. 

Those names were a blast from the past in my mind.. had long email conversations with them some 14-odd years ago. Fascinating guys in their quest for audio perfection.

Online Trompie67

Re: Iconic moments in your audio career
« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2020, 04:46:03 PM »
My Grandmother was an international opera singer & organist.

She stopped performing when she moved to Namibia, but after my Grandfather died she moved back to Jhb & remarried. I remember being dragged to church on Sundays when I stayed over and being bored out of my skull at the kiddies Sunday School.
One day I snuck out of Sunday school and then into the church when she was playing the organ.

It was a seminal moment. Never before had I experienced such immense grandeur, never before felt or heard such powerful notes that flowed around and into me. The piano at home - pah! The guitar, violin & cello of family members - rubbish. I lived for the times I would sleep over at Gran's house & go to church when she was playing.

After that I insisted on going to 'big people church" whenever I stayed with her, just so I could hear (feel) the organ. She played at a number of churches across the (in those days) Tvl. I loved it. It was all encompassing. From a barely audible whisper, to enveloping you & then coursing through your veins & vibrating within you with such a purity & clarity of sound. Mesmerizing. Utterly addictive to this young boy.

I only ever experienced anything that came close when my late Father built a listening room & invited me to listen & then played to Toccata & Fugue (knowing how I loved the organ). I do not recall the source or amplifier. I do clearly remember the large floorstanders: Infinity reference 61i's. It was then I realised that reproduction could almost equal real life. Almost.

Those floorstanders now stand in my lounge.

Yes, many newer designs surpass them. many more will. but at that stage, as a Troepie on pass, they took me right back to being a 6/7/8 year old & feeling the organ notes touching my soul.

I have never found anything (yup, nostalgia is real - x 2 in this case :) ) that elicits the same response in me.

I went to watch Gordon Stewart play at St George’s Anglican Church in Parktown. That was amazing & sent me back to being a young boy.
*Insert profound or witty phrase here*

Offline Jozua_2019

Re: Iconic moments in your audio career
« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2020, 10:27:22 PM »
Trompie67

Absolutely love your experience and description :thumbs: :thumbs:  !!

Thx

J
« Last Edit: March 24, 2020, 10:29:37 PM by Jozua_2019 »

Offline psymon007

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Re: Iconic moments in your audio career
« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2020, 12:47:34 AM »
Experiencing Tool with a full compliment of arena sound in the town square of s'Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands at the tender age of 19...I think it must have been 1994.

As a very innocent SA lad (who had moved to Holland a few months earlier) with very limited audio experience (beyond a few pirated Nirvana Nevermind tapes..) when the massive sound stuck my jeans to the back of my legs and caused mild panic.. i knew I was hooked..

I know it's not quite the answer to Ops question but it certainly changed my life, in audio and otherwise...

Offline jlaubza

Re: Iconic moments in your audio career
« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2020, 03:39:50 PM »
It was the early eighties, if I remember correctly. An audio salesman I met, who worked in OK's House and Home section, selling Denon equipment, gave me a Denon DDA sampler LP, the purpose of the LP being to market Denon's digital prowess. I played it on my Garrard TT, through a home built amp and kit speakers.

I'll never forget the impact the first notes had on me. Suddenly, I had solid and deep bass that whacked me in my chest, crystal clear cymbals, trumpets that sounded as if they were in the room, complete absence of tape hiss and surface noise - this wasn't a new LP I was playing, this was a whole new sound system, top to bottom. And with that revelation, I realised how rubbish were most of my records - bad recordings, bad technology. And even the best recordings I had sounded constrained and anemic after hearing that Denon LP. Up to that point, I thought my equipment was second rate. After that point, I realised that LPs and recording technology were the weak links and transitioned as an early adopter to CDs. I haven't looked back.
 

Offline chrisflex

Re: Iconic moments in your audio career
« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2020, 03:55:59 PM »
Hearing Pink Floyd’s Ummagumma on a B&O 1900 at a girlfriends place she lived with her aunt and uncle who were more “progressive” than her parents.

Finding Hifi Exhange in Harrison Street and discovering that I could drop by at anytime trade in my old for newer and better.




Online hope

Re: Iconic moments in your audio career
« Reply #12 on: March 26, 2020, 04:03:04 AM »
After that point, I realised that LPs and recording technology were the weak links and transitioned as an early adopter to CDs. I haven't looked back.
Hmmmmm....

Offline fdlsys

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Re: Iconic moments in your audio career
« Reply #13 on: March 26, 2020, 11:51:07 PM »
The four building blocks of the universe are fire, water, gravel and vinyl. Dave Barry
Come back when you’ve lived a little. Miles Davis

Offline jlaubza

Re: Iconic moments in your audio career
« Reply #14 on: March 27, 2020, 02:06:39 PM »
It depends on what you hear. With CDs, I hear lack of surface noise, no pops and scratches, extended frequency range, excellent dynamic range and just plain old good sound. Twenty or thirty plays later, it is still the same.

With LPs, every play rubs some hf response out of the groove. Static builds up, dirt collects in the groove and sooner or later, there will be crackles coming off the record. I understand the rituals involved in disc maintenance and playing but for me, it belongs to the past.