March: Chris Connaker from Computer Audiophile

Chris Connaker from ComputerAudiophile.com will be in to talk all things computer for audio geeks. Please join us at 7 PM at the Pavek Museum of Broadcasting for a very lively discussion and demo.

We asked that our those interested take a look at PS Audio’s How to Build a Music Server

This single page overview may spark some curiosity and quest for more information… Chris is the man to answer your questions!

November: Live Sound Mixing Consoles, Amplification, and Effects

For our November meeting, the ASM was lucky to have our member Bill Fanum present to us on mixing live sound, and following the signal path from microphone to PA speaker.

Bill covered the common equipment involved, including microphone varieties and snakes, as well as detailing how a live mixing console functions and what each of the controls are used for.

He then demonstrated the signal path out of the mixer into an effects unit, back into the mixer, out to the amplifier, and on to the speakers.

Bill also demonstrated his DBX Drive Rack unit, used for speaker delay and equalization. He demonstrated with two Crown amps, two QSC amps, and a Peavey amp. The speakers were vintage Altec 604's.

Any demonstration with microphones and real time room analysis is sure to generate a lot of unpleasant noise.

After his presentation and demonstration, Bill fielded questions covering everything from problems live sound engineers encounter in the field to why he didn't have a ponytail.

October: Low Frequency Energy, Room Acoustics, and Subwoofer Physics

In our October meet, ASM board member Don Meger gave a very educational presentation on room acoustics, equalization, and everything to do with subwoofers and low frequency sounds. He took us to school on topics including different types of EQ slope and the physics behind pressurizing rooms with low frequency energy.

Don also covered the difference between sealed and ported subs, and also dipole subs, with listening examples with each. One very interesting element was when he played a slow rising tone sweep and asked listeners throughout the audience to raise their hands when they heard peaks: it was very entertaining to see hands go up and down in waves across the room based on the multitude of bass modes in the room.

Lastly, he covered strategies for placing multiple subwoofers in a room, a matter of great debate that is little short of an art form.

Overall, we really enjoyed the depth of information in Don's presentation. Even the most experienced audiophiles learned something new. We hope to have him present again in the future.

September: Nordost

In our September meeting, Mike Marko from Nordost joined us to demonstrate the variety of cables in the Nordost lineup, among some of their other products.

Nordost specializes in speaker cables, interconnects, and power cables made entirely in the USA from the finest materials available using manufacturing techniques to which few companies have access.

Mike began the listening tests by asserting that, even when the rest of a system's cables are superb, a single power cable on a single low current device such as a DAC can have an audible difference. We listened to a standard black power cord, then a power cord from Nordost's Blue Heaven line, next a power cord from their Frey 2 line, and ending with the power cord from their Valhalla 2 reference line.

Next, we listened to the difference a USB cable can make, running from a computer source to a DAC. We listened to the lower Blue Heaven USB cable, and also the mid-range Heimdall 2 USB cable.

Following the cable tests, we listened to music selections with and without Nordost's feet under equipment. Nordost purports that all vibration in a system is bad, and even devices with no moving parts can create subtle vibrations if current is passed through them. Using traditional spikes for speakers and gear transmits vibrations in both directions, while isolating equipment with foam or rubber feet keeps vibrations from being transmitted in either direction. Nordost offers multiple levels of "mechanically tuned resonance control devices" that, through clever mechanical design, allow vibrations to pass in one direction only: out through the feet and not back in.

We tested first the preamp with and without feet, and then the power strip with and without feet.

The general consensus from the vocal members of the club was that the Nordost products made an audible improvement that wasn't particularly subtle. Color us skeptics, but many of us wanted to dismiss these products and their fabulous price tags. Yet we weren't able to that. Several members mentioned that while there shouldn't be a reason for these cables to sound different from an electrical engineering perspective, they do sound different, and that difference is a marked improvement.

Mike put together a great show-and-tell, and Nordost's products made for a fascinating first meeting for our season. We hope to see them back, and we hope to have presentations with other companies that can as clearly demonstrate audible improvements throughout their product lines.

At this meeting, we also welcomed our new Audio Society president, Oliver Masciarotte.

We had an even fifty of our regular members in attendance for our fall kickoff meeting to our 2014-2015 season. We look forward to seeing all of you again soon.