The SET 'pire Strikes Back
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A long long time ago (December 4, 1999) in a city far far away (Newton,
Massachusetts) there was an Audio Bash. For it was none other than DIY Jedi Master James Melhuish
wielding his strong powers to bring unity and togetherness to the Boston area
community including DIY Masters such as Jonathan Krantz, Steve Fretz, Mark Hardy, Patrick
Kopson, Kevin Kennedy, Gary Kaufman,
Dennis Najuch, Clak Johnsen, Craig Dement-Myers, Richard Berkman and Ken
Weller. Ahhh, the force was very strong while the tube units were brought
forth for our musical pleasures.
First up was Jonathan Kranz's totally tubular Doc Bottlehead Foreplay preamp which was
singing like a beautiful Jen-jeepee in heat. His Parasex amplifier with seductively
sensual red accents sang its cute little transformers off. Ahhh, a mere mortal
i among these DIY Masters... a most humbling experience. The Real Flamenco
El Nino de Ronda was floating in the air. An old recording of questionable
sound quality but wonderful performance. Why is it that most great performances
are recorded by two tin cans and string?
came this visually well balanced 1626 amp hand-crafted by none other than
famed DIY Apprentice Gary Kaufman's. The two 1626 output tubes
worked their little haters off to achieve tsunami-level 0.75 watt of output
power. Best not laugh as the force was strong here. Remember, that first watt
is the most important. Laughing is the first sign you are being turned to the
Dark Side of the Force. A real Jedi DIY knows that a great 2A3, Type-50, 45,
amp can actually sound louder and more ballsy than a 300B SET unit. The force
works on the positive side where less = more. Use as many parts as is
necessary... but no more. The front end tubes on Gary's amp are the 8532/6J4. DC coupled
in employed to achieve a "faster"
sound claims Gary. Being ever the "Green Planet" minded Jedi, Gary
said the power supply is from an old Heathkit AA151 amplifier.
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Speakers used throughout the Boston Audio Bash '99 were the Crowley Acoustics model 16. These
speakers are only $1,395 including a lovely hand assembled cabinet and high
sensitivity crossoverless 16 cm driver. Frequency response is claimed to be approximately 70 Hz to 18 kHz.
Taking advantage of the benefits of a ported enclosure, the frequency response
is then lowered to about 40 Hz. To my ears there
was a good amount of lower frequency support unlike some of the other single
driver designs heard throughout the years. The drivers themselves are the paper cone/Alnico
magnet/cloth surround variety that is all the rage with today's DIY Jedi. Obi Wan would have it no other way. Want more information on the
speakers? Grab that Wookie-Talkie and call (201) 963-7796. Now back to the
listened to tunes from The Essential Etta James to Miles Davis Kind of
Blue... Then came lunch time where Jonathan Kranz's chili headed up the
menu. DIY student Steven R. Rochlin (that's me) took this opportunity to sneak
on the Theme music to Shaft (damn right) and later in the day we also heard Curtis
Mayfield's Superfly. Steven also gave away free cartridge alignment tools and
Caig's new R5 contact cleaner/enhancer. i can not help but wonder why the DIY/SET dudes always seem to be into really groovy fun
music while the semi-conductor guys like, well, other music? Maybe there's something in the
solder fumes (or Jonathan's chili)? Perhaps. In any event the music was just as much fun as switching around the various pre/amplifier units. Ya know, maybe
this is what it is all about. Having fun with friends, enjoying good music
together and sharing in the joys life brings our way. A truly spectacular time indeed.
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After lunch we partook in Gary Kaufman's "straight off off Angela
Instruments website" amplifier. Here's a selected SL7 driving globe 45 tubes.
Not sure about the other DIY Jedis, though this student DIY finds something
very sensually naughty about a pair of globe 45s. Ahhh, the way the tubes are
firm and ever so gracefully curve around and down. Must be Italian! Gary claims that the 45
tubes can be gassy as heck (like a room of DIY Masters after eating chili) so you need to check for gas, for good
emissions and trasconductance. Check the Angela website for the entire specs on
this baby. All i can say is that Etta was surely singing merrily with this
two watter splendor.
It was obvious that Dennis Najuch's MSB DAC greatly helped to tame the slightly thin
and harsh sound of the basic Denon CD player's stock DACs. This simple change alone brought
great harmony to the force. The force is strong with Dennis. It is easy to hear why so many people love the
great bargain represented by MSB products. They should be on every Jedi DIY's
to the right are some commercially available units such as the the Wright WLA10 preamp
(black) and gold faceplate KTA3030 push-pull 300B amplifier owned by Keiv
Kennedy. This amplifier can produce a huge, monstrous, Manjo-Dookoo 30 wpc!
Enough watts to make a Rameropter run for safety!
Newfound friends, great
food, fantastic music... That just about sums up the Boston Audio Bash '99. This
student Jedi personally saw greatness in the DIY force. Ahh, the force is very
strong with these Jedi Knights. Until next time my friends, may the DIY
force be with you.