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May 2011
Enjoy the Music.com Review Magazine
In This Issue....
AXPONA, T.H.E. Show and My New System
Great seminars, great gear and finalizing my new reference system.

Article By Steven R. Rochlin

 

  Would like to thank everyone for their great questions during my seminars at the AXPONA event in Atlanta. While the seminar topic was about cables, we covered everything from computer audio and where the industry is going to the crucial room acoustics and loudspeaker placement. It was great to chat with fellow enthusiasts in Atlanta. Thank you to the organizers at AXPONA for allowing me the opportunity to meet so many great people, see many new products and of course hear an abundance of high-end audio gear. Bravo!

For those of you who missed AXPONA in Atlanta, T.H.E. Show in Southern California will be at the Newport Beach Hilton hotel (Irvine) on June 3rd through 5th and is conveniently located across the street from John Wayne/Orange County (SNA) Airport (near Freeways 405 & 55). Once again i plan to have a few seminars and look forward to meeting everyone and hearing great audiophile gear! This west coast event will also include a classic car show in conjunction with Crevier BMW Auto Museum, a Wine-Tasting area courtesy of Southern Wine and Spirits and Jazz Concerts every evening produced by BluePort Jazz Festival International. If you are in the area don't miss it!

 

My New Reference System
Ok, have been teasing you for the past months about it and all the main hardware is here and am waiting for a few room tweaks and other chotchkies. As many of you know i have done the cost-no-object thing for well over a decade and have decided that, given the current state of the economy and, frankly, being tired of going down the same path.... have gone 'old school'. Way back in the day as a budding 'mid-audiophile-life' finances were tight and so did my best to really optimize everything i could. Low cost does not mean low sound quality! So as a guy who has been within the industry officially for over 15 years, and a high-end audio enthusiasts since the age of five (blame dad)....

While i'd love to get a pair of 10 or 12 inch Tannoy Gold monitors I grew up enjoying, and dad still has in custom cabinets, the price of them is a bit high on the scale in the used market plus have already done the high efficiency point source thing. As some of you may remember, back in the day I did try the Infinity IRS four tower system with audiophile tweaks. Never could really get it to work no matter what I threw at it room and amplifier-wise. My recent review of the Gryphon Audio system really got me thinking. Ok, loved the KEF 104/2 speakers for many years… yet why? Upon doing some comparisons of the Gryphon speakers and the KEF 104/2 it was easily apparent that a D’Appolito design with time and phase accuracy is key. Back in the day my listening room was 13 x 18 and had the room’s acoustics in the live-end dead-end variety. The room’s acoustics here is very good yet yes, perhaps some light tweaks were in order. Nothing drastic mind you, just something to help with ceiling reflections and a little more on the front and rear wall.

Getting back to speakers since the room acoustic devices are not here yet; am sure you may be curious which speakers I went with. Well, perusing through website after website and trying to keep costs reasonable I fell upon a choice that made sense in every aspect.

Dunlavy Signature Collection SC-IV Floorstanding SpeakersEnough teasing you, here’s the deal. Within my home for the past week or so are a pair of Dunlavy Signature Collection SC-IV (not the ‘a’ version). For those unfamiliar with this Dunlavy design, this is a large floorstander at six feet high(!) with a centrally-mounted 1” silk soft dome tweeter; a 5.5” midrange driver appears above and below the tweeter, with a 10” woofer above and below the midrange unit. So each cabinet has one tweeter, two midrange drivers and two woofers. Now comes the specs: the older version, as this pair is the very last/tweaked by the factory version before the changeover to the ‘a’ version, is an outstanding 37 Hz to 20 kHz (±2dB) . Only a mere 2dB and not 6dB like some other manufacturers like to quote, though the -6dB point is a room shaking 27 Hz! Remember my desire for phase accuracy, so how does a phase accuracy of +/-20° from 200 Hz to 10 kHz grab you. The good and bad is that sensitivity, while being a highish 91dB/W/m the impedance drops to around 3 Ohms in the bass region yet overall average is 5 Ohms. So a mere 8 watt single-ended triode amp via from the 4 Ohm taps might work, it really may be a challenge so am choosing to go with solid-state amplification. You can read plenty more about the Dunlavy Signature Collection SC-IV online though keep in mind the manufacturer date of the pair here is November 7, 1995 and the serial numbers are 780A and 780B. This design went through a few generations without a model number change and these are the most up-to-date version of them. And if you are curious, they are in mint condition, include all boxes, all paperwork, stands, etc and cost a very reasonable $2000 (MSRP was $5995 according to the original sales receipt).

Sure the speakers are 15 years old and Dunlavy is now out of business, yet these speakers are very, very impressive (even John Atkinson of Stereophile measurements of the earlier version told the tale). How many speakers do you know that can produce a very good squarewave? You can see the PDF of the Dunlavy factory measurements by clicking here. And yes i know the Dunlavy Signature Collection SC-IV speakers need to be at least 10 feet away from the listener for it to work best. My ears are 11.33 feet away from the tweeter and are precisely at tweeter level.

By the way, debated getting the 'a' version, yet they are hard to find and one guy who had a pair wanted the circa 1996 new list price of $6000 for these old speakers without any warranty! He must be thinking they are made of pure silver or something. Another factor is my plans to tweak them and the 'a' version has twice(!) as many parts in the crossover region to make the then new woofers 'work'. No thanks, the last of the first generation would do nicely thank-you-very-much.

 

Solid-State Amplification
Back it up, I said solid-state amplification! The last time I regularly used a solid-state amplifier was during my Lexicon CP-1 (plus) days with Adcom 535 and 545 amps during my 8-channel surround sound days. Front R/L, center, side R/L, rear R/L and subwoofer and yes my electric meter spun nearly as fast as a CD player when the entire system was going full steam. If you are curious, source back then was my VOYD turntable and Audio Note silver arm and MC cartridge while digital was the then state-of-the-art Theta Data II laserdisc transport and Gen III DAC with balanced audio and single-mode laser digital cable option (top line units, all options… the best there was at the time). Back to solid-state, am sure many of you SET guys are sitting there is disbelief at my choice fold solid-state. Hey, this is a system at reasonable costs and I want high output power for bi-amplification. My choice of units is also here, yet we will cover that next month with some of the speaker and room tweaks. So until next month...

As always, in the end what really matters is that you...

 

Enjoy the Music (Pendulum "Set Me On Fire"... if your system can handle it from the 30 second mark afterwards that is :) ),

Steven R. Rochlin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
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