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Vacuum Tube State of the Art Conference (VSAC 2008)
Vacuum Tube State of the Art Conference 
VSAC 2008 Report By Jeff Poth
Page 3

Left to right: Paul Joppa (Bottlehead), Dan Schmalle (Bottlehead), and Klaus Heine (microphone building, modding, setting upping guru) giving a chat on SEX vs. Specs, as in, the elements that make things sound differently than specs would indicate (as in, THD is not the final arbiter). Good little chat!

Note which of these people is the most animated ;-)


Fonkens with modded Fostex driver. The pattern is "EnAbl", a cone treatment aimed at dissipating standing waves on driver surfaces. I've experimented with this treatment, and may do a write-up at some point in the future. Suffice it to say it does something right. Wright sound amplification has good sound, but the room was tiny and often full of happy people so I will not say too much more.


Two Bald Guys Audio with Merrill DCA4 had 3" drivers in a MLTL called the "Zigmahornet". Very nice small-form factor sound here, I preferred it without the 'subs', though they did want some more bass reinforcement without. The killer? $65 gets you a pair of the drivers and plans to build the speaker. A bargain and a half!


Bent Audio had a ton of level control solutions utilizing a variety of magnetics. Transformer based attenuator preamps sure have some lovely simplicity and positive aspects, a worthy exploration for any DIYer, though the magnetics are necessarily pricey.


Headfi headamps and headphones.



Vacuum Tube Valley represented a ton of different lines, including Shanling and JoLida.


Tiny little submini tube phono pre in the craftsman room

Terry Olson's DIY speakers


raftsman room preamp

One PushPull, one Parallel SET amp


Little Omega speakers with 5" hemp cones, and a glow audio amp.
Very nice sound, though their claimed 93dB sensitivity is very optimistic!

Big monos with what look like Magnequest nickel "pinstripe" interstage transformers (could be chokes).
Again, in the Craftsman room.


Tube display


Vivaldi Audio lowther based speakers, with supertweeter. Two lowthers per cab, one upfiring. I tend to like this configuration, as it elegantly solves the baffle step conundrum that is a serious challenge in designing high-efficiency speakers.


A nice little high-gain, transformer coupled linestage from my buddy, moniker (on Bottlehead forum) is MarkER. Good build, but got shaken up during shipping, so I helped troubleshoot to get her running (lead broke free of terminal). Once we did get her running, we got very solid sound out of some AudioPhysiks with Craftsman room 300B monoblocks. Technically a bad match, and it did run out of steam, and the room was too big and reflective, and and and... sounded pretty good anyway darn it!


The venue and the singer plus accompaniment. Jacqie Naylor and Art Khu, respectively. Spoke to Jacqie after her performance to grab a CD. Not normally my type of music, yet it was an easy sell when she did a Talking Heads cover. In fact I brought with me to the show the Talking Heads Stop Making Sense album. Jacqie and Art were fantastic, wonderful music at the wrap-up dinner here Sunday night. The food was quite solid too! A delicious vegetarian ragu had cumin and ginger, giving it an Indian flavor.

Wonderful show, and a great time. Thanks to all involved! And, a plus! Only one guy tried to blow bologna tech smoke up my tailpipe, a new low! HOORAY!


Main VSAC 2008 page.













































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