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Positive Feedback ISSUE 25


2006 Audio Karma AKFest - Page 2
by John Acton

I dropped by the AKFest Swap Room, where people could buy/sell/trade equipment, stands, magazines, etc. I saw an amazing amount of cool vintage gear in this room, as well as old Stereo Review, Audio, and High Fidelity magazines from the 80s, some of which I remember owning. Flipping through a few of the issues brought me back to when I was just getting started in the hobby. I thought I saw Julian Hirsch's class ring for sale, but I can't be sure.

Next up was Audio Karma member Mark Marcus III. Mark's system was largely DIY, consisting of homemade speakers (12" JBL woofer mated to a Klipsch Tractrix horn tweeter in a custom cabinet) and tube amplifier (TV triode tubes good for 8-wpc in a fully tube-rectified circuit). Mark utilized a Creek passive preamp to control level and Monster Cable power management to clean up the AC. Mark's source was an Audio Unlimited turntable. Listening to acoustic guitar, I was quite taken with the very lifelike and natural reproduction. There was warmth and body, and no steeliness or wiriness to the sound of plucked strings.

Moving on, I made my way to Audio Karma member Jim B's room. Jim's system comprised the Walsh Acoustics Ohm Model 5 Mk. III speakers, driven by a JVC DVD changer (transport), Denon AVR-4802 receiver (DAC and preamp) and McIntosh MC2205 power amp. Jim got good sound out of his system playing electric and acoustic jazz. There was excellent bass depth and tautness, coupled with lifelike dynamics. Imaging was diffuse, with that in-the-club perspective for which Walsh is famous.

The next room was home to Superior Sight and Sound. Ray Chastenay of Tetra was present to demonstrate the Tetra 506 loudspeaker ($10,000), which represents the earlier 505 model with upgraded crossovers. Driven by the new McCormack/Conrad Johnson UDP-1 Deluxe multi-formal digital player, Conrad Johnson CT6 linestage and Conrad Johnson MV-60 tube amp, the Tetras sounded very lively playing Herbie Hancock and Sting, and Bad Company. Ray told me to watch for Tetra's soon-to-introduced three-way flagship speaker.

Up next was Audio Karma member Reel 2 Reel's system. Reel 2 Reel employed Klipsch Forte and Realistic Mach 1 speakers in a stacked array, powered by a Technics SA-AX6 receiver playing MP3s from a computer music server. Other goodies included an ADC 10-band graphic equalizer and spectrum analyzer, dbx 3BX dynamic range expander, dbx 120X subharmonic synthesizer and Pioneer R6 Dynamic Processor. Unfortunately, I didn't get to sit and listen, but the system looked very intriguing.

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