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May Austin HTF Meet.


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171 replies to this topic

#1 of 172 OFFLINE   Colin Dunn

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Posted April 01 2003 - 07:15 AM

Jonathan Atkins recommended some time in May for the next Austin HTF meet. Now that it's April, that means the meet is about a month away!

Let's plan on having a meet some time before Memorial Day.

Any topic suggestions?

My suggestion: We should have another DIY meet. There's been a lot of discussion in another thread about flexy racks, DIY subs and speakers, movie screens, etc. Anyone want to host and show off their creations?
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#2 of 172 OFFLINE   Jonathan DA

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Posted April 01 2003 - 07:56 AM

Chances are good I'll be out of town Memorial weekend, so how about 5/17 or 6/7? Aside from getting closer to completing my theater room, I haven't done much DIY stuff lately. I'm still searching for the right amp design, and I've abandoned the DIY turntable for now (too many irons in the fire). If people want to do a "let's build stuff" DIY meet I'd be happy to bring tools and a helping hand.

At the risk of putting everyone to sleep, an alternative would be a semi-serious digital vs vinyl comparison. Take a high quality vinyl recording, play it on a high-end turntable rig, run the analog output into something like an Alesis Masterlink or Delta/Echo soundcard and make a 24/96 PCM copy of the LP. Play them both back in an A/B (not ABX, too complicated to setup) comparison and see if anyone can tell the difference. Doing the comparison this way actually limits the variables to the different mediums rather than the mixing and mastering differences of the different issuings of the performance.

Then again, the last meet was primarily audio oriented, so maybe we should do something primarily video oriented this time.

#3 of 172 OFFLINE   Hank Frankenberg

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Posted April 02 2003 - 12:12 AM

I too would bring tools and hands to a DIY meet (I might even invest in a new electric stapler, since the demonically possessed one is now in the landfill). However, I still want to "hear" the difference between good digital and vinyl. Dr. J is correct in saying that comparing a commercial CD to a vinyl recording is not reliable, because the CD may have been doctored by the engineer in charge. I suppose the good Dr.'s method is the best way to fairly compare the two mediums. If the PCM copy is done beforehand, the actual comparison session should not be so long as to get tedious/boring like a true ABX might. I assume that in this crowd, there's at least one quality turntable and a very good CD player.

BTW, allow me to plug the upcoming concerts of the Austin Symphonic Band on April 10 and 11 (Connolly high school PAC and Georgetown PAC, respectively). Last night, our guest soprano, Clare Vangelisti rehearsed with us. Mama-mia, what a set of lungs! The concert will be a recreation of a John Phillip Sousa touring band concert and will feature period music and a bit more. Very informal, fun and entertaining. We've done 2 of these in the last 20 years and the audience reaction has been absolutely overwhelming.

http://www.asband.org

#4 of 172 OFFLINE   Jeff Meininger

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Posted April 02 2003 - 12:45 AM

I'm probably responsible for most of the DIY stuff as of late. DIY flexy rack, DIY projector mount, DIY MTM towers, DIY 2-way towers, and DIY shiva sub (old news). Even DIY light control panels. Seriously... it's turning into "Home Theater by Home Depot."

I'd LOVE to host a meet sometime. My work is such that major events can be added to my schedule without too much notice, though, and often it's hard for me to pick a date and commit. (But I can certainly make it happen.) Also, I don't have nearly as much "people" space as Colin does in his HT room (or house in general). I'd have to cobble together some DIY third-row seating or something. Posted Image

I believe Dave Elliott has offered to host a meet once or twice, though that was a while back. He has a nice setup, and has a good amount of seating. I can bring a couple low-slung beach chairs that we use for down-in-front front-row seating. If we want to do some video stuff, we could do an LT150 / L300U / xyz123 comparison. Not sure how this would work with his High Power screen, though.

One day I'd like to do an A/B between my DIY speakers (when they're complete) and someone elses dynamic speakers to get an idea of how well I did on my "1.0" crossover. Either at a meet at my place or at someone elses (but not Colin's... I think a comparison with Maggies would be apples and oranges). This might be boring for everyone else but me, though.

If the next meet is a DIY "build stuff" type meet, I'll bring tools and a helping hand as well. By the time the meet happens, I'll have already "built" everything I need to build. I'll have unfinished speakers, though, so I guess I could try my hand at applying veneer or laminate at that meet under the guidance of experts.

EDIT: I'll likely be out-of-town on 5/17. Posted Image

#5 of 172 OFFLINE   Dave Elliott

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Posted April 02 2003 - 03:45 AM

Jeff,

I'd be willing to host a meeting or a movie night. It would need to be on a saturday afternoon/evening, though. I work too late on weeknights to be able to make any of the weekday movie nights.

I've held off hosting a meet as I'm waiting on a custom made black pull down shade (to mask the top of my screen) that is taking a bit longer than I expected. It should arrive in a week or two, though.

The room can seat about 8-10 in the primary seating positions, probably more like 14-16 if you don't mind sitting off to the side a bit.

Jeff -- I'd love to hear your "Do It Yourself" speakers compared to my "Buy It Yourself" ones. Posted Image I also think mine are probably similar in size and design, so it might be a good comparison.

I could accomodate a projector comparison, as I can line a few projo's up on the coffee table. I also have a nice HDTV setup. Your L300u and Hugh's X1 would be an interesting comparison.

We could also have folks show up early for a dip in the pool and a cookout. Later in the summer I want to do a "Dive In Theater" and take the projector outside by the pool. Maybe watch Jaws or something....

What topics would you guys like to cover? What dates work for everyone?

-Dave

#6 of 172 OFFLINE   Chad Anson

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Posted April 02 2003 - 05:54 AM

I'm game for a DIY meet. I'll have completed my DIY screen by then. I'm also looking into DIY interconnects but the cost of the tools is a little steep. Would like to know that they're worthwhile before making the plunge.

I can bring my L300, Jeff... it's in no danger of being mounted to the ceiling in the next 6 weeks or so. ;-) I also can bring my Klipsch reference series speakers -- they're still in boxes. I picked them up extremely cheap locally or else I would've gone the DIY route.

#7 of 172 OFFLINE   Jonathan DA

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Posted April 02 2003 - 07:21 AM

Hank, I can provide the recording facilities for copying an LP to digital. For analog playback, I only have Mark's Dual CS5000 on hand. It sounds nice, but I don't think we could call it state of the art. Perhaps we could talk Mike DeCock into bringing his VPI Scout? Scott O., have you purchased your table yet? As for CD playback, since Scott sold his Meridian/Theta setup I don't know who has a high-end digital rig. I don't suppose anyone has a Musical Fidelity 324 cd player? The DAC on that one looked quite nice in Stereophile's measurements. I think this could fold into the comparison of DIY and commercial speakers (I can bring a pair of new Mirus models) quite nicely and only take an hour or so.

#8 of 172 OFFLINE   Jeff Meininger

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Posted April 02 2003 - 07:27 AM

Dave: I didn't mean to "volunteer" you, but I remember that you've been throwing your hat in the ring for hosting a meet for a while now.

Chad: I looked into doing DIY video cables & audio interconnects, but even going with the least expensive tools possible, I wasn't going to save a significant amount of money or gain a significant amount of quality. I also got the impression that it was going to take a LOT of time to make the cables I needed. I don't mind spending time with DIY, but making cable probably doesn't sound like tons-o-fun to anybody.

My biggest concern was the 35-foot component video cable. I bought it from bluejeanscable.com. They use high-quality Belden precision video coax with nice Canare RCA connectors. Priced very reasonably.

I'm getting a few other of my less-important interconnects from parts express... Dayton Audio brand. Supposedly they are decent quality cables for reasonable prices. They're not as high quality as blue jeans... I imagine they're more on par with the Monster cable type interconnects you see at Best Buy, but for less $$$.

#9 of 172 OFFLINE   Hank Frankenberg

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Posted April 03 2003 - 02:00 AM

Jeff, you can actually save money DIY-ing your cables OR you can buy them from HF Soundwerks at rediculously low prices. I use primo Canare solid-core cable (overkill for audio) and Canare true 75-ohm connectors (yes I have the expensive Canare die set). Flex jacket color selection too. Posted Image

#10 of 172 OFFLINE   Jeff Meininger

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Posted April 03 2003 - 02:40 AM

How much would HF Soundwerks, aka PSMoFo Interconnects Incorporated, charge for a 3-foot component video cable using primo video coax and those nice canare connectors?

Edit: three individual "cables" (red green blue) would be just fine with me... doesn't have to be triple-conductor or techflex'ed.

#11 of 172 OFFLINE   Hank Frankenberg

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Posted April 03 2003 - 05:42 AM

Jeff: I can't answer your question here - it's against forum rules. We'll discuss via e-mail. (BTW, don't let anyone lure you with exotic, esoteric tweaks like velvet cable covers.Posted Image)

Jonathan: I'm up for the vinyl versus digital battle of the titans. Also, it would be cool to listen to a pair of Mirus speakers against a pair of commercial speakers anyone with thick skin would volunteer to bring along.

#12 of 172 OFFLINE   Jonathan DA

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Posted April 03 2003 - 07:51 AM

Don't dis the velvet man. Velvet rules. All of my preamp and amp concepts have the inputs and outputs on the sides so that the cables aren't hidden behind the equipment. Why hide the best looking part of your system?

It shouldn't be a problem to bring a pair of Mirus speakers. I'll try to bring a model no one has heard yet.

As for the vinyl vs. cd comparison, we just need someone to ante up a turntable and I'll make recordings any time. On a similar front, Mark found a machine shop in MN that will do one-off work. I'm checking on prices, the DIY turntable might be back on.

It's sounding like May might not be the best time for this after all. Most of us will probably be unavailable the weekend of the 24th, Jeff's out the 17th, so maybe 6/7 would be better?

#13 of 172 OFFLINE   Hank Frankenberg

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Posted April 03 2003 - 08:16 AM

Yes, some interconnects are better *looking* than a lot of components. Careful with the turntable DIY fettish - it could still cost quite a bit. The unveiling of a new Mirus model? Cool!Posted Image

I don't understand why people are tied up the whole month of May, but if June 7 is best, that's fine by me. At least that would give us plenty of time for prep and if we DIY some acoustic treatments, we'd have time for actual measurements to be taken and a design done for someone (Colin?). We could then get that someone off to a good start by building at least the basic panels. Other suggestions?

#14 of 172 OFFLINE   Colin Dunn

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Posted April 03 2003 - 02:44 PM

We could perhaps even shoot for a May 10 meet if everything can come together by then...
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#15 of 172 OFFLINE   Frederick_Falk

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Posted April 04 2003 - 12:47 AM

May 10th and June 7th are open for me.

The only thing I can add to the CD vs Vinyl compare is if you think it is good enough, we could use my Sony DVP-S9000ES DVD player as the CD Transport. My turntable is a meager Technics SL-D33 and it isn't considered to be "High End" so I cannot help with that end. Let me know if you want to use the 9000.

Any of the topics mentioned sound good to me and if we do a DIY, I will certainly help out any way I can.
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#16 of 172 OFFLINE   mike_frontier

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Posted April 04 2003 - 01:52 AM

.....sorry posted in wrong area. Sorry guys.
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#17 of 172 OFFLINE   Colin Dunn

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Posted April 07 2003 - 10:11 AM

Looks like May 10 or June 7. I would prefer May 10, and then we could shoot for another meet after the 4th of July.

Any other thoughts about topics???
Colin Dunn

#18 of 172 OFFLINE   Jonathan DA

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Posted April 07 2003 - 10:58 AM

June 7 works better for me, but I could make May 10 too. Might not have any Mirus speakers available if it's May 10 though.

#19 of 172 OFFLINE   Hank Frankenberg

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Posted April 08 2003 - 01:59 AM

Dr. J, that's a long lead time to build a pair of speakers. Is your outsource plant in Malaysia?Posted Image
It's April and we're talking June for a meet? Is everyone that overloaded?

#20 of 172 OFFLINE   Jonathan DA

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Posted April 08 2003 - 04:56 AM

Okay okay okay! We'll have them done by May 10. The speakers are already built, it's just the crossover we're still tweaking. As Jeff is about to find out, that takes FOREVER.

So what about a topic? So far we have:
DIY Expo
Vinyl vs CD
DIY speakers compared to Commercial speakers

Here's another idea. Have any of you ever been to a Parade of Homes? It's where builders all do open houses on the same day and they distribute a guide to all the locations. People then drive from one house to the next checking them out. I've seen gardening clubs do this too (yes, I have old-people friends). It's pretty cool if you get enough people involved. What if we had a home theater expo and we all caravanned from one house to the next? We could spend about an hour at each place and have a specific topic or item of interest at each place. I know there are enough theaters, and not everyone has seen all of them. Is it too much driving?

People with coolio theaters that I know of:
Me
Mark
Nils
Hank
Colin
Dave
Jeff
Frederick
Ian
Chad (how's the room coming?)
I also know a few other non-HTFers but I don't know if they'd want to open their places or not.

Another alternative...a home theater barn raising. Lots of people like to DIY around here, and we're all pretty helpful, so what if we crashed Chad's place and spent a few hours helping him on his room? We could then hit another theater for a post work drink and movie in the evening.