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 music featuring 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?
Next 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, etc. tube 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.
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 music...
We 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.
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 list!
Seen 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.