AES Section Meeting Reports

Pacific Northwest - December 1, 2018

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The Pacific Northwest Section occasionally takes a December break from our regular schedule of meetings. In 2018, the Pacific Northwest Audio Society graciously invited members of the AES PNW Section to join them for their Annual Winter Social, held at the Mercer Island Congregational Church on December 1, 2018. Several members of the section took them up on this generous offer and enjoyed an afternoon of food, socializing and listening to interesting audio systems, including a Fulton speaker system donated to the society by a friend of the builder, and AES PNW Section committee member Dana Olson's mini speaker design.

Section member Rick Chinn provided a brief description of the activities:
"There was an auction, several things, a Linn turntable/arm/cartridge, went for just over $400. There was an Audio Research preamp - a science project... it went for a bit over $100.
Then there was a raffle. You bought tickets to the drawing for $5/each. They had several lots, and a raffle ticket winner got you the ability to pick a lot. These ranged from CDs to gear. There was food and drink.
The Fulton system was set up for listening. It sounded good, but I wasn't knocked off my feet. The system has the modification which consisted of a cubical enclosure above the large floor-standing box that is grille cloth stretched over a frame, and the mid and high enclosures of the Fulton system are stacked inside it (they look like smallish bookshelf speakers) and suitably hidden. In spite of that, it was still quite large.

Dana Olson had one of his mini systems there, it looked like a 5-inch woofer and a small tweeter. It sounded quite good, without making any deprecating remarks about its size. He had it in quasi half-space, taking advantage of a wall for some acoustic advantage. Dana used a small Raspberry-Pi based D-A converter that took material stored on a thumb drive and delivered analog audio coming out. It sounded quite good, and I'm looking into acquiring one like it. It was the Boss I2S DAC v1.2 sold by Volumio.
I had a chance to play a CD that I brought, my recording of the Seattle Collaborative Orchestra (SCO) playing Rachmaninoff's Symphonic Dances, and that got some people's attention. I did an impromptu presentation of how the recording was made."

PNW Section Committee Member Dana Olson adds:
"Rick, I really enjoyed your talk about the recording. A joy to listen to. I think I found the recording on YouTube searching for "Opus 4 studios: Symphonic Dances." I have played it at full volume several times at home. It would be great to be able to buy the CD.
A few other details. We sold the quite large 1975 Fulton Premier speakers at auction for $452 to a local collector. Pictures remain of the auction for anyone who might like to see them. An interesting old speaker, donated to the club by a friend of Fulton, the modular design apparently the inspiration for other monster modular speakers built today. These speakers used no less than six Packard starter solenoids as coils in the crossover.
The Raspberry Pi based server was running Volumio software. They have excellent instructions on their site. The DAC card fitted to the top of the Pi to give it high fidelity audio playback was the Boss I2S DAC v1.2. This DAC implementation is pretty interesting as it runs the DAC chip as an I2S master, and claims to have a fractional picosecond jitter clock and a 112 dB SNR. It sounds good to me.
My small speakers have 5" SB Acoustics woofer and 1" Peerless tweeter. Several folks seemed to enjoy listening to them. I offered them for sale below the cost of parts, and had no offers. I guess I will double the price and try again elsewhere. Ha."

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