Melbourne Audio Club meeting already!

Seems like only a few days ago we had the Melody demonstration. Wednesday night will be another top sounding presentation.

18th April, 8 pm in the Willis room, Nunawading Civic Centre


This month we welcome back Ian Robinson and Lindy Gerber from Redgum Audio. The last time we had them present at the club, they had just celebrated an audio milestone – 21 years in the Hi Fi Industry. Since then a number of new components have been developed, thus the product theme for the night: All things black and (mostly) small.

The Redgum Black Series of components will comprise of the RGMP8 Media Player – $990, the RGDAC8 – $990 and the RGi35ENR amplifier – $2000. All designed in Melbourne and assembled in China. To complete the system a pair of Axis VoiceBox S Mini-Monitors – $2500 – in a glossy black finish.

The Media Player and DAC are designed to be hidden or stacked together on an hi-fi rack, they share the same size chassis and footprint. The RGMP8 Media Player is perfect for those who just want to play their files. This stand-alone media player automatically creates its own wifi hotspot, no internet connection or network required. It is designed to be used by someone  who has little computer knowledge.

Long before the term “Asynchronous” became widely used, Redgum CD players and DAC’s have been asynchronous from the first model. The RGDAC8 has been ear-tuned to be at least the match of the sonic quality of their top-line DAC. This 3rd generation model has become a Multi-format Hi-res Asynchronous USB DAC.

The Black Series RGi35ENR is the 65Wpc Integrated amplifier, purpose designed to power ultra-low speaker impedances, 95 WRMS into 2 Ohms with short term transients of 560 Watts. The Axis VoiceBox S Mini-Monitor with its 50mm Metal Ribbon tweeter has the sonic virtues to bring out the quality of the electronic components. This system has been presented in the U.S. at the Newport Show and AXPONA, receiving an Audio Oasis Award.

Sounds like we will get to hear an all Australian quality system that will put you in the black.



Thanks Nick Karayanis, programme coordinator and photographer.

If you haven”t joined the club yet, the new financial year begins in July, get your application in at one of the next couple of meetings.

Opening of the new Hi Fi Exchange

Ray has open-end the doors at 44 Alexander parade, this is from his invitation:






If you are at the Camera Exchange on the 24th of this month join a party traveling to Ray’s opening after 2PM.

Open Audio Designs and Pure Audio

No pictures, just a description of the demonstration at the Melbourne Audio Club.

Warwick Freemantle and Jon De Sensi presented the evening, source was vinyl played on a Kuzma turntable and arm and a $4000 cartridge, sounding really good when amplified by the new OAD pre- and power amplifier and the good looking Gauder RC-7D Mk II speakers. The willis room was full, and the music was varied. Stand out records included a German violin recording which had the most realistic violin reproduction I have heard, and Louis Armstrong’s performance of St James Infirmary. Also popular tracks from The Wall (Pink Floyd) and Dire Straits. All very familiar to the club age group!

You tube have a version of St James Infirmary

Next Melbourne Audio Club Meeting

21 February 2018

8PM in the Willis Room, Nunawading Civic Centre




A New Year has started, and it has brought to the Australian Hi Fi scene a new player to the market. Warwick Freemantle from the Pure Music Group will be demonstrating to the club a new range of electronic components from Open Audio Designs. The man behind this new company , Jon De Sensi, will be our guest presenter for the night.

Jons new products, a pre and power amp, have raised the bar for Australian High End design and manufacturing with world class sonics at affordable pricing. The CP1 features a 4.3” TFT LCD Full Colour display, with capacitive touch. All features of the CP1 are controlled by this touch display which eliminates any front panel mechanical potentiometers and switches. Gold plated Swiss made relays select inputs, followed by a buffer amplifier that presents a benign load to signal sources. With few components in the path as possible, a direct coupled dual mono layout helps to maximise audio purity and virtually eliminate crosstalk.

The UF1 Power Amplifier utilizes the latest in transistor technology to deal with significant distortions. As the load impedence of an amplifier is decreased, large signal non-linearities begin to appear. This distortion is significantly dependent on the quality of the amplifier’s output stage power transistors. The UF1’s transistors are in a different class, in that; the current gain is completely maintained over its full power bandwidth, while also minimising the crossover distortion.

Partnering the electronics will be a new speaker from Gauder Akustik, the Berlina RC-7D Mk II with the Accuton Pure Diamond Tweeters. Argento Cables will look after the signal from each component. With the optional phono card ( PP1) installed in the preamp, the source for the night will be the Kuzma Stabi SPS Turntable with Kuzma 4 Point 9” Tonearm.

This will be OAD’s first public showing at an audio event. We may well have a full house.

Nick Karayanis Program Co-ordinator.



Back in Australia

Sorry about the long silence!

Back to work:

Sad news about Hugh Masekela, a direct quote from Quartz

(plus a personal memory, I heard Hugh Masekela and Miriam Make at the Witwatersrand University in the show “King Kong”


Gwen Ansell, University of Pretoria

Trumpeter, flugelhorn-player, singer, composer and activist Hugh Ramapolo Masekela has passed away after a long battle with prostate cancer.

When he cancelled his appearance last year at the Johannesburg Joy of Jazz Festival, taking time out to deal with his serious health issues, fans were forced to return to his recorded opus for reminders of his unique work. Listening through that half-century of disks, the nature and scope of the trumpeter’s achievement becomes clear.

Masekela had two early horn heroes.

The first was part-mythical: the life of jazz great Bix Biederbeckefiltered through Kirk Douglas’s acting and Harry James’s trumpet, in the 1950 movie “Young Man With A Horn”. Masekela saw the film as a schoolboy at the Harlem Bioscope in Johannesburg’s Sophiatown. The erstwhile chorister resolved “then and there to become a trumpet player”.

The second horn hero, unsurprisingly, was Miles Davis. And while Masekela’s accessible, storytelling style and lyrical instrumental tone are very different, he shared one important characteristic with the American: his life and music were marked by constant reinvention. As Davis reportedly said:

I don’t want to be yesterday’s guy.

Much has already been written about Masekela’s life and its landmarks: playing in the Huddleston Jazz Band in the 1950s on a horn donated by Louis Armstrong; performing in the musical “King Kong” in the 1960s and at the Guildhall and then Manhattan schools of music with singer Miriam Makeba; US pop successes in the 1970s and then touring Paul Simon’s “Graceland” in the 80s and 90s.

What is less discussed is the music, and the innovative imagination he has periodically applied to draw it fresh from the flames.

Breaking new ground

The Huddleston band, plus time as sideman and in stage shows, were the traditional career path for a young musician. But then Masekela broke his first new ground. With fellow originals, including saxophonist Kippie Moeketsi, pianist Abdullah Ibrahim and trombonist Jonas Gwangwa, as The Jazz Epistles they cut the first LP of modern African jazz in South Africa.

“Jazz Epistle: Verse One” (1960) featured band compositions marked by challenging improvisation – “a cross between mbaqanga and bebop”. Mbaqanga is form of South African township jive and bebop an American jazz style developed in the 1940s.

Masekela had also joined the pit band and worked as a copyist for South Africa’s first black musical, “King Kong”.

This exposure attracted attention to his talent from potential patrons at home and abroad. Pushed by the horrors of the Sharpeville massacrewhen the South African police shot and killed 69 people on 21 March 1960, and pulled by donated air-tickets and scholarships, Masekela left for London, and then New York.

In the next two decades, Masekela’s re-visioning of his music took many forms. He found America hard, but with wife Miriam Makeba (the marriage lasted from 1964 – 1966), the production skills of Gwangwa, and the support of American singer Harry Belafonte he proactively introduced audiences to South African music and the destruction of apartheid.

A young Hugh Masekela in the 1950s blowing his horn.

On the ironically titled 1966 live “Americanisation of Ooga Booga”, he demonstrated the creative possibilities of “township bop”. Masekela did this by mashing up repertoire and playing styles from the South Africa he had left and the America he had landed in.

But he was also looking in other directions: in collaborations with other African musicians; towards fusion (with The Crusaders), rock (with The Byrds) and even pop at the Monterey Pop, festival.

That list captures only a fraction of his projects in the 1960s. Some bore instant fruit: his 1968 single, “Grazin’ In the Grass”, topped the Billboard Hot 100 list and sold four million copies; the previous year’s “Up Up and Away” became an instant standard.

In 1971, he teamed up with Gwangwa and Caiphus Semenya for another pan-African vision: The Union of South Africa. In 1972 he explored a stronger jazz orientation on “Home is Where The Music Is” with, among others, sax player Dudu Pukwana, bassist Eddie Gomez, keyboardist Larry Willis and Semenya.

Sixties counterculture

But as the title of “Grazin’ In the Grass” suggests, Masekela was also bewitched by other aspects of Sixties counterculture. He dated his addiction back to the alcohol-focused social climate of his early playing years in South Africa, but by the early Seventies he admitted:

I had destroyed my life with drugs and alcohol and could not get a gig or a band together. No recording company was interested in me…

That depression inspired the song that achieved genuinely iconic status back home in South Africa: the 1974 reflection on migrant labour, “Stimela/Coal Train”.

Foreign critics have handed that status to other Masekela songs, such as “Soweto Blues”, “Gold” or the much later “Bring Him Back Home”. Yet powerful though those are, it is Stimela, with its slow-burning steam-piston rhythm that captured the hearts of South Africans in struggle back home, and still does today. And of course the lyrics:

There’s a train that comes from Namibia and Malawi /there’s a train that comes from Zambia and Zimbabwe/ from Angola and Mozambique…

Masekela said:

For me songs come like a tidal wave … At this low point, for some reason, the tidal wave that whooshed in on me came all the way from the other side of the Atlantic: from Africa; from home.

Shortly afterwards, Masekela headed off to Ghana, hooked up with Hedzoleh Soundz, and was soon back in the charts. “Stimela” received its first outing on the album “I Am Not Afraid”, with West African and American co-players including pianist Joe Sample.

By the mid ‘80s, the hornman was back in southern Africa, recording “Technobush” at the mobile Shifty Studio in Botswana, and performing for the Medu Arts Ensemble with a Botswanan/South African band, Kalahari. His music shifted again: roots mbaqanga came strongly to the fore to speak simply and directly to people now openly battling the apartheid regime just across the border.

Returning home

After liberation and his return home, Masekela once more chose fresh directions. In 1997 he banished his addictions and began to showcase the virtuoso player he could have been 30 years earlier without the distractions of the West Coast. He fronted big European jazz bands, and benchmarked a long musical friendship with Larry Willis with the magisterial Friends.

But his shrewd ear for the music of today, rather than yesterday, also took him into younger company. He collaborated with current stars – including singer Thandiswa Mazwai – often encouraging them to take centre stage. Just before the recurrence of his cancer, he was planning a festival collaboration with rapper Riky Rick.

To cap the transformation, the individualistic rebel of the 60s and 70s became an elder statesman of social activism. In 2001, he established a foundation to help other musicians escape addiction. Once more he foregrounded the music of continental Africa, to campaign against xenophobia. And the return of his own illness became the cue to exhortother men to get checked for prostate cancer.

Other South African musicians have succeeded overseas; many have made one mid-career image switch – but few have shown us, in only one person but more than 30 albums, so many of the faces and possibilities of South African jazz.

Hugh Masekela, musician, activist. Born: 4 April 1939; Died: 23 January 2018

The ConversationMasekela Playlist:

‘Blues for Hughie’ from the album, Jazz Epistle Verse One.
‘Unhlanhla (Lucky Boy)’ from The Americanization of Ooga Booga.
The major Masekela hit, ‘Grazin in the Grass’.
Hugh Masekela with ‘Up Up & Away’.
‘Shebeen’ from The Union of South Africa.
‘The Big Apple’ from Home is Where The Music Is.
‘Stimela’, a South African classic.
‘Motlalepula’ from Technobush.
Hugh Masekela and Larry Willis live.
‘African Sunset’ with Thandiswa Mazwai.
Masekela in conversation with the rapper Riky Rick.

Gwen Ansell, Associate of the Gordon Institute for Business Science, University of Pretoria

Next meeting of the Melbourne Audio Club

Wednesday 18 October


When it comes to luxury products, the Italians have a sense of style that is unmatched. When Sonus Faber introduces a new speaker range to the market, they are dripping with Italian styling and strikingly beautiful aesthetics that would appeal to the most discerning eyes.

The Homage Tradition line of speakers features a level of quality craftsmanship that is the hallmark of the brand. This month Synergy Audio presents the Serafino Tradition. This new generation of speaker is both technically advanced and strikingly beautiful.

The Serafino Tradition is a 3.5-way floorstander that houses Sonus Faber’s own 28mm silk dome tweeter featuring an “Arrow Point” phase plug. The tweeter shares an aluminium mounting plate with the 150mm midrange driver. The front baffle and aluminium plate are adorned in that distinctive leather finish. The low end is handled by the two 180mm bass drivers. Extruded aluminium fins run the length of the rear panel as part of an exoskeleton, integrating an effectively invisible “Aperiodic Reflex” system, engineered to provide the required bass extension.

Partnering the speakers will be a complete McIntosh system comprising of the MCT450 CD/SACD Transport and the MA8900 Integrated Amplifier. To get the most out of your CDs, the MCT450 combines an aluminium die cast tray with a twin laser pickup that assures an optimal disc reading at 2x read speed for better data recovery. Featuring 4 digital outputs, the unique DIN output connects to the MA8900 to deliver the purist possible sound. Wrapped in the timeless McIntosh aesthetics with blue Watt meters and black glass front panel, the MA8900 with the renowned McIntosh Autoformer, guarantees to deliver the full 200 Watts regardless if your speakers are 2, 4 or 8 Ohms.

Synergy Audio will also be demonstrating the new Mobile Fidelity Turntable with its matching cartridge, the Mo-Fi UltraDeck with the Ultra Tracker.

Once again we are in for a treat, both visually and sonically.

Nick Karayanis – Program Co-ordinator.



Melbourne Audio Club Wed 20 September

The committee’s choice of music for the meeting was interesting and varied. A surprise was a veey live recording of Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa. Very live!

The equipment lineup was interesting, Ray’s selection of Marantz amp and Gale speakers was a good vintage sound. The second setup with Naim amplification and Vienna speakers was very warm and musical. It is great that members are so generous with their time and equipment. Thanks Ray and Nick.

This month’s meeting will be more of a music presentation, and less to do with the equipment. The new committee will present to the club a selection of music from their favourite CD’s. It could be a track from one of their ‘desert island discs’ or a recent purchase. The program will cycle through the numerous tracks presented by each committee member.
To ensure that we get through as many different tracks as possible, I’ve requested that each track to be no more than 5 minutes long. This will get us through plenty of CD’s before the coffee break. While it’s good to have a music program for the night, a system to play all the music on would be appropriate.
Ray Go from the Hi Fi Exchange will be providing the equipment for the night. In fact we will have two systems to listen too. The first is a pair of refurbished Gale 401 speakers matched to a Marantz SM-11S1 power amp. Reviewed by Stereophile magazine back in May 2008, they commented “The Marantz’s clean, fast, revealing,surprisingly transparent, well-organised overall presentation took the most challenging recordings in its stride.”
The second system will have a large pair of floor standing speakers and a valve power amp. Ray is keeping the details of the gear a mystery up until the night of the meeting. I can tell you that both systems will have the same front end, an OPPO 95 as a transport and a LAMPIZATOR Dac will be taking care of the D to A conversion.
This would be a good opportunity for all members to discover some new music at this meeting. I’m sure the guys on the committee will do their best to present a thoroughly satisfying night of music.
Nick Karayanis – Program Co-ordinator.

Devialet, next MAC meeting will be real high end

Expert Pro Integrated Amplifier
Phantom Gold Speaker

In 2009, a French manufacturer Devialet, set the audio world on its ear with the introduction of the D-Premier DAC-Integrated Amplifier. This unique component, housed in a slim shiny case the size of a laptop, featured a host of customizations that had never before been incorporated into an audio component.

A digital preamplifier section that could accept digital as well as line and phono-level analogue signals; a high-powered digital signal processor (DSP) that could perform real-time processing of the music signals for equalization and room correction; and an innovative amplifier topology Analogue Digital Hybrid (ADH), which set Devialet apart from other Hi-Fi manufacturers.

The current line up of amplifiers called Expert Pro, start off with their entry level model Expert 130 Pro which delivers 130Wpc into 6 ohms and goes up to their most powerful model, the Expert 1000 Pro. Leigh Fischer from INTERDYN will be demonstrating the many features of the Devialet amplifier with a pair of PMC fact.12 speakers. With new technology called Speaker Active Matching (SAM) the amplifiers output signal can be optimized for your particular speaker.

A testament to the pace of Devialets technical evolution is incorporated in the Phantom speaker. Their active loudspeaker backed with R&D and out-of-the-box thinking sets a path for the future. By design, the Phantom goes against and beyond the existing establishment. Egg like in shape and white only in colour, the technology contained within the Phantom speaker is very impressive.

The Gold Phantom will also be demonstrated at the club. Its novel combination of ‘Class A’ and ‘Class D’ amplification, 4500W at 108db, and their ‘Bass Implosion ‘technology measuring ruler flat from 20Hz, is the absolute demonstration of Devialets design and engineering.

Devialet has firmly cemented its name in the audiophile world. Their integrated amplifiers and Phantom speakers, play host to the most exciting and innovative technologies available in sound reproduction. The future in Hi-Fidelity has arrived.

Nick Karayanis – Program Co-ordinator.

8 PM Wedsnesday 16 August in the Willis Room, Nunawading Civic Centre

Reminder: subscriptions are  due, guests are still welcome.