Virtue at Lone Star Audio Fest

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virtue

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Virtue at Lone Star Audio Fest
« on: 9 May 2010, 10:24 pm »
Hey Folks,

I'm really excited to hang out with Danny (GR), Gary (Dodd), Marvin and the other "cool kids" at the Lone Star Audio Fest next weekend. 

As compared to RMAF in years past, this show should be really laid-back.  We'll have Marvin's Piano M1 and new Sensation M901 driving a pair of killer GR Research N3 speakers (http://www.gr-research.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=151) and perhaps some V2s.  For fun, we'll also plug in the ICEBlocks with a Dodd tube pre-amp out front.   We'll have the JT Dynamic power supplies, and some battery options by Gary Dodd including the new $129, 5Ah supply (more of a product, less of a kit).  We'll have some of these on hand and will be offering a dozen show-special, ONE.2/battery kit combos with GR-Research if you want to drop by with some $cash$.

The Cokes, chips and beers are on me.  Come visit, bring your own music, iPods, transports, whatever.

Post here if you're coming and let's have some old-fashioned fun!

Seth

OzarkTom

Re: Virtue at Lone Star Audio Fest
« Reply #1 on: 10 May 2010, 11:44 am »
I will be there with my Sensation 451, Piano, and Gallo Stradas. Save me one of those battery power supply. Will you also have the 7ah version there? Any advantage over the 5ah?

wsturner

Re: Virtue at Lone Star Audio Fest
« Reply #2 on: 10 May 2010, 03:07 pm »
If you want a good steak, while you are there, I would suggest Chamberlain's Steak and Chop House. They also have a pretty good cigar selection.

http://www.chamberlainsrestaurant.com/

virtue

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Re: Virtue at Lone Star Audio Fest
« Reply #3 on: 10 May 2010, 03:46 pm »
We'll have the 5aH and 7aH supplies there... with continuous charging, I'm not sure the benefits... and in fact wonder what the minimum capacity really is.  Could it be 2aH?  We'll see what Gary has to say about it.

dvenardos

Re: Virtue at Lone Star Audio Fest
« Reply #4 on: 10 May 2010, 06:27 pm »
That could get rather expensive with the audio crowd.  :green:
I am going to have to make one of these...

The Cokes, chips and beers are on me.

virtue

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Re: Virtue at Lone Star Audio Fest
« Reply #5 on: 15 May 2010, 02:02 am »
Hey Guys,

I'm here at the Lone Star Audio Fest.  Laid back, no pressure.  What a great little show.

For starters, let me apologize for not posting pictures - I don't have my USB cable here for uploading, rats!  I'll post some beauties tomorrow night. 

Let me give some quick hilights.... First, the inestimable Marvin Bolden.  I met Marvin today for a Texas-style breakfast at Dixie Cafe by the airport.  What a guy!  Marvin is as laid back as they come.  He's kind and a bit shy... but has a little sparkle in his eye when he it comes to high-end audio.  He's incredibly knowledgeable, loves his boys Gary and Danny, is a great father, a great husband, and one serious audiophile.  Marvin, it was a pleasure meeting you today.

Then, OzarkTom.  What can I say?  A few hours ago, a white-haired guy came into the room and introduced himself.  "Tom... OzarkTom... 228..  Best room in the show."  I was a bit overwhelmed with the room treatment issues and what he said didn't register.  After we got things sorted out I took a walk down the hall (we're in 205).  I'll be DAMNED.  OzarkTom brought his Piano, Sensation, Gallo Stradas and a little subwoofer... and no room treatment at all... the setup sounds UNREAL.  Wow, my god, I'm still a bit choked up.  Tom was a hifi dealer for 15 years and has seen a thing or two.  He's a true believer and you know, his room is that good. 

Then there's Danny.  I brought a toothbrush to the show.  Marvin brought Piano and a Sensation, James T. flew out his Sensation from Hawaii... we're playing it now.  OMG.  Danny Richie brought the rest.  Power conditioners.  AV stand.  Cables.  These unbelievable black Carnegie Acoustics prototypes (look like the N3, but with even more bass and lower sensitivity (88db)).  An unbelievable curtain room treatment which I beefed up with some acoustic tiles and fiberglass bales from Home Depot.  This guy moves mountains and he's moved them for Virtue this weekend.

Gary... the tube whisperer.  Wow does ICEBlock sound great.  Gary also brought a bunch of these battery supplies.  I gave OzarkTom one and the last bit of harshness in his system is GONE, GONE, GONE.  As Vinnie has known for a long time, batteries really matter.

James T.  You are here with us in spirit.  Your Sensation M451 with the Mundorf caps is every good as you said it was. Thanks for sending it out!!!

Right now I'm here on the couch listening to our setup.  I'ts just amazing.  Bass is deep and sweet.  Imaging is fabulous, Sensation is singing a sweet tune.  I've also noticed a few glitches.  These hotel rooms bounce more than Piano wants.  I'm going to need to put an insulating pad under it.  Also, I hard swapped power supplies between the JT and batteries on Sensation a few times.  The unit does very strange things if you don't shut it down properly before changing power supplies. Give it 90 seconds rest for the caps to all fully discharge and clear the computer memory, and it comes back fine. 
Oh, funny thing.  Cut the power connector of OzarkTom's battery kit and arc welded my wire stripper in the process.  300A will do that to you.  Stupid me to short a battery.  Glad I wasn't the power switch inside the amp ;-)

Anyway, I'll write again tomorrow night and post pictures.  Thank you to all of our visitors this weekend.  And... we a have 10 ONE.2 amps here and some of Gary's really slick new 5 aH battery kits.  $449 show special, no shipping or wait.  A great deal.  Come visit and pickup some Virtue popcorn while you check out the mega systems.

Very best,

Seth

« Last Edit: 17 May 2010, 05:43 am by virtue »

PSB Guy

Re: Virtue at Lone Star Audio Fest
« Reply #6 on: 15 May 2010, 02:29 am »
Would love to see pictures of the Dodd battery supplies...

marvda1

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Re: Virtue at Lone Star Audio Fest
« Reply #7 on: 15 May 2010, 06:15 am »
it was a pleasure seth.  just got home from work, will drink a couple of beers and go to bed to wake up early to get to the show. i'll bring my belles pre to see how it sounds with the sensation.
marvin

Jason T

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Re: Virtue at Lone Star Audio Fest
« Reply #8 on: 15 May 2010, 04:13 pm »
wish I were there  :cry:

mamba315

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Re: Virtue at Lone Star Audio Fest
« Reply #9 on: 15 May 2010, 06:19 pm »
OzarkTom brought his Piano, Sensation, Gallo Stradas and a little subwoofer... and no room treatment at all... the setup sounds UNREAL.  Wow, my god, I'm still a bit choked up.  Tom was a hifi dealer for 15 years and has seen a thing or two.  He's a true believer and you know, his room is that good.

Thanks for the impressions Seth.  I was hoping I'd hear some feedback about Toms system since I am considering the Gallo Stradas for my Sensation too.  Sounds like they're a great match!  Also sounds like they're revealing enough for batteries to make an audible difference too, despite not being a high efficiency design.  Wish I could be there!


cynan

Re: Virtue at Lone Star Audio Fest
« Reply #10 on: 15 May 2010, 07:59 pm »
Thanks for the updates Seth. Wish I could be there! I am really curious to hear OzarkTom's system. He's been braggin about it for a while  :wink: -and now that you concur, it must really be THAT good! What subwoofer was he using?

The unit does very strange things if you don't shut it down properly before changing power supplies. Give it 90 seconds rest for the caps to all fully discharge and clear the computer memory, and it comes back fine. 

That is exactly the phenomenon I was trying to report in the "Re: Sensation Functional Questions" thread. If you turn it on and off too rapidly when switching PSUs there is a potential to lock up the processor - sometimes the unit will become stuck in standby (not turn on) and other times LEDs on the front light up like chrismtas trees and the unit becomes unresponsive. However this has only happened to me the one time I was trying to A/B PSUs with the Sensation and as long as I wait a few seconds (I would say much less than 90 - maybe about 10?) between powering off and on, no problems.


OzarkTom

Re: Virtue at Lone Star Audio Fest
« Reply #11 on: 16 May 2010, 03:53 am »
I hope more of you can make it to this show next yearwith your personal system. Iit has been fun, it has been real, it has been real fun.

This is a very low key show, all the designers have been around to almost eery system checking things out. Ir you ask them, they will give you some tips on improving your system. I wish I could stay another day, but with a 7 hour drive, I must get home tomorrow. It was great to rub elbows with all of these Audiocircle designers. These guys are leading the cutting edge in high-end audio today.

virtue

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Re: Virtue at Lone Star Audio Fest
« Reply #12 on: 16 May 2010, 02:08 pm »
Guys, here are some pictures before I head out today. 

We've been playing the little ONE.2, then Sensation, and then the ICEBlocks using Sensation as a pre-amp.  EACH system sounds wonderful with slight improvements as you go up.  On Danny's N3 speakers, bass is just huge (no subwoofer).

For a busy guy like me with 2 jobs and a sub-optimal listening environment at home, these shows give me a chance to hear our own gear properly.  Wow, they sound amazing!  I was a proud papa this weekend.

Tom's amazing system!  THE most natural and unassuming at the show!


Gary and his awesome ICEBlocks


Some of the best looking gear at LSA!


Our friends Michael Mardis and John Bush with JB's new "Widow Maker" kit (my funny name) - open baffle good to 16hz. 


More color commentary later! 



Light-Echo

Re: Virtue at Lone Star Audio Fest
« Reply #13 on: 16 May 2010, 08:35 pm »
You know what? That's really cool seeing pictures of people like that. Here I was just a moment ago telling my wife "Here's that Gary fella I'm always talking about. And look!! Those are the N3's your Dad's building the cabinets for. Awesome. Let's see some pics of Danny and yourself too if you're not too humble!! :)

Dave

virtue

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Re: Virtue at Lone Star Audio Fest
« Reply #14 on: 17 May 2010, 06:01 am »
Another great day at LSA.  Danny clarified the speaker we were running in the room (202 not 205 as stated previously) - 88db Carnegie Acoustic prototypes... line arrays, MSRP $2,000.  This is one HELL of a speaker for $2k.  And they matched VERY well with all of the amps.  I got the amp to clip once playing a Burmeister demo CD around full volume... otherwise, just LOUD, LOUD, LOUD all weekend.  Absolutely kicking and FUN! 

After the festivities wound down, I took my amp to a few rooms.  It sounded really good with Pi and Van Zyl speakers (although the ART amp in there sounded better).  But it was really, really sweet with Duke's Audio Kinesis speakers.  Don't let the K-Mart sub grills throw you off... his highly angled speakers were absolutely stunning and gorgeous sounding with any amp we threw at it and especially the little ONE.2.



And of course, Danny with his magical, "Bat-man" finished Super V's.  I hope that Jeff Keyes starts building cabinets affordably for folks, because this speaker is the "end of the road."  For $4-$6k, it's just an insane, insane, insane speaker.  May there be world peace and Super V's in every living room.  Here's me with the "wing" hair-do, and the coolest and sharpest cat in audio - DR.



Here's a final picture of me and Michael hangin' out in the Virtue room.  I miss that guy.  Good ear.  Good drummer... (tap reference).




Overall, I was most, most impressed... with the Virtue amps.  At their price points, the little ONE.2, Sensation, and ICEBlock are very, very hard to beat.  And they're just stunning visually (is that gloating?).  I set up a ONE.2 at my buddy Doug's house tonight with some $104 Polk Audio bookshelf speakers from Best Buy and an IPod mini-jack cable.  Even with those crappy speakers, his kitchen is now ALIVE.  This IS just a magical little box! 

After a tough few months I'm feeling a lot better after this show.

mamba315

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Re: Virtue at Lone Star Audio Fest
« Reply #15 on: 18 May 2010, 12:48 am »
Gary also brought a bunch of these battery supplies.  I gave OzarkTom one and the last bit of harshness in his system is GONE, GONE, GONE.  As Vinnie has known for a long time, batteries really matter.

What power supply was used before the battery unit?  130/30 or JT?

James T.  You are here with us in spirit.  Your Sensation M451 with the Mundorf caps is every good as you said it was. Thanks for sending it out!!!

Did his modded M451 sound similar to an M901 or somewhat different?

OzarkTom

Re: Virtue at Lone Star Audio Fest
« Reply #16 on: 18 May 2010, 01:03 am »
I heard the Sensation on several other systems, and it stood very tall to other amps at several times the price. The Sensation never was embarrassed.

Seth, I wished I could have heard it on Duke's system. That was about the only other system there that rivaled the naturalness of the Stradas. The Stradas had just a little more focus and detail, but the NAD he was using is not famous for that. I figured just a little better amp, and Duke's speakers would have had it all. Those were the smoothest horn speakers I have ever heard. For $2500, those are a great value. A lot of audiophiles kept going back and forth from his room to mine commenting how natural they both sounded.

So what did I learn from the show? The 901 is a lot better than my 451. If you buy the 451, have Jason modify it before it is shipped to you. You won't regret it. Even my wife heard the difference, and that is saying a lot. And yes, I love the battery supply the best, like many of you kept telling me.

One thing about all the suite rooms, they stunk when it came to the acoustics. Danny played it real smart with his Super V's. That room was about 20x35 foot with at least a 10 foot sealing.  Those would have sounded horrible in those suite rooms. About all we has was a 12x14 and a 7.5 foot ceiling to work with. Every system there would have sounded much better in a larger room, I am sure.

But at least the Stradas imaged and sounded beautifully in the room. Some audiophiles actually went home to get some CD's just to hear it on the Stradas. If anyone here is leaning to those, you will not be disappointed.

sl_1800

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Re: Virtue at Lone Star Audio Fest
« Reply #17 on: 18 May 2010, 12:41 pm »
Seth,

It was a pleasure meeting you at LSAF.  I really enjoyed every room that used your equipment.

Steve

panomaniac

Re: Virtue at Lone Star Audio Fest
« Reply #18 on: 19 May 2010, 02:00 am »
It was a cool show!  Virtue had amps everywhere!  Seth and Danny about stole the show.

The Sensations was sounding great.  The Ice monoblocks were very, very good.  I already liked them, but with the Dodd tube buffer - yummy!  Super neutral, smooth and never any lack of power.  A real winner.

Tom's "Star Trek" speakers were sweet.  Matched very well with Piano and Sensation.

Duke

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Re: Virtue at Lone Star Audio Fest
« Reply #19 on: 23 May 2010, 03:55 am »
Thank you VERY MUCH Seth for bringing a couple of your amps to my room there towards the end, they impressed me enormously.  I can now wholeheartedly recommend a killer little affordable amp to customers looking for such. 

OzarkTom, thank you for the compliment on my speaker's smoothness.  And as you suspected, Seth's amp made a clearly audible improvement.  Clarity increased, in that you could more easily pick out and follow an individual voice or instrument.