Audio by Van Alstine - ABX Comparator Box
Our next event – the third in the BAAS Audio Gear Smackdown series, will be held on Saturday June 14 at 10:00AM at David Levine’s beautiful Belvedere home (I hear the view alone is enough to want to attend).
The response to this idea of having an event exploring the wonders and capabilities of the ABX Comparator Box has been very strong. I’ll be sending an email invitation for members to register for the event, with details, maps and directions.
There will also be a place on the invite to tell us which amp you’re proposing to bring. Please note that although many of us have more than one amp we could bring, it is impractical considering the limited time of our events. Choose one candidate amp, but keep in mind that we will likely only be able to audition/compare no more than 6 amps from the list of submissions. We’ll give you ample notice if we cannot fit yours into the schedule, so that you don’t have to lug around a lot of metal.
The registration email will follow soon!
One thought on “Upcoming Event: Amp Smackdown with ABX Box”
July 12, 2014 at 6:15 pm Edit
The Morning After
Some great news, and some really crappy news.
First, thank you to everyone who made the trip to David’s beautiful home in Belevedere. It was wonderful that so many people pulled their precious amps out of their systems and lugged them to our venue to be compared by the ABX Box.
It was great to see so many members of our community rekindling friendships, starting new ones and partaking in the delicious food that David cooked and prepared with Leslie’s help. And, without exception, everyone enjoyed the incredible view from the deck (even the nice photos taken by member Mark White can’t fully capture this vista’s spacious beauty).
After lunch we were able to listen to David’s full system, which is comprised of an MSB Analog DAC and UMT Plus Player, Shindo Giscours Preamp, Wavac 805M tube mono blocks, Coincidence Pure Reference Extreme speakers and High Fidelity Ultimate cabling. It sounded really good and many stayed late to take in the sonic manna. The room was abuzz with many conversations until David played a Mahler piece which got everyone’s attention. To follow that up, I asked David to play the Doors “Riders on The Storm” in high rez and crank it up. The room went quiet again, as everyone’s attention was captured by the overall musicality these great recordings performances presented on his system.
Sometimes, however, no matter how hard you try, its just not your day, and the Gods of audio have very different plans for you and you friends. The event started late because we had a baffling hardware failure with the ABX Box. It was working fine at my house and at 8:00AM at David’s we were excited all about our members experiencing this demo. But when I hooked up the next amp that arrived to be compared, all I got was silence from that channel… not a peep. Nothing made sense (even with a bunch of engineers and seasoned audiophiles trying to figure it out. There seemed to be a phantom at work in this box. We would get it working with one amp but not the other. We finally got both channels working by power-cycling everything and everyone breathed a sigh of relief as we successfully compared two solid state amps, one Class AB Electron Kinetics and one Class D DIY amp in the most seamless way anyone has ever experienced. This was so exciting and such a big relief that I asked the members for a Halleluia, which they gladly shouted back! The blind test this box allowed was even more exciting because even the guy with the remote (Bob was given the honor) didn’t know which amp was being auditioned… that part was thrilling to me, for it validated my original excitement to purchase this unit.
However, when substituting the two amps with two more contenders, and double checking that everything was plugged in exactly the same way as the last round… voilá, nothing. No music, just a clicking sound from the first amp – so we checked, and yes, every wire was exactly in the same configuration as minutes before in the amp that was working fine, so we checked the wiring again and switched to the second amp, which instantly and loudly blew a fuse (we’re hoping it’s just a fuse). So I asked for any volunteers to test their amp after that incident and many brave souls stepped forward… but once again, with multiple audiophiles checking the configuration to be exactly the same as when it worked minutes before, all we got was a clicking sound from one amp and a squealing noise from the other. Frustration doesn’t come close to what I was feeling. It was really uncomfortable to feel like I let down so many members with this unforeseen glitch.
I had to make a judgement call to put David’s system back together and make the rest of the day about shmoozing and listening to music.
Apologies to all in attendance. I don’t know what I could have done differently, but it feels like my responsibility.
Onward and upward. Chalk it up to a learning experience, although I’m not sure what the lesson is yet.