July 24th, 2007

New page dedicated to the Koala headphone amp!

July 24th, 2007

Early in May I travelled to Greenville to Bruce Schlein's house to deliver a pair of modified crossovers for his Hawthorne Audio Silver Iris open-baffle speakers (a subject for another day) and to install an acoustic treatment package I had designed for him based on the GIK Acoustics products. I had been looking for a company who made quality acoustic products for some time- and there are several good ones out there, in particular Real Traps, which not only provides great products but a wealth of information on their website. What I really desired though, was a local company I could work with. When I discovered GIK I was thrilled, as they are only about a half hour from me and I could avoid the usually high shipping costs from the other vendors. I also like that the GIK panels are effective to well below 100hZ.

Anyway, I have heard Bruce's systems several times over the past year and felt his main system could be improved with the use of some acoustic panels. His main room is of moderate size and dedicated to listening. Walls are plaster over blueboard with one whole wall glass, with a double glass door directly adjacent. My goals with this treatment package were to absorb as much bass as possible and to minimize first reflections from the ceiling. The listening chair is up against the long wall, so I wanted to reduce bass pooling here as well. The GIK panels are designed to hang from a single wire (like a picture) in either a vertical or horizontal position. I chose to reconfigure the panels and fabricated some custom hardware and stand-offs. Each wall panel now hangs with one edge in contact with the wall or ceiling and the other three edges are away from the wall plane for increased absorption. Also, each one hangs from two fixed attachment points to prevent the panel from ever looking "crooked" on the wall. The effect is subtle visually, but I think it offers increased acoustic performance.

Here's a quote from Bruce about his initial reaction to the "new" sonics....

"The first thing I noted about the room with the finished treatment is that it is more restful and quiet. Speech is more intelligible with the treatment in place. Before the room was treated it had a bright and somewhat brittle sound. Music reproduction changes include better presentation of subtle spatial cues with more depth and layering. Low level details are better presented. Bass is cleaner and clearer. The overall sonic envelope is better filled and more life like. There are no peaks and troughs across the frequency spectrum. Treble peaks are particularly controlled.

"My wife finds the room more listenable, though she is not into the nerotic audiophile listening mode. She does not find the changed look of the room hard to live with."

February 6, 2007

Here's a photo of the Koala with 6080 output tubes installed. These tubes are electrically equivalent to the 6AS7G, which our customer reports is a much better sounding tube than the 6080. The Koala will most likely remain available by special order only, as it is really optimized for the sadly, now discontinued, AKG K1000 headphones. Let us know if you have any interest.

December 3, 2006

Randy Cail is no longer affiliated with either Vivid Audio or Earthshaking Music Inc.

October 14, 2006

Our OTL headphone amp has a name- it's the Vivid Koala. Here's some additional info- Front-end (voltage gain) tube is WE417a, interstage-transformer coupled to a 6AS7G/6080 output tube for 3+ watts per channel. Input sensitivity is 1 volt, and input switching is optional. Output binding posts for connection to the K1000s.

Pictures will be available soon! The first Koala is a special order and will feature a Black Walnut base with the shell wrapped in a beautiful Waterfall Bubinga veneer. Yummy!

October 9, 2006

New pics of veneer options for the Chameleon.

October 5, 2006

New Chameleon pics by Bruce Schlein in the gallery.

October 1, 2006

We received a commission for a new, original design OTL headphone amp. As yet un-named, the amp will be single-ended, IT coupled, OTL and powerful enough to drive the AKG K1000 headphones. Single input, volume control, and binding post output. Can also drive sensitive speakers. More info to come!

September 27, 2006

New site launch! Look for new, exciting features and content to be added over the next week or two!