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Austin, TX - Help with evaluation

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Austin TX, I have prototype an amplifier, no feedback, Class-A, and am looking for local folks to critique and evaluate it for me.  I have a phono preamp and tone controls also operating no feedback that I wish to have put to the same test. Thanks.

post #2 of 12

Perhaps you can tell us a bit more about yourself, what part of town your in; what your future business/research plans entail; and the equipment you mentioned.

post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 

OK, some of that request is fair and appropriate.  My first time in Austin was with Jethro Tull, I did the sound for them, had a big hi-fi sound reinforcement system I designed and built in college (Physics and Anthropology) using hippy slave labor.  I then started the Quintessence Group AudioWorks, high end preamp, equalizers, amplifiers, went on to Chief Engineer at SAE (Hypersonic Class-A Series), Hasbro Electronic Toys, Monster Cables Techno-Evangelist, then Director of MC's Professional Products, somewhere in between I did products for Parasound, Fostex, Audionics, Star, the interior electronics design for the PlayBoy Mansion, SF Ballet and Opera, a bunch of other big deals, and some more that will come to me. 5 Starts, 30 patents, I was VP OptoDigital Design, a Div of Monster, came to Austin through the Technology Incubator doing OptoDigial (professional digital and video over fiber for venues, Disney, Alamo Dome, Bulls Stadium, baa, blaa, we designed and built the hardware and software). My biggest gig was founding ClearCube (Blade computers, virtualization, what you now call the cloud) in my garage and going to 250 people, then retired.  I was VP OptoDigiatal Design, a Div of Monster, came to Austin through the Technology Incubator doing Optical (professional digital and video over fiber for venues, Disney, Alamo Dome, Bulls Stadium, blaa, blaa, we designed and built the hardware and software).


Boring - And by the way, what I did doesn't mean crap, it's where my dreams are going that count, the rest is the dead past, never to be done that way again.  As is said, don't look back.


So I started Austin Medical Research, and in a couple of years was making pain go away with EMP and growing hair with lasers.  That is now called ManeGain Inc. and is in public stock sales.


Last year I took out a patent on adding Wi-Fi type networking to Emergency Lighting Systems in buildings, now called Networked Emergency Systems Inc., it is being funded through stock sales. 


Remember , you asked.  Is started with Heathkit tube amps in the mid 1950s, boy, am I old by your standards.


So for hobby time I design amplifiers.  Last year I evolved a technology that would be perfect for Magnetic Planar Speakers and I started the design cycle for a 100 Watt/ ch no-feedback current amplifier.  While playing with it and it's permutations I was approached by a local amp guy about a production problem, he did headphone amps, something I had not thought about.  I realized what I had been working on would do quite well there, built some variations, and got to the point that me, my Audeze headphones and other hardware, was at the end of the ability to improve by my definition.  In addition to simple combination of habituation that has dulled my perception on this technology and that one needs critics, you must factor in that every mother's baby is beautiful, to her.  


I am working in a performance evaluation vacuum so I need ears with minds fresh to me and what this sounds like.  And I found this forum, a step is taken on the path.


So as a business, you can't do anything without a plan.  There is one and the last time I did this it became a business in the old way. I want to do something different and write about it, I want to bootstrap this, do it the new way, not fast at first, just good thorough product technology and customer satisfaction, and then move.  To make it pay for it self is to be driven by truth, the customer's delight is the measurement.  It's not about investor greed, yet.


So I am not selling anything now but the idea of different way of amplifying.  If the field of truth says is it a good idea, then comes commercialization through marketing, production, sales, distribution, etc.


So again, I am now looking for audio commandos, ears, and hearts, to tell the truth.  It all starts as simply as this and will proceed at its own pace, we take steps before we run.


OK, for things that are not appropriate for text here you can leave me you name and number at 512.266.7142 or find me on LinkedIn.


And that's the last about me. It is about how the technology sounds, and since all listening is an illusion, it is then really about how good this old illusionist can make you hallucinate, which is why you like this audio stuff in the first place.  


Warmest regards.  Barry Thornton

post #4 of 12

Hi Barry--you're not that old by my standards.  I started with solid state Heathkit walkie talkies in the early to mid-60's.  We must not live too far apart as my 1989 land line has the same 266 prefix as yours.  Yet in some respects I may be older in light of my avoidance of social networking sites.  My wife met two of the Beatles in Vegas during their first American tour and the Kinks before her senior year when they were staying in the same hotel in Honolulu (they moved a great deal).


I grew up in the shadow of Koss during their early years.  My dad was an EE, but I have been the family music and sound fanatic since just before the British invasion.


I'm in New Braunfels tonight taking care of family business.  I'll call you when I get back.  Hopefully that won't be during the SxSW volunteers party on Saturday, as my condition may then be questionable.  Again this year I was the stage manager at the Continental Club.



post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 

Tell me about your ability to critique a amplifier, what do you have to listen with now, are you a critical and comparative listener?  In a wiid to so I will have a RIAA preamp (no feedback) ready for eval, can you handle that too?


Thanks, Barry

post #6 of 12

Good to talk with you by telephone.  Will follow-up mid to late next week.

post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 

Yes, thank you, I look forward to our next chat.


Barry Thornton

post #8 of 12

Over a period of multiple days, I had the privilege of auditioning the prototype of the "Austin Audioworks Thornton-Cohen CCT1" headphone amplifier.  I paired it with both the Sony NC555ES and DVP-NS900V, fed by mostly well recorded and mastered SACD’s and a well recorded and mastered CD—Little Feat “Waiting for Columbus”—2 CD Rhino edition.

For comparison purposed, I ran my Woo WA-7 with the upgraded Electro Harmonix 6C45 tubes from these same decks.  In fairness the WA-7 and its tubes had only a handful of hours at the time.  I also ran comparisons with a Sony ACD-X540ES paired with an Audio-gd SA-31-SE, and an Oppo BDP-105 with a Quuestyle CMA 800R (which also had only a handful of hours of use at the time).


I tried many different headphones with the CCT1, including the following:


Sennheiser HD 650, 700 & 800

HiFiMan HE-500 & 6

Audeze LCD-2 & X (courtesy of Barry)

Beyerdynamic DT 880 (600 Ohm) & T1

Grado SR-60i & PS 1000

Alessandro MS-Pro

Fostex TH600


Although results with different headphones varied, I was very impressed by what I heard coming coming from this prototype headphone amp.  The first can I tried with it was the former flagship DT 880.  I had never heard that headphone sound so good.  I could of sworn that I was listening to a can worthy of an almost $1,000 price tag.  The “lowly” $79 SR-60i also sounded better than I have ever heard it or even imagined hearing from it.  I concur with noisyscott (who also reviewed this prototype amp: http://www.head-fi.org/t/717046/austin-tx-amplifier-evaluation) that it is an excellent pairing with the HD 800.  It is also a very fine mate with the HE-6.  There were some headphones that, while I had no complaint with the pairing, seemed to be the rough equal of other quality parings.  This was the case to my ears with the HD 650, HD 700 & PS 1000.


The areas in which I was most impressed about the CCT1 prototype (and it is just a prototype) included how it is able to bring out each musical voice without reducing the impact of the music.


Its sound stage was large and impressive.


The clarity, imaging and detail of its sound were outstanding and at the same time it was musical.


It had excellent extension, especially for bass—so much so that I heard quality bass that I had not before experienced from some cans (e.g. the DT 880 and SR-60).


It produced no harshness or sibilance to my ears.


I look forward to hearing the next step in the evolution of the CCT1.  As I told Barry, I also look forward to trying it with the excellent but bass shy Shure SRH 1840 in my next session.

Edited by KG Jag - 5/24/14 at 11:54pm
post #9 of 12
Sounds quite interesting, and I'd guess by 266, 2222&620 area,perhaps Steiner Ranch?
post #10 of 12

Yup--one of the pioneers out here since early 1989.

post #11 of 12
I lived there for several years back in the 90s on McNelly Trail.

Reminds me, been too long since I've had Smoky J's... I must remedy that
Edited by Saoshyant - 5/24/14 at 11:32pm
post #12 of 12

I'm about 20 minutes away from there... I'd love to test out an amp but I don't know how much help I'd be.

Edited by jodgey4 - 5/25/14 at 1:05pm
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