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Sydney Audio Club Meeting - Sunday 12th March 2017 - Holloway Sound


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For our March club meeting we’ll have Leighton Holloway of Holloway Sound present his Carmen loudspeakers.  Leighton is a Sydney based bespoke speaker manufacturer.  He previously worked as an audio installer and for many years as an audio engineer.  He’s been building speakers for many years for family and friends, and in 2014 he decided to turn it into a business.  When he isn’t in his workshop nowadays you’ll find him rehearsing or gigging with his funk band (he plays bass). 


Leighton is enthusiastic and knowledgeable of all aspects of speaker design.  He designs and builds his own cabinets and cross-overs.  And he designs and builds to order, so if you have a particular configuration in mind, Leighton can likely build it.  All are handmade bespoke speakers, made in Sydney by Leighton himself.   Refer to http://www.hollowaysound.com.au/home-1.html


The system will be comprised of some of the following gear.  On the day, we’ll evaluate which combination sounds best in our room.


Holloway Sound Carmen speakers.   Stand-mount 2-way speakers.  Very good transparency, linearity and tonality without harshness.  Leighton will also show a pair of Carmen’s that are partially built so you can see the excellent build quality of the cabinets.  Refer to http://www.hollowaysound.com.au/carmen-series2.html.


Oppo BDP-105D Universal player.  Will be used as a transport and level controller.  Refer to http://www.theabsolutesound.com/articles/oppo-bdp-105-universal-blu-ray-player-and-dac/ and https://www.oppodigital.com/blu-ray-bdp-105/


Audio GD SA-2 DAC.  A very good sounding DAC built on the respected Burr-Brown 1704 chip.  Refer to http://www.audio-gd.com/Pro/SA/SA2/SA2EN.htm.


Classe CP800 preamp/processor.  Refer to http://www.classeaudio.com/products/cp-800.php and http://www.stereophile.com/content/class233-cp-800-da-preamplifier.


Plinius SA-250 Mk4 power amp.  Refer to http://www.pliniusaudio.com/Plinius_Range/Power_Amplifiers/SA_Reference.html and http://www.stereophile.com/solidpoweramps/506plinius/index.html. 


Cabling by Synergistic Research, Kimber Kable, Wireworld.



The second half of the music sessions will be our popular BYO.   Members and guests are welcome to offer music to share with us all.  So bring along your favourite music on CD/SACD or USB flash drive.  (Sorry, no vinyl this month.)  All we ask is that the music and recordings be interesting.  And hopefully you’ll tell us a little about the artist/recording before it is played.  Tracks over 6 minutes will be faded out, to give everyone a fair go.

Whether you are a novice or a seasoned veteran, you will have the opportunity to listen, learn and share your experiences with others.  Feel free to come and hear the capabilities of the system, or to just share the experience with like-minded music lovers in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. 


Guests are welcome – we are a very friendly club so you don't need to know anyone to join us for an afternoon of fine music and sound.

Venue:  Epping Creative Centre, Dence Park
Address:  26 Stanley Road, Epping

When:  Sunday 12th March 2017


Doors open 1pm
Meeting starts at 2pm


Best regards,


Tom Waters


Sydney Audio Club




Edited by TomW
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I used to work with Leighton around a decade ago. I remember back then he was crafting his first pair of speakers for himself.

It's been great to watch as his designs have evolved over the years.

I hope his speakers are well received!

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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  • 2 weeks later...

Our March meeting attracted a decent sized crowd in spite the likelihood that many people would have never heard of Holloway Sound.!!  Leighton put on an admirable showing – it was his first time fronting a large audience by himself but he did very well indeed.   He told of himself (a struggling musician, aren’t they all?!) and how he got into audio and speaker manufacturing - he also explained the design, the drivers, the cross-overs.  He pointed out the one partially built Carmen speaker he brought, and also a cross-over (for a different speaker), so people could see the excellent build quality.  He explained that all his speakers are bespoke, built on customer request, which in itself goes a long way to justify the price.   (The Carmen’s he had brought were $4000 for the pair).


We experimented with speaker placement quite a bit before people arrived.   Being stand-mount speakers, they can’t be expected to produce a lot of bass.  We gave them a little help by placing upright tables behind the speakers to give them a wall like re-enforcement.   We also attempted to bring in the side walls a bit by building a false wall with foam panelling along the outside of both speakers.  In theory, it lessens the size of the room that the speakers “see”, which in itself helps a bit with sound-staging and imaging.


The speakers were very well finished, with a satin veneer wood finish on the baffle, high grade leather sides, and gloss tops and bottoms.  They use a high quality Scan-speak ring radiator tweeter and a Peerless bass/mid.  They sounded quite good in our room.  They were detailed yet sweet sounding without harshness.  With the table re-enforcement, they put out a surprising amount of good bass.  (And they tolerate excessive power as we found out when I accidentally spun the volume the wrong way.)


A couple of people wondered if the tables behind the speakers was damaging the imaging, so we tried without the tables.  The imaging didn’t improved (judging from the crowd’s reaction), but it certainly did hurt the bass.  A couple of people in the very front thought it was better, but the people at the back thought it damaged the SQ too much – swings and roundabouts.   It’s always a compromise when voicing a component for a room.  After a quick vote for/against the tables, we put them back behind the speakers.


We also had our usual Members Music session, where a members get time to play us 20-25 minutes of music of their choice.  This month, Joseph Attalla stepped up and played some great selections.  Unfortunately he didn’t have time to cap it off with one of his all-time favorites, Mark Knopfler...  Sorry Joseph, next time.


btw - please excuse the very unprofessional speaker stands.  Our own we're too short and another pair were too flimsy to safely take the weight.  So we improvised with some stools from the wood working shop at the centre!  Photos to follow very soon...



Our thanks again to Leighton Holloway of Holloway Sound …!    We wish him all the very best for his new company.   And thank you to all attendees.



Here are some comments lifted from the Feedback forms…


Speakers were surprisingly good.  Better than expected.  They did everything important.  Mix with a good sub will be ideal. 


Speakers were very sensitive to positioning, needed to be close to rear wall/panelling.  Speakers were full-bodied with close mic'd guitar and vocals.


Lovely speakers.  Good imaging, fairly linear, sparkling highs without harshness, good bass with the back re-enforcement.  It took a lot of power before they showed signs of congealment.


Good sound in most of the room.


Great for the size.


Speakers performed very well considering the large room. 


Speakers had more bass than I expected.


Great product from an Aussie!  An enjoyable demo!


These speakers show great promise.  Need some more measurement then adjustment.


Photos to follow shortly...


Edited by TomW
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