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Sydney Audio Club Hosts Grover Notting Event

On Sunday July 17th 2011, the Sydney Audio Club hosted the Grover Notting event at the Australian Institute of Music (Foveaux Street, Surrey Hills). Grover Notting is a new line of speakers by Frank Hinton of Classic Audio Designs (of Melbourne). Frank is also the Australian distributor for Grover Notting, all sales and distribution is through him.

Presenting at the Grover Notting eventThe Grover Notting speakers are designed and built in Australia. The transducers are made to specification by Scan-Speak in Denmark, but the cabinets are made in Australia. Frank employs handicapped people to help with their construction. These are speakers with pro-audio DNA but engineered for pro-audio and the expectations of home audiophiles alike. There are many speakers in the range, and all are passive speakers, somewhat unusual for pro-audio speakers. They do not need to be listened to in the near-field – uncommon for mastering and studio monitors. (Please refer to more information on the Grover Notting line.) And if you are curious about the name, Frank gave an amusing anecdote about how he came up with the name of his new line of speakers – it is basically two street names he came across one day, he put them together to get one name, Grover Notting.

On the day, Frank had the complete line on display. However, the speakers we listened to were the flagship Code 102 (Mastering Series), the Code 4 and the Code 1.5 (both Universal Series). The smaller Code 1.5 monitors were recently reviewed by Greg Simmons (from AIM) and were very well received. Dr. Neville Thiele (of Thiele/Small fame) designed the cross-over in the speakers. As you probably know, he is quite famous for the parameter driven formulas for the design of loudspeaker cabinet design that prevail even to this day.

Along with the speakers, Frank also brought a new power amplifier that he is currently working on. This was the amp used during the main event when we listened to the Code 102 speakers. The high-end preamp, CD players and interconnects were supplied by members of the Sydney Audio Club.

The event was actually two events in one.

speakerThe first event (2 hours) was in the John Painter Hall (JPH) at AIM. The Sydney Audio Club Events Coordinator, John Vandyke, handled the introductions and general proceedings. John opened the event and gave a brief on his role in the club. Tom Waters, the Sydney Audio Club President, then gave a brief speech explaining the ethos of the club, as well as benefits of club membership. We then introduced Frank Hinton. Frank passed on his in depth knowledge of the speakers in general, explaining the company rationale behind their choice of transducer, cabinet material, cross-over, passive vs. active, sales structure and speaker voicing. There was also much discussion with Frank regarding design decisions and the choice the transducers. I should also mention that Frank is acutely aware of how much his speakers would cost if sold through a retailer. He explained his reasons for deciding against that business model in order to keep prices reasonable as a service to his customers.

The mid event break was hosted by the Sydney Audio Club. Coffee, tea and snacks were provided.

The second event (approximately 2 hours) was held in two small recording studios. In these rooms we had the smaller Code 4’s in one and the even smaller Code 1.5’s in another. Tom handled proceedings in the Code 4 room, and John in the Code 1.5 room. These sessions were well attended as well. At times we had 3 rows deep in a room only 4 meters deep. So as you can imagine, the listening was very near-field, unlike in the main JPH auditorium. Both the Code 4’s and Code 1.5’s were very open and transparent with good depth and good timbre accuracy. This listener thought the Code 4’s were likely the best value for money (approx. $2700 AUD per speaker). They gave a more rich full sound than the smaller Code 1.5’s. The bass was not exceptionally deep (it is a small box after all) but you didn’t feel you were missing too much unless you knew the track had a lot of deep bass.

We had very good attendance overall – we estimated 70-80 people attended the main event. We had many people come up afterwards to thank us for arranging the event, and express how much they enjoyed it. In closing, the Sydney Audio Club would very much like to thank Frank Hinton and his people for giving us all the opportunity to hear his new line of speakers, Grover Notting.