I managed to get along to the Owston bake off for the first time this year (1st/2nd November).
For those that don't know, it is held at the Owston Park Lodge (Pub/Restaurant) just North of Doncaster.
I was told it was a good place to see DIY speaker and Tube projects so
being into DIY and having an interest in, but absolutely no knowledge
of valve types and circuits, it looked like an interesting event to
The format was that each system would get to play 3 tracks, then move
on to the next, when everyone was done, a bit of box swapping and
trying out of individual bits of kit could be entered into. I must say
that it worked very well, I didn't take any of my own kit this time and
decided just to get the lay of the land. They are a very friendly bunch
and us first timers were made to feel very welcome.
Apologies to everyone for my very basic descriptions of what was being
used, it was a bit over my head when folks were explaining their set up
but didn't detract from my pleasure in listening to it. I have only
featured about half of the initial systems to give a flavour of what
the event was about, so sorry if you don't get a mention.
I arrived fairly early, just before the 10 o'clock start and there was plenty of activity, with people setting up their systems.
DIY speakers being assembled.
Various Tube Amps off loaded onto the first available table - Is it going to take the weight?
We eventually got organised and the first system was up and running without a hitch.
While the first system was playing I grabbed this shot of the early
birds, several people including some of the North East posse arrived a
few minutes after this was taken.
Steve Cresswell introducing his system, the speakers are a scaled up
Metronome with a Fostex Mid/Bass and Monacor Tweeter and they had a
very rich full bodied sound that was easy on the ear, I could have
listened to these all day.
Steve's amplification came in the form of a KT-120 push pull tube amp.
Steve Sheills (Event Organiser) introducing his DIY open baffle
speakers, a total of five drivers a side if you include the Fostex
Super Tweeters perched on top. Bass duties covered by 15" Fane units.
Umph supplied by his 5 watt PX25 amp, apparently a valve no longer made
and from the 1930/40's. The big box at the base contains the four power
supplies. These meagre watts produced ample quality volume through his
Moving on to Gordon Watson who was a first timer and a very different
solid state system, with a Squeezebox Touch at the front end and QSC
Pro-Audio amp providing the current to drive his MP1 "Maggies". Never
heard these before and they were very impressive, even managing to
knock out a decent rendition of some reggae. As Gordon suggested "who
says Maggies don't do Bass". All these systems had a completely
different sound, but I could have taken any of them home, this variety
made for a very interesting session. Sorry about the blurred figures,
the animated presenters were not captured on the 1/13th to 1/15th
second exposure times but I preferred the ambient light to the stark
nature of Flash.
The modest entry fee was purely to cover costs and included as much tea
and coffee as you could drink and a buffet Lunch which included chips
that were out of shot on an adjacent table.
Colin Topps system (Reiver Acoustics) featured their Prototype "Norge"
speakers and very nice they sounded too, very fast with plenty of
whelly from the SB Acoustics drivers when needed and a sweet Fountek
Colins GM70 based Monoblocks were a thing of beauty but required two
people to lift one, needless to say, they sounded sublime through the
This system was a combined effort, Simon Chambers (left) provided open baffle speakers and amplification.
Nick Gorham (Centre) contributed his valve Phono Stage and Mark Jeffs who is almost in shot provided the Turntable.
What the f**k, I think Simon needs a bigger table for his GM70 based amp set up, count those Trannies.
Marks Nottingham Analogue Turntable with Nicks Phono Stage behind . The
items worked well together and produced a very different presentation
to Colins GM70 based system.
Later in the afternoon people who had brought single items got the opportunity to tac them onto a system to demo them.
Steve Petch (Organiser of NEBO meets) brought along his recently acquired Tascam 32 Reel to Reel.
Steves machine was the first R to R front end to be used at Owston and
it got a lot of approval when played through Colins system.
Other pieces (sorry no pics) that stick in my memory, were RichB's
Amptastic T-amp which never fails to astound listeners and Ali's
Alchemy Kraken, these diminutive little boxes were dwarfed by some of
the set ups yet were not embarrassed by any means. All forms of kit
were welcome and well received and the music was very varied making it
a highly enjoyable event and one I wouldn't hesitate in recommending.