By Juan C. Ayllon
with Belle Ayllon
CHICAGO -- Three years ago, my wife, Belle, and I moved into our beloved, custom-built, Mid Century Modern ranch house. We were enthralled, as were my adult step children. However, it wasn’t long before they began teasing us about our our living room furniture. Bele had bought the leather couch, loveseat, overstuffed chair and ottoman set at Thomasville in the North Shore for roughly $12,000 some 20 years ago and, despite their timeless charm, their surfaces were marred with cracks, chipping and stains. We discussed replacing them but soon realized that it would be very expensive. Besides, our couches had great lines and were still structurally sound.
We decided to research firms that specialized in restoring leather furniture. The owners of one highly recommended local company examined the furniture, confirmed the quality of our seating and proudly announced that they could do the job for a mere $1,800.
By Juan C. Ayllon
CHICAGO, IL — His brow furrowed, he clapped his hands together, producing a harsh, ringing slap echo. “You need some room treatments,” Chris announced. An executive at Foster Electric USA (they make Fostex speakers and OEM drivers for major audio, car and theater applications) he knew. “You have some nice equipment,” my friend noted, glancing at the drivers in my vintage, mahogany Von Schweikert speakers, “but you’ve got to do something with this room.”
Several weeks later, he showed me his acoustic treatments in the custom home theater room that he’d built in his house, and following his suggestions, I planned, purchased fabric, Dacron Fiberfill batting and other supplies, made and placed acoustic absorption panels about my listening (AKA man cave) room. The sound improved, but some sibilance issues still remained.
Reasoning that my wife’s curved glass curio cabinet reflected high frequencies at the right rear corner of the room, I felt that I should balance it with diffusion at the rear left.
That’s when I discovered the Mio Culture Acoustic Weave Paperform Tiles. At $54 a pack of 12 one foot by one foot tiles, they were attractive, inexpensive and easy to mount on a temporary basis with double sided tape or permanently with a stronger adhesive. Their PDF brochure said “they diffuse sound and improve a room’s acoustic performance in the high frequency range.” And they are green as well; they are manufactured from 100 percent recycled paper.
Examining them after arrival, I realized that they were no thicker than egg carton, which was maligned in the audiophile world as being ineffectual for acoustic treatment. I wondered if they would really work. Guess we’ll find out, I thought.
I taped up an array of six on the left rear corner of the room and turned up the music. It didn’t sound right. My wife confirmed my observations: where previously the music enveloped us, now the music was pushed forward and away from us a good ten feet into the left half of the room. Whoa. The tiles came down pronto.
Weeks went by and, as I posted photos of my listening space in audiophile pages on Facebook, members began chiding me to cover the TV in my entertainment center with a blanket. “Why?” I asked. The large glass surface on the flatscreen monitor sent back harsh, high frequency reflections, they claimed. I tried their idea, which helped, but looked ugly. Man cave or not, I didn’t want it looking like a hovel.
Then it dawned on me: why not place the Mio Acoustic Weave Paperform tiles on a piece of foam core board in front of the TV? In addition to diffusing higher frequency sound, they might push the soundstage closer to us, I reasoned.
I was right. To our delight, my wife and I discovered that the soundstage was more intimate, clearer and less sibilant. Eventually, I mounted the tiles onto a leftover fiberboard panel from my wall panels project and painted it. Later, I added fluted door casing, decorative moulding and five inch thick recycled denim insulation on the backside to absorb lower frequency signals passing through the panel. My room never sounded better!
Affirmed by Professionals
About a month later, I invited my friend, Dan, who oversees media and sound at a large church in the western suburbs of Chicago over for dinner and music.
“Great job!” he said. He had heard my room a year earlier prior to treatment. “The slap echo was the first thing I noticed before,” he effused. “But, you’ve improved the sound of the room by a good 60 to 70 percent!”
When I had a friend from the high end audio industry come over to demo his preamplifier in my system, We listened to it first without the Mio Acoustic Weave diffuser on. He asked me to replace it. Listening carefully, he said, “That’s good!” I later ended up demoing his huge, world class horn loudspeakers out of my home for four months.
Then, my friend, Chris, from Foster Electric came over to listen to these robust horns. He was impressed. However, in addition to expressing admiration for the speakers, he remarked how much better my room sounded. “You’ve done a great job,” he congratulated.
I felt vindicated. After months of research and hard work, I had succeeded in putting together a great sounding listening room. And Mio Acoustic Weave Paperform tiles played a central role in making it happen.
They are very effective in diffusing high frequencies and diminishing slap echo. Combined with other acoustic treatments, they can enable you to set up a formidable listening and media room. At $54 a pack of 12 one foot by one foot tiles, they are a bargain. I highly recommend them.
For more information on Mio Culture products, go to mioculture.com/
By Rich Sacks
Photos by Tom Barnes/TOMBA-Images
ROSEMONT, IL -- On Friday night at The Dome at the Ballpark in Rosemont, IL, undefeated light heavyweight contender and hometown favorite Mike Lee ( 20-0, 11 KO, Chicago) stopped Aaron Quattrocchi (10-2-1, 5 KO, Follansbee, WV) with a decisive quick TKO at 2:32 of Round 1. Lee knocked down Quattrocchi twice in the round. Right after the second knockdown, Mike Lee made quick work of it, pummeling Quattrocchi against the ropes when the referee stopped the fight.
After the fight, acclaimed veteran sportscaster Al Bernstein, who was celebrating his 67th birthday, interviewed Mike Lee in the ring and asked him if he was ready at age 30 to fight the top guys. Lee responded “yes” and that it was very important to him to fight a higher ranked fighter. Hopefully, Mike Lee will have the opportunity soon. The fight was aired live on CBS Sports Network and marks the second fight card held at The Dome at the Ballpark.
In the earlier undercard which were all 4 round bouts, local Rosemont police officer David Latoria (13-1, 6 KO, Chicago) coming off a previous unexpected TKO loss, led off with a unanimous 40-36 decision over veteran boxer Travis Fulton (25-46-2, 23 KO, Cedar Falls, IA).
Nick Brindise (2-0, 0 KO, Chicago,IL) won a unanimous decision over Matt Murphy (2-16-3, 2 KO, East St. Louis, IL) 39-37, 39-37, 39-38
Sarah Curran (2-1, 0 KO, McHenry, IL) scored a unanimous decision over Jenna Johlin (1-1, 0 KO, Toledo, OH) 40-36.
In the first TKO of the evening, Taylor Duerr (5-0-1, 5 KO, Detroit, MI) ended the fight at 1:38 in Round 2 against Matt Cameron (1-1-1, 0 KO, Niles, IL). Cameron was hit by a hard body shot in Round 2 that he never recovered from. Then he was repeatedly hit hard against the ropes before the referee stopped the fight.
In the rescheduled Co-Main Event Tommy Hughes (4-0, 3 KO, Chicago) completely dominated Joshua Kuhn (1-2-1, 1 KO, Welch, WV) ending with a TKO at 30 seconds of Round 4. Kuhn showed great heart and resiliency absorbing repeated hard clean shots from Hughes without going down and continuing to come forward and fight. The fight was safely stopped by the referee in Round 4 with Kuhn on still on his feet in the middle of the ring but with no defense, having just absorbed a crushing combination.
Hometown favorite Tommy Hughes admitted to being a bit in awe of interviewer Al Bernstein in the ring after the fight. Hughes credited Kuhn saying, “they don’t come any tougher” in a fight Hughes completely dominated.
Finally, there was a swing bout after the main event between Gorjan Slaveski (3-0, 1 KO, Chicago, IL) and Emmanuel Sanchez (7-6, 1 KO, Laredo, TX). Slaveski’s lunging style and Sanchez’s holding (he was deducted a point) led to an erratic fight, but a decisive 40-35 unanimous decision for Slaveski.
Promoter: Hitz Boxing
Heavyweight Contender Fres Oquendo's Asking for Help with the Passing of His Late Nephew, Henry Oquendo Jr.
It is our deepest regret for the loss of my nephew Henry Oquendo Jr. We have been hit with this tragic and unfortunate news of his passing. He was a wonderful son and older brother, very protective over his sibilings. His angelic voice and warm personality touched many. He loved music, skate boarding, art, boxing, and his family. He envisioned going back to school and beginning his career. This news has hit home very hard. We Thank You for your kind support during this difficult time. All proceeds go to fund Henry's funeral expenses. #teamoquendo
Click here to help
Text and photos by Ricardo Ibarra
A series of unfortunate events almost led to the cancellation of Thursday’s pro/am card at the Boxing and Bulls Outdoor Grounds in Hays, Montana, with three fighters not showing up for the weigh-ins, two pulling out the day of the fight, and intermittent rain storms sending the Silver Wolf Fight Promotions crew scrambling to salvage the show. In the end, a few last-minute replacements held most of the pro portion together and, after a three-hour delay allowed for the rain to pass, the show went ahead.
In the main event Spokane, Washington’s Patrick Ferguson (8-0, 8 KOs) scored a knockout of Ruben Roundstone (0-2) in the first round. Ferguson was originally scheduled to face former European champion Zoltan Petranyi, but after a dispute erupted between the two camps over the weights and weigh-in time, Petranyi pulled out, leading to Roundstone stepping in to fill the spot hours before the fight.
Text and photos by Ricardo Ibarra
In one of two pro boxing contests featured on Saturday night’s mixed combat sports card at the EdenVale Winery in Medford, Oregon, local welterweight Troy Wohosky (2-2, 1 KO) broke a four year stretch of inactivity with an entertaining five round unanimous decision win over Redding, California’s Brennon Crow (0-1). The bout was part of an all day mixed combat sports event presented by Rogue Promotions
Wohosky worked well from range in the first two rounds, using his superior boxing skills to set the distance and maneuver in and out of the pocket, smashing Crow with leaping left hooks upstairs and solid digs to the mid-section. Crow, an MMA fighter who was making his pro boxing debut, proved to be a game competitor, pressing forward trying to cut down the distance on his elusive opponent even while taking some hellacious shots. Late in the second round Crow’s vigilance paid off as he was able to corner Wohosky and unloaded with a barrage, forcing Wohosky into a closed quarters fight. The two fighters closed out the round trading heavily to the cheers of an appreciative crowd.
In the third, Wohosky came out much more aggressively, moving forward with hard right hands, looking to trade more than had been the case earlier. The change in strategy gave Crow more opportunities to land, and he did, making the round a close one, but Wohosky was more effective landing at a higher rate. The trend continued in the fourth round, with both fighters engaging in some intense back and forth action, with Wohosky landing the more effective shots.
Roon Labs – Ultramodern Power and Convenience or Just Another Expensive Gadget for Home Audio Playback?
Text and photos by Juan C. Ayllon
CHICAGO -- “That definitely sounds better!” my wife effused after hearing a few bars of Steely Dan’s "Aja" with the newly installed Roon Labs’ music player.
She had no idea how good it would get.
Following my review and subsequent purchase of LampizatOr’s DSD Komputer music server in 2016, Roon became its go-to software, so the principals installed it pro bono for me.
“Most people prefer it to Daphile,” Lukasz Fikus, owner of LampizatOr, had emailed. “And it sounds better, too.” He was right.
By Juan C. Ayllon
It is Friday, the end of yet another grueling week. We've made it! And in celebration of this monumentous task, I offer the following interview and performance featuring the Grammy Award-winning jazz vocalist Kurt Elling that I heard on National Public Radio several years back. If you are anything like me, you will enjoy this candid and insightful visit as presented by the brilliant Marian McPartland. Enjoy!
Destination Audio's Amazing Horn Speakers Show Sunday, May 21st at the Courtyard by Marriott Chicago Wood Dale/Itasca!
WOOD DALE, IL -- The graceful curves of the massive black horns -- easily three feet wide -- the gnarled pattern of the Italian walnut veneered cabinets below and their sheer physicality -- six feet tall, 43” wide, 31” deep and 540 lbs. each -- are astounding. And then, there’s the sound that envelops the room: the sensitivity, nuance, sense of power, depth, timbre, warmth and overall tone.
They are the Destination Audio Horn speakers, and this Sunday, May 21st, these award-winning speakers are being presented in collaboration with the Chicago Audio Society by its designer and owner of Destination Audio, Wlodek "Sam" Wisniewski, at the Courtyard by Marriott Chicago Wood Dale/Itasca.
“They are three way horn speakers," Wisniewski says. "The are all made of wood. The thickest place is over four inches! On the bottom we have two woofers (which) are custom made just for me. They have handmade suspension. It takes me six months -- half a year -- to build them. That’s my passion."
Date: Sunday, May 21, 2017
Time: 1:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Where: The Courtyard by Marriott Chicago Wood Dale/Itasca, 900 N Wood Dale Rd., Wood Dale, IL 60191
Phone: (630) 766-7775
The Destination Audio Horn Loudspeakers will be powered by the Destination Audio 1.5 W tube power amplifiers, along with their preamplifier with separate power source. LampizatOr's flagship DAC, the Golden Gate will be used, as well as a Mac Mini server.
Guests are welcome to bring favorite CDs and power sources to test on the speakers.
Sam Wisniewski can be reached at (630) 414-1001 if you have any questions.
Come hear and see these amazing, hand-built speakers that takes six months to build!
Juan C. Ayllon
A writer, artist, educator who lives with his wife, Isabel, and their goldendoodle, Liam, he enjoys mixing music on a soundboard at church and listening to high fidelity music at their home in the northwest suburbs of Chicago.