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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

"Il n'y a pas de rose sans épines"

It was some months since my last live music exposure... last concert I attended was before Christmas, a Bach Cantatas concert in a church...

Music is always in my life, yet... it's quite shocking appreciating with almost virgin ears an harpsichord, a fagotto, a soprano singer and a recorder flute from about three meters in a nice medium reverberated auditorium.

I often use the word compass to describe the need for keeping the direction in the search for audio Valhalla, the Nirvana where no more needs or wishes are felt and only the ineffable beauty of music remains, still and pure.

Well, the above ideal needs a strong discipline and goodwill... yesterday was raining cats & dogs and going to the concert wasn't easy... much easier would have been seating in my warm music room and enjoying (reproduced) music.

... but: "Il n'y a pas de rose sans épines".

The cheapest and truest method is enjoying live music, of course.

All the times, I'm impressed by the beauty and uniqueness of tones, yes, tones more than highs, mids and lows... the harmonics and silky high pitched notes from flute or female soprano voice... the ringings and decay of the harpsichord and the way the instruments blend together and reach the audience.

This makes me to think to the great wide-band speakers I own and appreciate: the Siemens KL307, the Coral, the Philips 9710, the Jordan Watts, the Cabasse Dinghy... they're absolutely not comparable with Gotorama's nuances, yet their limited pluses are so music friendly.

The tones, the spirit, the essence of instruments and musical meaning so here alive must be preserved and respected and cherished... and reached!

... more than those fabled 20hz or 22khz...

Tone and timbre are all, as their intervowing and interaction gives that mysterious stuff... music.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

AudioNirvana - Myles B. Astor's new Blog and Forum

"Every Blog and forum have a different energy, largely determined by the founder and early, prolific posters".

I agree, so go, browse and enjoy, as I did...

Best wishes to Myles' AudioNirvana Blog and Forum...

Friday, February 5, 2016

Brian Eno's Scape

The App of the Month, folks... downloaded it yesterday and I'm tripping into beautiful soundscapes (yes...)...

Connected my iPad to AER Acousticube and began improvising and interacting with the music coming from the gears with some atmospheric guitar and fuzz... something which is both made by me - as the programmer and guitar player - and self-generating...  ever changing and moving.

Also downloaded Air, Bloom and Trope... all Opal's apps very cool, cheaper but not lesser than Scape, indeed.

Thanks to Brian Eno and Peter Chilvers.

I'm impressed!

The Hateful Eight and the 1870 Martin acoustic guitar

... a sad story: an unfortunate mishappen or... purest Tarantino's pulp?

Amidst all the violence in Quentin Tarantino’s latest film “The Hateful Eight” is the scene in which John Ruth, played by Kurt Russell, grabs a guitar from Daisy Domergue, played by Jennifer Jason Leigh, and smashes it, eliciting horror.

 My pal Lo walking along the impressive screen at the 70mm Arcadia movie theatre in Melzo, Italy.

 The good  ol' 1870 Martin guitar (or its copy)... few moments before being crashed!

 The guitar's last singing, before being crashed... not so strangely, as I'm listening now to the OST, the song and crash were left both on movie and soundtrack, as well... a memento imperituro;-)

“What was supposed to happen was we were supposed to go up to that point, cut and trade guitars and smash the double,” explains the film’s Academy Award-winning sound mixer Mark Ulano, as quoted in “Well, somehow that didn’t get communicated to Kurt, so when you see that happen on the frame, Jennifer’s reaction is genuine.”
Classical guitars in the Martin Museum
Classical guitars in the Martin Museum.
Photo by Edward Blake.

The victim was an authentic Martin from the 1870s, on loan from the Martin Guitar Museum, Ulano said, and everyone was pretty freaked out when they realized what happened. “Tarantino was in a corner of the room with a funny curl on his lips, because he got something out of it with the performance,” Ulano added...
Really too bad as the poor guitar is in a desperate unrepairable status.

Will have my 70mm "The Hateful Eight" in 70mm gloriousness on next Saturday...

Thanking The Reverb Tank and Chris McMahon...

P.S. - thanking my friend Lo, re-re-reading the several reviews on the Web, the guitar-crashing was filmed thrice and the misunderstanding which caused the crashing of three guitars (and the faulty feedback and communication between troupe crew, director and actors)  was why also the original vintage Martin's was destroyed... to be honest, when I was watching the movie in gorgeous 70 mm, and already aware of the mishappen, I had a gut-feeling the guitar shown on the screen wasn't that guitar! A scoop;-)... as a scholar and collector of vintage acoustic guitars, I noticed the body of the guitar strummed by Daisy had a tad too deep sides/body, something which wasn't compatible with a parlor guitar from the 1870... so, unfortunately, I dare affirming the guitar crashed in the movie isn't the Martin's... if I'm wrong, please correct me.


Happy 67th birthday to 7" vinyl disc

The first 45 rpm disc, Texarkana Baby by country-and-western singer Eddy Arnold, was issued by RCA in the US on 31 March 1949. 

It was made of green vinyl, as part of an early attempt to colour-code singles according to the genre of music they featured. Others included red for classical music and yellow for children’s songs. 
Happy birthday!

Alan Blumlein lives!

... yes, folks... the great, late Mr. Blumlein, who invented maybe the most striking miking pattern, ever, is here heard talking and walking to - sort of - test the imaging of the miking itself.

Worth a fond, grateful listen and a further exploration of the superb BBC sound library world...

Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Elusive Mellotron

So much joy it gave to Prog and our early musical 70s... Beatles, King Crismson, Moody Blues, Yes and many more...

"You’ll learn quite a bit more about the “rash breaking out all over pop music”, as narrated by Rick Wakeman.

Thanking Rick Wakeman...

OMA Imperia 4 ways system

Nice effort from Jonathan Weiss' OMA.

Using the mighty Cogent 1428 mid-low drivers.


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

BOBology Dept. - His Bobness in Avignon, France

I love this great site...

Bob Dylan on the rooftop... it was some years ago: I always liked this pix.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Caramelling by Lindt

... aehm, candies-crossover making, these days...

Thanking my pal Lo, the Master Patissier.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Audio Empathy

Exactly eight days after Le Solstice arrival, today...

Last Tuesday, after having a quiet, pleasant music evening with my pal Edo, when saying goodbye after a couple hours of music, played both on smaller system and on Gotorama, he asked, almost exclamed: Hey, Stefano: are you planning to also listen to the Le Solstice in larger system?

Well... no, I wasn't planning to do so, immediately... but...

You know: Gotorama is a complex beast and when changing something, a cable or a tube, it needs time to re-balance as a whole.

That's something happening on many - all? - systems, of course.

Anyway... the suggestion reached me as I also got curious about the injection of another Jean Hiraga-made (on Kaneda-san's project), with the four Le Classè A 30W amps as used in Gotorama.

I disconnected the Actinote cable between Thomas Mayer's line-stage and crossover and connected Le Solstice...

Then disconnected the XLO Phono Reference between Mayer's LCR phono-stage and the Peerless 4685 SUT, now in use, and connected to Le Solstice, of course...

Same with Telefunken M15A and Studer B62 and Studer A 730 and... and...



I'm someway reluctant... no, maybe better saying I'm reluctantly happy to say what happened...

I'm absolutely confident about my senses and honesty, so... let's go ahead...

The solid-state preamp is very, very, very quick, solid and organic.

Mayer's 4-chassis combo is very, very silky sounding, luscious and unforgiving... so precise and musical.

I don't need a winner... like in love, there is no winners... and music is so similar to love!

Le Solstice is like a young man coming home from the war, meeting again his brothers and sisters... his family.

I've been jaw-dropped since last Wednesday, indeed... almost unable to think about the overall sound coming from Gotorama... I'm only listening, at its purest form.

... no need to judge, when doing so... and the mind stand still and quiet.

I'm still sure is my system, yet I find some almost disturbing positive variations vs. the very near past:

- I've to change volume-settings many times, with every track and disc, much more times than I used to do: that's something which happens when detailing improves.
- very same happened when coming from Marantz 7C to Mayer's, back in 2009 - i.e. the more you have to change volume settings, the more life-like is the sound, more transparent and various, always different from track to track, disc to disc;
- sound is very modern, yet you cannot say it's a solid-state sound, same as you cannot say about the Class A amps they're solid-state... they're superbly natural sounding, period.
- highs are more extended and smooth than ever, very natural and true to life;
- low end is going very low... I mean very low;
- the sense of untiring and music flowing is very high, excellent, I dare... reminding to me the mighty & cute Jordan Watts' in their ability to let the music come to the ears... straight to the soul, I'd say!
- I must force myself to shut off the system, not an easy task!!!

What else?

I could sum it up like Le Solstice makes a great matching with Gotorama, but it's something more: I listened to about 12 hours, now and I'm still so impressed, pals!

I continue to listen to every music I like and everything comes from the Gotos' so free and solid, smooth and... beautiful.

I listen to more details, more ambience, more unconstrained power and sheer beauty.

The Mayer's will be part of next project - i.e. the possibility to swap between multi-amped Gotorama and Gotorama with a classic passive crossover which is in the making by the skilled hands of my pal Lo (with some wise suggestions by Luca Chiomenti): I'll be able to listen to a full Hiraga rig (Le Solstice and four Le Classè A amps) or to an all triode/tube system with Mayer CX310/WE 437 preamps and 300B Partridge mono-blocks... or the RK-50 The Joke or... whatever my wishes will like to taste and enjoy.

the candies, as Lo call them;-)

everything is measured and coupled... 

the tweeters caps...

As I'm noticing these days, Gotorama allows to try and try more solutions, always themselves, yet always brand new, ever changing depending on what's feeding them.

Such a joy!

Friday, January 29, 2016

Writing about music

"How to Write About Music isn’t a manual. It’s a crystal ball worthy of any aspiring music writer’s gaze. It doesn’t hold your hand from concept to copy, but arranges tools you’ll need to get there on your terms."

Thanking my pal Tyran Grillo for endless inspiration.

Thursday, January 28, 2016


... the relationship between music choices and audio tasting, sound and noise, pleasure and obsession, aural memory, absolute inner ear and ideal DNA music of spheres. 

Is it possible to really understand all the above?

Everyone chat with everyone sharing same our virus;-) about the above, sometimes.

We, music lovers, are someway more exposed to this mystery.

I won't tell you about my habits when making adjustments, new gears insertions or parts swapping, or what I experienced around the world, at audio fairs or at friends places.

Too various, yet similar... I can easily say I always, ALWAYS know when things sound right.

Some considerations: I noticed that during my several music afternoons and evenings with pals or hosts, not a single meeting was focusing on same music playlist...

I sort-of rejected the approach of prior music choosing... making a list of discs or tracks to be played in that sequence.

I tend to do not have - say - Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon and its pan potting helicopter or Hugh Masekela's Coal Train as a demonstration disc... I hate demo discs, period.

Every music demonstrates how deep and far the artists or the composers went, so, let me ask: what is the average audiophile demonstrating about their audio systems?

The boom-boom, the 1812 blast, the highs... the songs text, the soloist dexterity, the virtuosity, what....?

The music is beyond my own... I dare: human comprehension.

It is, hic et nunc... you know: "There is no scientific proof of existence of music"... just think about this.

Human mind is both endless, boundaries-less and very limited, when we think we're the best in the universe, you know... music is simply not only human: think about blackbird endless variations and you'll get the idea... or sperm-whales deep water singing... and music is democratic and supremely money unrelated, at its best.

Music and math and anarchy... surprise and ABA form, minor and major, showing landscapes and suggesting streams of consciousness, moods... ever changing moods.

This mood of the moment was - IS - guiding my choices... and not only: the chemical between or among my hosts was and is deeply influencing these choices.

Some requests are able to bend the listening session stream...

An example: from The Grateful Dead's Nobody's Fault but Mine from Dick's Picks # 1 I choose to begin with a session, I could easily think about the beauty of the classic blues, the song itself... so why not going ahead with, say, John Renbourn's version from Another Monday disc...

Maybe this will be followed by, say, Bert Jansch Moonshine, 'cause, you know, The January Man Dave Goulder's little masterpiece song sounds appropriate... hey: it's January.

This kind of alliterations may goes on and on and on... freewheeling'...

... another example: sometime, while lazily reading the record cover liner notes, I read the recording was held that very date, maybe 10, 15 or more years before... a rare evenience, but it happened to me three times...

Like listening to a passed away artist in the very same day when this happens... a far too often happening, recently... and so sadly.

It's a quite pagan homage, a time warping choice which blends souls, unconcerned about life facts, but more hinting to higher and deeper beauties.

... the above it's only an example, of course, yet true and being one of the infinite choices, like stars in the sky.

Incredibly and out of my imagination, music and human creativity are beyond my knowledge, so an interchangeable compass is necessary to sail in this immensity.

You know Quabaala? The ancient, eons old number discipline dating thousands years ago... to my flawed mind, label prefixes are a pleasure in itself... Deutsche Gramophone, ECM, EMI, Decca, Island, RCA... the beauty of numbers and combinations.

Sometime the sum of the discs prefixes I'm listening to makes a definite grand total, say 15, 20, 27.. or my birthday date or my wife's... or the exact time showing on the wall clock... little, innocent pleasures.

Stupid I am... everything does... just consider I no more read anything, nor I digit on the laptop when listening to music... it's a very personal mind game, also when not listening alone, and I love loosing myself in the notes, colors, layers, interactions and intersections, contrasts, dissonances and assonances in a feverish laziness, an hidden, secret world.

A tourbillon

I like chatting during a listing session, but sparingly, not a thick, heavy and dense kind of chatting... the best meeting with my pals are usually a random mix of pauses and words, laughing and deadly seriousness, long and short tracks, comments and silences.

... and not by chance, when I deeply enjoy the evening, I say almost unison with my hosts, thanking and bowing to each other like old times gentlemen.

Pure bliss at their best... but not always happening.

Sometimes, friends of friends come with their own music, vinyl discs or disks... yes, of course I agree in playing this or that, but the flow is someway not working like when a first track or disc is chosen for pleasure or beauty-sake and then followed and chosen by a stream of memories, both aural and personal or mutual.

Music, time, present and past are linked and thanking music my mind goes freely, I see colors, smell scents, feel happiness and sadness.

Also when alone, I smile or am in tears, like a perfect lunatic.

There is no an ending, folks... music, like life and death, are infinitely and ever-changing looping.

... yet, if you insist in reading a closing... try to variate your "demo" records, insert between Radka Toneff's Fairy Tales and Jazz at Pawnshop, Nick Drake's Pink Moon or John Martyn's Solid Air... or Piers Faccini's... or... or...

Special discs... sounds BS, to me, as everything good is special.

Just give your whole discotheque a chance... understand music, explore it and demonstrate,  yes, truly demonstrate - at fairs and at your place, to yourself and friends - how deeply and sincerely music hits your truest, most inner and pure trueness.

Humbly said: every gears is just a Stargate... Music is both the journey and the destination.

RPM - a cool app for precisely measuring your turntable platter speed

... I'm using this cool app on my iPhone... RPM by Philip Broder.

It uses the smartphone gyroscope and - well: it's for free and working flawlessly, precisely, safely... a true no brainer.

Just near to the spinning platter... no need of test discs, pilot tone frequencies, etc...

Just turn your cellphone ON and press the app button... and voilà!

That's it.

Love it.

Monday, January 25, 2016

John James & Pete Berryman - Sky in my Pie

Always a pleasure quoting this GREAT album!

It was 44 years ago and acoustic guitars playing was so different from these days hyper-technicism and generalized slapping and copy-catting... melody was always a feature, every tune was something to whistle for days.

Have a listen to a recent dueting of Quiet Days by John and Pete... fondly remembering when I met him, years ago.

Such an humble and kind gentleman.

Site of the Day - Oleg Rullit's PhotoBucket portfolio

Oleg is a personal fave of mine: his good taste and knowledge about paper cones and field-coils are a well kept secret... old world technologies... better, artisanal skills and workmanship.

Paper cones aren't really and only paper: it's a mix of rabbit-fur and other fibers, depending on wanted stiffness and size of the speakers.

I always fondly think about those Japanese paper masters when looking at Mr. Rullit's beauties... paper looks so organic and right in color and texture.

Oleg's creations are - reportedly from people I know who listened and owned the VERY best, cost-no-object - among THE VERY best sounding speakers on the planet.

Take your chance and browse this nice portfolio... I plan to meet him, soon and at last.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

On Consignment Dept. - Ohm "F" omni-directional speakers for sale

... ho, hooo... a new dept... yes, on consignment: a friend asked for my support, so here I am.

He's selling a VERY nicely kept, undented and perfectly working... ahem: singing Ohm "F" speakers.

These speakers are Made in USA and very, VERY rare in Europe.

Very elegant and - as a plus - having a quite high WAF ratio - i.e. our beloved wives won't blame such a speaker in any living room.

Their omni-directional pattern will make listening to them very comfortable from a very broad sound window... the sweet-spot is HUGE, yet the size of speakers and the correctness of scene are top quality.

Asking price is - IMO - very honest for such a sought-after pair.

If interested, please PM at stefanocello-AT-gmail-DOT-com and I'll give you full details.