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Thursday, July 2, 2015

Hot, hot, hot…




… yet in my studio, natural old building air conditioning is greatly mitigating the outside 35 degrees Celsius…

Wishing to share a for free lesson I had only a couple days ago: my Gotorama uses 2 x Hiraga's Le Classe A 30W amps and 2 x Class A 20W… the golden 1,5 Farads 30Ws' on mid-lows and mids and the black 600,000 mF 20Ws' on lows and highs…

Also if I own another 30W power amp, I sort of privileged the aesthetics to sound integralism, as the two pairs of side-by-side matching amps looked prettier to my eyes…

The oldest 20W - the first one I bough 20+ years ago and still in my possession -  recently began buzzing, so in need of my pal and Hiragas' wizard Francesco's gifted hands and care.

It was the 20W I used with Elodis TGE bass-horn… I took from a shelf the 30W back-up golden-faced amp and swapped the ill 20W for its 30W big bro amp.

So, summing now three 30W Le Classe A on lows, mid-lows and mids and only a 20W on Goto SG160s' tweeters…

Most important - now - was having music and not a bottom-less system… more than aesthetic, I had music.

… and what music!








I realized almost immediately that the overall balance was more right and sound quicker… in a word: better, much better... and I only changed the power amp devoted to frequencies between 30 and 220 hz…

How is this possible?

Naturalness of the whole four-ways behemoth clicked playing with very same texture, like the - must now say - lesser 20W Hiraga's was slowing down bass response and overall presentation, and NOT only in its frequencies range BUT of the whole speaker system.

Oh my God… never ending being surprised in this passion… yes, I'm deeply ignorant, but my honesty is immaculate and senses pristine, so… well, happy of the find, indeed!

Only regret: I could have tried this before, as many years ago, when playing with my (now gone) Pioneer D23 crossover and badly mixing triodes, pentodes and solid state amps, different sensitivities and sound characters… yes: the whole no, no, no plethora of wrong experiences, all by trial and error old school!


Nonetheless, I already was aware of low-end paramount weight on great overall sound... I only, sort-of, forgot it.
  

I still well remember the surprise and HUGE improvement I heard when I throwed away the old Quad 405 I used with my previous bass enclosures, using Altec 416A or Altec 813 15 inchers… when I brought home the first of many Hiraga Class A amps… namely the above mentioned one guilty of making me to experience the above described swap and all.

Bass frequencies are... ahem: were less important than, say, mids or mid-lows, so a silly me was thinking when deciding to use 20W on lows and highs and the way-better 30W on more sensitive mids... so I was (wrongly) thinking.

Back to memory lane: the (someway) slow bass was gone… the blanket-in-front-of-speakers sensation was gone… to same extent, what I recently experienced.

Exactly!

The wheel of knowledge is spinning, endlessly, folks… the prize of trial&error is the beauty I'm sipping right now…

… and who cares if I'm such a slow-minded assohole, an audio S.O.B. who must crash - literally - his nose into things… yet, randomly, as best things happens... as life is.

So I like things going and so I live.


P.S. - I'm now chasing for the fourth Hiraga Le Classè A 30W golden-faced, and one pair (i.e. two) Hiraga Class A 20W will be for sale, soon.


Anyone interested on both deals?






Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Paris>Istanbul>Shanghai>Texas - Joel Grare's Barock'n'Roll music



Enjoyed this disk greatly, this evening... Gotorama was truly giving its best... great music played on theorbo, double-bass, assorted percussions and bells, chinese erhu, cello...

The recording is also amazingly good, spacious, deep and airy... and music reminds... yes, you bet it: Ry Cooder's Paris,Texas... at least in some atmospheres and intent.





A lovely disk, issued on Alpha label, in 2007... brand new for yours truly... and for everyone who will decide to grab it.




The Dalai Lama is having the best time at Glastonbury festival.



His Holiness the Dalai Lama goes rock'n'roll...




Forever young...







Bernd & Hilla Becher - the shape of things





Love this German couple pictures... their vision belongs to artistry and  weirdness realm, the genius meaning finding the intrinsic poetry in ordinary buildings and their shapes... better: shape & function.


















Genius & obsession...




Saturday, June 20, 2015

Stephan the Nomad



Here is the new, upcoming 21st ECM disk by Stephan Micus... never tiring and always sounding brand-new, both modern and ancient.




Instant buy, for both my ears and soul.




Stephan driving his moped...









Tuesday, June 16, 2015

KLEI™gZero20 ICs cable or only the fool have no doubts!



During my recent cable trials activities, I had the rare opportunity to listen to the KLEI gZero20 from Australia, a premium quality cable which was handled directly from the hands of KL Eichmann, during MOC 2015, in Munchen.

Something should have clicked  - and maybe it did… - as KL was REALLY pushing me hard – proudly  so – to listen and taste and enjoy his new top-quality cable and to give it the time to mature and blossom, as copper crystals should stabilize… etc. etc.

You know, the usual blah, blah of getting accustomed to a new cable in a new environment/audio system…

I’m experiencing these days a periodic, sort-of tiredness re. Audio, its lingo and drama and the related dynamics among WEB-zines, magazines, Blogs and friends and shop chattings.

Everyone owns the Truth and wish to – literally – indoctrinate and convince everyone about this or that, quite boring for yours truly, actually.

I’m full of doubts, not truth, folks, as only the fool knows it all and never have doubts, ever!  

What I’m writing here is something I truly experienced, humbly...  these are my first hand, unreported findings and feelings.

Honestly said.

KL was so proud and confident about the stellar quality of his cable I felt reassured and connected my – I guess – more sensitive – signal-wise – area – i.e. the phono LCR/MC transformer/line-stage.

Listened - when still playing only few days ago with Musto’s Wazari and Yuko silver cables - for about 10 hours… I usually hate voodoo also if I do care about cables layout and some burning-in, I felt it was just OK expressing my very personal  thumb-up or down about the sonic strengths or weakness of the KLEI’s.

I expressed my very first thoughts and listening impressions to KL during a short email conversation and he – always calm and positive - simply told me… listen to them more and more…

Don’t get me wrong:  the nice sonic qualities were audible, but… some weeks ago I wished for more…

The KLEI cable wasn’t flashy, only extremely natural...



I decided to follow my instinct and, most of all, the maker wise suggestion… I changed the position of the gZero's in my system from phono/analog rig to digital and simply forgot about the cable… I listened to it every day for the last month or so… 3-4 minimum hours a-day…

A rough-counting… I reached about 100+ hours listening, now…

The sound from my Meridian’s DAC and transport sounded, both suddenly and abruptly, natural, open, clear  and detailed.

The first two parameters were, SURE were, lesser in the brand new cable… the continuous playing made something and the sound became day after day different and improving.

Will try to better explain myself with the following, instead of using the usual audio hypes…

My system is sounding to me like a Rudy Van Gelder’s recording: despite he used tubes mikes, he seeked and obtained a clear, detailed sound, maybe enhanced by the wooden domed studio the Master Recordist used most of his life.

The balance of the Van Gelder’s recording are a very delicate mix of smoothness and details… and everything must be preserved to get this beauty intact.

If I insert a “blanket” or a "curtain" somewhere in the chain, the slowness is immediately apparent.

Horns, violins, voices must keep their crispness and overtones… romantic sound isn’t nothing BUT an excuse for average sound… please forgive me: that’s my opinion.

The best reproduced sound is luscious and detailed... music or mood can be romantic... instruments aren't romantic, yet a rolled-off and forgiving sound can be defined as romantic if you feel "romantic"... definitely not my cup of tea.

All recordings must sound different from the previous and the next…

The sound in my system with KLEI gZero20 cable is something to be heard to be believed… the correctness, overall beauty of my digital rig, the broad and deep soundstage, the palpable presence of musicians, the size of musicians, instruments and recording venues is greatly improved to the limits of my discerning abilities, as I still cannot imagine if the improving will go on and on or I’ll get it a stop!

I also re-checked the KLEI’s between MC transformer and LCR and the result didn’t change from previous great results in digital rig: Rudy Van Gelder’s sound was preserved, untamed, liquid, crispy and effortless!

Tried with Partridge 300B mono blocks and Luxman AT-3000 passive preamp and Cabasse and... WOW!

This cable, physically unassuming, correctly, honestly priced and sized is like the superb KLEI plugs already in my system: I cannot think of my system without this balance, anymore.

A cable is only a brick of the whole system, but you know a badly conceived corner brick can destroy also most perfect building stability.

KL Eichmann’s cables are a statement of cable making art… only, PLEASE, as per KL Eichmann's suggestion: do not play them for less than 50-60 hours as settling-time, because the KLEI cables always require settling-time and also a long burn-in, pals!


This is very important, as burn-in time is >400hrs and even >500hrs, while settling-time is >6hrs and preferably >48hrs (once plugged and replugged).


Settling-time is the time between plugging in (connecting) the ICs between two components, then unplugging (unconnecting) the ICs. Even moving the ICs around may require fresh period of settling-time.


KLEI literature states the KLEI™gZero20 ICs require 48 hours settling time to properly settle and 60+ hours if you want superb results.


... so - hopefully - I do expect for even better and better;-)

Time and settling/burning-in and everything will blossom like I very seldom experienced, period.

A true pleasure, indeed and another Gotorama’s brick-in-place.



Thursday, June 11, 2015

R.I.P. Dept. - Ornette Coleman passed away.




He was 85... saw him in 1971, with Billy Higgins... 't-was in Padua, Italy: what a concert... a younger me was blown away by the free-form energy coming from his horn...


I still have his autograph inside a disc...


He - who invented free-jazz - is now free forever, now.






R.I.P. Ornette... your iconic yellow plastic sax will shine forever, as well.


Hip!






Karlheinz Stockhausen - The Man who came from Sirius




... it's how he defined himself... Karlheinz Stockhausen and his musique concrete were... ARE what almost desperately got nearer to the sound of the stars, of creation, of nucleus dividing and multiplying...



I own several of his Deutsche Gramophone discs and also if I listened to them once or twice, his ideal of manipulating and someway, literally, handling the music and its elements, the bricks it's made of, well... I'm so fond of this composer and his weird, uneasy opus.

Nonetheless, life isn't easy...




My love for open reel tape recorders maybe blossomed after seeing KHS and his Telefunken M10, who knows...

Here you can find of some interest knowing his performance tapes are available for... performance, only.





Saturday, June 6, 2015

CM2/Andrea Musto Silver cables - a must!




Cable making is like dicks and opinions: everyone has its own!

So, every tiniest town has a cable maker and the cliche is quite common - i.e. sometimes a retired or semi-retired gentleman in his sixties who's milking friends and friend of friends' wallets...

The thicker, the bulkiest, the better, usually... as a macho-oriented market diktat: if not being the thicker and most expensive cable, costing $$$$ it cannot be good enough!

If and when you have a chance to inspect inside an exotic, expensive cable, the surprise is... no surprise, at all: parts coming from plumbing, tailor, electric or automotive industries... never, ever any proprietary parts searched and auditioned, only hypes and bulkiness and high price tags to impress the wealthy gonzos.

The above is sure a pessimistic point of view, a possible scenery, but shit happens, and I'm aware of it as I saw the above with my own eyes.

... and ears?

What about sound?

As a rule of thumb, sound changes are audible also on short-runs, despite what some people is saying and same cable changes its sonic footprint depending on where it's used in a given system...

Nothing new under the sun, don't you?

I own several premium cables and still have a plethora of fine wires in my stable: Isoda, VdH, XLO, Cardas, Actinote, Mundorf, KLEI, Yamamura, Audio Consulting and... CM2/Musto.

Silver wires, since I established my Gotorama system, are my cables of choice, used in KLEI superb RCA plugs and signal and speakers wires, both cryo-treated, by Audio Consulting of Switzerland, the very best.

If going silver, copper cables should not be mixed, possibly... so, full silver cabled system is paramount for best sonic results... or so...

Litz is the most similar sounding cable to silver ones and I wisely and sparingly mixed this material with silver, to get just a tad of warmth: I only use Litz in digital domain - i.e. among disk-transports and DACs and line-stage preamp, all using great KLEI plugs.

Litz is clear, yet natural sounding: unboomy, yet beefy and rich both harmonically and emotionally.

Silver is about the same: surprising and involving, highs and mids are extremely detailed and smooth, but never veiled or too romantic.

Sounding right with both small and large scale music, electric, electronica, acoustic, jazz, folk or classical, everything should - and it does - click right and easy to the ears.

Again, nothing new from yours truly... the lingo and hypes are the usual BS... you know.

Enters Andrea Musto, a friend from Udine, Northern Italy, and his CM2 company: he's making audio goodies of highest quality in small quantities, using local artisans and utmost care for details.

A consummate audiophile and a golden eared gentleman, Mr. Musto is also a curious, skilled DIYer who began several years ago to twist and fiddle and twist cables as a passion and out of necessity, being chronic as an unsatisfied customer of industry made products, cables in primis.

Some years ago he mixed his knowledge of DIYer and his passion for music and using best available raw materials and some voodoo - i.e. 6N and 7N silver wire from Singapore, carbon fibre from UK, black tourmaline powder from Australia, silk flakes for the dielectric from China and some proprietary lacquer he found somewhere, he was in business.

Cable-making workmanship is purest, humble, unashamed home brewed while being soaked in Andrea's beloved classical music: time consuming, someway boring activities performed with old-time, by-hand work in an unstressed, friendly homely workshop.

Marketing?

Naaaahhh!!!

Andrea is not exception: he annoyed to death;-))) friends and friends of friends, as per above mentioned cliche, you know... begging for a trial, looking forward for a deal... maybe.

Hard work only partially alleviated by its part-time side job nature, an alternative to Mr. Musto daily job, actually.

A couple of years ago I had a "Yuko" 80 cm long, bespoke made cable, to be specifically used as an umbilical between Mayer's line and phono stages, as I also was looking for something more.

Andrea twisted and twisted and after about one month he delivered an impressive snake about 6 cm in diameter: this arc-shaped cable is something almost laughable and an eye-capturing thing in my whole system - more than Gotorama's horns - and sure a conversation topic, much more impressive thinking a minimalist AWG 20 (1 mm) 7N Solid silver cable is used throughout, well hidden inside the Yuko, itself.

Why such a monster-like, embarrassing size?

Silver solid wire is turmaline-powder coated by hand and stabilized with a lacquer, and soft silk flakes are used to stuff the inside of large outer fabric tube, making dielectric -  de facto - more physically airy than usually found in mass made, well-packed, stiff audiophile cables.

Yuko?

Mr. Musto is an accomplished judo-practicer since his boyhood and he uses judo-scoring japanese words to describe the class of merit and the sonic excellence reached by his creations.

Yuko entered in my system and... what happened?

Nothing and everything... a no-brainer and an addictive adding, as I immediately recognized The Sound of Music as supremely right... no way, the on-loan cable was purchased, pronto.

Every aspect was improved and enhanced vs. my previous references: Yamamura and XLO Reference Phono, namely.

... and Yuko was thereafter part of a complex system called Gotorama.




......

Yesterday, I got a visit from Andrea Musto who had in his briefcase an already broken-in cable, his last creation: Wazari, again using AWG 20 silver cable, this time a 6N wire and again Furutech RCA plugs, less bulky and extreme in appearance vs. my beloved Yuko's.

Me and the maker, himself, began a tandem-tasting, you know... same gain level and disc and track, plug & play the cables in same system position and repeating the procedure again and again...

The Wazari sounded - always used between Mayers' - less beefy and full-bodied on mid-low, yet a ton of improved detailing appeared from recording venue and musicians moving themselves in front of the mikes.





Wazari proved to sound surprisingly well and like its bulkier brother - my own Yuko - so neutral and not homogenized and able to differentiate among track and track of same disc, telling if mike positioning or recording venue was changed and the like.

A truly nice performance.

When back to Yuko (the BIG one), the Anthony Bailes' theorbo piece played with Wazari in place was easily forgotten, as it is part of my sound and Gotorama and DNA.

Swapping again to Wazari, it was 100% clear the clarity and airiness were someway improved, maybe at the expense of a lightness which makes the newer cable more sensitive to recordings quality, yet never becoming razor-like; the listening of my reference 45 rpm Sarastro's La Verite du Clavecin was proofing the excellence of the performance with an extremely difficult, yet superb recording.

A quality or a shortcoming being so recordings sensitive?

It depends: for the mature audiophile I am, this is cherry on the cake and a much appreciated challenge to find the balance between the Yuko's awesome body & detail and Wazari's detail & air.

What I did next was so easy to be lapalissian: I swapped again to Yuko between Mayers' and linked Triad K241 MC transformers and WE 437A Mayer's phono stage, replacing my old, trusty XLO Reference Phono.





Voilà!

Immediately the balance slightly but well audibly tilted on lightness of Wazari, yet keeping the Yuko full-bodied, so detailed and beefy sound: just that ounce of more I felt as possible when only tasting the Wazari, alone.

An XLO Phono Reference will be for sale, soon.

Andrea Musto's cables, his honesty, care for details and MOST OF ALL, sheer musical bliss obtainable with his wires, the above mentioned Yuko and Wazari, well... are truly a rare find, these flawed days.

When sharing my impressions during and after our listening, yesterday, in my studio, Mr. Musto briefly talked about his next level of excellence which will be possibly called Ippon, another judo-scoring term, meaning a full point of excellence.

The very best.

A good idea, indeed as... also my Wikipedia search confirmed the progression... Yuko, Wazari, Ippon.

Cool!

... but I nonetheless suggested to my pal a less exotic name and milieu... silly me ;-)

CM2/Musto MUST premium cables... only after this statement, will be OK quoting the Japanese judo-related names.

Jokes apart, believe me... it will sure prove worthwhile contacting Mr. Musto at andrea<DOT>musto<AT>mustocta<DOT>it if searching/seeking for the ultimate, bespoke cable.






Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Ikea Turntable




... aehm, actually made of Ikea-sourced parts... yet, SUPERB and clever...










Cool!




Saturday, May 30, 2015

Where have all the flowers gone?





Like a traditional I sang and (badly) played when in my teens, after listening and learning it from Joan Baez... where have all the pre-owned gears gone?

Pre-owned, previously-cared for, second-hand… whatever: I was just remembering about all the gear I owned in the past… talking about 44 years of audio passion…



When an Audiomart subscriber and community member, I had several sought-after pieces of gears: something - aehm, most of them - are gone – i.e. Marantz 9, Marantz 1, Marantz 3, Radford STA15 and SC 22, Quad ESL and Quad II,, Stax F81, Futtermann H3AAA, KLH 9, Audio Research SP6B and Audio Research SP 10, others are still my own - on a shelf, actually - like Marantz 7C and 10B… gone are several Garrard 301, Technics SP10 mkII, SME 3012R, Koetsu Rosewood Signature and several Revox A77 and B77 and Basis Debut and Studer C37 and  Linn Sondek LP12 and EMT 927st and… and… and…






Some piece of gears are deeply missed, some not... how I wish I kept EMT 927st, Studer C 37 and Marantz 1s, Model 3 and Marantz 9... they were almost cheap, thirty some years ago... and now are so sought after and almost impossible to be afforded.  




... but I don't need'em, anyway.

I feel like I spent zillions in all these years… maybe I wasted zillions, yet I learned a lot…

… sure  that I’m not after collecting, but experimenting…

So, just wondering... where are my pre-owned piece of gears, now?

Sold, re-sold and re-re-sold or still in same hands?

Trashed or in nice shape?

Strange or not, I’m still very fond of my very first stereo, the one my mom bought and which played my first 7” 45 rpm… it lasted ‘til I bought Thorens TD 160… and so I began my career as an audio addict.

No problem in tracing where my first stereo went... in pieces, broken by my younger twin brothers... like my toy train and my toy cars... much more difficult for the other gears...

Just curious... mmmmhhhh...



Thursday, May 28, 2015

WJAAS - A Japanese Adventure




These gentlemen, namely Jean Hiraga, Jean Laurent Veys, Andre Klein and Reinhard Huttenburg recently visited Japan for an audio full-immersion trip, a true, veritable adventure of a life: more than twenty premium horn loaded systems were visited and gatherings happened with lots of kampai, music and empathy...








Please read the trip chronicle here... more and more pixes and prose will be uploaded in the very next days, so stay tuned and follow the story.



Enjoy.




Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Tyran Grillo's achievement: reviewing ALL ECM's ever issued!



Bingo!

A life achievement for Tyran, who, so humbly like only truest greats are, was self-impressed by how many words he wrote...

I sincerely replicated that it's not a matter of quantity, BUT of quality... the quality this gifted gentleman put on every of his essays, from the shortest to the more complex.

Here (just click the orange/yellow push-button) is Tyran's Blog, for the few aren't aware of his... yes, I dare: genius.

A statement of journalism and creative writing.

A big, BIG thank you, Tyran!

... and my apologies for unashamedly cutting & pasting the following and its pouring heartfelt proudness...








Synchronicity


To my dear readers, old and new:
Five years, three months, and 16 days ago—on 10 February 2010, to be exact—I began this blog with the intention of reviewing every proper ECM and ECM New Series album ever produced. Over 800,000 words and exactly 1330 posts later (1331 if you count this one), I can now lay claim to that goal in earnest. (For those keeping score, I’m following the U.S. release schedule. I also have an additional review, specifically of Robin Williamson’s Trusting In The Rising Light, written but forthcoming elsewhere.) During that time, people have often asked me: What do you get out of this? To answer that would require just as many words as I’ve written for this project, and so I would humbly refer you to my past posts. Suffice it to say that ECM has given me more than any other label in a life already brimming with sounds and that my reviews, such as they are, can only meet its contributions halfway as reciprocation.
On that note, there are many people without whom these words would not be appearing on your screen. First and foremost, I must acknowledge everyone at ECM. Their kindness and generosity have validated my endeavors here every step of the way, and their acknowledgment of my work has led not only to my traveling to Munich and even writing liner notes for an album (see Terje Rypdal’s Melodic Warrior), but more importantly has created a lifelong relationship of mutual respect. My dedication in reviewing them all—daunting as it may seem in retrospect—is nothing compared to that of releasing them all, and we must all be grateful to ECM for its incalculable enrichments. I particularly want to thank, in Munich, Manfred Eicher for trusting me to serve as an unofficial mouthpiece for the label’s oeuvre; Steve Lake for his wise words and counsel, and for always making the time to accommodate my many requests for out-of-print and otherwise hard-to-find releases and interviews; Guido Gorna for coming through with scans of other rare materials and digital booklets when physical CDs were nowhere to be found; Christian Stolberg for sharing his love for ECM during my pilgrimage to Germany; and Sun Chung for believing in me not only as a fan, but also as a human being. Although not in Munich, I also consider writer Paul Griffiths to be a major part of the ECM family, seeing as he has almost singlehandedly shaped the voice of the New Series imprint with his peerless CD booklet essays and reflections. I am proud to call him my friend and have benefited immeasurably from his critical mind and way of looking at listening. In New York City, I bow to ECM Records publicist Tina Pelikan, not just for what she has done for me—providing all the materials I ever needed for review, arranging press tickets for ECM concerts, etc.—but more importantly for the unfathomable work she has done to promote especially New Series artists in the U.S. Also in New York, my hat goes off to ECM Records USA label head Sarah Humphries, a rock of inspiration to musicians and fans alike for both shaping and maintaining the integrity of the label’s international profile.
I must also thank the many ECM artists whom I have befriended these past five years and their unwavering support of my writing. It’s always nerve-wracking for me to share my thoughts with the musicians about whom I’m opining, and I can count myself lucky for having met no resistance to my hyperbole-prone musings.
In addition, in am indebted to those who have supported my project from day one, especially Paul Geffen, whose ECM Discography served as an invaluable resource and whose generous promotion of my work continues to draw new support across social networks. And on the journalism side of things, I gratefully acknowledge music writer extraordinaire and fellow obsessive John Kelman, Michael Ricci of All About Jazz, Cliff Furnald of RootsWorld, and Steve Layton of Sequenza 21 for providing alternative venues to my ramblings. There are countless more of you in this vein whom I will never forget. You know who you are.
Of course, no such acknowledgments list would be complete without my deepest, most heartfelt expression of faith in all of you who have read my words—some from the very beginning—with such enthusiasm and genuine interest. I’ve enjoyed getting to know you all in various capacities and look forward to strengthening these new friendships as our shared love for ECM brings us closer. It’s for your eyes as much as for my soul that I do what I do on between sound and space.
I feel it only appropriate that my last review before reaching this point should have been of Keith Jarrett’s Creation. For me, it says everything and more about how ECM has changed the recorded landscape and the musicians who so tirelessly work its soil. And because, fortunately, ECM shows no signs of slowing down (the label is, in fact, releasing more than ever), I will continue tilling right alongside them so long as there is music to be heard and those of us around to hear it.
–Tyran Grillo
Summer 2015




Friday, May 22, 2015

Studer B 62 - back to the roots!




Love this reel to reel recorder... a no-frills classic also loved by the like of John Lennon, who used it both as a studio - had two - and home playback machine, and Brian Eno, a personal hero and a renowned open reel user and collector, who used it vertical, baffle mounted... very elegant.







... back into use in my studio after some years spent at a friend's home... will clean it, soon... yet preserving its workhorse, slightly battered patina.









Woodstock forever!





The couple hugging under the blanket from the Woodstock album cover are still together, 46 years later!






Love this kind of news...



Passive Multivocal Resonator - further thoughts and experiences





… fiddle, fiddle… listen, listen…  fiddleagain, fiddleagain… relisten, relisten...  my experience with PMR Referenz is going on, folks, thanking the monsoon-like heavy rains so ideal for music and audio activities.

Yesterday I had another listening session… first with Gotorama and vinyl playback.

Mixed feeling…

The positioning of the Referenz when listening to the larger system isn’t so easy… I listened to a nice Malcolm Arnold EMI I bought in Munchen, very dynamic, horns and tympanis and assorted percussions, a truly great recording Goosens/Bournemouth Orchestra, when I took away the PMR, the sound was sort-of (slightly, but audibly) tilted on highs…




Meaning I got better orchestra overall sound without any resonator in the room... yes, I had to "throw away" them all, placing them in an annex.

Far away.

Out of sight and, most of all, ear.

Something I didn’t noticed or experienced when listening to 300B and Cabasse, where the balance was pretty right, even better as I recently shared, as the slightly rolled-off highs of Cabasse were a little improved, apparently.

The Goto SG160 tweeter (maybe) simply doesn’t need any “enhancing”.

So… four days after the first PMR trial I’m now able to say that, in my studio, a Referenz is really, mean REALLY useful and blessed when using the smaller system, conveying music and improving soundstage to a truly unexpected level.

A blessing, indeed.

With larger Gotorama… just guessing: I’m phisically unable to place the resonator as suggested by the maker – i.e. between speakers, a little back-stage, as the EMT 930, Mayer’s preamp(s) and CD player and DAC make busy the area where to ideally place the Referenz  PMR.

The vertical placement is paramount with these passive devices… height, something I immediately noticed… should mandatorily be at slightly more than ear level (height).

If lower, the soundstage collapses, worsening the sans-PMR…

… but also the horizontal placement is really important and something to be not under-considered!

The so-so results with larger system where it’s impossibile to place properly is the demonstration.

I must honestly point it out that the above vertical/horizontal tips are, in my humble opinion, referred to the reflective properties of the Referenz, while the vibrating character made me confident the polished highs, which sounded a little bit excessive with larger system… well, I’ve no solutions in my room…



I suspect, by gut feeling, also if moving around like a perfect idiot trying to reach same “magic” so easily reached with smaller system, I should dismantle whole system and back wall!

… not doubtful, only my straightforwardness makes me to say: beware!

The “mature audio/musical knowledge and system” I quoted in the previous prose on the matter, makes me affirming that - with such a device and our different audio system layout, listening tastes and habits, rooms, etc. -  a before-the-deal loan should be invoked and strongly perused and obtained.

Not me or other reviewers, no Web hypes should be enough to handle the wallet, pronto.

Make your own experience, pals.

This and previous post are related to my own, very own experience and system in my room and my own ears.

Consider the above advice necessary with such an expensive, exotic, esoteric and voodoo item.



Thursday, May 21, 2015

PMR Mk II Referenz by HighEndNovum



I'm a believer, folks.

Call me a lunatic, easily influenced and always ready to ride this or that audio tweaks of the day... maybe it's so, yet I much more prefer to call myself a truth seeker, humbly unashamed and braveheart enough to be unworried by critics.

It's my journey... so I choose the rules, period.

Nuff said?

... well, ahem... hell, NO!

Last week, while going to Munchen by car, I was listening to some music on my car audio system when - after some heavy rain from Brennerpass to Munchen - a pale sun made its appearance.

I moved the sunshade to protect my eyes from sunshine and the music sounded different while I moved the sunshade...

... as I moved the sunshade, I was sort-of able to move the music... I mean enhancing focusing with a a simple 40 x 15 cm "wing" and moving it up and down.

The surprise of noticing the above was superseded by reaching my hotel, looking ahead to reach M.O.C. etc.

It was 9,30 A.M. in Munchen.

When I entered the audio fair, only one hour later, something happened: first of all I headed to my vinyl pushers of choice - i.e. Fenn and Blue Danube... I found some VERY nice waxes, indeed: the three sought after discs by Pete Seeger, Willie Dixon and Memphis Slim live in NYC, 1962 on Folkways... a truly magic recordings set of unbelievable art and clarity and musical trueness as a plus.

... and one dozen of Harmonia Mundis' and more goodies.

After saying hello to Axinia Shaffer, next to her booth, I got attracted, almost captured, by some strange standing platters which were blinking to me, shiny, friendly and antique looking, also if seldom seen.

Immediately stopped by... it was about one hour after the opening of M.O.C. 2015, the Press/Trade First Day at M.O.C. and there were only some visitors around.

I chatted with those young German gentlemen, Andreas, Christoph and Elmar... they immediately appeared as very passionate and knowledged smart guys, yet almost apologizing for their weird goodies on display: premium quality fuses, for example and... yes...YES!



PMR = Passive Multivocal Resonators!

These large and smaller platters... cups... gongs... tibetan bowls... whatever!

They explained the mystic behind the bowls, carefully made by hand and tuned after Dieter Ennemoser's teaching and theories.

"Herr C-37 varnish" audio/luthiery visionary rang a bell in my head... and the more I looked at the larger dish - i.e.  the PMR Mk II Referenz, the more I not only thinked to resonance devices, like Andreas called the platters, but also to some ancient Archimede's specchi ustori - i.e. the war mirrors conveying sunshine powerful rays against enemies and their ships and burning at a distance.

Cheating and chatting, I found myself discussing the loan of these finely made bronze handicrafts, which was not only accepted but also gladly trusted and praised.

Christoph Oester, the maker of this sculpture claimed them to resonate and improve musical overall experience, really was plucking my strings, in the same way the empathy between Andreas and Michael and Christoph and yours truly naturally blossomed.





The next, second M.O.C. day, we arranged to complete the bona-fide deal and the heavy Referenz PMR and its smaller brother Initium, plus an LP One bronze clamp shaped like the larger resonators, were safely in my car trunk, carefully crated, bounding southbound to my studio.

Some foreword are necessary, at this point: no english literature was available at Munchen fair, so my interest was only coming from sincere attraction for these audio sculptures.

Love at first sight, I'd dare.



The more I think about the nice, elegant, weird PMR Mk II Referenz, the more I think to Sun Ra's stage costumes and hats.



I chatted with some pals about my findings, but I got mild, so-so reactions from them, so I preferred to keep my experiment-to-come for myself, when back home.

... and so I did.

After the M.O.C. days of gathering and chatting, on last Sunday I carefully unpacked the resonators, using the safety cotton gloves found in the carton box, to avoid fingerprints on shiny PMR surface... whatever they were, they appeared extremely well made: the ringing of the Referenz was strongly reminding to me my old, trusty Tibetan bell, the one I use to perform my (only decent) harmonic, two tones chant in David Hykes and Tibetan tradition.

A nice tone came from the Referenz when gently hitted, with a quite short decay, compared to a bell, for example.

The shape of the dish is stepped in six inner/five outer different diameter rings and the platter holder is keeping platter someway loose, free to vibrate.

I was so curious to hear the claimed merits of these handicrafts which I simply didn't read anything on Hi End Novum site... choosing senses vs. well informed/biased guessing.

I only read Clement Perry and Sam Telling already tried these, but the German-only leaflets only told me their names... you know, I don't read or speak any German, shame on me.

Passive Multivocal Resonator... mmmhhh...

Back to my uncrating...

I mounted - as per easy instructions - the resonators legs and placed the Referenz centre between the Cabasse at ear level, as per maker suggestions.





The smaller Initium was placed at the side, behind the listening sweet spot, always following installations tips.



First disc I played on the Studer A 730 was "Sousedi": guitar, cello and female voice.

I not so suddenly almost immediately noticed something going on: centerstage was rock-like and side and outer side speakers was broader I remembered.

Repeated a couple of time same track to better understand.

The room was so different than previous times.

Changed to an Harmonia Mundi's of Zarb (Iranian drum) solo... I felt so silly, folks!

The overall sound was so focused, more, much more focused and direct and dynamics and even more natural than sans-PMRs' system.

The drum was so rich in overtones and hands brushing the drum leather and several other recording venue noises blossomed... talking about a recording I often listen to.

Low end was slightly drier than I remembered but very detailed and various, non boring and untiring... not a note was a boom, but nuances improved greatly.

The installing/user's manual was suggesting ear height for the PMR Referenz, but I began to move the resonator up and down, from say 50 cm to 100 cm.




The different heights changed scene height, as well.

Very easily, naturally...

No vodoo, no hypes... effective and well here, audible differences, no doubts.

After playing with the PMR in place for about three hours, I had to try to take them away.

I took off from center-stage and placed it on a corner, on the floor, covered by the brown blanket I found in the crate, and the aural beauty, the incredibly nice sensation of a 3D image and depth was simply back to the everyday one, as I know it to be my system voice.

... but not the same as only a few minutes before.

What was going on?

I turned off the 300B/Cabasse system and turned on the Gotorama... and replaced the PMR Referenz centerstage.

Same Sousedi's disk and repeated the listening, almost hoping to do not hear the magic I heard before.

Same feeling of astonishment, surprise and enjoyment... an audibly improved listening experience.

Ennemoser... and you Jungblut Bros. and Christoph Oester, you made a Devil's Pact... or maybe it's plainly said we audiophiles aren't aware of physic and acoustic laws and always surprised by the ineffable which seldom happens, unexpected as it can be.

What the hell: the PMR - acting like my car sunshade - isn't only a resonator, but also and more, a music focus enhancer, keeping the music texture intact without coloring or equalizing it, yet transforming any recording into the ideal recording...

This appears to be true as when moving the PMR up and down also of some centimeters, the scene rises and lowers... something which isn't related with resonance, apparently.

Also light and reflections are weird acting, while looking at center placed dish... a strobe-like interaction effect with room light, also in dimmed light, is strangely blinking, hypnotizing, too.

I felt like my ideal of The Perfect Recording became true and easy to get.

Both smaller and larger system improved to an extent I wasn't prepared.

The Referenz PMR is not going to return to Germany, be sure.

Best audio pals whom I shared my findings 'til yesterday replied to my enthusiasm with mixed reactions from you're a silly motherfucker pimp to yawn, another tweak for wealthy gonzos to uh, why not to cannot stand in my shoes waiting to join you in listening and experiencing your findings.

Me, well, the gonzo... ahem... the musical bliss seeker, I am as embarrassed as everyone reading above essay.

Take my responsibility deadly seriously on this, folks.

I'm a believer... a sincere believer and a scholar, unafraid of learning something new.

P.S. - only on last Monday - i.e. the day after the above described trials - I finally read on Audiophile Audio Produkte's site some English and Google-translated German reviews about the PMRs... be assured that after reading Clement Perry and Sam Tellig's reviews I felt much less alone... I mean I can also confirm their findings and highly praise and recommend these incredible, esoteric gizmos to anyone with sincere and mature experience and audio systems and open enough ears and mind to appreciate the final tweak which put to shame other audio craziness...

In the craziest of ways... working as promised, with no hypes and no need to smoke dope to be felt and appreciated.



Thanks to Andreas Jungblut, Christoph Oester and Elmar for their kindness and trusting in yours truly... and to Dieter Ennemoser for being the visionary he is.

All in the name of Music.


A cherry on the cake, folks?


I just got the confirmation that US - distributor http://highend-electronics.com/ will show the resonators next week in Newport Beach www.theshownewport.com and that the maker and all the distributors (mentioned on www.highendnovum.de) offer free 14-day trials for interested listeners.


Nothing can stop everyone to take a chance...