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Wednesday, February 25, 2015


Thanking Sam Gross for his no-frills wisdom... 

... beware the carrots...

Friday, February 20, 2015

Slate Audio - The Glassmat for Garrard 301 and 401


First introduced in 1985, the Glassmat quickly became the best selling replacement turntable mat for both the Garrard 301 and 401. It was also an outstanding success when used with all other non suspended or heavyweight turntables. So successful was the Glassmat that demand often outstripped supply. Production ceased some fifteen years ago, however due to an ever increasing interest in the 301, 401 and other classics such as the Thorens TD124, there is now a renewed demand for The Glassmat. We therefore take great pleasure in re-introducing the Glassmat. By doing so we are now able to offer it to a new breed of connoisseurs. The amazing abilities of the the Garrard 301 and 401 and other classics of that period, have ensured that these players are now commanding the kind of price that they deserve. There was never been any doubt at Slate Audio that these players produced the best sound of all time, if reality is your priority, there simply is no other choice.

White glass...

Brown glass...

The Glassmat is so good, that Ken Kessler of Hi-Fi news asked us to include this mat as the prefered mat when we were asked to restore his own reference Garrard 401 and Thorens TD124  for him. We also fitted his decks to our Slate Audio Marble Plinth system, as well as providing him with our "Powerhouse" quartz referenced power supply. This system is still in use today in his demonstration room. The results of the revised and upgraded turntables were described by him as "magnificent".
The Glassmat improves on the standard mat in a way that will astound you.The Glassmat is produced from "Low Iron Mirror Finished Glass" for a perfectly flat playing surface. The recess for the record label is machined precisely, using CNC technology. In use, the Glassmat will completely damp the platter, as well as provide a firm and unyielding surface for the record to play on. The sub-sonic bass that bowled you over on first hearing will now sound solid, taut, and completely natural with no loss of depth. The highs will be high and clear with true definition and clarity.  As for the mids, they will now be produced in a way that can be unnervingly realistic. We believe that playing music at home should be an event, one that excites and is something that you look forward to with anticipation.  The Glassmat will bring you closer to that event.
The new generation of Glassmats have been refined in certain areas. We now offer a specialised and dedicated mat for each of the Garrards. The Glassmat is now produced in both translucent cream or translucent brown, so are a perfect match for the 301 or 401. The translucent brown version has a universal appearance, and promises the same performance when used with all other non suspended or heavyweight turntables. We have also improved the interface between the platter and the Glassmat with the application of a special micro membrane. This important refinement has led to greater clarity and focus across the whole frequency spectrum.
The Glassmat will easily out-perform all standard or  replacement mats for the 401/301/TD124/ETC, including the much more expensive Crystal Mat from Nagaoka.
Weight is 1.1 kg for increased mass and inertia, as well as complete damping of the platter. Low Iron Mirror finished glass. Diameter is 291.5mm, thickness is 6mm.

Cool and not hideously expensive.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

James Turrell's Roden Crater, Arizona

... what an alien, visionary place, folks...

... not far from Flagstaff, New Mexico, close to Arizona border: a volcano re-worked in 30 years by a man whose goal was giving emotion and freeing energy of Mother Nature.

A shrine.

A church without a Pope.

The truest... the only...

Next time...

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Nasotec Namoo NS-101B binding posts

Superb new binding-posts: Nasotec NAMOO NS-101B.

 Here are few highlights...

-Made of only wood and pure copper
-Current carrying parts: pure copper, insulating parts: wood
-24K gold plated with non-magnetic undercoat
-Wooden parts: Very highly compressed (250 ton) birch plywood (They sink beneath the water)
-Drilling hole size(d): 11.5mm(0.45inch)
-Possible panel thickness for mounting (max.)
metal: 9.5mm(0.37inch) / wood(without insulation washers): 14mm(0.55inch)
-Spade contact fork size: min 6mm
-Size: 51(L)*21(D)mm / 2.0(L)*0.83(D)inch

A beauty.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Dyer harp guitar replica by Merrill for sale...

Needing deep pockets to afford, BUT nonetheless much worth sharing this...

Gorgeous instrument, indeed.

Breaking News - Neumann DST replica from Russia!

Named "Neumann LS", hand-made in Russia and so weirdly built like the famed, sought after Neumann DST and DST 62 and soon available in a VERY limited quantity... price-tag will be an hefty USD 10.000!

Commonwealth 12D

Thanking Robin for sharing the first pixies of the beauty and Leonid for the measurements charts... coming soon.

Reportedly to be MUCH more consistent than Lumiere DST, without the embarrassing productions issues which flawed the great, previous Japanese replica most recent batches... so different from the gorgeous 2005 vintage I so much love and appreciate since then.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Silence of a Candle or Ralph Towner sings...

A time machine scoop, folks… I'm a loyal follower and scholar of maestro Ralph Towner since my boyhood… I can play some of his great tunes and guitar pieces… met him several times after his concerts in my Country and own everything or so he recorded, solo, with Oregon, Paul Winter Concort or others…

… or so, I wrote…

Last Sunday flea market, visiting my vinyl pusher, he offered something… I mean something: a mint copy of Paul Winter Consort Icarus on Epic, dating back to 1972…

I was looking for this very wax since a long time and… voila': it dropped literally in my hands.

This disc is very important for any Towner, McCandless and Walcott's scholar as some great compositions were played and recorded, sort-of pre-dating the birth-to-come of Oregon, the group whose consistency lasted for about 40 discs and years, also if abruptly interrupted and shaken at its foundation when The late, great Collin Walcott perished in a dramatic car accident in Germany, in 1984… only after a week or so after yours truly saw him and Oregon in concert in Padua, a 100% acoustic concert which a younger me loved immensely and which I still listen to from the C120 Dolby C cassette recorded at the venue on a Sony WM6DC.

…  but back to the 'Icarus" vinyl: the group is quite raw and primitive, recording - also if cover claims production by George Martin and remixing at London AIR Studios - is nothing special.

Music is special, indeed…

On side One, the third track is a well-known title "The Silence of a Candle", a timeless melody which was reiterated more times is different shape, sell keeping its beauty.

A true masterpiece!

When my Lumiere DST cartridge reached the track, I already read from liner-notes that Ralph Towner was on vocals… also saw and read the text, so… was sort-of prepared…


A young, as seen on the hippy-ey, new-agey cover, Ralph Towner began singing with a beautiful, never heard voice… strangely reminding to me (young) Van Morrison!

Look at the standing young gent, center cover, with sideburns… those were the days.

The piano was beautifully accenting and underlining the melody and the text served the unicity and completeness - at last - of the very first iteration of the tune, which I discovered - to my surprise - to be... a song!

… not really surprised to find Ralph - beside being a guitar player, a maven on both classical and 12 strings guitars, a pianist, a cornet player - so a supremely talented and gifted multi-instrumentalist also in his early recording years, also owned such a beautiful voice… well, this made me feeling closer to one of my most beloved composers and musicians in my personal Pantheon.

… not shocked or surprised, but with a sense of warmness and communion, coming from knowledge and enjoyment.

… from the mist of long-gone decades, to the eternity of Music.

Thanking maestro Towner for the endless pleasure he gave to me with his music and trusting he's better, now and fully recovered and re-found good health.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Living music

... my music source of choice: last evening, playing live... with the humble '69 Harmony Sovereign H-1260 acoustic...

... I guess, looking at the capo at 3rd fret, while playing Bert Jansch's "Veronica".

Thanking the unknown photographer for the nice shot... it's truest me.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Snow Biking

... my new biking obsession...

... snoooooooow now!

Site of the Month - ATAE from California

Superb re-manufacturer of Studer studio open reel machines...

Browse their site... quality is so tangible to almost be painful, considering the price tags;-)))!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Winter Motorbiking 2015


… better than audio?

Definitely so…

Last Saturday, with my bike.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Site of the Month - LondonJazzNews

Love this site, folks… it always gives an insight on jazz scene and - despite the name - not only in London…

… like above curtains-up cool pix taken few hours ago in Stuttgart, at Eberhard Weber's 75th Birthday concert...

A site to dig hands a-plenty and to follow…

BTW… learned that Ralph Towner - due to some illness - unfortunately missed the above mentioned concert, on stage with his peers… I wish Maestro Towner a prompt and safe recovery, hoping and trusting nothing serious happened to him…

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Alto Extremo Lyd 1 magnetic-suspended seismic feet

… not new, as these nice feet were already covered on Web reviews, etc.

… yet, brand-new for yours truly and many others… and my next feet for my Garrardzilla turntable!

… as soon as they'll become available again…

Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Jasmine Dragon MC porcelain cartridge

I've NOT many infos on this seldom seen cartridge, folks… but it strongly reminds to me the book "Il Violino di Faenza" by Champlfleury (1877), a personal fave of mine about collecting, and related joys and sadness.

Shell:Blue and white porcelain
Stylus: :0.3x0.7mil, Gyger FG2, Natural diamond,
Cantilever:Solid Boron
Height :17.5mm
Weight :16 g
Internal Impedance
(DC resistance) :
4 ohm (DC)
Output Level :0.26mv, 1KHz@ 33 1/2
Freq. response :10-55KHz +/-1dB
Channel separation :> 30dB@1KHz
Channel balance :< 0.5dB
Recommended loading :>= 30 ohm, 4 ohm (MC step-up transformer)
Optimal Tracking Force :1.2g ~ 2.5g ( 1.85g recommended )
Optimal Tracking Angle:20 degree
Break-in Period :50 hours
Compliance:15 um/mN
Components:The cantilever with stylus come from Swiss, The rest all are made in China.

Further investigating on this porcelain beauty… a Made in China handicraft… with a claimed Swiss heart.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Sunday Disc - Einstürzende Neubauten - Alles Wieder Offen (Indigo 2007)

A very, VERY rewarding monthly flea-market chase, today... my pusher just acquired some weird vinyls form a collector and... I fished for this gem and others I'll possibly share later...

I saw Blixa Bargeld live with Teho Teardo last year... a magic concert...

Thanking Enrico Merlin and "1000 records for a Century" book where he reviewed Blixa's previous group of daredevils, well... the group name is... so, so... you cannot remember and cannot forget!

WHAT A DISC... aehm, actually a 2-records-set... recording is top class: unsurprising, as the sessions were made at Hansa and Tritonus in Berlin!

Music is very european, Berliner, I'd dare... sung in German... Motorik and Kurt Weill's and Leonard Cohen's and so unique and body-shaking and mind-boggling.

I shot the 4 sides like in a trance... soundscapes are post-atomic, like a day after Wooden Ships, or something.

The disc is only 53 minutes on four sides, BUT music is so thick, beefy and "heavy" you only wish you knew this when it was issued, in 2007.

Recording is the best of the best, as I told you and worth repeating.

Music... well, your chance to find it and if it fits and - hopefully - enjoy, loosing yourself in Blixa and his cohort's world.

BTW, this disc, the here below peeing horse nugget I also bought and others are still sold in group's site shop.

Clever and easy... but the pleasure of the flea-market surprise deal is unsurpassable!

Thanking Enrico Merlin, my pal Edo who already knew the group and sort-of introduced it to yours truly and, yes, to Alessandro, the pusher.

P.S. - The group site makes a (strange?!?) statement/disclaimer - i.e. beware to do NOT shop for U.S. pressings on Thristy Ear as they're not paying any royalty to the group…

Thanking Reinhard for the painstaking proof-reading and German typos correcting...

Saturday, January 10, 2015

For freedom...

Manfred Eicher and ECM tapes vault

A seldom seen pix of Manfred Eicher and a partial view of ECM analog master-tapes vault... fortunately, not a single shitty, crappy, awful, disasterful Ampex' tapes around... only top German quality Agfa and Basf tapes... so, all this superb music will last for many decades without any fear or need to be oven-baked.


Thanking Stefano Amerio for sharing.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Je suis Charlie...

Thanks to Lucille Clerc for the drawing and R.I.P. to Charlie Hebdo's victims and condolences to their families.