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Thursday, January 16, 2020

Darius Valiunas' DaVa MC field-coil cartridge and PSU

Thanking Darius, the one-of-a-kind combo landed today... will be preparing the Litz additional PSU cables to feed the coils in the cartridge with the 12V needed... then will mount on my Archè head shell and... 

Very, very excited for what I hope (and trust) I'll be hearing, soon! 

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Stone Speakers 487 Venetia - furthermore...

I gladly host my pal Antonio Scanferlato's short review of the Stone Speakers' 487 Venetia after the first exposure to them a few weeks ago... he'll be reviewing the speakers for an italian paper magazine, soon...


Second listening sessions, or better: THE listening, at last!

The first time I listened to these "stones" I didn't express my feeling due to several doubts I had about the amps used during the listening session - i.e. a 50W per channel Class D amp - sadly (read - average/badly) driven bt a passive preamp.

A quick note about average passive line-stages - the lesser models are just a box with a potentiometer and some RCAs and selector switches... (NOT/B - note of translator/Blogger - nothing to be compared with TVC-based passive where every transformer secondary gives a gain setting, usually at 1,3:1 ratio. - i.e. my Luxman AT-3000, Fidelity Research AS-1 and Audio Consulting Silver Rock, for example).

The lesser passive - IMO - simply doesn't properly work with a power-amp: lifeless, weak, sterile!

A provoking sentence: if you power amp sounds good with a pot-based passive line stage, it is an integrated amp... so better avoiding the separates! The problems concerning RFI, more soldering, cabling, etc. isn't worth the hassle, period.

The 487 Venetia speakers and their dedicated speaker-stands are residing in my listening room, now... a couple of days ago one of their "parents",  Dipl. Ing. Giacomo Munari, installed them in-room where they stayed for some hours, since I decide to move them around of about one foot for better sound, as per my tastes.

The ancillaries in my audio systems are the following: an home-brewed preamp based on mythical E182CC tube, a modified Bartolomeo Aloia ST-260, a modified Lenco L-75 with a AT 1010 arm and several MM and MC carts and an old CD/DVD Sony DVP-S7700... last but not least: a laptop for Hi-Rez music with Foobar and D/A Aune S6.

I must say my guessing was... is correct: the stone speakers in my listening room (properly stuffed for resonances taming) sound very nicely... I'm getting a positive feeling, much better - must say - than during my previous exposure to the 487 Venetias'...  more listening sessions will follow... for now, what I'm getting is a lot of music, and how I get it, I like it!

Thanks to Antonio.

Gibson L5 Custom - the Kalamazoo Masterpiece

I've been enjoying it for a week, now... a 1976 Gibson L5 Custom hollowbody guitar, hand-carved spruce top and maple back, powerful hambucking PUs, Grover Tulip tuning gears... 

It's a bliss, full bodied sounding, so rich in harmonic texture...

The fretboard is pure silk... it was both well played and carefully taken: previously owned by two prominent Italian jazz players, this instrument seems to know how to play scales and chords by its own! 

Love it!

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Happy birthday to John McLaughlin

Thanks for so much joy you and your music gave to me (and zillions others worldwide).

Happy birthday!

Friday, January 3, 2020

Jimi Hendrix' Garrard 401

Yes, Jimi Hendrix also enjoyed our beloved idler-wheel turntable.

A Garrard 401 in - apparently - a SME plinth and Ortofon SPU and SMG 212 arm.

The Tao of the Fifth Way

I'm surprised, folks... I discovered only a few days ago I'm not 100% human: I'm some x% of a bat DNA;-)

To my very surprise, I added to 4-ways Gotorama a cheap dipole ribbon (super) tweeter, good as per specs, up to 25Khz.

I may declare - your honor - Gotorama is now a 5-ways multi amped system...

... but... what's the matter?

Do I need a 5th way?

Do I hear up to 25Khz?

Is there any instrument going up-to 25Khz, actually?

The answers to the three above mentioned questions is: definitely Yes! for all the above.

Seriously: I'm not a bat, of course... despite my middle-age ears and hearing capabilities, well... myself, as everyone, may actually perceive much higher frequencies as the canonic 20-20,000 hz!

With age, we get some aid from Mother Nature - i.e. lynx-like hairs grows on ears and they sure have a function in hearing, better, perceiving sounds... and let's not forget my/our decades of listening experiences which sure counts.

The highest frequencies are - now I've the proof - very, very, very important: don't believe in who states they're happy with a romantic (rolled-off) sound!

I'm also very happy with my B&O portable radio sound, folks... but - 'c-mon, don't fool you, romantic self-forgiving listener! - when I listen to Gotorama, I now feel (perceive) and appreciate the added, barely audible top-end isn't only a magnifying aid to triangle, assorted bells or shimmering cymbals, BUT... you feel everything with a sense of completeness: the wind instruments attacks, the decay of cymbals, the recording venue bloom... the oomph!

The Goto SG-160 gently rolls off at 16Khz and sure at 18Khz is only suggesting upper-harmonics of high pitched instruments.

So, please, don't ask, yet... I - like many other - hear and feel more and more of what's hidden in grooves... thanking a cheap gizmo, an added dipole super-tweeter.

Better late than never... that's that ineffable "quid" which makes our passion worth, day after day, year after year!

An Epiphany!

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Happy New Ear

... ehm: kidding!

Happy New Year, folks... my very best wishes for an healthy, wealthy and Uber-musical 2020!

Friday, December 27, 2019

Goto Santa

Thanking my best pal Lo...

... things aren't what they seem.


Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Merry Christmas!

I wish you a Merry Christmas!

Enjoy these days, thinking about who's in troubles, too... how I'd wish health, wealth and peace for everyone!

Ho, hooo, hoooo... 

Sunday, December 22, 2019

EMT 927st new platter

Dipl.Ing. J.P. Vsn Vliet is a legend: he made myth of EMT to live forever!

Michael Fabritius and Louis Dush were the beginner heralds of the resurrection and worldwide loyal fellowship, years ago, but nobody else but Hans Van Vliet were more passionate to save from dumpster these majestic machines..

He painstakingly re-built EMT 139st tube RIAA eq. and... if called on duty, also a poor platter-less EMT 927 can be fitted again and make it spinning forever!

Bravo, Hans.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Goto 4 ways 12 db/octave passive crossovers

Just unwrapped... these old, bespoke Made in Japan crossovers are really a beauty of home/handmade job, same as a passionate, skilled and motivated audio DIYer would do for his personal use.

Amazing everything is squeezed in the tiny, yet hefty blue boxes... weight of each crossover is about 9 kilos! I appreciate nice engineering and... WOW! they both survived the loooong journey, thanking the previous owner/seller and his crating care...

Will use in parallel with Gotorama, as an alternative to multiamped system with Thomas Mayer's line-TVC crossover, and Nuforce MCA20 Stealth 8 channels power-amp, using whatever I like from my amps stable...

Easy done.. after some new shorter cables layout.

Cleaning the binding posts... look at silk-screen... VLF (Very Low Frequencies)... love these old timey panel writing... ... same as I love new projects.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Herbert von Karajan

Look at his bespoke, so elegantly tailored suit... and his fiery eyes... 

Just: wow!

Tape-dubbing - 4 tracks to 2 tracks

Tandberg 9200XD 4-tracks playing into Revox G36HS 2 tracks recording... amazed by the result!


Stone Speakers' Venetia 487

Thanking my pal Frank who hosted for some weeks these seldom seen speakers...

Handmade in Northern Italy out of a local, solid volcanic stone called "euganean trachyte", the density and weight of a granite, they are both impressively looking, irregular and (apparently) raw, like a speaker made by Fred Flinstone himself... yet...

My pal Antonio, yours truly, Frank, our host and landlord, soon joined by the speakers makers, Michele Gastaldello, the stone carver and business partner of Dipl. Ing. Giacomo Munari of Stone Speakers, enjoyed a nice listening session and most of my questions and curiosities were answered.

The bass-reflex enclosure is carved by hand in two halves shells, then joined together... two rear round ports make the speaker to "breathe".

Morel carbon-fiber mid-low and dome tweeters are used and sensitivity is 87 db/W/m on 5 ohm.

Crossover point, 12 db/octave, is at 3200 hz.

Weight is an impressive 50+ kilos each and the two shells joint is hidden by a classy genuine leather strip whose color can, of course, be custom chosen.

Cost is around € 12.000/pair, including the dedicated stand.

... and what about sound?

Well... easy said: rock steady;-)

The sound is solid... ok, will stop easy referring to building material;-)

Sound is detailed of a pellucid neutrality, absolutely not coldish... must say the enclosure is SO vibes-free we sort-of over-appreciated the merits of the nice Morel's components and the 2nd order crossover using top of the line Jensen caps and Jantzen Wax-Coils' foil inductance-coils.

We listened to "Uncle" by Art Ensemble of Chicago, a fantastic live recording where incredibly raucous  baritone saxes and assorted percussions and double bass and trumpet give the perfect playground for a serious tasting of the whole system and speakers capabilities...

Antonio and myself had this very same music only a couple of hours before at my place through my own Gotorama and Garrardzilla, so a comparison was possible and easy done: highs of Venetia 478 by Stone Speakers are extended and silky also if someway lacking the authority of what we experienced earlier...

For the price, up to par with level of workmanship and - most of all - of performance, you get a definitive speakers with a decent WAF (wife acceptance factor) as they reminds to me to Ron Arad's Day After concrete turntable - i.e. an artwork more than a piece of audio gear... and the neutrality of the speaker itself allows a wide palette - i.e. - a plethora of ancillaries matching to get the sound of choice.

I strongly encourage everyone who sort-of fell in love for these weird, cool looking proudly hand carved and made stuff, to get in touch with Giacomo or Michele to arrange for a demo or news about nearest audio show.

In the meantime, I wish to these young, passionate people to succeed as they well deserve.