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Thursday, February 13, 2020

Living Music

Yes, I know: purists would wish to see my Stellavox SP7 spinning its reels... but: please forgive me.. the Sound Devices 722 at 24bit/192Khz with Neumann USM69 is just such a convenient combo...

... and I enjoy recording enormously.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

The Neumann DZT - the Holy Grail

A friend contacted me and he's offering this beauty, in working and pristine conditions...

Look at the double diamond, original jewel box... 

This is THE Neumann Holy Grail... 


Saturday, February 8, 2020

The Most Beautiful DL103 headshell ever!

Buy exclusively here...

Thanking my pal Jacopo.

The Tiger

A reader asked me to share the sentiment and feeling while listening to DaVa FC-A1 cartridge... 

My reply was:

I’m listening right now: I’m still - after 4 days listening sessions - impressed by the awesome weight and trueness every note of every instrument keeps remaining frozen-like for a moment, like a beautiful bird or a tiger remains still before flying or chasing in the forest... it’s like every notes sing a parallel song of beauty and perfection... I’m sincerely overwhelmed. Cannot stop playing record after record...

Better clarifying... it's  poser-kind-of-sound;-) - i.e. - Hey, listen to me, here I am, I am so nice, am the very best... but it lasts a few seconds... only the empathy between musician/artist and listener remains...


The vinyl lacquers plant on fire!

Apollo Masters, a lacquer manufacturing facility located in Banning, Calif., sustained a major fire yesterday (Feb. 6) and burned down. This horrendous event could affect the worldwide supply of vinyl records going forward, according to industry professionals.
The Desert Sun confirmed that the fire began in the 15,000-square-foot building at 8am Feb. 6. There were multiple explosions reported, and 82 firefighters responded to the scene.

The building was home to Apollo Masters, one of two plants in the world that manufacture lacquers that are imperative to the process of making vinyl records.  The company posted a statement on their website addressing the event, as well as the uncertainty of its future.
To all our wonderful customers. It is with great sadness we report the Apollo Masters manufacturing and storage facility had a devastating fire and was completely destroyed. The best news is all of our employees are safe. We are uncertain of our future at this point and are evaluating options as we try to work through this difficult time. Thank you for all of the support over the years and the notes of encouragement and support we have received from you all.
The only other plant, MDC, is located in Japan. While there has not been an immediate impact, an eventual shortage of lacquers can lead to disruptions in the vinyl production process for companies all over.
Ben Blackwell, co-founder of Third Man Records, expressed his concern for the future of vinyl records in an email to Pitchfork. "From my understanding, this fire will present a problem for the vinyl industry worldwide," he explained, adding that MDC already had a difficult time keeping up with the demand for their services.
Pitchfork also reached out to David Read at the Toronto-based company Duplication, who said this "disaster" will affect anyone who uses lacquers in their vinyl production process — bands, labels, mastering engineers and more. However, he assured that vinyl industry professionals are already trying to figure out a solution.

Read More: Massive Building Fire Endangers Vinyl Record Production |

Thanks to Pitchfork...

Thursday, February 6, 2020

DaVa FC-A1 - the epilogue

This early morning, I completed my tasting and testing of the beautiful, unique field-coil beauty from Lithuania.

Played with VTA using the Lencohell's Corian platter/mat and gave a quick listen to Peerless 4725 and to TdP's The Head... forgetting... the Misho Myronov's Wooden Phono Stage was the DaVa's companion, feeding Thomas Mayer line stage, WE420A amp and Gotorama with passive Goto crossovers.

The Western electric 618B is - to my ears - the best DaVa's partner, period.

A sense of free-flowing seldom experienced.

... yet, at first, the sound was - sort of - lacking the magic I experienced yesterday for about three hours...

... mumbling, I quickly found the issue was my fault... I exaggerated VTA - i.e. too high... with cartridge at 90° with disc surface.

I brought it back as it was yesterday afternoon (see above the front tilt) and voilà! 

The magic was back in spades... please look at picture for full understanding.

Huge dynamic, broader than life imaging with depth and detailing to die for...

Everything was here like with smaller system, only more...

A truly lysergic experience.

A bravo to Darius Valiunas for his really good hands and ears... he created a statement!

P.S. - before leaving Studietto a few moments ago I fondly caressed the field coil... she gave me a warm body reply to my fingers... such a cutie!

It's love at first listen, folks!

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

DaVa FC-A1 field coil cartridge: further comments...

... after more listening experiences and SUTs swapping were almost complete...

The winner (unsurprisingly) is WE 618B...

I tried Peerless 4685, Harman Kardon XT-3, Soundaries Audio 618 replica... all listening sessions were made with same record - i.e. Sidsel Endresen's "So I Write", her first on ECM, using Kaneda/Le Solstice phono preamp, Partridge 300Bs mono blocks and Tandberg Typ11 on Foundation Design stands.

... but the real winner is the DaVa's, folks!

It's so nice, relaxed, full sounding, light on details and extremely slamming on low end.

The shimmering cymbals so masterfully recorded on a.m. ECM's disc are going and going for seconds, with right weight and trueness.

Listening it effortless, liquid, smooth, natural.

In the very next hours will swap from smaller system to Gotorama, connecting Siggwan/DaVa/Lenco G88 to Misho Myronov mighty phono-stage and Mayer line-stage, straight to Goto crossovers, WE421A amp and Gotorama.

I expect multiple orgasms-to-come: it's like Lumiere, only less nervous... same as my best Neumann DST "white whale", but safer for discs and... wallet if something goes wrong.

It's a dream cartridge which, IMHO, goes straight on the Olympus of the Very Top Class, ever!

The cartridge, fed by its PSU with 12V,  get cutely warm on outer body after a couple of hours listening/use.

Darius told me it reaches 60C degrees max... but Siggwan's Cocobolo wood is a rock!

Among the use and care information Darius gave to me there is an important one: never. ever use a fixing screw longer than 3mm inside the cartridge fixing threaded holes!

Coils damages could happen!

I'm sincerely and positively impressed by overall sound, considering it's a brand new cartridge.

A masterpiece!

Stay tuned for more listenings sessions on Gotorama. 

Darius Valiunas' DaVa FC-A1 cartridge listening sessions...

My sloth-like nature won for a couple of weeks, since I got the Lithuanian handmade cartridge from the builder himself... I kept it on a shelf, waiting for a Litz cable with miniature contacts for 12V PSU to be made by a skilled friend...

Only a few days ago I had this apparently humble and easy cable made and am now beginning the tasting(s).

Will report, soon...

For the moment, after a brief and aborted trial with Ortofon RMG309 and Archè headshell,  not giving to me the right flexibility for repeated VTF and VTA fine tunings, I decided to use my Siggwan Cocobolo, a user-dream with its separate arm wand, so convenient.

I'm using the DaVa's with my G88 in slate and Siggwan in a slate/bronze armpod, with WE 618B as MC-SUT (but will be swapping on all my available SUTs, just for my personal pleasure and knowledge).

The sound is just  I N C R E D I B L E after first discs... I'm still finding the words to describe the surprise and sense of free flowing music and slam and dynamics and detailing...

Stay tuned... I'll possibly win my resistance to also try on Garrardzilla.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Still Life (2013)

Saw today such a touching, poetic, truly enriching movie...

Uberto Pasolini, the Director, and Eddie Marsan, superbly acting in the main character and role, simply touch the ineffable of life, its value... and the sense of "care" for people.

Compassion, whatever...

Loved it!

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Goto crossovers are singing!

Today I decided to (finally) install the 12 db/octave crossovers I recently acquired... after having the 20 binding posts rebuilt (originals were missing or damaged), I prepared the necessary cables and the listening was possible, at last.

The amp I had handy was my old trusty stereo 3,5W stereo amp based on Western Electric 421A indirectly-heated double triode and with some trepidation I connected everything to Thomas Mayer CX310A line stage and turned ON the Gotorama...

The tuning of the levels was quite easy and after about half an hour I got a nice, nice blending of all channels quite similar to the multi-amped Mayer 4-ways line-.level crossover and Nuforce MCA-20 Stealth, just a tad less dramatic in terms of dynamics, but with a better sense of cohesiveness.

What impressed me was the sense of HUGE power coming from the little amp flawlessly feeding the behemoth Gotorama, previously fed by a monster Class D amp (2224W on 4 ohm/8 channels - 600W on 16 ohm/8 channels).

A great performance.

Tomorrow will dismantle everything to get as cleaner, shorter, better cables layout... the plan to keep as parallel the line-level Mayer crossover/Nuforce power amp multi-amping is just on stand-by...

First I wish to better tune the actual passive crossover/single tube amping... next trial will be using the Partridge 300B mono blocks.

Will see... aehm, listen to the best combo... to follow, Darius Valiunas' DaVa field-coil cartridge evaluation on The Peak and Garrardzilla.

Never tired... also if considering my oblomovism is always here.


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.