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Monday, July 16, 2018

Misho Myronov's WoodenAmp landed at my studietto

My pal Misho paid a visit to yours truly on his way in his roundtrip to another common friend, Markus Klug in Bavaria... he was accompanied by his wife Irina and his son, Misho.

Misho Myronov, Misho Jr. and... Gotorama.

He was able to squeeze in his car trunk the full WoodenAmps' monty - i.e. the world - at least among discerning, braveheart audiophiles in Australia, Philippines and... Italy - renowned birch plywood chassis tubes pieces of gear using seldom seen valves.

I unwrapped the carefully bubble-plastic cocooned line-stage, phono-stage and PSU and 3,5W amp and... simply admired the care for details, the smooth surfaces, the hex-nuts choices, even the smell of this freshly brewed handicrafts, carefully hand-made in Bulgaria.

First of all, as I plan to take my time to taste and enjoy the above mentioned electronics, I was sooo curious about the Siemens C3M tubes' based line-stage and I immediately connected to the smaller system, swapping it for the ex-residing Luxman AT-3000 passive preamp.

The first disk I enjoyed was a Stefan Micus' ECM... I immediately appreciated a sense of free-flowing easiness, a definite improved headroom and an impressive load of highly realistic detailing: the Stefan's shakuhachi has impressively dynamic, the before-the-note breathing and inspiring was absolutely true-to-life, as well.

The one of a kind, variable-strings classical guitar had a voice superbly various, rich in texture, decay and loudness, with extremely precise and dramatic dynamic changes...

The strong sensation of an inspired musician playing, improvising, breathing in front of me was nothing short of awesome.

The Partridge 300Bs mono blocks were like they found a new partner, a companion... a lover!

... and the WoodenAmp line-stage proved to be a truly fantastic lover: it owns one of the rarest capabilities - i.e. to work so well with amps it seems they were done one for each other.

I listened to the smaller, Tandberg System 11/300B/Meridian based system since yesterday early morning, for about 5 hours, now... tand he overall sound seems to blossom at every track, on and on...

This evening, I swapped the Foundation Designer/Tandberg System 11 for the larger Tandberg 114-116-8 speakers, sweating and puffing just to learn more and find confirmation of the merits of the just added Misho's line-stage.

Something really special whose building quality is up-to-par with its superb sound qualities, a single-stage with a 6x amplifying factor using a sought-after, great sounding, transparent Siemens tube used decades ago by German Post for trans-oceanic, long distance telephone calls.

The tubes were extremely expensive at DM 200 each, when a Volkswagen was DM 5,000.00... but what impresses is the transparency, resolution and dynamics... everything is so fresh and beefy.

I look forward in the next tasting on Gotorama, with RIAA phono-stage and Neumann DST and Tim de Paravicini's The Head, The Peak arm and Garrardzilla... my dream-system.

Ohhh, yes!

Bravo to Misho and his Audio Antiquary's partner Yanislav... his success and worldwide recognition as a first-class builder of bespoke, hand-made gears is my sincere wish to a friend and a man of integrity.

Personally knowing who de-facto winded the transformers used in these units only adds some drama to the whole matter... but, hey!... sounds and music first: the technical aspects are functional to the musical result, NOT a per-se exercise of hype & complication, as sometimes (too often?) happens...

Something which definitely I find quite boring and annoying these days.

Someway wrong, I should better say...

... stay tuned for more Misho's, folks; it will be worthwhile!

P.S. - forgetting to say this  a w e s o m e  unit is conservatively priced at EUR 3,200.00... including the premium, N.O.S. tubes! A bargain of HUGE proportions, IMHO.

Jaap Pees taking care of Zach's EMT 930st

Jaap is someone I truly admire since we knew about 15 years ago... he's an accomplished technician, passionate, skilled and careful to bring his beloved Thorens, EMT and Studer gears back to factory specs.

 The revised, cleaned and realigned motor... the 100hz vibe is gone!

The unrevised motor and it's harmonic visual report... the 100hz vibe is embarrassingly visible...

He recently - on my request - took care of an EMT 930st, a turntable which originally was located in France, resided in Italy for some years at a friend's home and now will fly to USA for its third to-date life.

A Bruel & Kjaer acceloremeter for vibes measurement... 

I asked for Jaap's great support as the EMT's worked for its last years with a Siemens Micromaster 420, so without the precision caps on third motor phase, taming the vibes which could plague the mighty broadcasting turntable if poorly maintained.

... as a last step, a bespoke HAT 2 power-supply ready for 60hz/117V U.S. mains will be fitted as an outboard necessory.

I'm very satisfied for the results as per Jaap's revision photographic story-board.

In a few days the beast will be temporarily back home to be - finally - carefully crated and shipped to its final proud owner.

Definitely, Dutch do it better, indeed.

Friday, July 6, 2018

12 strings acoustic guitar & morphic fields - Maurizio Angeletti's new book

Maurizio changed my musical life, 35 years ago... a record - Window over the Stream - and a single piece - Out of the Game - were enough to make me sick about 12 strings acoustic guitar... forever.

Maurizio's records reviews on L'Ultimo Buscadero magazine about Robbie Basho, John Fahey, Peter Lang, Daniel Hecht, Alex De Grassi, William Ackerman and other superb guitar players opened my eyes and ears, further and further.

These records were quite difficult to be found at your local records store, so Carù Dischi in Gallarate and its mail service were extremely useful in these pre-WEB days.

Same as with analog photography, from ordering by phone to get the disc a couple of weeks were the norm... and the pleasure, after the wait, like looking at the pictures shot weeks before, was huge!

Maurizio wrote a seminal book, American Guitar, about his and my own heroes, not copy-catting infos around but visiting all of them, at their places, in the USA...

The effect of Maurizio Angeletti on me (and many other musicians friends I'm aware of) was incredible and, in 1983, I simply had to know him in person...

... same as when I spent three hours with the late Davey Graham in Camden Town, London or when I visited John Renbourn in Kingswear, Devon... it wasn't so difficult... a phone call and this alone usually worked!

... same happened with Maurizio... I arranged to take some lessons from him, at his house in Milan...

Every Saturday, for some months, I took my train bound to Milan with a cheap Ibanez jumbo to reach Maurizio and he shared licks and expression chatting and... I was like a sponge.


35 years after, I got an email from Maurizio, himself... out of the blue.


I wasn't 100% sure he remembered our previous, so far away connection... yet... Maurizio was announcing around the freshly issued 2-volumes book about his findings and thoughts on the weird, unique, difficult, seldom found 12 strings acoustic guitar... not a louder 6 strings guitar or an harpsichord, but as he wisely wrote in his foreword, a one of a kind, well-defined instrument.

I immediately ordered my copy which arrived in a few hours... it really was my perfect birthday present, which I gladly paid for, of course.

The book - in Italian only, but full of diagrams, TABs, pictures - is made of a thicker tome of 450+ pages of technical, musical and aesthetic in-deep and well-informed prose with its highlights about composing and interpretations and playing dynamics and a spiral-bound TABs only book of 30 transcriptions for 12 strings acoustic guitar, all arranged or composed by Maurizio, himself.

A goldmine more than a book... it will give - to me and to everyone into this elusive, yet wonderful world of the mighty 12 strings guitar - many years of enjoyment and musical pleasure.

The one of a kind Marco Cavedon 12 strings acoustic guitar used by Maurizio in early '80s.

Please, if interested, drop Maurizio himself a note at mangeletti12corde-AT-gmai-DOT-com

A quite recent pix of the Author.

You won't regret doing so and spending every single cent of the price-tag of this opus magna.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Tandberg 114-116-8 Alnico Coaxial speakers

Repetita juvant, folks... I already talked about these lovely 1965 vintage Tandberg's speakers... their transparency and zestness put to shame many high regarded so-called hi-end speakers.

They were the top-of-the-line model back then.

I repeat myself showing such a lovely family picture: the truly ugly-named 114-116-8 and System 11 on Foundation Designer speakers-stands.

Beauties from a long-gone era.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Happy Birthday to the 12" disc...

Happy birthday to the LP record, turning 70 today.

LP developer Peter Goldmark of Columbia Records holds the initial LP launch catalog, while standing next to the same music on 78s. Picture taken on June 18, 1948 at Waldorf Astoria Hotel in NYC.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

A young luthier came to town

When a young luthier, after getting his laurel at Cremona renown luthiery academy, opens his workshop in old downtown, well... I'm both moved and thrilled... church bells ring and music have one more chance top be spread as the most peaceful of human artefacts.

Best wishes to Giacomo for his new adventure... and, WOW!... compliments, indeed, for the nice classical guitar I had the pleasure to briefly taste, his first instrument, French polish finished and nice, mellow sound, full of harmonics.

Good luck!

Monday, June 11, 2018

When worlds collides in a musical way of beauty

My good friend Klaus Speth today hosted some Japanese and Thailandese pals at his place...

Klaus is a family-man and he loves his life and enjoys his music system and music... no Audio Fairs, no international meetings... he's a true master and to get a master you have to get his place... secluded, in the hills out of Koln...

These pixies represent a sort-of miracle: Klaus' system and Yuki, Moriyama's daughter in a nice, NICE shot taken by another Japanese pal, the maker of superb WE 13A replicas, Yasutoshi Sasamato-san.

Germany, Japan, Thailand, France... people come from different parts of the world, yet sharing same passion for music and beauty and friendship.

Love it...

... and yes: proud to know these nice people, all.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

June Flea-Market ephemeral joys

... only a glimpse of the 26 records I found... early morning, as usual, fresh air, black birds singing and only die-hard sellers and buyers, around...

 Japanese pressing

... was searching for this bastard for eons...

Japanese pressing 

 ... maybe the best piano recording I ever listened to: engineered by J.F. Pontefract in 1986

His Bobness best disc? Maybe... sure a PERFECT copy, 1st Japanese pressing.

Hoffnung Festival I, II & III on French Harmonia Mundi

Have you ever heard about Gerard Hoffnung?

He sure was an eccentric, cartoonist and amateur tuba player (...) and his sense of musical parody is... well: eccentric.

Found this morning at local flea-market the three volumes... well, also if not on sought-after Columbia 33CX... pressings, the music on these waxes is superb and the vinyl on French Harmonia Mundi is premium quality...

A very, very nice find and a live recordings at Royal Albert Hall in London - conducted by Malcolm Arnold, Norman del Mar and other great artists - whose quality is just a cherry on the cake.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Studer C37 trivia - a day in Regensdorf

2 Inches Records from Switzerland


... if the case, beside the 140 grams vinyl, you may get the reel-to-reel version...

No computer editing or... other weird, third-millenium technologies!

Anthony Bourdain passed away...

... and this is sad news!

Don't know why, but his food reportages and the seminal "Hell's Kitchen" really and deeply inspired and intrigued me... a sort-of food/quality/quest empathy.

Very, very sad as he - reportedly - committed suicide when in Strasbourg, France...

My humble condolences to his partner, Asia Argento, his family and close friends...

A lesser world it is...

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Woodstock 2

An iconic 7,5 IPS reel to reel tape from my vault...

... a reel to reel relic, part of my musical DNA...