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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Is improving an endless process? What's the limit? Does it exists?

People who know me well know I'm a quite straight guy... I try, at least, to say what I think... given this as true, how can we all manage something quite intriguing, human, yet sometimes almost painful like having to amend, change our own mind on something or someone?

Life isn't digital, isn't black or white, it's fractal... knowledge doesn't follow tracks, but wind... it's like a tiger at the zoo or in the forest... freedom, of living and thinking, creating, being wrong... that's Life... as a tiger maybe get sad being unable to catch a prey, but it's strong and brave and straight as an arrow 'til the very last minute of its life, can't be the spike of unafraid intelligence and ideas without freedom, having an high goal...

... but let me bring a.m. thoughts and speculating on audio and music, a friendly field of mine, indeed;-)

Why am I trying to adventure myself in this - apparently - unfriendly field?

It happens people sometimes is afraid of novelties... the different worries... the old trusty path is easier, friendly... BUT so boring!

These days I was greatly enjoying my audio system after some big changes and some minor tweaks... my friend Gianni gave to me a matched pair of fresh, Western Electric 300-B triodes for my transformers-coupled amps... not a bargain for cheap... and for this reason I kept on a shelf, fearsome of purchase, of cost and...

This evening I returned from a long walk with my dog... relaxed, and more bravehearted, I won my lazyness... weared the white cotton gloves I usually use to handle the expensive tubes and turned on the amps... filament first and, one minute after, full triode...

... what I heard shortly after... every minute passing the better, was nothing short than pure bliss.

The old stock Western Electric 300-B from 1983 I previously used, also if sought-after where, I'm now 120 percent sure, quite worned out.

They gave to me several thousands hours of music enjoyment, but the new fresh 300-B aren'r, simply, fresh... they're not better because they're brand new... they're of a completely superior breed, period.

I heard tons of nuances and details on records I listened two days ago, also yesterday evening... a buzzing yesterday, was an hidden acoustic 12 strings strumming in Mark Hollis' solo disk... impressive... awesome resolution.

... so, let me humbly ask to the Sky: is improving any given life fact an art, a science, a chance, a God's gift?

... is it a never ending story? Judging from the solo piano in Stanley Kubrick's "Eyes Wide Shut" OST... definitely "YES"!

Thanks Gianni and thanks mom for my two good ears;-)))...

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Lumiere DST: cartridge extraordinaire or a nightmare?

Kimura-san at his workbench.
Kikuchi-san (on his vintage italian bike) and staff

Neumann company, Germany, offered this construction of dynamic moving coil pickup.
Die Firma Neumann (Deutschland) bietet diese Konstruktion eines dynamischen MC- Tonabnehmers an.

and here is link of the Swedish forum which hinted to me about "Lumiere DST": (look at the very end of the thread for interesting pixes).

... as Chiaki Kikuchi-san from Japan offered his own replica since not too many months ago... as a proud and fond user and owner of some of these cartridges, I'm asking myself, after lots of chatting, writing and reading on the matter: are these elusive, rare, sought after and extremely nice sounding cartridges an owner nightmare, as many people suffered mixed troubles or they do simply deserve some care, that with VERY simple rules gives to her a very long life-span?

Tech-head who closely examined the Neumann DST or the Lumiere DST still wonders "how" this cartridge is able to give a proper stereo signal... with its old timey 0,6 mil spherical diamond, it reaches groove walls where very few cartridges goes... again, the diamond is VERY long and reading much deeper than many ellipticals, exotic designs...

Someone reported that DST's replica used a quite cheap diamond tip, while Neumann's papers claimed back in the '60s they spent nine-folds the average industry cost - i.e. USD 9 instead of a more common USD 1 per single diamond tip and this diamond was super carefully hand-polished... more than one user I personally know suffered from failure on one channel or other troubles...

I use some samplers exclusively in my system since 2004 and never noticed any problem: I only followed the few hints Kikuchi-san gave to me... never use any liquid and/or brush... only some careful air-puffing.

... but the above are only phisical trivia: what a cartridge like Lumiere DST gives to music is a sort of miracle!

Like an handmade instrument, it nears the listener to the music, letting music to flow in a freer than air way seldom experienced.

... and this makes me wonder: will a Lumiere be my very last cartridge? Who knows?!?
... but I got some spares, just in case... really, can't imagine myself without this relaxed, musical, transparent, soul-infused Sound.

Another great, holy hand from Japan helped, I'm sure: Kimura-san and his hand made rotary headshells RS-3... cannot imagine a better combo: Schick 12" arm, RS-3 shell, Lumiere DSt replica and my own 25 kilos bronze arm-base and plinth. Maybe not perfect, but my very own combo of choice. Thanks Kimura-san.

... and thanks Chiaki-san: you've been able to catch a sunlight, a butterfly flight, the blue of mountain sky without loosing the magic, the ineffable... you got Music.

Monday, September 15, 2008

A WJAAS' reprise

Came into this VERY interesting Japanese DIY audio site while lazily browsing...

... as usually, Japanese seems to endlessly - and with such a classy approach - investigate every hidden possibility in audio and music reproduction.

Have a look.