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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Munchen "Schall und Rauch 2" Audio Tasting - October 2008

This current 2008's highlight has been the discovery and experiencing of Audio Tastings... a relatively new kind of event where people coming from everywhere gather together and share interests, hints & tips, records, whatever and, definitely, have good time, in music and audio peaceful spirit.

After Berlin, last May, Munchen on last october first weekend!

I'm only now writing these few words after the gathering itself because I had to let things working, as I learned from this event and people meeting more than I gave to others - i.e. Dietmar Hempel's music system and clever technical approach, his hints re. pink noise and delay, made me to greatly and faster improve the tuning of my new speaker-system.

The listening to his music system, in Bavaria countryside were, them alone, worth the trip!

... and Thomas Mayer's great, exotic, no-copycatted tube projects enlighted the whole event with marvellous sound.

Back at home, what I listened to, the chatting, the people I met... all this boiling pot was filtered in my mind and sensitivity.

The Telefunken M-15A tape-machine I bought from Thomas Schick is really fantastic (have a look at Michael's Audi trunk - a 220 kilos load of Telefunken M-15A... mine is the second row at left...) the overhaul on the fly of the unworking Berndt's M-15A, which Michael Ulbrich brilliantly solved in few minutes... well, I was impressed: a technician maybe would have asked for 200 euro only for a soldering... solved in friendship name.

Also David Shreve, who performed an impressive V.T.A. super-careful tuning to all turntables which played in full Schick's arms glorious analogue sound, at the Munchen's listening room, has been a pleasant meeting... his little gift of a very nice Nonesuch harp recording he had moved me, indeed.

During the two nights, after late hour listening, chatting, laughing, Rolf's dog and all people slept in rucksacks on the floor, in a commune/audio/music/freak way which reminded me of Amon Duul krautrock group, also from Munchen, back in the '60s.

All this happened during the beer and pissing and crowd crazy mix of OktoberFest, held at few kilometers from our location, but so far... we lived for almost three days in a quite quiet place in an industrial estate, near one of the several BMW production plants during a German national holiday weekend...

... almost a new TV format: an audio reality show;-)))

... BTW: during the night I was aware of the... true spirit of Kraftwerk!

24/24, 7/7, 365/365 a plant and its BIG hammers, furnaces and melted, lava-like steel worked at few hundreds meters from the Audio tasting location... during the night, warm in my rucksack, I... felt the city, industrial heartbeat.

Nice people, nice music, nice food... and, you'll say... "What about -... und rauch-?" Definitely "YES!": also smoking was well represented in Munchen... the humidor was never empty of puff-friendly "Habanos"/hecho a mano... Partagas, Romeo y Julieta, Cohiba... the very best!

On second day, the great Berndt, a true buongustaio... materialized from his bag... a Laphroaig brand new bottle and... WOW, cigars & single malt... also if smoking at 4 degrees Celsius in the Munchen breeze on the terrace... it was an heaven!

A very interesting experience.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Horns... hype or the straightest, better way to Music at home?

It seems speaking about horns in audio raises several people eyebrows and mixed feelings... hate or love. Black or white.

I love'em by heart... but that's my Karma!

I recently began my evaluation of a full-Goto horns speakers-system and more than a technical approach, I'm only able to talk about the ancient looking devices and, through the difficulties to squeeze the full-bloom, balanced sound, detailed and life-like it's capable, as I well know in my ideal (mind) audio/music system, about Music.

... and it's not an easy task: behemoth-like size, up-scale weight, weird-looking and HUGE efficiency in my tiny 23 square-meters music-room... all this and more give to me the breeze to tame a true monster.

Gym, wrestling and audio, too... handling these "babies" leave me so tired... and what about the pluses? Are there or not?

It's not saying a plain: "I own a Goto speakers system"... it's not enough, considering the hassle and expense... but, listening to a "work-in-progress" Goto/Westrex' horn-system with transformers-coupled WE-tubed amps, give to Music a so natural flowing, an airyness VERY hard to believe possible in a humble, tiny room.

The old, sought-after SG-555PS mid-low drivers with S-150 horn are a true window, a Time-Machine which bring to the exact place "where and when" the recording took place... more than the "notes", it's the "air" of the recording venue, as the musicians breathed, is so... HERE, tangible... amazing.

I'm still fiddling with a low-end someway flawed which is masking a little the amazing clarity of the upper ways, but what I already hear is... well... a step beyond what I used to appreciate in my recordings... music as a whole, not a bunch of (harmonic) noises sputtered in the room-space. Will go ahead with more evaluations using bass-baffles, much better matching quickness and clarity of upper-voice... the fast-sounding, mighty Westrex 2090 15" instead of softer-sounding Altec 803, I guess will work fine...

... not bad, for those weird-looking, old-timey "apparatus", don't you?

(to be continued)...