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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Alessandro Baricco's LESSON 21 or the challenge of Music at the Movie

Yesterday evening I saw one of the most intriguing, moving, amusing, deep movies of this year.
Baricco's Lesson 21 is about Beethoven's 9th Symphony... it's something to be seen by young and elder, give a path and add a background knowledge to the music lover and to the occasional listener.
It's poetic, deep, light like Music is... describes, hints, gives an urgence to have a critic, careful listening to the last Ludwig Van's effort... it's Kurosawa and Greenaway, with a lot of passion and compassion from the great characters in the film.
I loved it... guess I'll go to the cinama again, this evening. Lesson 21 again, of course... alone, to better understand it, in sponge-like-mode;-)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Learning or being humble with knowledge

Few weeks ago, during my Munchen Rauch & Schall audio/musical trip, Dietmar Hampel, his nice system and hint about "pink nose" as the best friend for system tuning left a VERY deep footprint in my mind.
Furthermore, the always interesting GoodSoundClub site and forum, the several chatting on complex horn system tuning with Roman and others, all the above led me toward unexplored shores.
Since I began using compression drivers, horns and custom made crossovers, both active and passive, I always tried to tune my system by ear, an intriguing sort-of "lost art", very time consuming, done by trial and error, where the final result was depending on several aspects, last but not least, the chance.
Oh, how wrong I was... my friend George from Athens lent to me a cheap, but effective Phonic analyzer and... Holy Hole!
What I found was a pleasant to the ear sound which was rolled-off at 10khz... maybe a musical sound, but when I fiddled on the L-pads of my 4-ways passive crossovers, I obtained a lesser steep rolling-off and literally TONS of details, air among instruments, depth of image, yes... horns can do this;-)... and an almost alarming naturalness, greatly improved with both vinyl, open reel tapes and disks without loosing, instead enhancing it, the vividness, the elusive sensation of trueness in timbre and trueness! Simply amazing, period.
The next step, after recovering from the deluge of the man vs. machine affaire I was experimenting on my very own skin, I remembered a name I used to hear in pro-sound analyzing field: IVIE.
... some Ebay browsing and... voilà! I found a superb IVIE IE-30A with its own top-class 1/4 inch Class 1 measuring microphone.
A moral: machine has been created by men to make things easier, not to substitute human ears, in this case.
... also the cheap, toy-like Phonic was good enough to indicate a path. My audio system never sounded THIS good... I used an electronic ear for coarse tuning and refined to my taste by ear.
One hour or so (plus reading user manual) was enough instead of weeks or months of annoying fine tuning with records, tapes, etc.
A big heartfelt "Thank you" to Damiano Pinazza of IVIE Italia for his kindness and advice, to Craig Saergent for the IVIE, to George for the Phonic, to Roman for his straightforwarded audio and musical severe approach and to Dietmar who - first among all - hinted to me this new (sure it's to me;-)) approach.