Search this Blog


Thursday, September 30, 2010

WJAAS (related) - ALLNIC's "Puritas" MC cartridge

"Omen nomen" - i.e. the name says it all, as Latin (well, yet cryptically) suggests... Puritas or the purest of pure.

ALLNIC's C.E.O. Kang Su Park painstackingly hand-build these beauties as a passion and a labour of love... like the previous Verito and Verito Z, the ALLNIC's MC cartridges represent a true well-kept secret in audio and analog art.

They truly are unassuming little wooden bodied extremely light cartridges where the coils and building are much more reminding a Neumann's cutting head in its no-compromise coils/magnets assembly than a more conventional hi-fi cartridge.

Impressive as always, and in Puritas as well, is looking at the cashmere-like size of high purity copper coil-wire: they're almost invisible!

The South Korean workshop added to the already winning Verito Z cart, a solid boron cantilever, a new coils core material and a solid ebony body... BUT it's the sound which impresses more: I mounted it on my Schick "Palladium" 12 inches arm and using my size reduced home system, using Zeiss-Ikon "luggage-like" 26 cm wide-band speakers and Marantz 7C preamp with (superb) M1 25W Class A monoblocks and Shindo 301... well: the King is Dead, folks... "Hooraay!" for the new-born King.

The Lumiere DST - unlistened in the last three months - still was and is my most beloved needle;-) - BUT ALLNIC's Puritas owns 99 percent of the Lumiere's magic with a much improved trackability and - hats off - a bloom, an easiness and a sense of rightness and (aesthetic) surprise in an extremely "crowded", yet supremely well-displayed soundstage which is hardly believable for any cartridge at any price and any design.

What more impressed me with Lumiere DST since I began using and appreciating it - i.e. its lysergic qualities in differentiating ambient noises and the uncanny ability to follow ALL, bar none, different layers in any music played.

I found this on Puritas, as well... used with the Peerless 4685... well, it's pure bliss, pals!

On the enthusiasm for the recent listening experience, I'll complete the hauling to my studio of the Garrard/Shindo 301 in its silver slate plinth on next weekend, maybe incl. the (pain in the ass) 260 kilos slate platform where the 301 sits (sic!), as I simply cannot stand the lesser EMT 930 and its TSD-15 quite raw, "medium" playing and analog retrival, anymore;-)

I'll bring it - the complete EMT 930st, I mean - i.e. seismic base and glass platter - back home, good for occasional listenings or background music, swapping the celestial 301 with Schick's masterpiece arm and the new Puritas to sound in full Gotorama glory, at last.

All considered, I'm always very surprised when the old Zeiss-Ikon's speakers, despite their limited bandwidth and objective flaws, show to me something new, like a light at the end of a tunnel... the Puritas truly is a musical instrument and it clearly showed its beauty as a brand new little gizmo, pretty out of the ALLNIC's usual, seldom seen (weird) wooden box;-)

Will see (and hear) for further maturing and improving in the next weeks... as at 1,95 grams, also using a (someway) wrong arm (Thomas Schick's 12 incher is more "a suo agio" with less compliant cartridges) is... "T.V.B.C.I.E.O.P." (®;-))) - i.e The Very Best Cartridge I Ever Owned, Period!

I've no more wishes, oh Lord... ('til the next stroke...)

Thanks a lot to my friend David and to K.S. Park.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Weirdo Dept. - Loren (Mazzacane) Connors

Guitarist Loren Connors was born in New Haven, Connecticut in 1949. Best known as a composer and improviser, Connors has issued over 50 guitar records on his own imprints (Daggett, St. Joan, Black Label) since the late 1970s and over two dozen on other labels across the globe. He has recorded under the names Guitar Roberts, Loren Mattei, Loren MazzaCane Connors and other variations. Connors' singular adpation of the blues is a distinct personal vision combining the Delta bottleneck sound and the ancestral blues voice (appearing as distortion, baying hounds or multi-tracked guitar), with hauntingly unexpected sounds. Outside of Connors' three decades of solo work, he has collaborated with Suzanne Langille, Jim O'Rourke, Darin Gray, Alan Licht, Christi, Keiji Haino, San Agustin, Jandek and many others, as well as leading the group Haunted House. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Too bad I only knew about him VERY recently... his extremely broad musical production, his endless collaborations, and - most of all - his unfearful, brave musical mind... well, all the above makes him an istant hero for yours truly.

Well worth investigating...

Monday, September 13, 2010

Four Ways Street: multi-amping again...

Paying kudos to CSN&Y's masterpiece;-), after four years, I returned to active multi-amping, pals...

I felt VERY unconfortable, because I'm an extremely lazy and slow worker when having to perform major updating and modding to my system... nonethless, thanking Franz Hinterlehner's support and pushing, I took the stress of managing up-to seven amplifiers - considering some monos and some stereos - to feed the four ways of my speakers.

I truly hated the mess of cables, busy floor;-) and ground-loops buzzing due to poor, made in an hurry mains layout and multiple wall sockets use, but during the extremely tiring measuring sessions using the beauty of... pink noise, I was able to hear a definite difference from my previous use of Pioneer D-23 electronic crossover... no veiling, as I felt in the past, BUT unveiling.

Considering I'm using a cheaply, yet cleverly made, old Goto CF-1 18db/octave-3rd order active/electronic crossover with fixed frequencies cut-offs - i.e. 220/1000/5000 hz
(see here below some specs:
L channel: 220Hz or less
M channel: 220Hz - 1kHz
MH channel: 1kHz - 5kHz
H channel: 5kHz or more
Cross-over-frequency deflection Less than ±4%
Damping characteristics 18dB/oct
Passage belt gain - 1dB (M, MH, and H channel are with an output regulator)
Input impedance 50kohm
Output load impedance 300ohms or less (at the time M,MH,H channel of an output maxima)
Maximum permissible input 3Vrms
Distortion 0.15% or less (at the time of 1V input)
S/N ratio 90dB or more (each channel input 1 V:00)
Power source AC100V, 50Hz/60Hz
Power consumption About 1.5 VA)

... well, I felt someway surprised, as I was 120 percent sure my previous passive autoformers-based four-ways x-overs were doing a good job, (almost) impossible to surpass.

Today, at my (slow) pace, I re-routed all amps from same wall socket, optimized phase, and using my IVIE-IE30 and IE-20's pink noise, I made levels in about a couple of hours, including some new speakers cables making - nothing exotic, only old green Klangfilm cable;-)

... then, at last, after two days of awful-looking studio... Music, again.

Gotorama sounds like before, using passive x-over and 300B amp(s) - i.e. detailed, smooth, beautiful, pleasant... ONLY far better!

Yes, I know... everyone says multiamping is the Nirvana, BUT for me, previously using it in the past with Westrex' and RCA's drivers it was Hell-like... always fiddling with pots and listening to the same boring discs not for pleasure but for fine-tuning.

Now, be Gotorama's merits, my own improved ear and cleverness or whatever... the sense of see-through the musical event, the extremely variety of notes and tracks and recordings, the sooo dramatically improved depth and wideness of soundstage makes me both content AND a VERY beginner, a scholar, as I'll be - I'm almost sure - all my life: not a bad condition, as the sense of discovery, the surprise, the joy, yes, the childish joy of hearing and improving and learning more and more is, itself, an heavenly gift, indeed...

Well, plainly said, I feel me a lot of encouragement and support around me: people like Reinhard from Germany, Mirco from Italy, Tim from France and others let me feel like I'm not alone, but an happy (stereo) kichigai;-) - and sure, today more than ever - I feel and know "the path" is the goal, more than the goal itself.

So, multiamping again: 2 x Hiraga 20W stereo on mid-low and mid and 2 x M1 25W monos on low (missing in the pixes, shot while still fiddling) and 300B monos on high... and hearing something I'm always hungry of: more music and involvement... and Cristina Pluhar and Kings Singers never sounded this good, this evening... I unshamedly had to listen to "Les Impossibles" disk twice, as once wasn't enough!

Thanks to Franz for his support and patience and for pushing me toward the above and to Reinhard for GREAT inspiration and long-distance support and encouragement.

Thanks also to Tommy Cheung (Top Class Audio) for using his (opened) Goto CF-1 crossover pixes... so avoided opening mine: my lazyness, my fault;-)

His site is always a goldmine!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Mojo goes vinyl!

The always interesting Mojo music magazine goes vinyl!

They always, since their very beginning, talked and reviewed vinyls, old, collector's items and new issues, but they always attached to the magazine an easier to manage disk (God bless'em, anyway...)

On last Oct. 2010 isuue, they (sort-of) re-opened the Gates of Eden and... the usual disk of covers of classic Beatles' "Abbey Road" album can (easily) be obtained in heavy (audiophile pressing w. fold-out cover) vinyl format.


A wise, classy choice, so music friendly as... downloads do not (maybe) kill the music, BUT they SURE wound it;-)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


I've always been fond of epic... when a student I loved Kalevala, Ulysses and all the sagas and tales every nation proudly owns and cherishes.

Now, I found that "epic" quality to be peculiar to some kind of music... it's an elusive but very recognizable feature only a bunch of very selected music owns: it's not only in Mahler or Beethoven or Bach or Miles... it's not a monopoly of Greatests, only...

I recently - it was yesterday evening - found it in an obscure, yet awesome John Tchicai's disc on Steeplechase titled "Real Tchicai" - it's John on alto sax, Pierre Dorge on electric guitar and Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen on double bass...

Its melodies, also on shortest tracks - i.e. Moksha Point, Blue Barrier or the beautiful Mirjam's Dadadance, own a shiny perfection, an anthem-like airy solidness I simply NEED to listen to it... as I need drinking water.

So... what's "epic" in music?

It's not a war-march, nor an army-camp singing, neither the Seven Dwarfs returning from the diamond mine and singing;-))) - it can be sad or joyful, BUT always it's moving, hitting some inner-string; another example which comes to my mind is "The Sailor Boy", a tune as played at the piano by Benjamin Britten, with Peter Pears singing... it's bold, fiery, pure... it's a two and a half minutes long symphony, a little self-contained gem.

It's a very definite "sense of uniqueness" belonging to this or that tune... an immediate (personal) chart-buster which need to be re-listened pronto, again and again.

I'm not a philosopher, maybe I'm wrong, BUT it seems to me the character of Tchicai's as Robbie Basho's and others hints to something which is both easy and complex, new and ancient, already heard, yet brand-new... like coming from a common "humankind memory" or whatever...

... and the ear, maybe our most unbiased and sincere sense... well, "recognizes" it...

Moby Dick's Birthday

The whale is one year old, folks...

Happy Birthday to her, to Silvia and to everyone involved in the making of the radio program which - plainly said - keeps the radio alive;-)

Thanks for being, pals!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

John Lennon killer Chapman denied parole in NY

... for the sixth time the 55 years old killer of John Lennon, living in his Attica "home" for the last 30 years, was denied parole.

A lunatic-less-one world is a safer place, anyway...

... what press says...

Lennon would have been 70, next October...

The Art of Duet

From Abbot & Costello to Stan Laurel & Oliver Hardy, Paolo Villaggio and Gianni Agus, to Julian Bream & John Williams, Martin Carthy and Dave Swarbrick, Bert Jansch and John Renbourn, Benjamin Britten & Peter Pears... and again, Hans Reichel & Achim Knispel or EROC or Fred Frith, and Fred Frith and... Lol Coxhill, Tim Hodgkinson, Herny Kaiser, John Zorn, Iva Bittova... or Derek Bailey and Evan Parker or... or... and...

Musically, the dueting represents to my eyes and ears the simplest, yet evolute meeting of souls, minds, interests, wishes, dreams, aesthetics... whatever.

It's like an heavenly glue, an avatars meeting at some level, sure higher than everyday life.

It's sexless friendship in music, BUT when playing (or acting) together, it's MUCH more orgasm-like than average sex happening on the planet.

I well remember - humbly - the several musical meeting I had in my life as a guitar player: first notes are like dating... everyone studies the other...

Playing on a score or, better yet, improvising is, TRULY is, among the deepest, most involving experiences I ever had.

When listening to the classic "Bert & John" on Transatlantic, for example, you do not simply listen to two guitars, BUT to two young musicians who met, sharing a flat, their days, friendship, interests... and the interwoving of strings, the pauses, the music is much more than the sum of the parts...

It's "The Zen and the Art of Duet"... the above only an example, as all the above mentioned "couples" were able to reach that "magic".

Monday, September 6, 2010

"The Boat that Rocked" (2009)

Don't miss this, folks... "The Boat that Rocked" is a must-see movie!

Download it, buy it, find it at yr. local cinema, BUT try to catch it.

This is not a review - use the a.m. link for synopsis and list of characters; it's only an invitation to see and enjoy this very movie...

... BUT can't resist talking about a sequence in the deep-water during a wreck, where the discs which made "our" musical history fluctuates in the clear sea-water... Incredible String Band - THE 5000 SPIRITS OR THE LAYERS OF THE ONION being the most recognizable.

It's a deeply moving scene, the birth of a revolution called "rock" and free radio broadcasting "our" music... the beauty of the record covers in the water reminds me the explosion scene in Antonioni's "Zabriskie Point".

A must-see... thanking my friend Daniele for hinting this.

Friday, September 3, 2010

A (short) phono-stages survey: LCR vs. LCR - Thomas Mayer 437A and ALLNIC H-3000

... and the winner is... LCR!

Yes, folks!

I recently had the rare opportunity to directly compare in my system a superb ALLNIC H-3000 with separate power supply, the Top-of-the Line phono stage using Allnic-made LCR modules and built-in MC transformers.

Coming in two impressive double carton boxes, the extremely well made piece of gear is a beauty for the eyes... superbly crafted in every detail, with two yellow eyes on the front panel, it silently looked at me in dimmed light and gave its intrerpretation and declination of Music.

I listened to Robert Wyatt, Ludwig Streicher, Hans Reichel, Fred Frith, Hope Sandoval, Sidsel Endresen, Miles Davis, Hopkinson Smith and Ornette Coleman and the silky smoothness of the brand-new H-3000, its extremely broad soundstage and dinamically alive, pleasant nature, positively surprised me.

Liquid, easy, natural... and dynamic and quiet and hum-free as it can be.

A beauty.

... after enjoying it, too briefly, I finally had to return it to its owner - a friend - who kindly lent to me his 30 kilos beast to enrich my first-hand experience of top class gears... thanks a lot!

Before doing so, I re-connected to Mayer VT-25A line stage my WE 437A LCR phono-stage and - with my friend - repeated some of the above listenings - i.e. avoiding for sanity-sake;-) Hans Reichel & Eroc's disc;-)))

The 437A demonstrated what I already was aware of... the class, the naturalness, the extreme "surprise" which is before and after every single note spreads in the room with every kind of music... that's it, pals...

So... are you looking for a brand or maker winner?

... not here, folks... the true winner is "LCR", a seldom used way to manage and deal with the tiny phono RIAA signal... there are some differences between Mayer's and ALLNIC's, of course - smoother and relaxing the Korean, more dramatic and surprising the German, BUT the common ground - i.e. LCR design - is well represented in both the characters.

All other designs - it's my very own, yet sincere, opinion - sound poor and flawed... maybe pleasant, but, sure, lesser!

Gallows Pole

Last evening I was listening to the great "The Electric Muse" 4 discs + booklet on Transatlantic where Karl Dallas defined the who's who and why and where of folk, british folk and folk rock...

From Child's ballads to Davey Graham, Steeleye Span, Martin Carthy, Bert Jansch and... Led Zeppelin;-)

One of the first tracks, on disc one or four, contained a radio recording dated 1939 in NYC, of Huddie "Leadbelly" Ledbetter, playing - on his mighty Stella twelve strings - and singing "Gallows Pole".

I was amazed... I already experienced Rev. Gary Davis and Leadbelly old 12 strings blues and tunes... BUT sure wasn't prepared to listen to this... THIS... imagine: Leo Kottke, Fred Gerlach and Peter Lang on a monster acoustic stringed 014-070 (!!!), sounding modern like sounded - yes, he was coming from outer space - Michael Hedges back in the '80s!

A fingerbuster played with syncopation and dexterity. Superb.

Then I gave a listen to Fred Gerlach "Gallows Pole" from his Folkways' disc and, again, WOW... that magic! Fred's rendition was simply beautiful and faithful to Leadbelly's...

Child's Ballad # 95 - i.e. "Gallows Pole" is a Phoenix, always resurrecting to new life from the ashes... Led Zeppelin and virtually ALL folksingers, Bob Dylan and up and down, played and performed and singed it... different titles and slightly different texts... same "hangman" and story...

I love this... so, here are some Wikifacts about "Gallows Pole" and its mysteries.


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

WJAAS - Tubes and audio parts chasing in Tokyo

Thanking Pete Millett (from Texas, BUT not a Texan;-)) and his great site and links 1
and 2.

Useful Google Earth guide and commentaries to Akibahara's secrets.


On the Platter - Fred Frith's "Step Across the Border"

Fred Frith's.
Step Across the Border reached my hands by chance only a couple of days ago, BUT I'm not able to stop playing it in loop-mode in my system.

It's s compendium in music of almost a whole life of musical adventures from Japan to USA to Europe by one of my Heros... from the big sideburns days;-) with Henry Cow to collaborations with Henry Kaiser and Lol Coxhill and MANY others...

His Japanese connections, interests and merging truly represents in my opinion among the (possible) zenith(s) in improvised music.

This double disc I recently purchased is a masterpiece... John Zorn and many more are companions, support and brothers and sisters in arm with mr. Frith.

It's music which made my day, yesterday, and will do today and tomorrow, as well.

Mains Street

A superbly useful site.

An obsessive and fascinating "Trip around the World" of mains-plugs and receptacles;-)