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Friday, March 29, 2013

Joël-François Durand's "Telos" 12 inches arm

A really nice, out of the choir, arm...

MSRP? USD 19.500, of course!

Building our own headshell?

A project for the retired, TV haters, unemployed or... simply for the most clever and skilled among us...

Thanks a lot to LencoHeaven and to the cool guy from South Africa.

I'm also investigating on my own path, for a Lemo/Camac-based DIY headshell/arm connecting... and more, MUCH more:-)))

Who says those 4 shitty miniature headshells-wires/contacts are THE only viable way to connect a cartridge to arm to pre-amp?!?!

Just thinking about Decca's proprietary sliding contact for their International arm and cartridges... so cool!


Fuck standards!

A Lemo's 4-concentric contacts male & female... WOW!


The poor white dove is in troubles... as Peace is a rare find, these days... 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Ivan's Choice - Locust

First Locust record in 12 years! Mark Van Hoen, who made a string of influential releases as Locust on R&S records in the 1990's, all but retired the alias at the end of that decade. The record showcases prime examples of Van Hoen's compulsively hypnotic beats and abstracted pop vocals—already hallmarks of his collected work since 1993—manipulating a global variety of samples in Celemony's Melodyne software to weave a unique sonic tapestry, as inviting as it is intricate. Paired with Sherman's evocative synth improvisations—an immediately visceral element new to Locust—these collaborators have crafted a shattered landscape that bridges two persectives of progressive movement in electronic music under a single name.


Friday, March 22, 2013

The Vario's MRT speakers from Italy

Let's call them "Righteous" and "Lefty"?!?

These speakers are... good for kids room!

... but - looking at the "tweeter" - funny:-)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Thomas Mayer - The Tubes Bard

My friend Thomas REALLY is... 


His always enriching technical AND entertaining posts are a WEB highlight.

... and, almost forgettin': his gears are among the VERY best money can buy...

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Monday, March 18, 2013

A newly restored Robbie Basho's track!

Thanking Kyle for his nice labour of love... here is the free download...

Robbie would love ALL the interest and positiveness, money unrelated around his music!

A good Cat!

Repetita juvant!

Sure he's not an audio industry slave... a truth seeker and a passionate music lover... his Forum is a Goldmine for Audio, Music and related... always full of news and in-deep discussions.

Ladies & gentlemen, here is Roman Bessnow and his Macondo in the background.


Sunday, March 17, 2013

R P G or the art of sound diffusing and absorbing


I'd wish to live here!

Commune villas... an awesome place, few km from Beijing.

In China... yes!

The "only" audio system my wife would like...

... after I hauled my system in my studio, years ago:-)))

Integration and understatement... and hidden gears, as she likes... mmmmhhh....


Saturday, March 16, 2013

The ultimate drum kit

More impressive than Dafos, Les Percussions de Strasbourg and Ondekoza:-))))

... and look at the smile:-)

"Compact-Cassette" hommage

50th Anniversary for cassette... here a cool (not compact:-))) hommage!

Allnic's Puritas, Arche' headshell and Oyaide HSR-AG Silver wires


It's serial # 48 - which means that at least 47 lunatics already bought it:-))) - coming in the cool titanium finish... an expensive headshell, but a Swiss watch-like miniature masterpiece...

Coming without wires, I had to chase for the ultimate coloured-code cartridge wires... after extensive browsing for alternatives, I choose...  


Rhodium Plated Brass Tips
Silk Insulation

The mighty ALLNIC Puritas will be soon playing at its VERY best, ever!


Sony Super Metal Master - THE ultimate master cassette

Hideously expensive, BUT this very Sony's "Super Metal Master" cassette tape when used for live recordings makes your SONY TCD5 or WM6DC happy and performing like an open reel tape recorder!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

His Bobness' Chronicles - Bob Dylan's "New Orleans Series"... an exhibition at Palazzo Reale, Milan, Italy

... tomorrow - March 10th, 2013 - will be VERY last exhibition day... it's free... why don't take a chance, if in Milan:-)))?!?

Bob Dylan's is also talented as an oil-on-canvas artist!

The Saturday Disk - Arvo Part's "Fur Alina"

A marvellous piece of piano music, as recorded on July 1995 and issued by ECM New Series in same year... a truly surprising disk I wasn't aware of introduced to me by my friend Edoardo during a listening session I'll remember for years, yesterday evening...

Like Maestro Part says on disk forewords, this music, part of tintinnabuli series, is like a white, pure light... like a prism, the listener sensibility and passion and "understanding/enjoying" makes possible the creations of "colours"... pale, beautiful colours which soooo beautifully dress life and silence.

A superbly light and deep, sooo easy to the soul, kind of music, indeed.

Some trivia... on track 4, "Fur Alina" second variation you'll find a burglar hidden in the (sonic) background... and trains and an aircraft... and the piano pedals and strings muting are pretty awesome: you can hear a seldom heard brushing, harp-like sound, like a feather strumming the piano strings... a truly incredible resolution!

The piano (and the other piano and strings pieces) are recorded in a church in Frankfurt and the pedals and Alexander Malter's - the superb pianist - puffing and breathing and clothes rubbing (!!!) are very lively captured.

A true joy to listen to and a recording to die for, indeed.


Thursday, March 7, 2013

Berlin Trivia and Vintage Studio Porn - David Bowie meets Herbert Von Karajan


Last week a tour through Emil Berliner Studios was organized by Michael Vrzal of Fidelity Magazine in Berlin.

This very studio was used by David Bowie when he recorded Heroes, Helden in Berlin.

The 'Meistersaal' which was used as one of seven concert halls in the vicinity of Potdamer Platz in the 1920ies is also in this building. It can be used for recordings as well.
In the 70ies it was a lonely place with little buildings around it, except the Berlin Wall a stone throw away.

Rainer Maillard, Producer of Emil Berliner Studios (center) explains the Analog studio.
Of course they have all the digital fancy stuff used in 'modern' recordings as well, but the emphasis of this visit was purely analog.

The studio inherited a lot of gear from Deutsche Grammophon, actually the mixing console is from the late 1950ies and was used for Furtwängler and early Karajan recordings. Built from German broadcast modules like the famous V72 tube mic preamp or Eckmiller faders. In 100% working condition it is still used for analog recordings here. 50 years are quite a lifetime for professionally used gear!

The very Studer machine used for Bowie's recording is still there.
Fully refurbished it is now used for transfering analog master tapes to digital formats for international customers for example.
There was a jazz tape mounted and played, which sounded beautifully direct.

There is a Neumann VMS80 record cutting lathe as well, used for making direct to disc LPs under the label of
'Berliner Meister Schallplatten'.
5 records are on the market already!

The machine is equipped with a Technics built direct drive, nothing you find in the DJ deck or the SP10 though...
Ortofon amps are used to drive the cutting head.

The SX74 cutting head in detail. There is a tube that sucks the freshly cut material from the lacquer disc away.
For cooling the head down some helium gas is flowing across the cutting head, there is a hose coming in at the yellow triangle.
To control the adjustment of the cutting head there is a magnifying device permantenly installed on the right.

There is also another microscope on the left to control the grooves.
For convinience this can be viewed on a video monitor as well, all analog of course..

A dummy lacquer disc is on the lathe. In order to hold it firmly there is a vacuum pump sucking the disc to the platter.
Otherwise it would be pushed away from the force of the cutting head. In production the readily cut disc is put in to a metal transport container as fast as possible, to be transferred to the record pressing company.

A close up of the platter with the holes allowing the vacuum pump to do its job.
These lacquer discs are larger than a 12 inch LP, but not 16 inch transcription size.
The machine was adjusted to 14 inch diameter lacquer discs.
The control panel allowing adjustments of platter speed and groove width.
To make 'Halfspeed' cuttings for example.

If using a tape a source for cutting, the recording engineer needs to hear the music signal a bit earlier before the cutting head does its irreversible job. With this time ahead the engineer can control the width of the groove. To get this little extra time the tape machine offers some special way of having the tape mounted, this way there is a second or so between the signal for the engineer and the signal going to actual cutting head. Obviously the tape machine needs two sepreate playback heads for this.

If used for direct to disc cutting this can not be done, since the signal goes directly from the musicians, microphones, mixing console to the cutting head amps. In this case the record width is put to maximum to allow sudden dynamic peaks in the music to find their place with out overcutting into the neigbour groove.
Apart from the technical aspects, the musicians have to be 100% concentrated if using this direct to disc recording.

In digital recordings they have the ease of mind that they can do endless recordings and editing takes together if a little mistake happens. Not possible in direct to disc though. This way all counting the typical one, two three, four is also between the tracks adding to the captured performance atmosphere on these discs. I hope that a lot of musicians dare to go this route.

Thanks a lot to Rainer Maillard again for opening the studio and showing around.
Thanks to Michael Vrzal for suggesting this visit.

Thanks to Thomas Schick for suggesting such a juicy post and pixes... and thanking LencoHeaven's folks, as well.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Ivan's Choice - Henry Fool's Men Singing

Henry Fool's Men Singing is an ambitious four track instrumental album featuring members of No-Man, I Monster and Roxy Music. Sometimes playful, sometimes intense, sometimes eerie and ethereal, Men Singing is equal parts dynamic drums, spiky guitars and atmospheric washes of fluttering flutes and vintage keyboards. Produced and arranged by band founders keyboardist Stephen Bennett and guitarist Tim Bowness (Steven Wilson's creative partner in No-Man), the album has been mixed by Jarrod Gosling (I Monster/Regal Worm), who also contributes Mellotron, glockenspiel and the wonderfully surreal artwork. Appearing on Everyone In Sweden and Man Singing, Phil Manzanera's legendary guitar skills can be heard in the context of long-form instrumental music for the first time since his celebrated stint in 1970s mavericks Quiet Sun. Other contributions come from Brian Eno collaborator and Slow Electric member Peter Chilvers (bass), lead guitarist Michael Bearpark, Andrew Booker (drums), Myke Clifford (sax/flute) and classical violinist Steve Bingham, all of whom have worked live with No-Man or as part of London underground club, Improvizone. Mastered by award-winning Pink Floyd sound engineer, Andy Jackson.


Monday, March 4, 2013

The Doors' Analogue Production/Acoustic Sounds Reissue - When the Music is (Never) Over!

"Analogue Productions and Acoustic Sounds bring you The Doors -- the band's six Morrison-era albums, all on Hybrid Multichannel SACD, in a special edition box set limited to 2,500 numbered copies! Also available as 45 RPM double LPs in a box set limited to 2,500 copies. Each pressed on 200-gram vinyl at Quality Record Pressings! (Each title is also available as a non-numbered, individual release.)
All were cut from the original analog masters by Doug Sax, with the exception of The Doors, which was made from the best analog tape copy.
A truly authentic reissue project, the masters were recorded on tube equipment, and the tape machine used for the transfer of these releases is a tube machine, as is the cutting system. Tubes baby!
As aptly put by rock 'n' roll journalist extraordinaire Ben Fong-Torres, there's never been a reissue of The Doors recordings that sounded quite like these gems from Analogue Productions and Acoustic Sounds. And now, you can 'break on through' with all six Doors' studio albums in a deluxe box set -- on Hybrid Multichannel SACD and 45 RPM LP!
Analogue Productions brings The Doors to SACD, resulting in, as Doors biographer Ben Fong-Torres, esteemed rock journalist and former Rolling Stone editor, notes: "Bottom line, a chronicle of The Doors in the studio, captured with the highest sonic quality possible.
"They deserve no less."
All of The Doors' legendary albums -- The untoppable self-titled 1967 debut The Doors, one of rock's most important debuts, Strange Days, Waiting For The Sun, The Soft Parade, Morrison Hotel, and the visceral L.A. Woman -- have been remastered by Doug Sax and The Doors' original engineer Bruce Botnick, and made available on Hybrid Multichannel SACD for the first time in the U.S.!
The surround sound program on the Doors SACDs comes from the original 96K, 24-bit files mixed and mastered by Bruce Botnick for the DVD Audio Doors/Perception release. Those mixes were made from the original one-inch, eight track, 15 i.p.s. analog master tapes. For the SACDs, the mixes were then up-sampled without filters to DSD using the Weiss Saracon format converter and authored by Gus Skinas at the Super Audio Center.
Fong-Torres helped compile one of the most definitive written histories of the band -- "The Doors by The Doors." In that book, Chester Bennington (Linkin Park) calls The Doors, "the most underrated musical powerhouse in rock history. And unlike some that fade away into the abyss, The Doors will always relate to the youth of any era."
Girl you gotta love your man. And audiophiles, you'll love The Doors box set on SACD from Acoustic Sounds. The memory of Morrison and Co. on you depends; their legacy will never end. Get this box set today before they're gone; into your house The Doors will storm ... Yeah!
This is no time to wallow in the mire. The Doors are on Analogue Productions!

Technical notes about the recording process by Doors producer/engineer Bruce Botnick:
"Throughout the record history of the Doors, the goal between Paul Rothchild and myself was to be invisible, as the Doors were the songwriters and performers. Our duty was to capture them in the recorded medium without bringing attention to ourselves. Of course, the Doors were very successful, and Paul and I did receive some acclaim, which we did appreciate.
"If you listen to all the Doors albums, no attempt was made to create sounds that weren't generated by the Doors, except for the Moog Synthesizer on Strange Days, although that was played live in the mix by Jim, but that's another story. The equipment used was very basic, mostly tube consoles and microphones. Telefunken U47, Sony C37A, Shure 56. The echo used was from real acoustic echo chambers and EMT plate reverb units. In those days, we didn't have plug-ins or anything beyond an analogue eight-track machine. All the studios that we used, except for Elektra West, had three Altec Lansing 604E loudspeakers, as that was the standard in the industry, three-track. On EKS-74007, The Doors, we used four-track Ampex recorders and on the subsequent albums, 3M 56 eight-tracks. Dolby noise reduction units were used on two albums, Waiting For The Sun and The Soft Parade. Everything was analogue, digital was just a word. We didn't use fuzz tone or other units like that but created the sounds organically, i.e. the massive dual guitar solo on "When The Music's Over," which was created by feeding the output of one microphone preamp into another and adjusting the level to create the distortion. The tubes were glowing and lit up the control room.
"When mastering for the 45-RPM vinyl release, we were successfully able to bake the original master tapes and play them to cut the lacquer masters."
- Bruce Botnick, July 2012

 Super... thanking Reinhard's hinting.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Curiosity not always kills the cat

A cat and some dolphins... pure bliss.

My very own, truest world is a world of little joys...  and today I had some... some biking in the countyside, sun, springtime coming and white flowers in the melting snow... and this lovely video.