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Saturday, May 24, 2014

Munchen Files - MSM, MPS, Dirk, Dirk, Christoph or how make a difficult task looks easy

A joke, a terribly serious joke, folks... some words about the title acronyms: MSM, a studio in Theresienstrasse, Munchen, is home of Christoph Stickel, Senior sound & mastering engineer extraordinaire (in his portfolio several ECM's works and countless other projects of the VERY best musicians around), MPS is the resurrected old classy jazz German label, once located in Black Forest, Dirk is Dirk Sommer, the man of several passions and skills, the Chief Editor of, the cool, well-informed and pleasant hi-end webzine, a well established third millenium online publication with thousands fond readers around the world.

Dirk Sommer

Dirk Sommer is also - with his lady and partner, Birgitte - the owner and da boss of "Sommelier du Son" label, exclusively devoted to analog recording and vinyl productions.

His partner and long-time friend, Dirk is Dirk Mahlstedt,  the man behind the event at MSM Studio in Munchen, introducing to the press the newly, lovingly remastered 6-records box-set by Oscar Peterson, a series of superb recording, live in studio with audience originally issued by MPS label, where the piano player was writing his legendary playing and class for posterity.

Several reviewers were attending to the event, including mr. Michael Fremer and Michael Vrzal of and all - myself humbly included - in awe, listening to the enlighting words of Christoph Stickel, looking at his hands handling... flying on the Studer A-820 commands, and compressors, computers and mixing console knobs with a seldom seen easiness and skill... and most of all, explaining also to the less technically oriented among us, about nWebers, tape-heads azimuth, tapes brands weakness and qualities and everything in-between to obtain a stellar-quality mastering job, including the HUGE labor of love - i.e. - the time-factor, hours and hours necessary to restore and balance superb music nicely recorded, but with an average mixing and mastering.

We all experienced the original master-tape first generation work-tape dub, an event in the event, and the recording, newly balanced, was blossoming in front of the audience, there in the studio, the sancta-sanctorum where the magician (Christoph) was able to transform, ohhh, not lead, actually;-), but... sure already shining brass into precious gold!

Christoph Stickel

It's incredible thinking to the music, so easy to the ear, need such a a load of knowledge, care and attention... from musicians to recording-engineer, to the several post-production steps... to reach our turntable platters... like a dancer or a violinist shows no pain when performing and no mention is made about thousands hours of study, rehearsing and study, again... well... the deep feeling and sensation I had was the same, at MSM... the smiling eyes of everyone involved in the MSM/MPS' project were saying "Hey, I'm loving what I do!".

... and that's the matter, pals... a lot of money is involved in such a project, BUT... also the superb 1:1 15 ips master-tape dubs - another gem from Lutz Precision, reissuing the Oscar Peterson's recording on the sexier of the supports, open reel tape - aren't silly priced and several get sold at M.O.C.... (see Lutz Aeterna post).

Talking with mr. Volker Lange of Lutz Precision  I read in his words, passionate and hearthfelt, not a visionary dream but a businessman knowing his business, not only after making more money in lesser time, but and much more to customer satisfaction and leaving his footprint on the market.

Both an ill-fated and extremely lively market, top class audio and recordings... where who do it better, more honestly and cleverly simply wins... where - by chance - a speaker priced EUR 350.000 or more can be lesser than a more humanly, friendly priced speaker priced one zero less!

Because ears are pitiless and... can judge and find what's utterly wrong or truly special... and this is the very case, pals.

Thanking Dirk, Volker, Dirk and Christoph for the lesson of good-taste.

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