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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Hasegawa-san is playing my own "Barocco Tedesco" disc, now...

That's cool... Hasegawa-san showed in his superb Blog he's now spinning my own produced and recorded old "Barocco Tedesco" vinyl disc I made in 1992...

It's amazing thinking that a copy of this humble record pressed in 500 copies reached a small village in rural Japan, near Matsue... a superb place and traditional house I visited with my pal Seo-san, back in 2009.

Me and Hasegawa-san, at his place (2009)

Thanks for your friendship... arigato gozaimashita, dear Nihonjin friends... I'm missing you a lot.

Melody Road in Japan


Thursday, June 19, 2014

Basic Disc Mastering by Larry Boden

A bible of seldom read and published, esoteric knowledge...

BOOK REVIEW from Clint Holley, professional disc-mastering engineer for Well Made Music / Gotta Groove Records in Ohio, USA: -------
Several months ago I was contacted about reviewing a copy of the new edition of Basic Disc Mastering. Not only was I flattered to be able to read this but also offer some insights into what new information was included.

Here you go:
Having read a borrowed copy of Larry Boden's Basic Disc Mastering when I was getting started as a cutting engineer, I was excited when I heard that a "new" edition of the book was being considered and I wondered what would be added to this already helpful text.
Although I have never met Larry in person, it becomes clear right away that he has a passion for what he does. As a writer, Larry has a gift for translating a topic that can be intimidating into some very common sense explanations without omitting essential learning points. The first part of the book contains the what seems to be the complete first edition which includes explanations of the core ideas and principles of disc cutting. I have been asked innumerable times by aspiring disc cutters where they can go to "school" to learn the craft. As we know, the only school for disc cutting these days is the school of "hands on experience". The first 50 pages of this book, however, supply enough information for somebody unfamiliar with the basic terminology and concepts to at least ask informed questions. This is not to say that the text is only for "newbies" or beginners. As an experienced cutter myself, I walked away with several insights concerning groove geometry that I had not thought about in quite sometime.
While the first section of the book may seem very basic, I believe in this case it works to the advantage of the text and for the reader. Mathematical formulas are kept to a minimum and pictures and graphics help to make crucial points concerning groove defects and phase issues. This, I believe allows the reader to keep reading without having to stop and digest dense math which might cause some to set the book down forever.
I am happy to see all of this information back in print, and due in large part to the public's renewed interest in the vinyl medium, I think the first section of this book will inspire a new generation of record cutters. But, what is NEW in this book? The addition of several hundred pages of information spanning the the spectrum of disc recording from the 1930's all the way to the end of the first age of vinyl. Articles range from old patent drawings to a discussion of QUAD audio, many of which have never been published before. It is these appendices that hold the largest appeal to the seasoned record cutter, the DIY record cutter and anybody interested in the the science and practical application of disc cutting procedures. I waded in and was blown away by the information I found. It was best for me to digest these sections in piece by piece instead of trying to read it "cover to cover". I found several very informative sections on the application of stereo cutting, troubleshooting and comparisons of various cutting systems. These sections tend to be more technical but are worth the time and effort needed to fully grasp them. Also interesting to note is that in a cutting world dominated by Neumann and a few Scully lathes, there is plenty of info on more obscure cutting systems and how they were developed.
This books sounds great, right? Yes, it certainly is and I would happily spend my hard earned dollars on a copy, but the one glaring omission from the book is any kind of nod to cutting in the digital age. Computers have taken over the audio world and there is no discussion at all concerning this shift. Those of us in the business know already that you just replace the words "tape machine" with "computer," but I think a discussion of two very important topics; disc cutting in the era of super hot "slammed" masters and digital to analog converters would be very helpful to a novice.
All in all, this book is a great addition to the experienced cutters collection and is essential to anybody interested in disc cutting but does not know where to begin. Included also is a list of active cutting engineers and pressing plants. Let me put it more simply, Larry expresses a love for single malt scotch...if I were to meet him in a small neighborhood bar, I would certainty buy him a double scotch on the rocks to thank him for getting this back into print!
Clint Holley
Well Made Music / Gotta Groove Records

Kia ora or greetings from Aoteora "The land of the long white cloud" - Omuni Omni speakers from New Zealand



The advantages of omnidirectional sound are recognized for naturalness of reproduction and freedom from the  "sweet spot" listening seat.
Conventional front firing speakers are unable to recreate the sound fields of acoustic instruments that propagate sound omnidirectionally.
Pianos, violins, guitars, drums and cymbals and many other instruments are not front firing and hence cannot be reproduced naturally throughout a listening area by front firing speakers.
A major advantage of the <OMUNI> over conventional front firing speakers is that the <OMUNI> sound output at the listening position is much less subject to coloration by the addition of reflected sound from room boundaries and furnishings.
This is because the <OMUNI> has the same response on and off axis, whereas the rectangular boxed front firing speaker degrades off axis and suffers from extremely poor, bass heavy, response off the sides and back of the enclosure.
Off axis sound is inevitably reflected back to the listener in some part and in the <OMUNI> case adds only room reverberation - but in the front firing case adds coloration as well due to the poor quality of the reflected off-axis sound.
 The <OMUNI> is a two way design with a downward facing 8 inch woofer in an Aperiodic labyrinth 
Topping this off is a 3 inch Mid High frequency driver running up to 25Khz.
This amazing driver radiates a full 360 degrees horizontaly-and uniquely, also vertically
"Room boundries melt away"
Our hand built craftsman enclosures, will please and suprise
We do not use acoustic dampening materials of any kind.
Natural Hessian is applied to one strategic panel only
 The crossover utilises only two high quality components without matching resistors

Dimensions Height.750mm x Width.390mm x Depth.335mm
Suitable from amps from 20 watts upwards
Frequency Response 28 Hz - 25 Khz -3db
Sensitivity 89dB
Nominal Impedance 8 Ohms

Thanking Eric Cross

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Muddy Waters - mo' HDAD "Folk Singer"

Thanking my pals Reinhard Huttenburg and Christian Rintelen... as disk vs. disc doesn't matter if you get more music... much worthwhile and not only for the two bonus tracks.

As per Classic Records/Chess' claim: "For the first time in the history of digital audio, we can provide Master Tape Sound (MTS) TM."


Cymatic or the Vibe of Universe

Recent news from NASA... but something which can be also experienced at home.

The far more likely explanation for the giant hexagon on Saturn may be that it is a natural phenomenon. And the only phenomenon I'm familiar with that might explain this involves the field of cymatics.

Cymatics is the study of how sound can alter the physical structure of materials, creating interesting structural patterns. To see this for yourself, you can turn a stereo speaker on its edge (with the speaker facing up), then place a liquid pudding of corn starch and water on top of a layer of plastic wrap, on top of the speaker. When you crank up the music, the corn starch creates bizarre and fascinating shapes due to the expression of the structure of the sound.

Learn more:

... and sound, voila'... can be seen.

Intriguing, doesn't it?

Thursday, June 12, 2014

All is KLear - "Pure Harmony" RCA plugs by KLEI - Australia

I recently got a 4-plugs pack of new, improved, top-of-the-line KLEI "Pure Harmony" RCA plugs from KL Eichmann, the patron and visionary mind behind these... these... incredibly transparent, superbly sounding RCAs, the foundation for a cost-no-object, standard defining cable.

If your machism asks for super-bling, bullion-looking and milled from the solid zillion dollar metals costing mega-bucks RCAs, you'd better stop reading NOW... because...  the Pure Harmony by KLEI is unassuming black colour, light as a feather and friendly priced.

It's so humble in appearance that KL - in a world so polluted by hype - is apparently sort-of self understating his own achievment!
This is something an humble and kind person who's honestly doing his business does, sometimes...
I should be prepared to this, but... the shock is strong, folks!

After listening for three hours to the usual Litz 50 cm, hand-twisted and hand-soldered by my pal Lo exactly as he did with the cables of last survey, a couple months ago. 

KL states >200 hours burning, breaking-in process...

Even stronger and more relevant, when reading the leaflet accompanying the Pure Harmony plugs... is that there is NO HYPE and it simply states... >106 IACS and 100% silver contacts... nothing more, nothing less... no words about the promise of improvement in tone and musical bliss... nothing!

No exaggerating, no joking, not at all... KL strikes again!

In nature, the most beautiful flower can be the exotic rose or a tiny, miniature little flower, like some wild orchids sometimes found in the countryside... the rose shouts "Look a me!" "Taste my smell!"...

The little orchid, hidden in the grass, in the shadow, it is there, and it shines and flashes his beauty and details: the tiny inner world of its petals and the incredible colors are here, but only to the curious, the fortunate, the braveheart, the beauty seeker.
Someone who's not only attracted by the pure, yet shooting beauty of the rose, but who also walks in the dirt, in rocky paths and who believes in destiny and chance...
Someone who truly enjoys and finds the gift of living lightly, con leggerezza, unstressed and unstressing.  

When such perfection occours, where the wild orchid is found in the shadow... blinking timidly, well... it's a treasure of inestimable value, priceless and timeless.

Same with Pure Harmony based Litz wires... its name, Pure Harmony, is poetic and untechnical, with an utterly untechnical character but virtuous!
It makes the humble yellow Litz cable sounding like pure harmony... rich in tone, effortless, smooth and sharp as a razor, zestful and quick like a musical instrument is... I listened again to some disks, ECMs and some Giancarlo Barigozzi's recordings on Soul Note label from Italy; the female voice, piano... PIANO!!!, double-bass, recording venue halos and the decay and timbre of the musical notes... all is greatly improved in such a relaxed way, so naturally.

Music blossoms in a seldom heard form.

It's the wild orchid blinking in the tall grass, folks... 

You know: I walk for the sake of walking, I listen for the sake of music... no prize at the end of the path, BUT bliss... which is immaterial like love and music are.

It's pure harmony, ambrosia and honey for my ears... something possible with PURE HARMONY by KL (KLEI)... with "a little help from my friend"* Lo, of course;-)

Thanking KL, Lo, Joe Cocker* and Giancarlo Barigozzi... his incredible recording skills makes him Italian Rudy van Gelder.

Giancarlo Barigozzi

BYOB - Charles Altmann & the Mandala or Tone as Being

I jumped on this site while browsing, always chasing for the ultimate in resolution and inter-note silence amp design for my Gotorama system.

Charles is an illuminated, an audio saint, no jokes, and his followers are like a Church members...  BYOB Church.

The ticket entrance to the Temple isn't that hideous, yet what intrigued and still MUCH intrigues about Charles... aehm:  Dipl. Ing.  Charles Altmann from Solingen, Germany, is the way he spokes about music, self-consciuosness, healing power of music in a way I well know personally...

His language and arguments are seldom read and ancient and brand-new, at same time.

He clearly speaks and his words make sense... a tech-head into everything technical but with an holistic attitude which doesn't stop to measurements or heavy boxes and gears.

He goes to the core... straight as an arrow and pure as an angel.

His readings are first rate and he tasted among the best circuits before arriving to his very personal final result: something he, modest or not, sure honestly says represents the Zenith of everything is needed to appreciate the tiniest musical detail.

Not a T Amp, not a Class D, no tubes, no transistor... sure Op-amps, but also much more.

He uses wood, spruce, and varnish, Dieter Ennemoser's and his own receipt, and naked circuitry firmly bonded on solid wood...

BYOB - that's it... 

These gears looks like a piece of gears, unfinished, raw... yet, when fed by an Optima Red Top 12V automotive premium battery they seem able to radiate, YES, radiate bliss, pure bliss, unaffected by mains gremlins and magazine hypes.

Looking at his BYOB (Bring Your Own Battery) says "Hey, I'm not a lunatic... I built like this because I can hear... I'm not making it crappy because lacking good taste".

Shiny faceplates and chassis heaviness per-se aren't music-related... caps are a necessary evil, like mains... this and resonances are the enemies of pure music reproduction.

From here Charles started... and he states he reached his goal> the man uses the following words (extracted... aehm hi-jacked from his site:

Listening, Levels & Truth
We are overwhelmed with information about the technical performance of audio-devices, the newest most sophisticated measurement techniques and the finest and highest precision measurement instruments.
But very little is said about Listening.
It seems to be so close to us that we simply forgot about it.
Two things are for sure:
1) Our listening is a private experience.
2) Its not exactly the same for any two beings.
How can we else explain the vast variety of completely different hifi-stuff ?
If our listening preferences would be the same, the number of hifi companies would probably be drastically reduced and we would basically be happy with one and the same device.
But there are not only personal listening preferences, there are also Levels.
There are Different Levels of Listening Awareness.
As you may know, there are musicians that can identify the exact pitch of a note being played. Others can even write down the chords of a complex and unknown piece of music while listening to it for the first time. Many musicians can't tell the pitch of a tone. Their level of musical awareness may not be fully developed.
When listening to an audio system, we normally do not try to identify the pitch of the notes being played, except perhaps, you are a musician and want to train that ability.
But when listening to an audio system we can try to evaluate the quality of the sound and this evaluation may reflect two things: our preference AND our current listening level. If we mix those two things together (what we unknowingly do), we can define our personally experienced quality of the audio system.
There are many aspects of listening levels.
The most general aspect is the sensivity to detail:
Some people say, they cannot hear the difference between two CD-players. Others can easily. Some can hear the difference of a coin put under one foot of the player. Even others can distinguish whether a piece of paper is put below an external DAC device.
Another aspect is the sensitivity to phase:
Some people don't bother at all while other's nerves are put upside down, when they enter a room with a hifi-system playing and on the spot they complain that one of the mid-frequency speakers is connected out of phase. Sensitivity to phase also partially employs the perception of the 3-dimensional qualities of the musical performance, i.e. placement of the instruments, depth of soundstage, etc...
Then there is sensitivity to tone:
Does this sound wood-like? Is this really a violin? There may be a metallic character in the sound that does not fit the instrument played. Is the singing tone of Larry's ES-335 as it should be?
You must not at all be sad, if at this moment you do not belong to the most golden ears walking around on the planet. You can also enjoy music without caring about detail, phase or tone.
But one thing you should pay attention to:
Is your listening defensive ?
Depending on your environment it is possible that your are subjected to sounds that you don't like at all: This may be traffic noise, the sound of a machine you work with (I hate the sound of needle printers), or even the voice of another person.
If you are subjected to unwanted sounds for a longer period of time, your listening can become defensive. That means protection mechanisms are at work and shut your ears down.
It is good to have that protection mechanism, but its not good if you don't know about it, since it makes your ears insensitive.
There are not few hifi-systems or speakers that sound 'horrible' to some but are chosen by people with defensive listening. They need a sound that is able to penetrate through their protection mechanism, in order to be enjoyed at all. Unfortunately the problem is not solved by their choice, since this system will fatigue their listening even more and make it more and more defensive.
So what to do?
I suggest that you find out if you have a problem with certain sounds, and if so, eliminate them from your daily life as good as possible.
What's wrong with wanting a silent computer ? Tell the DJ or the mixer of the concert, if you dislike the sound or if its plain too loud. If he don't hear you, use earplugs or just go. Your ears are more important than staying with the mass. Tell your friend to lower his voice if you have a problem with it.

If you do this for a while, you will experience how your ears open up.
As you then sit in front of your hifi-system and listen to it, you may become extremely disappointed, since what you thought to be of very high quality is nothing but noise.
But you may also become very happy, if what you thought to be dumb is now plain revealing.
You will however recognize if the sound of your hifi-system is such, that you can listen to it with open ears, or if your ears go into defense mode.
This makes a pivotal difference, since a hifi-system that can be listened to withopen ears, may not need more than 1 Watt of power, since with open ears you are able to experience dramatic levels of dynamics, which you are unable to enjoy with a 100 or 1000 Watt system that puts your ears into defense mode.
This may also explain to you the assertion of some people that subjectively vinyl has a higher dynamic range than CD, while measured in numbers, it has not.
However, as soon as you are able to put your ears out of defense mode, your listening levels will become higher and higher. And this empowers you to assess the quality of any hifi-system or component without the need of messages that you read in hifi-magazines or elsewhere.
At this time, Truth enters the scene.
Your listening preferrences may have changed during the process. They may also have stayed the same but are much clearer now. So it can happen that you stick to quite unspectacular or cheap components, that your ego had thought to be inferior before.
Do you know how many hifi-components are bought only to be respected or adored by other people ? Damn too many, I would say.
The thought behind is: "I can't trust my own listening, so I will ask the pro's what is good and what is bad, I also willingly accept the message that - the more expensive, the better - and will buy according to my monetary means and the social status I would like to represent"
The day your listening awakens, Truth enters the scene, and YOU will tell the PRO's, what is good and what sounds bad.

Sure not the usual tech-head trivia!

... and the feedback he constantly gets in his site from his customers is impressive... people from around the world simply adores his for the results, not for the shiny boxes and sexy LEDs... musical results, folks!

Dipl. Ing. Altmann's site is a worthwhile reading and MUCH worth further exploring.

... he's also the dadaist mind behind this...

Thanking Charles Altmann and James Peter Copping.

... mmmhhh... 5 Watt per channel on 16 ohm... sounds good for Gotorama.

Will need four... mumble, mumble...

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Aleks Kolkowski's "The Exponential Horn: in Search of Perfect Sound" or replicating the 27ft long "Denman Horn"

If you'll happen to be in London not later than July 27th, 2014... here and here one more reason to add to the load of cool things to do there.

Here the original Denman's horn... 

... and here the fiberglass replica. 

Painting crew... 

 Outdoor testing, nine months after... 

What's inside a horn?

While seating quietly, chatting or simply enjoying Mr. Chung's Silbatone's amps and WE 13A and 12A horn systems, I noticed something which amused me: at first one, then two, five, ten... a small crowd, after some observing, after listening at the impressive audio system, they left the chair and before leaving the room, felt the need to have a look inside the 13A, most of them, or both 12A and 13A, of 12A alone... depending on what was playing at that moment.

It's something quite human and I fully understand, as not many people but the M.O.C. and Silbatone's followers and a bunch of others, knows these 80+ years old behemoths... only asking myself what people was looking for in the HUGE mouth of the horns... a visible driver, building complexities... dwarf musicians hired by Mr. Chung and playing inside the horn for a fee?

We - me and pals - imagined the strange, weird scene: a curious looking inside and... "Whaaaat the f..k d'ya wanna, maaan? Stop watchin': people workin', here!", a gangsta, high-pitched voice with a baaad attitude... little-sized jazz or country musicians and their miniature musical instruments.

... in alternative, a telescopic, springy clown jumping out from the horn-mouth... da, daaaaa!

Seriously: these horns... ALL horns with their ancient, timeless shape and size attract the strongest interest and curiosity... someone hates them (usually wannabes who never listened to these), someone else loves them... but it's impossible to remain neutral on these, for audio-historical reasons, to better understand audio, past, present and future. 

Thanking Robert Crumb for the pix and Uncle Macon's drawing.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

The "only" truth

... and, like every naked truth... so... sooo... sooooo... unbearable.

Talking of origin of life not YouPorn, folks... how can this oil-on-canvas or its subject offend?

A truth

Audio Note AI rear-weightless tone arm

... oh, oh... 211 mm from bearing spindle to arm pivot... hey, this is, possibly, THE ultimate for Lenco...

Truly a seldom seen arm... not cheap, definitely expensive at USD 4.995 (on Ebay, now)... so only a joke thinking to a Lenco 75/Audio Note AI wedding... yet, worth looking at its weird features, shape and beauty.