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Monday, May 30, 2016

Tim de Paravicini's The Head TX4 universal MC transformer (1979)

I owned this sought-after MC transformer for years... then, one day,  please don't ask me why, I sold it... and regret ever since!
Baron Tim de Paravicini

I remember I possibly sold as I was using at the time a Convergent Audio Technology CAT SL1 preamplifier with built in MC phono stage... it was back in early nineties or so...

I searched for another The Head sampler for years... I was missing its majestic outlook, imposing and classic, yet no frills both aesthetically and technically... and a sound to par, of course.

In the meantime,  prices sky-rocketed higher and higher...

I recently found a pristine, undented, unscratched, unmodded unit which a gent from Sweden was selling... no, NOT at the inflated today prices, but at the very same price I stupidly sold mine, some twenty years ago!

I got it and when I connected to he smaller, all tubes system, I immediately told myself how an idiot I've been selling my previous TX4!

Used with my EMT 930st, EMT/Ortofon RMA229 and Neumann DST, with 4 chassis Thomas Mayer's preamp, my Partridge/300B mono blocks and Cabasse Dinghy 221, the system literally began to fly in a very seldom heard and experienced way!

I - plain and simple - felt I had to ask Baron Tim de Paravicini more about his four kilos pup...

Here is the unedited FB's Messenger dialogue I had yesterday, hoping and trusting TdP will forgive me for sharing... for the sake of it...

Thanking Tim and, yes!,  Johan from Stockholm, as well.

Hello Tim… hope all be OK… I need some support from you… I'm going to write something on my Blog about your The Head MC transformer… could you please let me know something more about it? How many units made, which core and technology and maker behind the transformers inside the box and the like… also, if you have some original literature/brochure scan, by any chance… thanks for your time and… WOW… I had and used it years ago, sold it maybe 15 years ago and only recently bought another sampler… it's truly nice, NICE sounding… and I'm comparing with Triad K241 and WE 618B with my Neumann DST cartridge… thanks and all the VERY best. Greetings from Italy. Stefano

I will try to find old literature , how dare you say I did not design lock stock and barrel everything in the HEAD TX4? I do all my own transformers not like my competitors who go to mr transformer man please make me transformer! I designed the step up device in 1979 to be the best in the world period. More bandwidth more headroom better square wave etc. Still no one has matched it. If I had to market today I would have to price it at £3000. I made about 200 units. I will not disclose winding details or core type other than usual mumetal 78% Nickel. The highest inductance core material.
HA!... you're right, Tim... how could I only dare think you didn't make your (wonderful) own way... thankyouthankyouthankyou... I just ended an extremely pleasing listening session with TX4 in place... it's so dynamic and detailed and full bodied... thanks for yr. support... at yr. convenience.
am I correct remembering you used very same trannies in yr. G88?
No, the G88 had space and ultimately cost consideration. The G88 uses what essentially is the current MC4. A small notch down from the HEAD.
The listening tells everything, Tim...
Thanks, sincerely for yr. commitment to music...

So folks... here is from the living voice of The Master himself how good The Head was and still is... cost no object, I dare... putting to shame very, very prized, famous and sought-after transformers, vintage and brand new... I suspect "The Head" is just the nickname for "The Headroom"... truly impressive, like most of TdP's creations... unique like the Man, himself.
Thanks, Tim.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Only for musicians...

A musically uneducated person designed this clock. Where are the dotted notes - dotted minims, dotted semibreves, etc, and even double-dotted notes? And what about breves? 

Yet, I like it…

Supertramp's Supergranny

Supertramp's "Breakfast in America" waitress Kate Murtagh is now 95 years old, and still super cheery…


Friday, May 27, 2016


I still remember when a student, eons ago, I had to choose a poem and to comment it with my Italian Literature teacher.

In my (early) oblomovism, instead of choosing a lengthy poem, I choose an haiku-like short, minimal poem by Giuseppe Ungaretti: “Mattino”.

“Mattino: m’illumino d’immenso” (transl. Morning: I enlighten in immensity)

The poem itself is a timeless look at the miracle that every morning happens, again and again and again…

Explaining the deep meaning, the life, the mystery… well… I got a lesson, at school: a (good) short thing – i.e. a poem, in this very case, can be worth a book.

I applied this on many aspects of my life… a love can last a day or one hour, but can be as deep and perfect and satisfying as a distract life-long thing…  a 1,30’ tune by – say – Bert Jansch, i.e. – the superb Bright New Year comes to my mind, owns such a dignity and beauty well worth a symphony.


John Cage’s seminal piece of “music”, the so-called silence piece where embarrassed audience coughs and snoozes and breathes nervously while the musician on the stage, most likely a pianist, looks at an empty music sheet, turning the pages of the only-pauses written music.

I recently read a few millimeters thick booklet by Leonardo Vittorio Arena, titled "La durata infinita del non suono" on Mimesis Eterotopie (2013) which, like it happened in my teens with above mentioned Ungaretti’s haiku, dissected and commented and deepened the John Cage’s piece, giving it an historic and cultural contestualization.

Learning from the well-informed author about the wabi and wabito, wu-wei and no action, Zen and music interactions, well… I fell so, SO enriched, folks…

To some extent, this very booklet represented a sort-of epiphany for yours truly!

I found cleverly and clearly expressed in written form “how” life facts and perceptions work… no less… in Ozu's spirit.

A nugget: the best EUR 4,90 I ever spent!   

I strongly suggest everyone wishing to understand, to search for this booklet… silence will not be the same, anymore. 

… forgetting: only in Italian:-)

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Zappa vs. Toyota?

So it seems... or hopefully not...

... always missing him...

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Brown Rice

One of my Desert Island discs... enjoy!

Universal music by Don Cherry.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Audiocirc - new Eckart's Blog

Here you'll find new Eckart's Blog, after the recent splitting of T & E team and partnership and closing for new posts of old, superb audio16...

Best wishes to Eckart!


13sound, new Tim Gurney's Blog

... recently splitting from the tandem team Blog Audio16, with his (common) pal E., Tim will be now persuing his very own path and obsessions - i.e. WE and bespoke horns making by hand, and everything audio and music.

Not a sad new, indeed.

Consider that instead of one cool audio Blog, we will now onward have two.

Good luck for your new project, Tim and... all fun, pal!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Magus Merlin, the Miles Magician

Yesterday I attended to a lecture by my friend and guitarist extraordinaire Enrico Merlin, about non-verbal signals, charisma and leadership of Miles Davis.

A seldom heard, witty, well-spoken, well-informed and researched letio magistralis about the gravelly voice Genius and how he kept virtually free and unlashed creativity of all his musicians who succeded in all his several goups incarnations, 'til his untimely passing away.

Empathy was Miles' plus... if someone wasn't up to par on this, he got fired, pronto!

Enrico, a worldwide known expert and scholar of Miles’ art and music, wrote - among others -  a superb book (with Veniero Rizzardi) devoted to Bitches Brew and his knowledge of live, unedited performances of Miles counts more than 700 unpublished hours of music in his personal collection and literally tons of papers and terabytes of related in his house.

He met and interviewed Teo Macero, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Dave Holland, John McLaughlin and wrote liner-notes for Wadada Leo Smith & Henry Kaiser’s Yo Miles! on Shanachie.

I already knew him and his so deep knowledge about everything Miles’, but…

… simply wasn’t prepared to one hour of commented, critically high-pointed listenings of some of the most representative Miles’ licks… not explained to an annoyed audience, but to a bunch of literally lost in Enrico & Miles’ world people!

Enrico, like dancing in his elegant tuxedo, showed and explained, untired and untiring how Miles was able without moving an eyebrow to communicate time and theme changes, in an apparent, wordless ESP exchange among his cohort.

The lecture represented for yours truly the azimuth of my recent… aehm, still going on, actually, full immersion in electric Miles’ music, made of extremely rewarding lengthy listening sessions of On the Corner, In a Silent Way, ecc. ecc. … oh, shit, I already annoyed you about this.

I already attended to  other music lectures – i.e. Bach’s Cello Sonatas as played by Fournier and Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas; both the interesting lessons gave to me a strange feeling, like the dissecting of a corpse in a morgue.

Lifeless and disturbing!

Music was loosing its inner power, notes dissected and emptied… a quite embarrassing evenience, if concerning the above mentioned giants and masterpieces!

Exactly the opposite happened with Enrico’s Miles: My Funny Valentine live at Carnegie Hall was soooo lively and full of trivia and wittiness.

I was also, while listening to Merlin, reminding what I only few hours ago read about Miles giving his back to the audience, during most of the last concerts… just wish to share with you: it wasn’t the hip, tough guy, the boxer don’t giving a fuck to audience… Herbie Hancock on On The Corner complete session box confirmed he was only in love with ALL the musicians who made is stellar groups and liked soooo much looking to them while playing!

Respect for an 18 years old Tony Williams or 24 Keith Jarrett or 23 Dave Holland… respect for everyone who contributed to create this brand new music, like also Enrico wisely pointed it out during yesterday lecture. 

Maybe respect, which is also a form of love, makes this music timeless and always modern… as it hits the very deep of human soul with its fractal, true, honest and straight nature.

Sincerely thanking Enrico for the great lesson... after one hour of this (see above)... he embraced his electric axe and played like a devil in disguise on-stage some cool improvisations a' la John Mc Laughlin or John Scofield, with a jazz combo, BUT not copy-catting the latters, yet with his unique voice, good taste and skill a-plenty and... just WOW!

While his cute Wall-E toy was blissfully standing on his bespoke guitar-amp.

Soul, knowledge, humbleness, intelligence and empathy... living music, folks!

BTW - Wish also to share and put everyone on  the wait for the IMPRESSIVE new book (series)… you’d bet it? About Miles, year per year per year… it will be a one-of-a-kind luxury, limited edition, 12” x 12” size, so finding its (their) place(s) among vinyl records…

High quality binding,  paper, BUT most of all HIGH quality and unobtanium info, pix and trivia about, for the first book to come, Miles in 1959 (Kind of Blue's year): gigs leafles, tickets, interviews, old magazines and newspapers articles… a huge, HUGE, H U G E  labour of love in the name of Miles’ genius.

I suggest everyone into this kind of stuffs to keep eyes open and wallet ready…  the years covering will be random, as per Miles’ most seminal masterpieces or, should I say, milestones;-) – everything will be properly advertised and shared at due time, when all and every copyright and legal aspects and knots will be settled.

I saw a preview of some pages on Enrico’s Macbook and I was in jaw-dropped mode for looong minutes.

A must to own and an effort seldom seen, everywhere!

Stay tuned.  

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Breaking news: brand new Robert Johnson photo, found in desk, forensically verified!

Hoax or great find?

A newly-analyzed photo found in a Florida desk drawer is believed by some to be an image of blues legend Robert Johnson.

The identification comes from award-winning forensic artist Lois Gibson, who famously positively identified a different Johnson photo in 2008, which is still widely contested in blues and forensic circles, but was accepted by the Johnson estate as authentic.

The new photograph turned up in an antique Winthrop desk in Pensacola, Florida. A retired professor bought the desk at auction in 2013, and quickly noticed the photo among a drawer full of junk.


Thanking (author) Matt Marshall and Wadada Leo Smith.

P.S. - reportedly, an hoax... a blues, one;-)

New sonic myths - Alice Cooper - School's Out (Warner Bros. - 1972)

Yes, we DO NEED new amazing sonics discs, and enjoyable too, ones!!!

Not weird to me considering new a 1972 disc;-) as I'm going to highlight it sonically, now!

On last Sunday, just back from München, I attended to the local fleamarket and, at Nigel's desk, after founding last month a sought-after Hawkwind's double disc (Space Ritual on UK United Artist with large poster-like cover) in mint conditions, this month I found a pristine, superb copy on Warner Bros. UK of the classic 1972 album with desk gimmick cover and panties (!!!) of School's Out by Alice Cooper.

I never owned this disc, before... I sure remember in early '70s from records shop windows... ahhh, those schoolgirl's panties;-) and related wet-dreams...

Got the copy, paid some coffees... some undusting on my Audiodesk Systeme disk-cleaning machine and... WOW!

(A note -  above pixies aren't my actual copy, yet being THE very same as mine, I hi-jacked them on Ebay, where the seller is asking NOT some coffees, BUT for a top of the line coffee machine;-))) - i.e. £ 199,99...)

Wasn't prepared to such a sonic masterpiece, folks!!!

Garrardzilla and Lumiere and The Peak were rockin'!!!

Music is reminding me some Capt. Beefheart's Bat Chain Puller or Doc at Radar Station - i.e. complex rock, blissfully playing undistorted also when playing fuzz guitars.

... and the electric bass... Da Electric Bass... DA BASS, maaaan!

Cluncky, loooow, undistorted, dry and low, really LOW!

It sounds to my old ears like a Gibson EB2 hollow body, a' la Cream's Jack Bruce... sounds really amazing... not only few blissful moments in a shitty disc... all songs are top class, some are masterpieces and the above mentioned bass lines are intro and into songs on both sides, truly 2die4!!!

A no brainer demonstration disc and rocking, unboring music to par, masterfully recorded at The Record Plant in NYC.

My advice is go and find your copy... getting scarce and sought-after in top NM conditions... with panties is almost unobtanium, but sure worth the search!

Go, browse, find it and... rock... your system and you will love it!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Breaking news;-))) - Michael Fremer interviewing Frank Schroder, at MOC 2016

A scoop;-)))

I was there when Mr. Fremer interviewed Frank Schröder... professional, well informed. curious and not, never, a slave of industry.

Truly one of us, as passionate as he can be about music and gears.

An honor meeting him, again.

Happy birthday to Keith Jarrett

Yes... happy birthday, Keith... thanks for being KJ... may you improvise and compose and play 'til your last day on Earth... for all the beauty you gave us.

Many, many, many happy returns, Maestro. 

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Tzar's Tzar, with no Tzar - Leonid Sinitsin's one of the kind cartridges from Angarsk, Siberia...

Thanking Erik M. for the finding.

Mr. Leonid Sinitsin, the one and only artisan able and skilled enough to restore any DST-design cartridge. Just in case... as a plus, he hand-made quite interesting more conventional cartridges, as well.

Я Леонид Синицын.Родился и всю жизнь живу в небольшом сибирском городке Ангарск.Это в ста километрах от великого Байкала.
Сколько помню себя - я всегда слушал музыку.В самом раннем детстве дома.Отец тогда (а это начало 60-х!!!) собрал свой первый электромузыкальный инструмент.Отец отлично играл на баяне,дома звучали красивые песни - мать с подругами прекрасно пели.
Мне музыкантом стать было не суждено,бог отвёл.Поэтому я стал просто любить музыку.Я считаю,что моему поколению сильно повезло.Наша молодость пришлась на время когда ещё были дико популярны Битлз,но уже набирали силу группы определявшие развитие молодёжной музыки в 70-е годы.DP,LZ.Queen,другие,не менее значимые имена и коллективы.
Кроме этого мать регулярно водила меня на симфонические концерты.Тогда я не очень понимал зачем мне это.Теперь понимаю.Всё это помогало развивать музыкальный вкус.
Гены отца,как мастерового,во мне тоже бродили,я смолоду радиолюбительствовал.Делал практически всё:аккустику,усилители,дорабатывал магнитофоны,проигрыватели.С годами представления о правильности воспроизведения менялись,вместе с ними менялась моя система.Пришёл черёд звукоснимателей.
Раньше это было исключительно хобби.Но когда появились картриджи с действительно высокими параметрами,мне стали поступать предложения наладить их производство.

Just don't ask for a direct-sale of Tzar's;-) - its worldwide sole-agent is Robyn Wyatt, in the USA.

I repeat: above is a serious advice, so please don't ask for!

Interesting manufacturer, indeed.