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Thursday, November 3, 2016

A very musical clam

I love giving nicknames to things: my black car is “Scarbi”, my oldest motorbike is “La motina”, my vintage city bike is the “Umbertodeidel36”, my turntable is the “Garrardzilla” and my speakers are the “Gotorama”.

The recently acquired Audio Consulting’s Meteor AVC passive preamp?

It’s the “Clam”;-)

Looking at its quiet, unassuming beauty, the unique beauty of hand shaped and polished shell-like rounded case, it strongly reminded me of a clam-shell.


I was away for my daily job for some days and when back home, I immediately turned ON the 300B amps, Meridian disk player and… nothing more, as the Meteor… aehm, The Clam is passive, so;-) always ON.

I played some disks I well know, a late evening relaxed listening, indeed.

Susanna Abbuehl’s April on ECM - I already wrote about this wonderful disk:, female voice, percussions, clarinet, piano… while I was listening to it, I realized something I already noticed during the very first listening sessions, some days ago.

The cymbals sound isn’t only the shimmering, high pitched sound normally associated with brass cymbals: when hitted with a felt mallet, they also produce a lower tone, like a gong, some octaves lower than the higher sound.

This sound went, most of the times, lost… with the Partridge’s 300B and Meteor, everything is well retrived and made enjoyable.

A friend asked about this preamp: but does it really makes the difference?

YES! ... definitely yes, folks!

All the times I change the passive preamp for my upcoming survey, I immediately hear, pros & cons, what the preamp adds or subtracts, in terms of harmonic blossoming, detailing and ambient retrival capabilities.

Overall sweetness or edginess are also an issue and the best performer must be balanced on this feature, so important, paramount for a true-to-life grand-result.

Everyone is well aware of something like – I like this piece of gear, yet to be fussy and picky ohhh, how I’d wish it to have a tad more warmness of XY and a bit of detail more as YJKX!

Well, that’s exactly what’s going on with my passive AVCs survey: the Luxman AT 3000 is sweet, detailed without exaggerating; the Fidelity Research AS 1 is an audio surgeon, extremely sharp, razor-like, speedy and unforgiving, but superb sounding, indeed.

The Silver Rock is both sweet and sharp… perfect?

The Meteor is both sweet, sharp and with an authority and such a beefy, rich, thick (when needed) and eerie (when asked for) to make me exclaiming: found it!

It’s the ideal passive, the fabled, seldom found “wire with gain”…

In Meteor’s very case, it’s a silver-wire with a gain;-)

I listened also to Keith Jarrett’s Paris Concert on ECM… the noises from the audience, the KJ’s pedal work and puffing and humming and feet tapping are like heard anew, for the first time.

This improved retrival ability gives more music and a sense of cohesiveness, effortless and complete immersion in musical event.

The Cabasses’ sound louder and cleaner, not edgy or shouting.

… and yes;-) on Jonathan Faralli’s percussion disk I use for final resolution test, the bowels growling on Salvatore Sciarrino’s piece is extremely audible, embarrassingly so!

The Clam… aehm, the Meteor is the ideal, cost-no-object line preamp for the discerned music lover and scholar. 

A true statement.

While I strongly felt I was reaching the very peak of musical satisfaction on many parameters, just swapping randomly, choosing from my small array of world-class preamps, I now really feel I reached my ears limit.

So, to my friend Roberto, asking if the Clam makes the difference, I reply: yes, again.

Everything is crystal-clear to me and to my ears.

Thanking Dr. Serge Schmidlin for his no-frill - almost poetic, yet so well technically grounded - approach.

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