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Saturday, September 30, 2017

The Swan

She's about 55 years old and 100% N.O.S.... I got her a few years ago and only listened sparingly, almost fearful about her weight and vertical tracking force.

She didn't played a groove in years 'til the recent cleaning and check up... papers say it's "only" good up to 15khz, but you'd say the same about a Neumann U47, blaming about its frequency curve, dips and peaks? 

The Swan simply "is" the Holy Grail! 

She sounds so zest, shiny, so rich in texture and music nuances portrayal and soooo quick and authoritative... 

Who cares about using 6,5 grams VTF? 

As Jonathan Halpern - also a passionate and avid DST-design scholar and collector (both Neumann and Lumiere's) - wisely commented on FB after someone guessed about excessive VTF: 

"Remember that its a 15u tip and conical so the pressure is spread. If Neumann thought it was correct, I feel pretty good about it. Neumann was the master of LP cutting and playback with the DST and WV2a, not to mention the lathes and GV2a reverse RIAA preamps. The only experiments I'm aware of were done by RCA with 6g of tracking on a mono LP. They found no appreciable wear after 2000 plays, I believe."

Furthermore, I feel confortable to add the high quality diamond tip was extremely expensive at the time - i.e. USD 9 each (1958 US Dollars...) vs. average USD 1 each of best contenders.


I could listen to a record played with The Peak and the DST and then sell my system, as I - simply, plainly said - got The Ultimate Knowledge, found The Source of Sparkling Musical Bliss. 

I'll be able to recall this intense pleasure for a long time simply thinking to the shivers of joy I today experienced with the Swan! 

I got Satori... and shamelessly howled like a lone, old wolf to the Moon.

Listened to Gilliam Welch, Piers Faccini, Ravi Shankar, Skip James and Bill Frisell in a row... every disc was playing like brand new, lots of hidden sounds blossoming here and there, percussions decay, acoustic guitars resonances and harmonics, room and studio noises, female and male vocals a specialty... a palette of new vivid colors.

I had to regretfully stop listening to music - a sort-of coitus interruptus - to go home from my studio... not before having (you'd bet it?) my longest eargasm, ever... 

... and tears (I swear...) poured, as well.

I'm just an old, romantic fart, pals... yet, let me say: too much joy for only one person.

HUGE thank you to Leonid Sinitsin who freed She from the debrises of a decades long storage. 

Friday, September 29, 2017

The secret history of messages etched into records runout groove

Practically since day one, the inside track or runout groove of a vinyl record or 78rpm disc has been the domain of the matrix number, an alphanumerical code either stamped or handwritten into the wax to help pressing plants assign the correct stamper and label to each side of the record.

Extra digits often refer to the cut or take of a particular record, while some plants or cutting engineers will assign their own signatures to the space.

Far from an exact science, matrix numbers will often be taken into consideration by collectors, either as proof of first pressings or sought-after alternate takes and re-cuts.

All this code though is rather formal in contrast to the hidden messages which have since jostled for space alongside their more conventional brethren in the runout groove.

Sometimes other messages are etched... or hidden as Jack White's or other artists/discs...


Sunday, September 24, 2017

Flea-market ephemeral joys...

Feet in felt...

Feet warm in felt home-shoes and the Tandberg 9200 XD singing for hours through the smaller system... a good book, good music.

What else for first Autumn days?

Another Neumann DST replica from Russia

This gifted gentleman from Russia was finally able to properly replicate a Neumann DST cartridge...

The triangle-shaped coils

The AlniCo magnets

The new parts composing the DST's clone.

The pixies say more than a thousand words...

The almost dismantled Neumann DST used for reverse-engineering.

The DST-clone!

Thanking LencoHeaven...  do you a favour and read the full story there.

... and HUGE compliments to Yuriy for his skill.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

T.S. Elliot & John Fahey

Not fare well,
But fare forward, voyager..
"I sometimes wonder if that is what Krishna meant-
Among other things - or one way of putting the same thing:
That the future is a faded song, a Royal Rose or a lavender spray
Of wistful regret for those who are not yet here to regret,
Pressed between yellow leaves of a book that has never been opened.
And the way up is the way down, the way forward is the way back.
You cannot face it steadily, but this thing is sure,
That time is no healer: the patient is no longer here.
When the train starts, and the passengers are settled
To fruit, periodicals and business letters
(And those who saw them off have left the platform)
Their faces relax from grief into relief,
To the sleepy rhythm of a hundred hours.
Fare forward, travellers! not escaping from the past
Into different lives, or into any future;
You are not the same people who left that station
Or who will arrive at any terminus,
While the narrowing rails slide together behind you;
Watching the furrow that widens behind you,
You shall not think "the past is finished"
Or "the future is before us".
At nightfall, in the rigging and the aerial,
Is a voice descanting (though not to the ear,
The murmuring shell of time, and not in any language)
"Fare forward, you who think that you are voyaging;
You are not those who saw the harbour
Receding, or those who will disembark.
Here between the hither and the farther shore
While time is withdrawn, consider the future
And the past with an equal mind.
At the moment which is not of action or inaction
You can receive this: 'on whatever sphere of being
The mind of a man may be intent
At the time of death' - that is the one action
(And the time of death is every moment)
Which shall fructify in the lives of others:
And do not think of the fruit of action.
Fare forward.
O voyagers, O seamen,
You who came to port, and you whose bodies
Will suffer the trial and judgement of the sea,
Or whatever event, this is your real destination."
So Krishna, as when he admonished Arjuna
On the field of battle.
Not fare well,
But fare forward, voyagers."
Τ.S. Elliot, Four Quartets (The Dry Salvages)

Friday, September 22, 2017

The Beatles con Peppino di Capri!!!

Great shot!

... please notice: "con" (with), not "e" (and)...

Twelve strings guitar - a love for life!

My love for acoustic 12 strings guitars began many decades ago... even before Claudio Rocchi's Volo Magico n. 1, Shawn Philips' Collaborations, Faces and Contributions, where acoustic 12 strings was King, I heard one day an heavenly sound in the immaterial form of an italian TV screenplay title-track...

"Un certo Harry Brent" was the title and like many '60 and '70 b/w RAI Italian TV productions, the quality of the TV movie was quite high...

Other incredibly nice productions were, for example, "A come Andromeda" with a superb Paola Pitagora and Tino Buazzelli and Paolo Ferrari in Rex Stout's "Nero Wolfe": both screenplays sported very nice soundtracks and title tracks music.

... but back to Harry Brent...

I don't remember nothing about the screenplay, itself;-)

... but sure it left something indelible, music wise.

I already had my guitar and I loved strumming, alone or with friends... but when I heard this full, complex, beautiful sound, these harmonics...

Donovan's "Roots of Oak" was B side to "Riki Tiki Tavi" and mr. Leitch's group was a trio, actually... acoustic guitars, six and a twelve strings and percussions.

I immediately found the 45 rpm 7" disc at a local records shop and I worned it out, listening and re-re-re-listening... the seed was in me.

The music - listened now - isn't so special, but special are the sounds and guitars blend and matching.

It was 1970 and I only owned 7" records at the time, my first long-playing was going to come, thanking my dad, who bought Le Orme's Collage for Christmas...

I bought a Yamaha 12 strings guitar, shortly after, and I was hooked forever.

... and I still am and I play mostly 12 strings, these days, as well, also if now I enjoy some sought-after Guilds' and Blazer & Henke's this complex sound resonates in me.

... after 47 years!

The incredible record libraries where you can listen to vast archives for free

Yes... they're more and more as everyone's most optimistic guessing... not only the amazing, famous Library of Congress, but they're many and a well-kept secret.

... much worth browsing, indeed.

The Village Voice ends its printed form...

Sure Times they are a-changing, folks... and the famous magazine printed for eons in NYC ends its shiny story, publishing a Bob Dylan's '65 pix on the final paper cover.

Looks like a sort-of military greeting or a sunlight annoyed Bob...

... a hard rain gonna fall.

Stay cool.

Frank Zappa goes hologram!

A hologram of Frank Zappa will go on tour next year, according a statement released today from the Zappa Family Trust.
In the statement, co-trustee Ahmet Zappa is quoted as saying, "I’m thrilled that Frank Zappa will finally be going back out on tour playing his most well-known music as well as some rare and unheard material." 
The press release also promises appearances from Frank Zappa’s band members, including Steve Vai, Vinnie Colaiuta, Ian Underwood, and more. 

Ahmet goes on to say it would be his "greatest wish" to have "Moon singing ‘Valley Girl’ onstage with Frank...or to see Dweezil side by side with our father playing dueling guitar solos." 
Given the history of legal disputes between the Zappas over the use of various trademarks centering around Dweezil's Zappa Plays Zappa band, it remains to be seen whether this new tour will include participation by all of the Zappa siblings.
The hologram is being created by production company Eyellusion, who have also recently developed a hologram of Ronnie James Dio. 

Production is slated to start later this year, with tour announcements coming some time in 2018.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Tandberg 9200-XD is back home...

This little, great '70s tape-machine, a Crossfield-design made in Norway by Tandberg is back home after recapping and cleaning and alignment.

It sounds so lively...

One of the very few pieces of gear my wife likes... loves, I'd dare;-)

I like it as a lounge music machine - i.e. a lowest speed LIVE Sinatra tape still owns the soul of The Voice.

Luca Chiomenti's Riviera Lab AIC-10 - proudly italian!

Luca's a maven, a circuits-wizard and his audio projects are truly remarkable...

Riviera Labs is his last adventure... I heard about it from our common friend Loris, and, now, here it is.

We'll hear about him more and more... I wish to him the international audience he deserves.



Saturday, September 16, 2017

West meets East...

... as I really like to also do;-)

Love this music and owned the Hörzu pressing for decades... on reel to reel it sounds so natural...

Friday, September 15, 2017

Leonado da Vinci's notebook

Genius shared...

The new Leonid Sinitsin's Tzar DST

... the new, improved, superb, unique, sought-after, hand-made Tzar DST MC cartridge is here to please the world.

This masterpiece looks amazing and reportedly - from the maker himself who in-deep tasted and auditioned the best Lumiere DSTs and the original Neumann DSTs on the planet - is THE BEST DST-concept cartridge, ever... cost-no-object!



Let me agree with Leonid's enthusiasm: the Audio Technica ART-1000 is technically an achievement, but not a true Neumann's clone/replica.

Have a careful look at the HUGE magnets and at the beauty and precision of the triangle-shaped ultra low-impedance in-air, core-less coils!

Thanks to Leonid for proudly sharing this worldwide premiere.

Спасибо, Леонид!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

I'm back...

... or at least my body is...

... my soul - or whatever made me be in tears shortly before I took the above pix - remained here...