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Tuesday, June 22, 2021

John McLaughlin’s Illumination

 

I love this picture…


His Goal’s Beyond

🥇



… more Luigi Nono on Dischi del Sole (1969)

 


An hen’s teeth record… sure not music to whistle having a shower, but nonetheless worth a listen.


🎶🎶🎶🎶🎶🎶🎶

Luigi Nono on Wergo

 

Antonio Gramsci-inspired music, I’d call this… I love this Italian composer, born in Venice.




He who was a student of Bruno Maderna and a friend of Vedova, the painter, also born in Venice, who painted Nono’s music.




He who married Arnold Schoenberg’s daughter, in a sort of circle of life and art.

Nice music, to be enjoyed like an Armagnac glass. 🥂 



Disc of the Week - Dave Holland Quintet (ECM)

 

This is a wonderful disc whose first rate recording serves the music.




Swinging and rocking music.

Highly recommend 🎶🥇🎶 



Sunday, June 20, 2021

… and this is my listening room 🥳

 




In the meantime, in Cremona…

 






The Bompo apprentice

 




🥳😇🥳

Studer - those were the days

 

A family more than a factory… man-sized workshop, common spaces for lunch, wooden benches, no robots…


Studer C37 workshop…



No wonder Studer hand-made in Regensdorf the best studio equipments.

🎶🎶🎶🥇🥇🎶🎶🎶

Thursday, June 17, 2021

El mejor regalo es un disco

 

Thanking from my heart to my pal Gábor Tuske who gracefully gifted to me a copy of this sought-after jazz disc, a first pressing made in Santiago, Chile, recorded on June 1966.



I was so moved by graciousness of this generous gesture.

As the back cover says:


The recording is first rate, premium studio gears were used and music is to par: a pre-coup d’ètat Chile (1973), a time-capsule item, even more incredible this fragile disc survived the abuses of History.

Thanks, Gábor 🥂🥂🥂🥇 for the much appreciated and timely gift, as my birthday will be next week 😄🥂😄

Looking forward to cheering, soon. 🥂🙏🥂





🎶🎶🎶🎶🎶🎶🎶🎶🎶🎶🎶🎶🎶🎶



Analogtechnik DMT25 🥇

 

I admit I was quite reluctant to try the DMT25 cartridge as I had to take away the DST15 which I so greatly enjoyed and admired for about 15 very intense hours…

Mr. Daniel Kim, the maker


As you imagine DST15 uses a 15cu highly polished conical diamond tip, while the DMT25 a 25cu conical diamond tip; as per suggestion by Daniel Kim - the gifted maker of these labor of love carts -  utmost care must be used when handling these behemoths, as DMT25 extremely powerful samarium-cobalt magnets could attract metal objects and debrises (screws, other cartridges, etc.) with potentially destructive results.





… but we’re not talking about a weapon or… whatever.

The mighty DMT25 is a quite strange cartridge: the “M” in suffix would suggest about a mono version on “S” - i.e. DST vs. DMT, but… the latter doesn’t look like a boutique DL102, a real modern mono cartridge with +/- terminals and a diamond also good for stereo discs.

No!








Analogtechnik’s DMT25 has 4 pins like DST15 and, after installing on The Peak arm on Garrardzilla and using some cherry picked mono discs (Luis Horacio Borraro, Joni Mitchell, Dave Van Ronk), all played with exceptional ease and aplomb, I decided to give it a try with one of my references: Collin Walcott - Grazing Dreams on ECM.

What the fuck!

Would you imagine it? 



The soundstage on ECM disc was so  H U G E…  so B R O A D! Timbre was incredibly natural and dynamics just U N B E L I V A B L E, period.

Call it M or S or W… who cares! Everything is here and beefy and real-life.

Yes, a close friend of mine called me crazy to dare comparing










brand new cartridges without properly breaking-in… maybe it’s true, nonetheless I feel quite confident about what I listened to and experienced and I cannot be fooled: Analogtechnik DMT25 is the best sounding cartridge  I ever listened to.

I repeat: THE VERY BEST SOUNDING CARTRIDGE I EVER LISTENED TO in my system and elsewhere.

The best sounding cartridge, not the best cartridge… why?

Is it such a perfect cartridge? No: it’s bulky, not easily fitted on many arms around, quite expensive, also if costing about the half of a Neumann DST, if you’ll be able to find one.

Nonetheless: it’s the most musically involving cartridge I ever listened to.

What’s perfection? Technical wizardry or getting a moving, musically involving sound?

This hand-made cartridge weights 35+ grams and a minimum 6 grams VTF is required; only these two “details” could chill and worry also the most daredevils around.

Let’s try to face it out and refute the commonplaces: vinyl formulations changed from ‘60s to ‘70s and nowadays… yes, but no “plastic” as someone believes is used on modern pressings - only more or less manufacturing skills and processes in quality controls and molding; softer or harder vinyl always existed and will exist to make audiophiles and experts endlessly chatting.

Is a 6 grams VTF potentially destructive for vinyl discs?

Yes, if you own ten discs and play any given side two, three or more times in a row.

Same happens if using an Ortofon’s SPU at 4,5 or 5 grams VTF, too!

Yes, if you try a Fine Line elliptical diamond with poor set-up you’ll destroy your discs, too.

My personal feeling is that the so powerful emotional experience of listening to such a masterpiece cartridge (DMT25) simply transcends the above practical questions and  doubts and concerns.

Is someone worried about tyres consumption or fuel needed to reach a 400 mph on a Bugatti Veyron or a Pagani super cars?

Is it a concern if a periodical check-up for the a.m. cars costs like a brand-new Audi?

Could I be blamed if I’d own and enjoy driving “this”, in same attires as the gentleman here below?


Would it be worth the effort treasuring such a dinosaur?


Well… all practical aspects vanishes in my opinion when you get a glimpse of heaven: I humbly got two very intense, priceless eargasms, today.

My arms and legs hairs had a looooong, so pleasant wave-like goose-bump and (I swear) slow tears poured from my semi-closed eyes…



Pure joy.

Everything else is lesser and to be neglected: only music and emotions and sheer, timeless, pure happiness remain… and frankly I simply don’t care if I’ll have to replace a worn-out disc!

I’d be the cartridge maker, I’d provocatively call the cart DWT25 where “W” stands for “whatever”.

A bravo to Daniel Kim, the skilled, gifted artisan whose love for music brought him to highest peaks of technical and manufacturing dexterity and of music reproduction… considering the original Neumann DST and DST62 were laboratory gears for quality pressings control and have always been unobtanium, here is your ticket for this uniquely involving, uncompromising, violent 😱, natural, not compressed, free flowing music-machine.

My pristine Neumann DST (1958)

Must, better: wish to thank everyone who made this result possible… Misho Myronov’s phono stage, Franz’s WE421A amp, Ikeda-san for Fidelity Research AS1 line stage, Serge Schmidlin’s silver cryo signal and speakers cables, Seiya Goto for Goto Unit’s magnificent drivers and 4 ways crossovers and Franz Hinterlehner’s bass horns, Mario and Lo for Garrardzilla and The Peak arm and, last but not least, Daniel Kim’s Analogtechnik DMT25.


Maestro Daniel Kim, the operatic singer 


My music system… thanks everyone who contributed to get… a tear of joy.




 


Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Marte Röling’s record-covers artworks 🥇

 



These discs are a well-kept secret, indeed… a young Paul Bley trio is awesome, John Tchicai recorded by Rudy van Gelder is just a gift…

Recently reissued and now quite cheap vs. the pricey Japanese Fontana pressings, they are worth every penny thanking the music and fantastic artworks by the gifted Dutch artist, Marte Röling.

Try to get a copy of the shown waxes, folks… you won’t regret 😊



Tuesday, June 15, 2021

The unsung Aussie Beatle

 




On June 12, 1964, The Beatles landed in Adelaide, Australia. Well 3 of The Beatles anyway. Ringo had been in the hospital and a friend of theirs, Jimmie Nicol had taken his place playing drums. (Many people spell his name Jimmy)


Over 250,000 people were on the road the band took from the airport to their hotel. It was a 10 mile trip and it was the biggest "welcome" The Beatles ever received.


For Jimmie Nicol, it had to be the trip of a lifetime. But it didn't last. When Ringo returned on June 14th, The Beatles threw a party that lasted till 4 am. Jimmie was not invited.


On the morning of June 15th, Beatles manager, Brian Epstein drove Jimmie to the airport and gave the drummer 500 pounds and a gold watch. He didn't say goodbye to The Beatles as they were all sleeping when he left.



This is a picture of Jimmie at the airport.


Do you think Jimmy was disrespected or do you think he knew what was coming?


Really, we would think it was a dream come true, while it lasted, 57 years ago.

Monday, June 14, 2021

Analogtechnik DST15 - first impressions

 


I’ve been impressed many times during my almost 50 years-long music-audio journey, but only an handful of time I was scared to death: Studer C37, Quad ESL, 300B amp, Garrard 301, The Peak arm and DST cartridge(s).




Scared by the incredibly huge improvement a single gear may be able to introduce in my system.

Maybe a bit scared about the impressive 6-6,5 grams VTF, but as you know, with a deep-groove conical diamond, isn’t that heavy for vinyl… and, hey!, we all own so many discs we simply cannot be over-worried 😄 to worn-out a disc, most of all if the orgasmic enjoyment reaches highest peaks!





… scared or blessed?

Maybe the latter, as the feeling is a satori-like enjoyment, something so sought-after…

A few days ago I got a parcel from Germany contaning two hand-made cartridges of the noblest breed: Analogtechnik DST15 and DMT25 - i.e. Neumann DST replicas.












These cartridges are handmade to such an impressive quality standard to put to shame the elusive made in Japan DST replicas, quite often suffering of bad quality sampler-to-sampler consistency (thinking about the infamous Lumiere DST).

After tuning the impressive 6,35 grams VTF on my new digital scale and overhang and null-points on The Peak arm, I was ready to hear the first notes played on freshly made (not 50+ years old like my vintage NOS Neumann DST!😱) cartridge… 

The first disc I choose - Pierre Dørge/John Tchicai live in Stockholm - was a shock!





I listened to this disc on Steeplechase label yesterday with Lumiere DST and today, with Analogtechnik’s DST15, the Gibson 335 and alto sax lively recording sounded even more fabulous and lively, so naturally better then my previous listening session!

How is it possible 😄?

Well, words aren’t able to say it all… the feeling is you simply don’t need to explain anything to anybody, as quality is so impressively apparent.

Even more impressive considering it’s a few hours old cartridge, still breaking-in and opening: for example, first grooves sounded with noisy background, like the cartridge was extracting too much informations from the grooves… this lasted just one side, then only music poured from Gotorama.

Maybe the cantilever stiffness diminished within half  an hou or the diamond self-polished while playing first disc… dunno.

After the Steeplechase disc, I enjoyed a Gustav Leonhardt’s disc, Bach’s The Art of Fugue recorded by Tomas Gallia on BASF/Harmonia Mundi and a Rucker’s 16th Century harpsichord was in my Studietto!




The DST cartridge excels in impressively differentiating the parallel musical lines and Analogtechnik’s isn’t second to none, but at this level of resolution and enjoyment, you doubt about your senses.

You feel like a virgin, a newbie and I admit it’s so pleasant 😄!

Imagine if this would be possible with other human activities… a time machine!

While listening to Bach, I was holding the old, premium quality paper booklet and the subtle pleasure of handling this booklet, appreciating the paper crispness and corrugations wasn’t so different from re-re-rediscovering a beloved masterpiece like you listened to it for the first time!

Isn’t this any audiophile wet-dream - i.e. enjoying the music you like as it was the first time?

A gift, rare as it can be.

I look forward to the further improving of the brand new cartridge, also if it already sounds… yes 😇, scaring good!

My sincere compliments and kudos to Maestro Daniel Kim for his achievement in analog art and cartridge making!

🥇🎶🥇🎶🥇🎶🥇🎶🥇

P.S. - a couple of suggestions: be careful to properly handle the larger than life DST15’s headshell body as it will sometimes hit an 80mm clamp at end of most discs… and like other DSTs’ carts, please tune the arm VTA for sweetest spot (thanks to Fidelity Research B60) which will apparently look “wrong” - i.e. a bit “seated”, almost touching the vinyl surface with cartridge belly 😄 but the headshell front will be perfectly parallel to disc.