Let's take a short break from reviewing hardware and move for a moment to the reason why we buy all this gear: to enjoy listening to music...
So, on the subject of software for our hifi gear, I cannot recommend anything better than an injection of vinyl from Analog Collector in the historic centre of Paris: le Marais.
I had heard about it, I had read about it, but this doesn't compare with the live experience of visiting Remi Vimard's Ali Baba Cavern.
It is a very small space, but the perfect temple for the music aficionados.
Not only will you be surrounded by thousands of records, but you will be immersed in the most gorgeous sound emanating from the most unorthodox analog listening system on the planet, on top of being welcomed by Remi's hospitality and immense musical knowledge. This is not to be missed at any cost!
Eventually, you might buy a few records as I did (Remi has been in business for over five years, so obviously his soft sales techiques work...)
I bought two new records: The Body & the Soul, Freddie Hubbard originally on Impulse (sic...) and Brahms Sonatas for Cello and Piano with Janos Starker and Gyorgy Sebok, originally on Mercury Living Presence, both re-published and manufactured by Speakers Corner records, a German based company.
Now, a little insight on Remi's hardware:
Turntables: Kuzma Stabi S equipped with a Lyra Delos cartridge
This turntable looks much better in the flesh than on the photos
published in HiFi World not so long ago...and the sound is divine!
There is also a Thorens TD124 completely refurbished and equipped
with a 12" Jelco arm and a Lyra Donian cartridge. I didn't get a chance
to listen to this classic piece of gear...
Phono PreAmp: If you think the Kuzma is quite left field, wait until you connect
it to a Swiss-built phono preamp the BPS from Nagra, running on
Amplifier: Again, not a middle of the road choice, but a LEBEN CS 300 X, using
EL84 valves, not a powerhouse, but a very refined amp indeed...
Loudspeakers: You know by now that this is my area of expertise, Remi surprised me with a piece of gear I never heard of: a Japanese full range driver from DIATONE, in a configuration used by the NHK Radio (the Japanese National Broadcaster) with transmission line loading. (I am sure Jean Hiraga would have reviewed such an interesting device in one of his famous articles, but obviously I was living on a different planet when/if he did: I welcome your contribution to my education on the matter!)
It is particularly beautiful on string instruments and on small jazz ensembles.
Although it lacks the high frequency extension of a multi driver design,
it generates a very credible image, realistic dynamics and fascinating musical
Obviously, as in any system, it is difficult to credit the result to one single component, and this is where Remi needs to be credited for assembling a very homogeneous system out of a combination of components very much from outside the square. Bravo!
Born in France, well travelled, relocated to Sydney in 1997.