Fiddle, fiddle, fiddling… seeking for the core

Yes… for the sake of fiddling… when you’re after audio, experimenting also weirdest or worst, wrongest thing on your audio system is salt to life and passion in the passion. Yesterday, a lazy rainy Saturday afternoon, pretty right for indoor activities, I ran something I was thinking since some days: kept the whole Gotorama and Mayer’s preamp(s) and Hiragas’ amps OFF…
Then disconnected the Goto S-150 and SG 570DX horn/drivers from their dedicated Hiraga Le Classe amp and connected straight into the superb, sought-after, yet humble 1,7W Luca Chiomenti’s Scherzo integrated amp and…
Some words about Luca Chiomenti, an incredibly talented and skilled audio artisan and illuminated italian builder and designer from Naples, Italy.
He’s one of the handful people on the planet who exactly knows how to obtain this or that sound from a transformers, a coil or a tube.
His masterfully built amps are a rare breed and highly praised among the better hearing music and audio scholars, in Italy and abroad… only caveat: Luca’s amps aren’t made in large quantities, so it’s basically a word-of-mouth, legendary legacy of people owning his gears, mostly friends and friends-of-friends.
The late Kondo-san, Kang Su Park, Serge Schmidlin and Thomas Mayer are other illuminated I’m aware of who really knows how their gears really sounds and/or how to change any given parameters, like a composer uses minor or mayor modes or a painter uses darker or brilliant colors on the canvas.
Sure I’m not saying the above mentioned audio designers are the only making musical gears… but, VERY often, good audio is commonly considered when it’s the most weighty, expensive, LED-blinking with pimp-like mirror brushed faceplates.
Music and music reproducing at home, well… let me say, is something different.
I listened to amazingly nice sounding piece of gears mounted on a shitty, raw plywood slab and superbly crafted and polished, sexy boxes so embarrassingly badly sounding…
Sometimes, same prototype, when made sexier, swapped from wood-mount to alu box, with binding posts instead of screws and best RCAs’ on the market vs. hard-wired to the circuit… well, shit happens and all the effort to make a given amp or preamp better looking, makes it so, but lesser sounding.
Look at Audio Consulting’s room… it seems and reminds a mad scientist’s laboratory… but, hey, what you hear at Serge’s isn’t sound, anymore… it’s music… MUSIC… M U S I C.
Are Serge or Luca lunatics who simply hate alu boxes and only praise for wood-only boxes?
… or do they hear and know how to listen to music… do they know when sound transforms into music?
How this happens?
Dunno… but it happens: if you’re after listening to music, you should leave your ears and soul in open-mode, child-like attention… you’ve not to lie to yourself.
There is no need to lie, when you’re ON and open.
Only this way your path, a music and knowledge path worth a life of dedication and satisfaction for also the tiniest advancement, is the path to be walked, in awe and supreme enjoyment.
You sure cannot measure listening pleasure but we all recognize it… and not every – let’s call it – distortion is measured, but sure as hell… you can detect and hear it.
The above reminds me when a new abyss creature or a butterfly or monkey or bird is discovered somewhere… usually the news are given with apparent surprise, almost an humankind offended surprise – i.e. hey, we have iPad/iPhone/Facebook, so we have technology and science.
Nature, Man and senses are fractal… so, undigital and unclustered and free and wild and always surprising… fucking any caging and category and expertise.
The trick is to let ears to listen to.
Like Man likes freedom, He likes uniqueness… beautiful defects which becomes uniqueness… my wife beautiful nose, Uma Thurmann’s beauty, not a surgery-nightmare created inflated lips or tits… unnatural, OMG homogenized perfection.
What I’m saying is I’m listening to a 220-3.500 hz completely wrong narrow-band horn speakers pair, 116 db efficiency with a 1,7W PCL82 integrated amp, hand-built with hand-woven irons and what I hear is the very soul of anything I’m pleased to try… ECM, female, barytone woodwinds, guitars… I listen to piano felt, spring operated guitar amps reverbs, multi tracks opening of a mixer fader, mouthwatering lips…
Something that with my Gotorama is only – sometimes almost perfectly, sometimes not – hinted, here I’m – also if so limited in bandwidth – experiencing something supreme, which opens a new level of natural listening introspection and search and fiddling to obtain 30-20.000hz same rightness… same naked beauty.
Luca Chiomenti’s Scherzo isn’t an audio salon kind of gears… humble, a duckling… wooden frame and alu top, two triode-connected Mullard PCL 82 tubes… hand/hard-wired and cheaply looking… but a musical stargate.
Sure other amps which so clearly states the boundary between sound and music do exist… as always, folks, I’m sharing my findings… I’m only a limited, fragile individual.
I’m not after any sale of shark-oil or the like… no teachers or pupils, no business… it’s a very private and personal path, as I told you.
Sharing here as something possible… being so surprised to be speechless and righteous to the last cells.
A very, very rewarding new window opened for yours truly.
Thanking Luca Chiomenti and Serge Schmidlin for the inspiration… and my dear pal Lo for being a lighthouse for yours truly.
… and lovingly thanking my Mom, for my ears and fractal curiosity (sic…) and humbleness and braveness.

Stefano Bertoncello
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