Basically very eclectic. A little of everything-from rock, jazz to classical and some opera. However, it was the Beatles and the singer/songwriters of the 1960’s and 1970’s that motivated me to put my piano lessons on hold and pick up a guitar. Peter, Paul and Mary led to Dylan which led to Springsteen. Even today I’m a much better guitarist than piano player. During this period I worked at Fred Walecki’s Westwood Music which was the “go-to” stringed musical instrument store in Los Angeles at the time. We regularly assisted a who’s who of west coast musicians’ like Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt’s band, Bernie Leadon, Herb Pederson, The Eagles when they came in needing repairs or new instruments. At one point Westwood Music’s repair department saw Stephen Stills’ pre-war Martin D-45 come in twice with a broken neck from poor treatment on the road. My musical sensibilities lean heavily to traditional and romantic melodies so my classical tastes tend to reflect that. Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin, Holst, Vaughn-Williams all figure strongly.
1. Realism Triggers: In my smallish room, the more intimate the music the more likely the system will sound realistic to my ears–which is why I still gravitate to voice and guitar or voice and piano. Deep bass doesn’t concern me greatly but a solid foundation of mid and upper bass is a necessity. As transparency in audio has increased I’ve become increasingly sensitized to micro dynamic information. Since I enjoy vocals so greatly, any system that fails to reproduce the human voice coherently and naturally is, in my mind, shown the door.
2. Realism Inhibitors: Weird tonal balances, bass suckouts, noisy ports and an electronic or dry treble immediately take me far, far away from the music. I find large symphonic works unsatisfying on most if not all high end systems.
Music Background: An avid acoustic guitar player for 40 years along with some piano. I’ve co-written many songs, some of which have been published and recorded. No “hits” though. I’ve also spent considerable time in the recording studio making demos of these tunes and I’m still thousands of dollars away from breaking even. I own a 1975 Mark Whitebook dreadnought and a Tokai upright piano
Room: 14’ x 13’ x 8’ with a bay window along the left sidewall. The house is a single story wood and plaster construction from the 1930’s with lathe and plaster walls and ceiling. It’s on a raised foundation with heavy original wood floors. There is a heavy throw rug in the center of the room with a large couch that serves as the listening position and an arm chair on the sidewall with the bay window. It’s a fairly warm sound with a bit of 40 cycle room gain that tends to flatter two-way compacts and smaller floorstanders. A musician friend of mine said the room seems to embrace or “hug” a system in the way the speaker and room integrate as one.
Current Reference Equipment
Loudspeakers: ATC SCM20-2, Magic V2, Verity Audio Finn, Dali Mentor Menuet
Preamps: T+A P1234, Placette Audio passive volume control
Integrated Amps: Plinius Hiato, Cambridge Audio Azur 550A, Simaudio Moon i3.3
Analog Source: Sota Cosmos Series III, SME V tonearm
Phono cartridges: Ortofon 2M Black & Red, Sumiko celebration Palo Santos
Phono Preamp: JR transrotor
Digital Source: Simaudio Moon CD3.3, Cambridge Audio Azur 550C
Cable and Interconnects: Synergistic Tesla Apex and power cords, Wireworld Platinum, Tara Labs Omega and Zero. Kimber Palladian power cords.