Far and wide: from Wilco to Wagner (an admitted love/hate affair), Billie Holiday to Janis Joplin, Mingus to Mahler, Frank Sinatra to Steve Earle, Ligeti to Led Zeppelin, Robert Johnson to Johann Sebastian Bach, Berg to Bjork, Monk to Nirvana, Neil Young to Luigi Nono, M. Ward to O. Messiaen, Dexter Gordon to Bob Dylan, Muddy Waters to Leonard Cohen, Johnny Cash to John Coltrane, Mozart to Hendrix…
1. Realism triggers:
That elusive and hard to describe something that, even if for a fleeting moment, makes me forget about all the electro-mechanical stuff and pulls me, as if by magic, to the place and time the recording was made.
2. Realism inhibitors:
Overblown, bigger than life sound lacking finesse and subtlety. The kind of sound that struts impressive “hi-fi’ credentials while never letting you forget that you’re listening to very impressive gear.
Music background: Passionate listener since age 10 when exposed to friends’ older brothers rock LPs. Guitar and piano lessons as teenager—never very good at either—also got into classical as a teenager; first live opera at 18 (Das Rheingold in San Francisco); ongoing love affair with live music, especially rock, chamber, orchestral, and opera; sold high-end gear at retail for far too long; currently fiddling with tenor sax (also not that well, but enjoying it).
Room: A tiny 10 x 12 x 8, as befits San Francisco housing costs, but effective for near-field listening. Lath & plaster walls, hardwood floor with area rug, cozy loveseat with large LP rack directly behind, drapery behind speakers, gear on Finite Elemente “Spider” racks between and set back from speakers. Pretty neutral, leans a tad toward warm side, deep solid bass for small space, doorways to sides and rear.
Current reference equipment:
Loudspeakers: Kharma Mini Exquisite
Linestage preamp: Artemis Labs LA-1
Phonostage preamp: Artemis Labs PL-1
Power amplifiers: Kharma MP-150
Analog source: TW Acustic Raven One turntable with Tri-Planar Ultimate VII arm
Phono cartridge: Transfiguration Phoenix
Cable and interconnect: Tara Labs Zero interconnects, Omega speaker cables, The One power cords
Accessories: Tara Labs AD-10B Power Screen, Finite Elemente Spider equipment racks, Feickert protractor, various record cleaning geegaws