Av: PAC & Neodynium Datum: 28 March 04

Plats: Mårten Design

Esoteric Audio Research, EAR, is a company that has been into tube designs for Audio equipment for a long time.
Tim deParavicini is the founder, owner, tube/electronics-designer and motor behind the company. At the "Gala Premier" of Mårten Designs visitorcenter HiFiForum.nu had an opportunity to talk to Tim. Tim is a very friendly person so Pac & Neo had a very nice 1 hour and 30 minutes conversation with Tim about his design philosophies, Ear as a company, the past and the future of EAR and the Audio industry.

We will publish the interview in an "Q & A"-format with some audioclips, more will be added in due time, that You can klick on to hear Tim himself talk.

Q: So Tim, lets start off with some philosophy, Why are You in this business, why do You design Audio?

A: For me it is passion for music and the business. If Money was why I did things I would have been in the banking or stock business. The thing is, if You do it right in this business You can support Yourself but I'm not intrested in beeing a Richard Branson or something. Being in the  High End Audio is similair to running a very good restaurant, those that have stars in Guide Michelin. You need to know why You do certain things and not just follow a recipie and You need to focus on  Quality.
Q: What about Your designs what's Your angle?
A: Once again I do the analogy with the restaurant. They to combine ingredients together so that the combination becomes something greater than the ingredients. If You follow a recipie and use the same ingredients at home, it never becomes the same thing. It's the same with what I design. I put things together and people can try to copy but they will never be able to understand why I did it the way I did.

Q: You also do electronics for studios?
Yes I do. I have sold tape machines to for instance Mobile Fidelity, Bob Ludwig, Pink Floyd. The last SACD from Pink Floyd had a lot of my electronics in there...

Q: Do You go about doing Your electronics differently between the Professional equipment and HiFi equipment?
No personally I don’t. But I find that some studios does not listen in an home environment, they just use their working environme
nt to listen. So some of them does not have that good equipment. Their mixing consoles use cheap IC’s and things like that. Some of the modern “Backstreet”-studios are even all computerized...


Tim deParavicini

Q: For an Audio designer what do You belive is more important, measuring or listening?
A: I do both. I have a lot of real life influences around me. I have a piano and a drumkit at home, my daughter plays the cello and the piano so I have a lot of live sources to listen to. When it comes to measuring I have found that the common usual tools such as for instance distortion does not give You the whole story. You need to correlate what You hear with what You measure. I have some measuring techniques that I haven’t published that helps me to correlate my measurements with sound. The trick is to understand which characteristics cause what influences. It’s the same when I look at a digitalsystem, why am I hearing that thing, where does it come from and so on. You have to correlate Your measurements.

Q: DVD-A, SACD, MP3, ... There is a "War of the formats" raging. What's Your reaction to all of that?
A: MPEG3 has really poor quality. But if You are to use it for storing a speach or to store higly compressed data for for instance a black box crash recorder in a car, it does its jobb. In the digital audio formats I have been supporting, via minor conultations, the Sony SACD. It's the best of all the basic systems out now for what I call highend digital audio. Now obviously there is a conflict with the home theatre systems but they are for a different audience, people watching movies are more interested in special effects, they have 5.1, 6.1 and 7.1 and no standardisation.

I've always been a believer in standardisation. Philips did the right thing with the audio cassette, they gave every one the possibillity to use it so that they could post it. On the basic CD Philips did some what the same thing.
But now we have to many companies trying to keep control. It's a bit like what happened in the Video arena some 20 years ago with Betamax, Video2000 and VHS.

EAR 899

 The best system didn't win, VHS which was the worst system of them all won. If it only was about the technical issues we could choose SACD and call it a day.
The problem is that it is all about politics now. The format that should have won is the laserdisc since. You can get a lot of information on disc that size.

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