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Hi-Fi series presents: EAR interview with Tim de Paravicini


Esoteric Audio Research was established in England in 1976 with the EAR 509, a 100 watt valve monoblock power amplifier. Mr. Tim de Paravicini is mastermind behind Esoteric Audio Research. He's well known for his amazing and extraordinary valve amplifiers, He's also involved with the professional recording world. Tim de Paravicini is an excellent example of both an audio engineer and a mastering guru for Mobile Fidelity.

EAR are sponsoring our music magazine with their audio products. Please see their website at: http://www.earyoshino.com/

Interview:

How old were you when you first got involved with music and what was the first genre or should I say artist that inspired you?

I started to enjoy music at about 4 years old but did not fully understand what or how until 12 years old. Buddy Holly was my first love.

Was music important in your family?

Only to my mother. That is where I got my interest from.

What was your first involvement in audio world?

Commercially I have been in the audio business since I was about 21. I worked at making my own guitar amplifiers and Hi Fi amplifiers.

In the 1970s you were working in Luxman and developed C1000 pre-amplifier and M6000 power amp among other products. What was the philosophy behind making this combo? Also, how did you get involved with Luxman? 

I was invited by the President and sales person when I met them in 1972 in South Africa. I went to Japan at the very end of 1972. I was a design engineer. My challenge was to make the very best products especially for the American market.


Your next step was to return to England from Japan and to start your own company, which became a great success. Esoteric Audio Research is still one of the leading hi-end companies. What was the original concept behind EAR? Is it possible to name a few things you did differently than other companies at the time?

EAR was a play on words for the ear as Esoteric Audio Research Ltd, a UK company. I wanted to make since I started valve revival in 1978 in England a valve high powered amplifier the EAR509 at 100 watts each with very low distortion compared to all other valve amplifiers. I still believe in making accurate amplifiers not some fancy jewellery looking stuff.


Before we get more into your work at EAR maybe you can tell us the story about making disc-cutting system for Island Records. How did that came along?

I met the mastering engineer and offered to design the best sounding most accurate disc cutting system.


Since we are in music business we can without a doubt say that vinyl as a format is gaining more and more popularity. Almost every underground band is releasing an LP or even cassette. I myself love this whole aspect of having a physical format in my hands and in my archive, but when you're critically listening to some of the latest vinyl releases (including reissues) you notice that the sound quality can be really mediocre, reasons being poor mastering skills, overcrowded pressing plants and various of other facts. What's your opinion about vinyl comeback in general?

I was for 30 years fighting to keep vinyl and said it still offered the best performance for home user. But now is just a fashion and everyone  wants to make records but the quality is not always good.

Of course there are a few companies that really care what you're listening to and you are involved with one of the very best - Mobile Fidelity. Tim built LP cutting system and reproducer amplifiers for Studer A80.

I will only say I care about sound and I designed all the analogue equipment for Mo Fi.


But when it comes to owning a music piece I prefer a really bad vinyl pressing next to a decent quality audio files stored on hard drive. For me it's like owning a thought that will soon disappear and you're left with nothing. Maybe it's a cliché, but still…

Yes, Agreed.

In EAR you launched also a turntable, CD player and loudspeaker besides amplifiers and pre-amplifiers. Is it possible for you to tell us some basic facts that have to be considered when it comes to turntable making? 

I will say nothing about my turntable since I really do not have time to make more for the market.

In hi-end audio you always have war between solid state and tubes. What would you say is the main reason for your company to be mostly dedicated to tubes? 

Because Valves are much faster than solid state electronics especially for power amplifiers.

What about M100A solid state?

That is made to my valve transformer rules so behaves like a single end valve amplifier. 


What would you say were some of the better hi-end products in history of audio? 

Quad Quad Quad.

And which products are you most proud of in EAR?

EAR509 and EAR912.


What is Mr. Tim De Paravicini currently listening to? 

My own stuff amps loudspeakers etc.

Mostly pop and Jazz.

What are you currently working on in your company? 

New products such as Phono boxes and power amps.

What do you think future will bring to audio world?

384K / 24 bit digital audio will get more perfect.

Thank you for your time. Would you like to send a message to your fans and audio enthusiast? 

Enjoy.

We are using their phono stage in our music room.

- Klemen Breznikar
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