My moniker is “ddk” on What’s The Best Forums. While there’s nothing like a great live performance I know with the right system and room one can repeatedly have the same experience at home, reproduced as desired. In my case I fail to make the right connections to the original event with digital; even with a flawless recording of a favorite song. So by default Analog is my only choice when I think/talk about “high end”; irrespective of what one spends for a current SOTA digital. My gear journey from start to finish, i.e., the point when you finally say that this is good enough and better wont add to my enjoyment, was a long and expensive one. I’m settled on Vinyl (analog only) and Shellac as my primary source of music, hence the lust for exceptional turntables. Vintage horn designs is where my heart is at, haven't heard anything even close to their speed, dynamics and natural ease. Electronics of equal quality were my last piece of the puzzle until I met Vladimir Lamm 16 years ago. It took a brief conversation with the man and a few minutes listening to his gear to recognize what he's created and never looked back since.
My first brush with real high end was about 35 years ago at the home of my friend Ricardo Franassovici, Absolute Sounds UK, and his magnificent Sound Lab A1 speakers. The sight & sound of those gorgeous A1’s in his beautiful English country home are still with me. He set the bar and gave me a real reference. A few years later I moved to the Far East where I soon encountered the local audiophiles and a circle of new friends. By the early 90’s we had an established hi-end club with paid membership from all over the region. We used the substantial sum collected from members to purchase high end equipment for the club and its members. From 1992 to 1998 we actively collected every piece of high end audio gear we found from around the world, certainly most everything recommended by the two dominant US based magazines. I did most of the purchasing and installations for members. It was a lot of fun and an invaluable hands on experience but I must admit that none of those very expensive systems evoked the emotional response I had to Ricardo’s system years before. In retrospect I understand the reason for that. The two US based magazines were the dominant publications of that period, instead of following our own minds and desired we blindly fell in line with the flawed instructions, aspirations and egos of their founders down the rabbit hole. Another factor was the rise of digital.
Fortunately there was another and a very different high end scene in Japan. The community there had a completely different focus and expectation from their systems. Very sophisticated, the “Emotional” content was what mattered most. Like Ricardo’s A1’s. It was also where I first saw the big Micro Seiki and EMT tables. While conflicting I learnt from both philosophies. I grew up with live music, I knew which path to pursue.
The Emotional & the Natural is what I care for in a system, irrespective of cost. Its either a conduit to the original event or not, the rest of it is completely irrelevant for me today. I don’t turn on “The System” to analyze or be impressed by it, I want to tap my foot and shake my head uncontrollably. I listen to a lot of digital and like it too, but analog is where it happens for me.
While never my main career as a side business I have had a professional connection to the high end industry since the late 80’s. Importer, distributor and dealer in various countries. High end audio is special, over the years many opened their homes and shared their love of the hobby with me. Even met some close friends whom I probably would have never met otherwise, I'm grateful for that.
Damoka LLC Audio