Thanksgiving my ….?

thxThis year I had the chance to celebrate the Thanksgiving with some American friends of mine. I am completely Italian and I still have many doubts about celebrating Halloween in our country or having a Black Friday here. But I am the same one who didn’t believe McDonald’s had a chance in the country of pizza and I am still dubious about any business for Starbucks here. But I was proved wrong, so I gladly enjoyed the thanksgiving dinner in Rome with some dear American friends.

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My 14-year-old niece just bought her first new turntable

victoria3It is quite incredible that in the age of Spotify and Apple Music a teenager has actually looked for and purchased a turntable off the Internet. Vinyl records sales have surpassed the CDs a while ago. Digital music does no longer need a physical support. Compressed formats have reached an almost accetable quality even to hifi geeks like me. Teenagers largely use their own phones to download or stream their preferred music and MP3 players are disappearing. Nonetheless people have continued to buy vinyl records at an increasing rate. What surprised me was that teenagers would do it, too! Continue reading “My 14-year-old niece just bought her first new turntable”

Never forget your first guitar

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Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about my past. Not actually in a nostalgic way, but as something to be given more value, the correct value. Guitar playing has always been my trademark. The guitar has been central to my youth. I started playing at 11 with clumsy attempts that my 9 year old sister had started. It was an old acoustic guitar, so cheap it hurt our fingertips very quickly. It was at our father’s parents home, seldom played by my father’s younger brother. My father had bought it used in the 50s. Soon a new acoustic followed but, again, cheap. It was new at least. We must have destroyed it by playing it in any circumstances. My parents bought me my first electric guitar just before I turned 16. And they made me the happiest teenager on Earth!
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Not only a matter of sound quality

back-to-the-vinyl-640x360The vinyl record boom of the latest years is often explained as an acknowledgement by new and old fans of the superior sound quality of the analog medium over the digital one. Many do not even imagine how well can a vinyl record sound, though we should make clear what kind of digital we are talking about. But that is not the point. Vinyl’s charm is completely different. It has now become a matter of fashion, following the attraction for “vintage” that many have now, as if modern times were less attractive than the past; it’s as if the objects that remind us of a time gone appear more and more desirable. But there’s more to it…

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“Vinyl” dilemmas

thorens td165 reflectionIt is some time now that, in the rare occasions I have to listen to some music with my hifi system, I choose to play a vinyl record on my old Thorens TD-165 instead of a CD. It’s not about what kind of music to listen to, it’s just about listening to a vinyl record: unfolding it, cleaning it, letting the stylus descend, they all are gestures of a time gone but that are part of a relaxing ritual which is typical of using a turntable. Playing a CD would be faster, no time lost, but it would be no different from the frantic life of today’s world. What I’m looking for is an escape from this stress: we’re always on the run, so when I have some time to spend listening to music, I’d like to take a break from the frenzy. Preparing to listening to a vinyl record takes time – and this is just the point.

For the same reason I thought about starting a semi-commercial activity: restoring old turntables like mine and enjoy the hand work needed to eliminate the small defects due to aging; then I would resell the product, taking advantage of the vinyl resurgence of the last years. Where’s the dilemma? My own Thorens TD-165 was given to me by a friend who did not use it. It was the basic model of the brand’s production in the 70s, it was the cheapie. The top of the line was then the TD-160, more expensive still today and also widely considered still worth of high-level modern hifi systems. If I’ll be servicing old Thorens TTs, the TD-160 will sure be one of the models to focus on. But how could I work on one of them for weeks only to part from it without ever thinking about keeping one for myself?
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I mulini a vento

firefox.linuxQuando ero tutto Linux e OpenOffice e lavoravo all’università tra fior di ricercatori e menti aperte, ho provato ad applicare alla realtà il fare a meno dello strapotere di Microsoft. Niente Windows, niente Office! Linux e OpenOffice funzionavano a meraviglia. Esportavo in formato Microsoft se necessario. Outlook? No, Thunderbird era fantastico. E chi ha bisogno di Internet Explorer quando Firefox è sempre stato nettamente superiore?
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Buon Natalis Solis e Kado Matsu a tutti!

stonehengeE’ noto come il Natale cristiano sia stato “posizionato” dalla Chiesa appena dopo il solstizio di dicembre, nella accorta opera di sovrapporre ad ogni festa pagana una festa cristiana, così come aveva fatto con le chiese costruite sui templi romani. La festa pagana del solstizio d’inverno (21 dicembre) era festeggiata sin da tempi immemori. Il sole raggiunge il suo punto più basso dell’anno a mezzogiorno sull’orizzonte il 21 dicembre (considerato astronomicamente l’inizio dell’inverno) e sembra fermarsi lì per pochi giorni (solstizio : il sole che “staziona”), poi “riparte” – ed è proprio questa la chiave di lettura. Si ricomincia, nuova vita, si va verso un tempo migliore. In occidente come in oriente, si festeggia l’inizio della fine della notte artica, un periodo duro e buio (il giorno più corto, dopo il quale le giornate si riallungano), salutando l’inizio di uno migliore, più luminoso e ricco di speranza. Continue reading “Buon Natalis Solis e Kado Matsu a tutti!”

The “Grado Labs” and the heart choices in HiFi

How convenient is following your feelings, making heart choices when looking for a HiFi component? I admit it may be rather dangerous. High Fidelity is a quite expensive hobby, even a lot sometimes. Before spending those amounts of money we earned by hard work, we should be very cautious. We should use our rationality and choose what better suits our needs. Always? Not really, especially when quality is not in doubt.

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