Born in Exeter, in Devon, UK before Hillary conquered Everest and before Queen Elizabeth came to the thrown. Attended Hele's Grammar School, and went on to University in London, studying Chemistry and Archaeology, then Advanced analytical chemistry at Plymouth University, eventually doing an M.Sc. at Chester College, Liverpool. Along the way, I also studied digital electronics at Exeter College and Selwyn College, Cambridge University.
My musical life started at the age of four, when I learnt to play the clarinet, but quickly moved to soprano sax as I couldn't cover the tone holes of the clarinet, I was too small! My first gig was when I was 6½ years old; by the age of nine, I was playing in a dance band. At senior school, I learnt to play the flute, and gave concerts at Exeter University and played in the Devon Youth Orchestra at Dartington Hall. By 16, I was into all kinds of music, and played with a rock/pop band. My cousin, Ray Beavis, also played with local bands at this time; he went onto greater things with many top bands, including Cliff Richard, U2, Blockheads, Shakin' Stevens, and he is currently with Suzie Quattro.
I'm just a regular guy who likes listening to good music, reproduced well. I haven't been too impressed by hifi I've heard at hifi shows (there have been good ones, but rarely) and I'm not satisfied with the system I bought. It comprises a cd player and amplifier from Cambridge Audio, well reviewed, middle priced kit, and Epos M5 stand mounted loudspeakers. The sound is clear, it goes loud without complaining, but the sound is like listening to a hifi system, not real musicians playing. And I know the sound of real musicians playing because I have played with real musicians.
This is me playing with a bunch of musicians (and a drummer) in New Hampshire, US of A in 2009:
and below with Ken and Robin, we've just played 'Eleanor Rigby', and gone straight into a fast, loud jig, this at the Rose and Crown, Ulverston, now in Cumbria. I'm playing a 'sweetheart whistle' in D, bought in Galway, Ken's on a Takamine, and Robin's on the fiddle, well with a name like Robin, what do you expect, (sorry mate!).
Back to the plot.
What seems to be lacking with my system is a sense of realism, the tiny audio cues that tell me that there are real musicians playing. So my journey on the path to audio nirvana has started. At the beginning of 2012, I moved house, back to Devon, and profitted by purchasing a pair of Usher 604's at an excellent price from eBay. This has provided a much smoother sound and enough bass to fill the room. The Epos M5's will be used for rear/side 'speakers, together with a centre channel 'speaker I'll make using the original Epos drive units I have.
And I am of sufficient years to realize that the system I want will be my last, so it has to be what I want. To this end, I decided to buy a turntable with which to play my modest (but rapidly expanding) vinyl (and shellac) record collection. People who have record-based systems rave about them, saying how much better they are than equivalently priced cd-based systems. So I bought a record deck with which I was familiar, and which has been modernized and modified by many people, to great effect. The one/s I have bought belong to the Lenco range, a Swiss manufacturer, at its peak in the '60's and '70's. I eventually accumulated several models, including GL75's, L75, GL78, GL69 and an armless G99 which is the top model from Lenco, although all but the GL69 are heavy platter idler drive machines, requiring appropriate plinths to give of their best. The arms on the GL75/8 are OK, similar to unmodded Rega 250's, but way behind modded Rega 250's and stock Rega300's. I have modified a Lenco 75 arm, replacing a heavy tone arm wand with one made from carbon fibre, and used a head shell from a Hadcock unipivot arm.
to be continued.............