I spent again some very pleasant hours with Dr. Serge Schmidlin of Audio Consulting fame...
His conversation is always so interesting, he's always witty, curious and well informed.
Only difference from the other times we were together in Munchen or at his Commugny, Switzerland buen retiro, yesterday we were at my place, in beautiful Veneto, Italy, few kilometres from Venice.
Good food, good wine, good company and chatting... we ended completing the good... list listening to some good;-) master tapes played on the mighty (freshly restored, up-to-specs by master technician Giorgio Foschi) Telefunken M15A on my Gotorama...
... and surprise-surprise, from a small carrier-bag, an egg-shaped thing appeared: a Meteor toroidal top of the line all silver AVCs passive preamp!
This sought after, seldom seen, masterfully built piece of gear is made out of two American walnut shells with a Macassar ebony centre "ring" and the exotic hand wound toroidal silver wire toroidal is impregnated, better incapsulated, in natural bee-wax.
Nothing more, nothing less...
This is an expensive - someone could say hideously expensive - piece of gear... yet, I can fully understand Serge's approach: it is not about avidity, as quality, hand-made quality costs, but this wouldn't be enough to explain everything.
A comparison comes to my mind: who would dare saying anything rude about a luthier job and his masterpieces cost?
Think about an acoustic pre-WW1 Martin or a Bottelli classical guitars... they both are about 600 grams selected woods assembly whose cost is almost negligible!
Why these beauties cost nowadays 5-digits sums?
... because if you place same raw woods on a table surface, they're not sounding, they're not giving music!
So, isn't it correct, appropriate, right to give a value, a money-related one, I mean to all the above immaterial added-value?
A luthier precisely tailors woods, details and bespoke care to meet the musician needs... Audio Consulting does the very same, adding the magic to silver wire, nickel cores and woods making them able - like a stellar quality musical instrument - to play music.
Give to all this a price-tag! You can only buy it or don't buy it... love or hate it!
It's my strong, sincere opinion you simply cannot appreciate the lacking of colorstions, the overall sense of beauty, something so pleasantly easy and true to life.
Just after a couple hours listening sessions, music and nuances are blossoming at every minute passing.
I'm only now beginning my journey in tasting the Meteor: the preamps survey will include a truly challenging tournament, where Luxman AT 3000 will be judged vs. Fidelity Research AS 1 vs. Audio Consulting Silver Rock vs. Audio Consulting Meteor vs. Thomas Mayer 4 chassis vs. Le Solstice vs. Marantz 7C, so also adding to the trial three conventional (or so) preamps I have handy for good measure and personal enjoyment.