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Tim De Paravicini, (1945–2020)

Tim_de_Paravicini_portrait

The list of the many well-known recording and mastering engineers who use his equipment includes Bob Ludwig of Gateway Mastering, whose credits include Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, Radiohead, Dire Straits, and Frank Zappa, among many others. Paul Stubblebine uses his tape machines to both play back and duplicate reel-to-reel tapes for The Tape Project. James Guthrie, who has been producer and recording engineer for Pink Floyd since 1978, owns an EAR tape machine and a rackful of other gear, which he recently used to remaster the entire Pink Floyd catalog.

The list of the musicians who own and use Tim’s equipment include Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, the late George Harrison, Lenny Kravitz, and David Gilmour of Pink Floyd, who literally owns a boatload of Tim’s equipment.

Tim’s audio components have received numerous awards, among them many Golden Ear and Critic’s Choice Awards from The Absolute Sound, Class-A (and a few –B) awards from Stereophile magazine, over a dozen top awards from the French magazines Revue Du Son, Haute Fidelite, and Diapason, a number of Editor’s Choice awards from the English magazine Hi Fi News, and several, including Component Of The Year, from the Japanese magazine Stereo Sound.

Tim de Paravicini is survived by his wife Oliva, son Nevin, and daughter Avalon. The EAR company will continue to operate under the capable hands of Nevin de Paravicini.

On a personal note, it has been an honor and a privilege for me to know Tim for over thirty years, and to act as his U.S. distributor for most of that time. Those who didn’t know him (and those who did) could find him gruff and quick-tempered at times, but those who knew him well knew that he was one of sweetest and most generous people you could possibly meet. I will miss him every time I turn on my system to listen to music, and at the same time be grateful that I am able to benefit from his incredible ability to make chunks of metal, glass, plastic, and wire sound like real music.

 

In Remembrance of Tim De Paravicini
Shawn R. Britton, Senior Mastering Engineer, Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab

It’s with sadness and fondness that I bid farewell to my friend and mentor, Tim de Paravicini.

Tim pushed the boundaries of audio technology to obtain performance specifications double and even triple what others in the music industry often accept. His burning curiosity drove him to innovate circuit designs and, when existing electronics could not achieve his goals, he had his own components manufactured to meet his stringent specifications.

Around 1996, Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab commissioned Tim to custom build us a reproducer amplifier for a Studer A80 Mark II tape transport. In a product shootout witnessed by several members of the audiophile press, Tim’s transport proved to have flat frequency response from 10Hz to out beyond 43 Kilohertz, an unheard-of benchmark at that point in time.

Our current LP mastering system, again designed and built by Tim, boasts extremely wideband frequency response. And the cutting chain features unparalleled accuracy, all the way from the Studer playback head to the cutter head.

Was he the most “easygoing” of our designers? No, sir. Did he push us to make our products as good as they could be, cost be damned? Damn right, he did. For instance, the Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab One-Step LP currently taking the audiophile world by storm is largely due to Tim’s unwavering dedication to hectoring us at every opportunity—a process that continued until we capitulated and had test pressings made of several albums.

Tim was a unique individual. He had a deep understanding of a vast array of subjects, and his sense of curiosity was off the charts. We rarely conversed on just audio and sound reproduction. Once, as we returned from dinner late one evening, I made a quip about phono stylus lateral tracking error having a similarity to poor tire traction. Tim then provided a rental-car traction demonstration by using the automobile emergency brake to spin one rear tire, leaving a nice black “donut” in the parking lot at Mobile Fidelity. I blamed local teenagers when neighbors were taken aback by the sight.

Goodbye to my English friend, that perpetual teenager, that techno wizard. See you in the Summerlands.

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