There are very few modern designers in the audio field
who can claim as much as Tim de Paravicini. No aspect
of the recording and reproduction chain has been left
untouched, no aspect of circuit design not further researched
early as 1965 Tim was involved in custom design work
for rock and roll bands; manufacturing his own public
address equipment, and modifying existing studio equipment
to realise even greater potential.
move to South Africa from England saw a further development
of his own unique design genius, and the launch of his
own professional amplifier product, sold simply as “de
working in South Africa, Tim had a chance meeting with
representatives of the Lux Corporation, and in 1972
was invited back to Osaka, Japan, and offered a job
as audio designer. Tim soon put together some very interesting
designs for Lux, including the remarkable C1000/M6000
pre/power amplifier combination.
of his own favourite designs from this period was the
Luxman 3045 tube mono block. At the time, this was the
only mono block design available in the audio field,
and backed up de Paravicini’s preference for locating
the power amplifiers close to the loudspeakers. Tim
also designed the actual output tube for this amplifier,
the 8045 power tube. As always with his designs, the
output transformer was a custom de Paravicini design.
1976 de Paravicini returned to England, and very quickly
made an impact as a design consultant, initially working
with the ALBA Radio Corporation, and Tangent Loudspeakers.
Tim was also responsible for the later ranges of Michealson
and Austin tube amplifiers, including the TVA10 and
M200 mono blocks. Within a year, he had set up Esoteric
Audio Research Ltd., and was marketing the remarkable
EAR 509 100 watt professional tube mono block power
amplifiers. He developed a unique output transformer/tube
interface circuit called “balanced bridge mode”,
in which all the electrodes (except the control grids)
have their own separate windings on the thirteen-section,
bifilar wound, output transformer. In addition, the
amplifier has no overall feedback, something of a de
Paravicini trade mark. Technically this amplifier proved
that tubes are capable of performing equally as well
as transistors in a laboratory, with a specification
that included a power bandwidth of 9-85,000 Hz, -3dB,
and also proved that tubes are capable of better things
than the “retro” sound some manufacturers
the 509 amplifiers were a big hit. Although aimed at
the professional market, several Hi-Fi magazines picked
up on the 509’s, and compared them to the then
State of the Art domestic High End equipment. The fact
the 509 beat all of the competition at the time helps
explain why the 509 is still in production today.
509 was designed by de Paravicini to have no sound;
trying to sum up the 509 is hard, it does not offer
the warm ‘comfortable’ tonal quality which
so often mark most tube amplifiers out. They are remarkably
clear, transparent, with firm realistic bass, effortless
top end, detailed and very alive.
the twenty years since 1976, Tim has designed a mammoth
catalogue of Hi-Fi and Studio components, both for Esoteric
Audio Research and for other domestic audio companies.
Currently the ‘E.A.R.’ professional product
range includes a tube capacitor microphone, built with
a rectangular gold spluttered capsule. A design which
easily betters the classic European designs.
Tube microphone preamplifiers, tube equalisers, record
cutting systems, analogue to digital converters (for
CD mastering) plus custom components and servicing for
some of the Worlds most famous recording artists. His
is most famous in the studio industry for the stunning
analogue tube master tape recorders. These units have
very special custom designed heads, and are capable
of digital levels of signal to noise ratio, with a bandwidth
in excess of 8Hz to 80,000Hz!
for the recording industry has brought critical acclaim.
On the ‘Waterlily’ label, “A Meeting
by the River” received a prestigious ‘Grammy’
award for its sound quality. This was a mid/side technique
recording using a pair of crossed microphones. Waterlily’s
microphones, preamplifiers, analogue master recorder
and A/D converter were all built and designed by Tim.
1985, de Paravicini introduced his new record cutting
system. Now installed at ‘The Exchange’
in the heart of London, (originally Island Records ‘Sound
Clinic’ facility). This is phase corrected, and
uses in excess of 1,000 watts of tube audio power, based
on the classic EAR 509 circuit. The cutter head is again,
a custom design, and is capable of cutting deeper, wider
grooves than any other system. The result is higher
dynamics, with a true signal to noise ratio in excess
of 65 dB from records pressed off a master cut on this
system. It is truly as close to the original master
tape as it is physically possible to get.
the past twenty years, Tim has worked with many different
manufacturers. For London based Musical Fidelity, Tim
designed the amazing A1, taking the concept of a cut
down ‘High End’ audiophile amplifier, the
only compromise being the 10 watts output, albeit pure
class ‘A’. Other products designed for ‘M.F.’
include the A470/370, P270, Digilog, CD-T, etc.
recently in Europe, the ‘Tube Scene’ in
domestic audio has really taken off. A lot of European
manufacturers have stolen both older European designs,
and designs from Japanese magazines and journals. Most
of these amplifiers are very poor sounding, and terribly
unreliable. These manufacturers neither understand the
designs or how to build them. They use the reputation
of tubes to sell their poor, none original product.
De Paravicini’s answer to these companies, was
the award winning EAR 859 amplifier. His all new Enhanced
Triode Mode circuit bettering the performance of directly
heated triodes designs. It provided the public with
a real design, from a professional maker.
EAR 834P phono stage was also introduced, and similar
to the ‘859 has proved very popular, offering
un-rivaled performance per dollar. The particular specialty
being the stunning Moving Coil stage transformers -
transformer design being one of Tim de Paravicini’s
fortes - unlike most manufacturers, who just buy in
‘off-the-peg’ transformer designs or just
specify the most basic requirement to an outside supplier.
EAR amplifiers are truly original, including the custom
transformer, metal work, printed circuit board, etc.
All the work of Tim de Paravicini.
works by a simple premises: If he designs it, it must
be a better design than anything else, or he will not
manufacture it. His sole goal is taking audio to the
furthest possible point of development. Current research
is taking him further along this path than any single