The Passing Of Tim de Paravicini
Hi-Fi+ was saddened to learn of the passing of Tim de Paravicini, who died on December 17, 2020 following a months-long battle with liver cancer. 'The Baron' as he was known, was an electronics designer of great note; his EAR / Yoshino product line was commonly considered to be among the finest truly modern valve audio electronics made, his rebuilds of classic tape machines were internationally respected by studio and enthusiast alike, and he was also the brains behind masterpieces like the Musical Fidelity A1.
An engineer's engineer, Tim seemed to have an innate understanding of – and an opinion on – how things work, irrespective of whether it was an aircraft aileron, a F1 engine, a suspension bridge or a preamplifier. Tim was also one of that all-too-rapidly disappearing breed of polymath eccentrics who settled on – and in no small part enriched – the wider world of audio. If you wanted someone to describe the Battle of Austerlitz, explain the manner in which enzyme substrates can conjoin to form binary complexes in the human gut, and the phonic similarities between Welsh and Swahili – and do it using a pocketful of antique Japanese coins and a desiccated cheese sandwich he carried around for luck – Tim was your guy!
The great eccentrics are fading from our world. In part, this is due to an increased professionalism in audio; those maverick designers still exist, but are rarely seen in public for fear they might undermine the brand image. But in no small part because that post-war drive of learning for the joy of learning has been replaced by a more directed 'narrow, but deep' focus on a single subject.
Of course, there is a thin line between 'eccentric' and 'nutcase' and people like Tim always remained on the side of the angels here. Put simply: if you can find the link between the inlet manifold of a Ford Kent engine and rectifier stage of a power amplifier, you are an eccentric genius; if there is no such link but you make it anyway, you might have crossed over to the dark side.
I'd love to say we should all embrace our inner eccentric as a fitting tribute to the Baron, but I can't help feeling we've all been doing that a little too much recently. Perhaps soon.
Until then... thanks, Tim!
Errata: Last issue, we misquoted the price of the Magnepan LRS. The correct price is £995. We also misquoted the price of the High Fidelity Cable power conditioner, which should be $25,000. Our apologies to all concerned.