Tim de Paravicini, a brilliant engineer who was a true legend in the audio field, passed away in mid-December and left a remarkable legacy. Having designed for Quad, Luxman, Musical Fidelity and more, he also founded EAR and made analog tape decks for everyone from Bob Ludwig to James Guthrie. Famously, Mr. de Paravicini devised the Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab mastering system chain in use today. We pay tribute with individual tributes written by his colleagues at Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab. Rest in peace.
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.
Senior Mastering Engineer
Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab