ReMusic visits Audiosophia

03.04.2015..

In our Italian tour to discover the High End of the Italian North East, the visit to Audiosophia has been a major stopover. I must admit that I had never heard before the brand or his owner, Max Micelli, but after having listen to the machines and chat with the designer, I have got a clear idea and I have seen the light at the end of the tunnel of the Hi-Fi…Is that enough to begin, isn’t it?


The clarification

Audiosophia is not a company, but a single designer with an own brand for his products. The website is not fed and updated regularly, so you can find here only a part of the endless top-level production. Let’s say that Max Micelli does not improvise in making audio gears. With a degree in Electronic Engineering, his main occupation for more than twenty-five years has been the audio playback.

Max has collaborated and acts as consultant of musical groups, audio enthusiasts and recording studios, like the Bombanella Soundscapes in Maranello.

Besides modding several devices like microphones, mixers, equalizers and digital recording devices, he has provided the studio with the Audiosophia C18, B8 and L1 monitors and with the Audiosophia DM7 microphonic preamplifiers.

 

The Stock

What can I find at him? The first interest that should move any audio enthusiast to a pilgrimage at Max’s, are the shelves full of audiophile abundance. A Mecca of more than 34.000 vacuum tubes, most rare, with a constantly increasing number. Then, there is a personal collection of amps and tuners of the ‘70s. I think unique. Moreover, he owns tens of pairs of amazing drivers. The greatest collection of drivers, amps and tuners I’ve ever seen. And all is on sale, at convenient prices. Take a look at the photo gallery and hurry up!

 

The realizations

Max’s entire production is homemade: tube or solid-state amplifiers, acoustic loudspeakers, DA converters, mains, power and signal cables.

Starting from the design, rigorously on paper, he makes manually all the manufacturing stages of gears and speakers. Ad example, for the transformers he makes winding, isolation, cooling, wiring and painting of the caps. For the chassis of the machines he makes stamping, drilling, smoothing, painting, assembling. In the circuits, he cuts the headers, and then he makes marks, holes, assembles the components and wires.

I own his Audiosophia I-50jm integrated amp, which has an exceptional balance between power, precision and listening pleasure although is a pure solid state, even if with mosfets.

 

The sound

I will be straight. At Max’s I have enjoyed the best interfaced systems I’ve ever heard. The most fulfilling ones. Let me explain.

 

The loudspeakers can be clear, but without body. They can be of impact, but without grace. The amps can be very powerful but without real dynamics. There are amps that are more refined although perforated lugs with the blow of the tuberculosis…

 

Most of all, there are very expensive systems, but without coherence, balance, completeness and sound cohesion. On the contrary, Audiosophia has them all.

 

I am in love…In the end, Max and I think similarly. What counts having the maximum accuracy on the paper – and there is accuracy of course – if there is no emotion in the air? This is what an Audiosophia’s system puts in the room. Detail, vibrant air, endless power and listening pleasure, no measurable distortion or perceptible listening fatigue. Pure emotion. Always. I do not know how he does, but he does. This is why I ordered him a pair of loudspeakers as my personal reference.

 

N.B. His creations are extreme. Max squeezes every component or device until he gets the sounds he wants. The amps are warm but not hot. The tubes are pushed but no strained. This is Max. He knows where to put his hands and bend metal or silicon to his will. I do not know how he does, but he does. He said something about the tubes, though. It is all about currents. I cannot say much more, otherwise he should kill me. Yes, there is a reason. Read below…

 

The caution

The man we are talking of is a very dangerous sociopathic. If it hadn’t been for the good influence of his wife Susanna, he would have already grabbed someone by the throat. And he probably did, secretly. When you say Latin, you often think to something heating and inflammable. When you say tough South American, specifically from Venezuela, you mean natural killer…

 

Micelli is overflowing, exaggerate, excessive, gigantic, endless. He can shifts from testing machines to stroke his beloved and big dogs or becoming irascible. If you see a flash in his bloodshot eyes, be sure he has taken his pills…

And, last but not least, what makes me real doubt about my safety when I am with him is that, sometimes, he speaks of himself in the third person…

 

What do you think? Am I exaggerating? Wait to know him…

 

Anyway, his wife Susanna says that he seems, if you do not know him, unfriendly and blunt, a bit intransigent, but then he becomes extremely patient and communicative as soon as he starts knowing you and then you love him! Almost…

 

Modus operandi

Max has always been aimed to realize personal designs, depending on what the customers asked for. Big or small speakers, floorstanders or bookshelf speakers, in wood or colored. Amps with tubes or transistors, more or less powerful, with chromed or colored chassis. Take him anything and he will overturn it. Usually he succeeds in making a strong bond with the customer. He deepens the acquaintance. He tries to understand the tastes, the exigencies, the conditions where his realizations take life. He “enters” in the customer’s mind. They are often in touch and they often become friends. Max’s design suits perfectly with the personality and the means of the customer.

 

Then, while he realizes the design, he likes to captivate the future owner, who can live in first person all the stages. He never says: “Ok, we will see in three months, when the work is done”…

 

So, in most of the cases, new relationships, new friendships grow. Very often, also after years, old customers show up or call only to know how is he.

 

From the practical point of view, it is very difficult that a customer with a specific design made for him by Max wants to change, after a couple of years, amp or speakers. Sometimes they do not want to listen to more innovative solutions or they agree to the results but they still want to keep their creatures. Maybe they agree to an upgrade, an update, but nothing else. That happens almost all the time.

 

Advices for purchasing

Hear ye! Our designer and manufacturer has only two hands. Don’t ask him for mass-production. Imagine an engineer specialized in the audio field that, if necessary, can work as a blacksmith or a carpenter, a designer or a painter.

 

His designs are exclusively on request. That takes time and, consequently, he makes just few pieces in one year.

 

For this reason, I suggest you to buy what he has already made. Then you can always sell it to Max’s fans or to your friends that have for sure appreciated his machines.

 

If you want something special, unique, well, pay the advance payment and wait in line.

 

His secret dream is a company that hires him and takes care of everything – from the stock to marketing, from bureaucracy to production – while he just acts as a designer.

 

I am confident he will. Max does not leave things halfway through.

 

Until then, we knock at his door, book one of his realizations and enjoy it. No ifs, ands, or buts.

 

 

 

ReMusic da Audiosophia

 

Bye, bye, come visit us again!:-P

The Playroom. The collection of vintage amps and tunes, mainly from the ‘70s.<br />
All tested, not only because they remind Max the first systems of his youth, but also because they are a form of learning.
The Playroom. The collection of vintage amps and tunes, mainly from the ‘70s.
All tested, not only because they remind Max the first systems of his youth, but also because they are a form of learning.
Vintage amps and tunes ready to come back to life, just renovate or elaborated.
Vintage amps and tunes ready to come back to life, just renovate or elaborated.
Others pieces of his collection of vintage amps and tunes.
Others pieces of his collection of vintage amps and tunes.
Columns and walls of vintage amps.
Columns and walls of vintage amps.
Restoration of the Era turntable model 666. Max’s private collection.
Restoration of the Era turntable model 666. Max’s private collection.
4-way E4r speaker. Audiosophia’s reference.
4-way E4r speaker. Audiosophia’s reference.
Max in the testing room among his creatures.
Max in the testing room among his creatures.
Testing room with all the reference devices: 300B single-ended and 211 single ended power amps. Here all the new projects are tested and compared.
Testing room with all the reference devices: 300B single-ended and 211 single ended power amps. Here all the new projects are tested and compared.
The reference preamplifier.
The reference preamplifier.
From the top the 300B power amp. The power is 30 W RMS. The tubes are isolated inside the chassis through elastic suspensions.
From the top the 300B power amp. The power is 30 W RMS. The tubes are isolated inside the chassis through elastic suspensions.
The two-chassis preamp of the power amp with the 300B.
The two-chassis preamp of the power amp with the 300B.
Always the 300B power amps and their preamplifiers.
Always the 300B power amps and their preamplifiers.
A close-up of the prototype of the CA2, ultimate model of a two-way speaker with a 165 mm woofer and a 28 mm dome tweeter.<br /> Cross frequency 1.500 Hz. In the back, the M1r monitor, three-way with separate top <br />and a 380 mm sub, a 250 mm mid-woofer and a 26 mm dome tweeter. Cross frequencies: 150 Hz and 1.500 Hz.
A close-up of the prototype of the CA2, ultimate model of a two-way speaker with a 165 mm woofer and a 28 mm dome tweeter.
Cross frequency 1.500 Hz. In the back, the M1r monitor, three-way with separate top
and a 380 mm sub, a 250 mm mid-woofer and a 26 mm dome tweeter. Cross frequencies: 150 Hz and 1.500 Hz.
A small part of the collection of vintage drivers collected by Max during the years. <br />All working, to be used and ready for the enthusiasts all over the world. A hidden treasure indeed.
A small part of the collection of vintage drivers collected by Max during the years.
All working, to be used and ready for the enthusiasts all over the world. A hidden treasure indeed.
One of the many vintage drivers. Here the coaxial 212C Triaxiom by Goodmans: little one!
One of the many vintage drivers. Here the coaxial 212C Triaxiom by Goodmans: little one!
Western Electric driver model HC3-2315. A NOS perfectly working.
Western Electric driver model HC3-2315. A NOS perfectly working.
Max in his lab. Note the copper coils and the drawers of the resistances of every value.
Max in his lab. Note the copper coils and the drawers of the resistances of every value.
Tubes, tubes and more tubes! Some of the thousands tubes that Audiosophia owns. <br />Just imagine what to do with them.
Tubes, tubes and more tubes! Some of the thousands tubes that Audiosophia owns.
Just imagine what to do with them.
Material to design and make drivers: cones, suspensions, coils, domes, etc.
Material to design and make drivers: cones, suspensions, coils, domes, etc.
Mixed components for drivers: cones, coils, domes..
Mixed components for drivers: cones, coils, domes..
Dynamic testing bench for tubes.
Dynamic testing bench for tubes.
Focus on the R&D corner…;-)
Focus on the R&D corner…;-)
Linear coil machine. A classic by Ema. Restored a couple of years ago with the help of an expert of The National Research Council (CNR).<br />With this machine, Max makes output transformers and power transformers, the filter coils and the moving coils of the drivers.
Linear coil machine. A classic by Ema. Restored a couple of years ago with the help of an expert of The National Research Council (CNR).
With this machine, Max makes output transformers and power transformers, the filter coils and the moving coils of the drivers.
Again the Ema coil machine.
Again the Ema coil machine.
The corner to test the tubes with analogic instruments: oscilloscopes, audio generators, etc.
The corner to test the tubes with analogic instruments: oscilloscopes, audio generators, etc.
The other half of the bench with some prototypes of drivers in developments and drawers full of selected resistances.
The other half of the bench with some prototypes of drivers in developments and drawers full of selected resistances.
Again the lab with the testing bench.
Again the lab with the testing bench.
MT31 by Marconi inside the original box. A rare triode of the ‘30s.
MT31 by Marconi inside the original box. A rare triode of the ‘30s.
RS329 tubes, a triode of the ‘30s with 500 W of anodic dissipation.
RS329 tubes, a triode of the ‘30s with 500 W of anodic dissipation.
Activation of the RS329 tube, a powerful triode of the ‘30s. With it, Max will develop some single ended.
Activation of the RS329 tube, a powerful triode of the ‘30s. With it, Max will develop some single ended.
by Giuseppe Castelli
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