Today, we’re starting a new blog series called Listening with…. A lot of you listeners and readers out there have a major love for music and hi-fi, so we asked a couple of people if they were interested in us interviewing them about their love for music, their hi-fi system, and more. Here’s the first interview, with jazz reviewer, music programmer and long-time TRPTK listener Cyriel Pluimakers. Of course, due to the current coronavirus situation, the entire interview was done digitally. What was your first memory of listening to music? I started really consciously listening to music around the age of eight. Especially classical music appealed to me: piano sonatas by Mozart and Schubert, violin concertos by Mendelssohn and Bruch. What genres do you usually listen to? I love listening to classical music and jazz. Also blues, soul, and world music. As far as classical music is concerned, my interests stretch all the way from the Renaissance period to contemporary classical. Most of the time I like to listen to authentic Baroque music, with a preference for Monteverdi, J.S. Bach, Telemann, Vivaldi, Schütz, Fux, Caldara, and Biber. When it comes to jazz, I prefer the American post-war jazz: Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonius Monk, Bud Powell, Clifford Brown, Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, and Art Ensemble of Chicago. What attracted you to listen to hi-fi in the first place? What attracted me to hi-fi is actually very simple: making the music of the concert hall sound as realistic as possible in your living room. When I was nine years old, I first heard real hi-fi. I still remember, it was a Dual turntable and a Rogers tube amplifier. The loudspeakers were the size of two doghouses. Can you tell us a little something about your own hi-fi system? I actually have two hi-fi systems: in my living room I’ve got a Linn LP 12 turntable, a Linn Akurate CD player and network player, a boutique hand-made phono amplifier by HAT, a hand-made tube preamplifier, also by HAT, two power amps by Roksan, loudspeakers by Thiel, and cabling by MIT, Siltech, and Audioquest. In my office I have a Thorens TD 124 turntable, a Linn Ikemi CD player, a Nakamichi DR-10 cassette deck, a Musical Fidelity DAC, a Lehmann Decade phono amplifier, and Cyrus preamps and power amps. The loudspeakers are made by Mission, and the cabling is all MIT and Kemp Elektroniks. If you could name one upgrade that made the biggest difference, what is it? That was definitely the acquisition of the Thiel loudspeakers. Back to music. Which format do you prefer, and why? I prefer vinyl from all recordings from the fifties, sixties and seventies. Music from the forties I prefer to hear on Bakelite: the impact of a 78 rpm record remains incomparable. Regarding the CD, I think it’s an outdated format: a lot of music recorded in the eighties – with the first digital equipment – is a disaster to listen to. Fortunately, SACD [Super Audio CD] sounds a lot better, thanks to DSD technology. I prefer to listen to current music as a digital hi-res download: anything from 96 kHz and the music really comes to life. At higher resolution, it only gets better from there. What’s your favourite TRPTK album, and your favourite album all-around? My favourite TRPTK album is by Ralph Rousseau, the recently discovered 12 Fantasias for Viola da Gamba by Telemann. Everything about this production is sublime: the compositions, the performer and his vision, the space of the Utrecht Geertekerk, and of course the insanely beautiful recording by Brendon Heinst. My favourite non-TRPTK album would have to by Saxophone Colossus by Sonny Rollins. Everything on this album is just right: the chosen pieces, the line-up, and the beautiful analogue recording by Rudy van Gelder. Rollins has never played better than on this production his improvisations are in one word genius. Lastly, if you could give one tip to a budding audiophile, what would it be? Take note of a lot of music, immerse yourself in those you admire, and elevate listening to an art form. Recommended by Cyriel Telemann: 12 Fantasias for Viola da Gamba Select options Posted by Cyriel Pluimakers. Cyriel Pluimakers (1958) has been organising jazz concerts since 1984 and was at the cradle of festivals such as SJU Jazz Festival, Jazz International Rotterdam, and JAZZ ENZ (Cultural Sundays Utrecht). He is still very active as a concert programmer, producer, and publicist.