Monday, March 01, 2021

Baron Timothy William de Paravicini 1945-2020

 _. Baron Timothy de Paravicini, who died 17 December, 2020, in Japan, aged 75, was an English electronics engineer and designer, audio designer and master of the sound system, and the founder of EAR Yoshino.

He designed equipment that was used by Ringo Starr, Pink Floyd, and Kate Bush, and was the designer of many of the world’s best studios.

He was born 25 October, 1945, and married in 1979, Olivia Hiroko Yoshino.

Some saw de Paravicini as an eccentric audio maverick, always outspoken and sometimes outrageous. On one occasion he was asked by a fellow exhibitor at a hi-fi show to turn the volume down, but instead turned it up. He was known to throw potential customers out of his demonstration room if they asked stupid questions.

In the mid-1970s he set up Esoteric Audio Research (EAR). Its first product was a 100-watt valve monoblock power amplifier (the EAR 509) for professional recording studios that is still produced at the company’s plant in Cambridgeshire.

Timothy de Paravicini was born 25 October, 1945, in rural Nigeria, where his father was a geologist in the mining industry; his mother loved to play classical music, although her son preferred rock’n’roll.

He claimed to be part English and part descended from Italian aristocracy, citing one of his ancestors as Agostino Pallavicini (1577-1649), Doge of Genoa and ambassador to Pope Gregory XV, whose portrait by Anthony Van Dyck is in the Getty Museum.

He was brought to England by his mother for schooling in “a horrible place” called Stevenage, where he played drums in local bands. One of his school mates was Ken Hensley of Uriah Heep, who died a month before him.

By the age of 13 he was building radios and modifying sound systems, constantly seeking to improve their performance. Unable to afford the parts, he visited scrapyards and stripped them from discarded radios and televisions.

He studied electrical engineering at a local technical college and worked as a customer engineer for computer companies, but at age 21 left for Johannesburg where the pay was better and the climate warmer. Television was not introduced in South Africa until the 1970s, which meant that hi-fi was a popular medium.

Gangling and sporting a wispy beard, Tim de Paravicini had a larger-than-life personality, attacking any problem with vigour, including lawnmower repairs. For relaxation he drove rally cars, but when driving on normal roads was known to forget the convention of keeping all four wheels on the tarmac. He towered above Oliva, who survives him with a son and a daughter.



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