The April issue of Stereophile, an audiophile magazine, features an interview with a man named Yves Beauvais. Like other Frenchmen, Beauvais appreciated America and American culture and so moved to New York City, to be closer to their heart. He worked as top A&R man/staff producer at Atlantic Records for almost two decades, reporting directly to its legendary founder, Ahmet Ertegun, successively heading the label’s reissue and jazz departments. In the former, he was responsible for definitive boxed sets from, among others, Led Zeppelin, Ray Charles, Ornette Coleman, CSN&Y, Alan Lomax, and Aretha Franklin. In the latter, Beauvais was instrumental in the careers of Madeleine Peyroux, Marc Ribot, Olu Dara, Moondog, Cesaria Evora, The Latin Playboys, Cyrus Chestnut, Ginger Baker, James Carter, the MJQ’s John Lewis; he also inked the seminal artist Daniel Johnston. During a subsequent stint at Columbia Records, he signed Derek Trucks, LA’s own Mia Doi Todd, The Bad Plus and Jorma Kaukonen and worked with Arturo Sandoval and Ruben Blades, among others.
Now Beauvais has turned to another passion, his love for classic American hi-fi gear. This includes tube classics from the 1950s and early 1960s from Dynaco, Eico, Fisher, Scott, and of course McIntosh. Not only are these old tube units aesthetic beauties but also masterpieces of industrial design. And they are valuable as well, often fetching ten times what they might have originally sold for, especially in Europe and Japan. In his atelier in Memphis, Beauvais meticulously restores these aging units back their original, pristine elegance. You see the results in these photos.
His new website, www.vintagevacuumaudio.com, is definitely worth a visit. Of particular interest is a vintage magazines section, featuring 100s of individual issues of the three leading American audio magazines of the era (1952-1962), scanned in their entirety and fully searchable by keyword. A great time capsule and research tool.
Yves Beauvais is a classic melomane–French word for music lover. His passion for music, industrial design, and sound reproduction all come from a singular passion for quality. He also reminds us of a time when the United States was the world leader in electronics and audio design.
Go here for more restoration of classic tube gear: