Many years back, before Bent Audio that repackaged the original Stevens and Billington transformers even existed, and when S&B step up transformers was hard to get the person who designed S&B transformers sent me a pair of his transformers to try. He charged me some kind of truly symbolic price, so I had them. I was not a huge fun of the S&B transformer’s performance and in a few years I decided to get rid of them. I told to somebody that I do not need them anymore.
In a few years, in 2008 Alex Yakovlev contacted me and asked me to sell the transformers to him. I told him that I do not like Sound of the transformers. He responded that he always wanted to hear his playback with those transformers and he would like to have them. We went back and force in so typical for me negotiation (when I am selling AND persuading do NOT buy) and in the end Alex told me that he really want to have those transformers as he was dying, has a few short weeks to live and would like to re-listen his records and his music with better analog setup. Being a stupid sentimental fool, as I am, I immediately sent the transformers to Alex. I do not remember now if I made it as a gift or if I charged him only some kind of symbolic price, I do remember that I did not make any profit on the transaction.
In a few weeks Alex despaired, so I figure out that the worst thing had happened and I was pleased that my non-profitable affair with transformers made good for somebody. In a couple months I come across the Alex’s posts at different site when he was arguing sonic character of his S&B transformers. I got very pissed that Alex invented the whole story about him dying in order to solicit from me better deal for those stupid S&B transformers. I was also very disappointed with my simplicity and with myself letting to be deceived like this. I terminated any contacts with Alex. He sent me a view emails after that and I responded a few times unkindly and then just intentionally did not reply to him.
Over the last few years I remembered the Alex’s episode as one of many episodes that described the insultingly low-ethics and ultra low class of high-end audio community. We all know many of those stories, the story with Alex’s fake illness was too emblematic, so I did share it with a few people, including the original designer of the Stevens and Billington transformers. Alex Yakovlev died from cancer in beginning of 2009. Ironically he was running IT for Philadelphia Fox Chase Cancer Center…
I got the news about Alex’s death last night and I can’t describe how much ass I feel I was these last 4 years. Well, what happened had happened. It might be a good lesson for us who is not dead yet. I do feel please in a way that my transformers made him a bit happier in the end of his life and I feel as a complete idiot for all the thoughts I had about Alex and about event. I feel a need to post it in response to the very last post Alex did at my site. Anyhow, sleep in peace Alex and accept my so late, so unnecessary and so sincere apologies…Romy The Cat
"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche