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18 Feb 2006: George Hatziminas

Hatziminas-Feb-2006-pic-sys

By Chris Kantarelis

Saturday's meeting at George's house in Glyfada

The system consists of a digital source (Krell) with a high quality passive potentiometer, I think, driving two sets of amplifiers, one at the time. The first set was two 300B mono-blocks by Tsakiridis, heavily modified and the second were again two mono-blocks by Geroukis with a pair of 211 tubes, I believe in parallel single ended configuration.

Hatziminas-Feb-2006-pic-7The speakers were the newly acquired pair USHER D2, as seen in the photos attached.
I do not wish to talk, at this stage, about the electronics since the dominating factor in the system was The Loudspeakers. There was in fact great expectation and anxiety about the speakers from most of the members of the club. Below follow some facts about the speakers:

  • They are BIG! And TALL!
  • They are very HEAVY!
  • They are very sensitive (1W produces 98 db SPL @1 m)
  • They have two 15 inch paper low frequency drivers each, with hard suspension in a two bass reflex cabinets.
  • They have a Pioneer (TAD) horn unit that deals with the mid and high frequency spectrum.
  • They have external crossovers!
  • They can handle up to 200W.

All above are ingredients that usually result in a satisfactory acoustical performance, according to a particular school of audio reproduction.

They also have an excellent finish and construction.

Hatziminas-Feb-2006-pic-1I am not going to say anything about the aesthetics, since this is a matter of personal taste. The only thing that I wand to say, as an advice due to their size and type, is that they need to be placed in a big room or more preferably a dedicated music room and not to be thrown in to a typical living room, where due to their size they dominate the whole area.

But enough said about the characteristics of the loudspeakers – let's see how the system sounded. The first attempt was done with the 300B amplifiers. I must say that the 300B is my favorite type of tube and in most cases an amplifier with a single 300B tube with the right speaker and the right type of music sounds divine, it is IMHO the ultimate in home stereo audio reproduction.

In our case the 300B sounded fine at the beginning with the speakers producing a very realistic sound stage that filled the area satisfactory. The speaker was showing all the good virtues that I mentioned above and the result was very satisfactory. I would prefer to know the music that it was playing, but you cannot have it all.

Hatziminas-Feb-2006-pic-2Later, the music changed to rock and in particular the played some staff from the Fleetwood Mac, the Album I believe it was 'the Rumors', which I happened to know very well. The result there was not as good since, in order to compensate for the background noise level in the room, we had to turn the level up to a point where the amplifiers could not drive the speakers any more. The system sounded compressed and lost the control of the music.

It was decided to change amplification and replace the 300B mono-blocks with 211 mono-blocks. When connected, the new amplifiers apparently showed more driving capability but, to my ears, it was not as satisfactory as it was with the 300B's. We played some more music and then we decided to switch back to 300B with different type of music, Jazz and voice at lower level. When this was done the sound improved again, but we were careful not to overdrive the amplifiers.

Music program highlights

  • Soundtrack from the film 'Lily was here' by David A. Stewart (ZD 74233)
  • BENNY CARTER 'JAZZ GIANT' (Analogue Productions CAPJ 013)
  • JOHNY HODGES and his Orchestra 'BLUES A-PLENTY' (Verve VSCD-8358)
  • Hugh Masekela 'Hope' (Triloka TRI-CD-82020)
  • THE RAMSEY LEWIS TRIO 'THE IN CROWD' (MCA Recording CHD 9185)
  • CHRIS SPHEERIS 'Mystic Traveller' (Essence ES-1003)

System Description

  • Speakers: Usher D2
  • Amplifier: Geroukis SE Triodes (2x211GE) 2x58w mono-blocks
  • Digital source: Krell KPS 20i (transport section) & Ypsilon reference 18bit DAC (prototype 3-pc unit, with Ypsilon passive module inside).
  • Wiring: Siltech SQ-88 interconnects and Siltech LS-180 speaker cables.
  • Power cables/Electr. install.: DIY by Alex Hatziminas for all, plugged in a dedicated power line.

Conclusions about the system

Hatziminas-Feb-2006-pic-3The sound of the system was very realistic. With the amplification that was available, the best combination was when the speakers were driven by the 300B amplifiers but at low volumes and with certain type of music. The speakers have a big potential but the amplification needs to be looked at seriously...

In my opinion, the placement of the loudspeakers in the particular room was not the best. An alternative placement must be considered; I have a suggestion, but I am not going to say it, since I do not wish to create problems to the couple...

We wish to thank George and Angeliki for the excellent hospitality. The food was so good that at some point most of the club members forgot about the speakers and how the system sounded and all they care about was to fill their plates for the second - and some - for the third time!

Thank you George for a great evening!

Hatziminas-Feb-2006-pic-4Hatziminas-Feb-2006-pic-5Hatziminas-Feb-2006-pic-6Hatziminas-Feb-2006-pic-7

Reply comments from the Host (entered on 25 Feb 2006)

First of all, let me offer my condolences for your ear drums for those who visited my home on the evening A.C.A. members were invited to see and hear the USHER D2's. Not only was I physically ill and a bit short circuited, but so were my 211's, which the day before started to fry, but continued to do so on the evening we had our meeting and even worst the next few days. After this, I took them in to be looked at, and was told it was past their bedtime, and in need of being nursed back to health in many ways.

You see, when you buy a new pair of speakers, never been heard before or even tested, you don't know what they should sound like and at times, you excuse even the weirdest of musical misapprehensions because of the 'break in' period, which on this speaker is 300-400 hours or 6 months.

In reality, the 211 valves were not playing at all well, and for this reason when the speaker is set up with the according machines which work, I will ask the moderator to come and listen and write up my system for the A.C.A. pages.

Lastly, I would never want to undermind or not mention the fact that it was great to have my friends here, in my home, where despite the sound, we had a great time and laughed a lot with our great sense of humor and tact. It was an honor to have you in my humble home for an evening all together. A.C.A. is not a group of people, IT IS A TEAM!

George Hatziminas

George Hatziminas' Member Page

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