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16 Dec 2006: Theo Kantzavelos

Kantzavelos system

By Tony Pothitos

Question: What does a culinary expert in sugar cane and a Harley Davidson lover have to do with high end?
Answer: They are both sweet to the ear!

But for what kind of man you might ask... Well...

For he who knows how to distinguish what is one of the best American motorcycles in the world, and for he who doesn't throw away his speakers and digital system after a bad review years ago!

Of course there is a reason why this happens, and as all things develop and grow, while keeping to Darwin's "only the best will survive" theory goes, we at A.C.A. have changed our meetings to be more of an experience of mass knowledge and collective minds than a pair of ears listening to a pair of speakers and writing down what simply cannot be fair or just to any system.

Especially in this case!

What do you do with a speaker that has a ripped suspension? Midranges that are past there bedtime and a CD player that hasn't been updated since the birth of Jesus Christ?

You bring in the A.C.A. TEAM. We are now the official "Pimp my Audio" people of Greece, and it is a supernatural experience to live, can you imagine being part of it?

The system story

Kantzavelos-Dec-2006-pic-1It all started last summer when I walked into a room with 30 sweaty, blood thirsty men for high end music, that were trying to fix a system at a meeting which I might add, I was seriously criticized for being over expressive and vulgar in my review with. It was at a time when people didn't understand my humor and I overestimated there's! But we all change and as old notes disappear, new ones stem up from somewhere.

But as a mop cleans a floor and a broom lifts the dirt off of the walls, all slates were made clean and things came into perfect rhythm within A.C.A. and our meetings.

I say this only to remind those of you who use to read old reviews, vs. the latest reviews which reveal a complete turnaround toward the better in our A.C.A. meetings.

Kantzavelos-Dec-2006-pic-2Do we listen to music? Yes, do we keep our thoughts to ourselves and say goodnight to our host telling him calming and reassuring words for his evolutionary system? Or do we listen, change a few things, use all our knowledge as a team, and make the system sound at least 40% better than it did the day before? Every member helping the other get better, and evolving himself from the experience in total.

This is how we do it now, and for as long as I am writing on this site, I will commend that this is the most productive, fun and innovative, if not "brothers in arms" meetings I have been to. Including work shops in my professional life!

A.C.A. has matured, and will continue to blossom as long as those of us who believe in music and each other never ends.

Now enough said about the theory of A.C.A. which had to be mentioned, since it has sincerely introduced a significant smile and even further enhancement to our hobby and the pleasure we get from it.

I had the pleasure of going to the meeting as usual late. I say this in total irony since this is not the case but I have nothing else to say since I was late waking up!

Upon entering Theo's warm home, not only the light of Christmas and our last meeting of the year was evident, but smiles upon faces of men that looked like boys was so evident, I knew things had been happening before I entered the room.

With knowledge and scrutiny of their inner soul, each and every member was trying to accomplish the same thing. To listen to what was playing as it was, with 9 meters of wire on one speaker, and 6 meters on another, both woofers metaphorically still standing on stilts, since the suspension had given way to years of hard rock and roll and some awesomely loud SPL's (sound pressure level).

Music Program Highlights

  • Beethoven 'Symphony No3 - Eroica' on DG - Karajan.
  • Rachmaninoff '3rd Piano Concerto' (Super Analogue/London Recording LSO/Previn/Ashkenazy)
  • Berlioz 'Symphony Fantastique' (Philips LSO/Colin Davis?)
  • Cat Stevens - Best Of

System Description

  • JBL 250 TI Classic speakers, driven by Mark Levinson 23s amplifier and Mark Levinson 26s preamplifier
  • Analogue source: Linn Sondek LP12 (+Valhala) t/t with Linn Ekos arm, bearing Dynavector Low cartridge (amplified by the Mark Levinson 26S phono module).
  • Digital source: Nakamichi MB-3 Cdplayer (occasionally).
  • Wiring: Monster cables for interconnects and Monster M2 bicable speaker cables.
  • Power cables/Electr. install.: Not special with only an Audio Agile power distributor.

Comments from the start

Kantzavelos-Dec-2006-pic-3At first, comments started with, "my ears are about to bleed" to where is the toilet so I can hide, to, what have you done to change that? What happened? What recording is that from, it sounds amazingly alive. Reason being for the Nakamitchi CD player which sits on a glass plate, which is placed on a wooden bookshelf which does not have enough air to breath or enough room for electrons/positrons and the rest of the electrical universal magnetic fields that come alive when a CD player is placed on an overheated amp, which is next to a turntable which is going to fast for its own good! And, Alas, going to a wire which was thicker than, well, lets just say most humbly, my garden hose, and longer than it too!

I am surprised the system could be heard at all.

There was no rack (God forbid!), no carpet in front of the speakers, and a table the size of Cairo exactly on the Isosceles triangle of where the listener should be!

Kantzavelos-Dec-2006-pic-4The couch was pulled from the wall, the carpet was placed, the speakers were angled properly, and finally the analogue part of the system was turned on. At first it was a traumatic experience for some, specifically to the female population, whilst Berlioz 'Symphony Fantastique' (Philips LSO/Colin Davis) was played but after we realised that we were playing well above the 110 db level, and the fact that the speakers were 2.8 meters apart, we all took as much time as we needed to sit in the perfect seating position, which unfortunately was only for one, despite the room size and the speakers, to hear what was meant to be heard.
Even though the speakers needed an overhaul, it still played with all of what JBL was made out of. Pure love of music. From audiophiles who probably made this speaker over 15 years ago from the love of there hobby more than anything else. I mean, what speaker do you know that has over 50% of its woofers not working and you can still say music comes out of it? Really!

If you take into account what I have written above by mentioning a few of the problems, you can imagine that nothing played. But, then again it did!

Was it our imagination? Was it Rachmaninoff '3rd Piano Concerto' (Super Analogue/London Recording LSO/Previn/Ashkenazy)? Or could it be the going back into time with Cat Stevens ('The best of') CD. That made the music sound special, even though to some it may have not been up to par with speakers and equipment of the 21st century!!

The Simopoulos effect...

Theo knows what it is. And with the help of a few of the amazing members willing to help, like Christos Simopoulos, Yannis Floros, Yannis Vlahos, and the rest living in his neighbourhood he will get these JBL's tamed if it's the last thing he does!

See how a distructive force called A.C.A. Secretary can destroy a house!!!
Evaluating - calculating - measuring - moving carpet - moving table - changing wires - removing woofers - removing midranges!

Kantzavelos-Dec-2006-pic-5Even if takes him to buy a stand and kill his fireplace to do it, although I must mention that our VP did provide the perfect solution to the problem of positioning, and wiring problems, along with being underpowered with one quick solution, getting another amp, placing them right behind the speakers and making the wires shorter, making the expression one stone for three stones a reality once more. This way, Theo could have his fireplace, fix his stand into something real and be in heaven at the same time!

And that is what it is all about. Synergy. Not only of the machines but the area that the machines are placed in.

Take away service...

Kantzavelos-Dec-2006-pic-18Maybe you have noticed that the Club ethics have changed. We have so many things to do lately during our meetings, that we do not any longer have the time left for visiting the tables with the nice deserts that our hosts are preparing. Tonight we found a way to solve this hunger problem and a take away service was provided by Theo for us to enjoy,that was to take them away! See picture on the left.

To close, because I have to get to work and I am already 3 hours late, I would like to thank the food for being there, and the very warm smile beneath a Harley Davidson owner and rider!

If 'born to be wild' was to be remade as a film. I am sure Theo would be in it. Only this time, it would be Beethoven 'Symphony No3 - Eroica' on DG – Karajan instead of rock and roll as the background music!

Rock on Theo!

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