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14 Mar 2004: Stamatis Giannoulis

Giannoulis-Mar-2004-pic-sys

By Lampros Valleras , Stelios Mitsionis & Nikos Kamvysis

This was a classic A.C.A. meeting with lots of heated discussions about our High End world, very good food, drinks, sweets, and a friendly atmosphere. We are thankful to our host for his efforts towards the success of yet another meeting, his first, since he is one of our newer members.

Stamatis is a very active High Ender, who is constantly and feverously trying to reach the level of performance of his wildest dreams! There is always, every week that is, something different on trial at his house, usually borrowed from a friend, to experiment with... We wish him all the luck that he needs in this exciting and beautiful, but also so hard and difficult road to perfection, where the closer you are getting at your goal, the further it seems to be moving away!

Everybody was very curious about the famous Kharma speakers, since no other member has them in his system. These speakers are truly beautiful with a great finish and a balanced unpretentious design. It seemed to everybody that the speakers are the last component that should, if ever, be changed in the system! N.K who had listened briefly to the system with the previous speakers thought that the improvement was considerable.

First impression

Giannoulis-Mar-2004-pic-1This is a typical A.C.A. system (rather expensive, arbitrarily set-up), which manages however to have a decent sound. L.V actually liked it very much saying that it is a good system, although S.M thought that there was a lot of unrealized potential in it.

When we arrived, the room was very crowded and noisy (and full of smoke, very unfortunate for us non-smokers). We had to put a lot of effort to listen to the music playing and the sound was overall rather aggressive, with an unexplained lack of mid and low bass.

Fortunately, by the time a handful of us remained in the room the sound was much better. For some reason, this happens more often than not. On CD, we listened to the latest Blind Boys from Alabama album and FIM SACD 029, audiophile reference IV. The soundstage was big with average definition. This was one of the less 'sweet spotted' systems that we have heard.

Anywhere in the room, one would listen to good music. In fact, at the further back seats the sound was more relaxed and was preferred by some members, while others liked the more aggressive but accurate front row. The low frequencies were very controlled, very clear but missing some of their harmonic envelope (acoustic bass for example was drier and less woody than real life). High frequencies were airy, open, with good definition, but rather gray in color.

Music program highlights

  • Saint Saens 'Symphony No#3' (Boston Syphony/Munch 1959, RCA Victor Liv. St. LSC-2341, LP)
  • 'Porgy & Bess' w/ Ella Fitzerald/Louis Armstrong (Verve 2304 479, LP)
  • 'Ella & Louis again' Vol 2 (Verve 837 443-1, LP)
  • 'Shirley Horn with horn' (Mercury SR 60835, LP)
  • John Coltrane 'Blue Train' (Blue Note 91721, CD)
  • Kendra Shank 'Afterglow' (Mapleshade 02132, CD)

System Description

  • Kharma CE 2.1 speakers, driven by Symphonic Line RG-7 amplifier and Symphonic Line 'Erleuchtung' preamplifier
  • Analogue source: Acoustic Solid 'the machine' t/t and a Shelter 501 cartridge (amplified by 'Blue Note' phono stage - under testing) on a Rega 250 improved arm.
  • Digital source: Wadia 850 CD player.
  • Wiring: WireWorld 'Gold Eclipse' for interconnects (phono cable: DIY by Lazarou) and Transparent 'Music wave' for speaker cables.
  • Power cables/Electr. install.: Nordost 'El Dorado', plugged in Xaitas V-4 power isolator, plugged in an 'Exact Power' voltage regulator (testing).

And...

Giannoulis-Mar-2004-pic-2On vinyl, we listened to The Poll Winners', "Straight Ahead", Cal Tjader Sextet, "A night at the Black hawk", Franz List "Favorite Piano Works" w/ Josef Bulva. We have to note here, that the turntable was sitting on a low chair without any resonance treatment. In the Jazz programs the sound was open with good dynamics and pace. Soundstage was big with adequate information. In the classical piece the lack of resonance treatment was evident. We hope that Stamatis will soon situate his analogue system in a more proper location.

We wish to thank Stamatis and his very generous, inviting and friendly mother for this enjoyable evening.

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