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14 Jan 2012: Akis Michalopoulos

Michalopoulos-Jan-2012-system

By Manos Bitsakakis

Happy New Year to ACA and all its members!

The first meeting of 2012...

'Grande Utopia'... Two words that hide exaggeration and will never are heard in a meeting of financial executives of a company or in the bakery near your neighborhood...

In a rare case, you may find them in a forgotten romantic poet's script, or in a genteel speech of a liar politician... Anyway, if someone come and whisper in your ears those two words, you will begin to look at him strangely...

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The speaker…

'Utopia'... means what you want but it is impossible, the unreachable, the unapproachable... What we're looking for and you cannot have...

Despite this someone dared to name this way two beautiful objects that produce sounds, two large speaker - towers, that if you see them standing in front of you, by only their appearance and their size alone, you will start to wonder how much they are right ... Before even you have heard them...

The FOCAL's impressive 'Grande Utopias' are in every point approving their name... First, they are really big speakers and on the other hand, you cannot have them and therefore listen to them easily...

Michalopoulos-Jan-2012-system01 The Simpligades are real and insurmountable for most of those who covet... First they cost much... too much... Second, they sound great, impeccable, very close to absolute... You get them and you finish there... Just another step to search for accompanying them with associated electronics, cables, sources, things that should be of the same size and performance... Thirdly and equally important ... If you managed to convince the other half about the money, you know the famous and tricky way... 'Darling I have found some tremendous speakers in paltry price... a great chance... the guy needs the money and sells them... from 5200 price new, we get them with 1500...' If you succeed to get over it, you have next difficult step, to face the challenge when the lady sees in front of her the towers... There you are finished...

The meeting…

The monthly meeting and listening to the majestic FOCAL in Akis, coincided with the cutting of the cake for the renewed ACA, with almost every member present, and also Nick, the man who successfully implemented the new ACA website and his cute wife ...

Michalopoulos-Jan-2012-system02 In a relaxed and festive atmosphere, having lowered the lights, we sat in front of the large system and listening session was started... The shock from the frabjous view of the system followed by the sound shock... In each track, something new and also different was achieving from speakers that in spite of their excessive volume, was completely disappeared from the field...

Several times I looked around to my co-listeners, no one looked at the speakers or the system itself... All were looked at the center, above the system and away, as if We had forgotten that there were real machines playing, and we were looking around to find Yousef, the Youn and Terry playing and singing, Jeff feeding with sweet distortion his Stratokaster and Marshall, Antonio playing live so clearly that we can here and count the notes felling on the wooden floor like 'chick-peas'...

Male and female voices, electric guitars, classical and modern music... all perfectly performed with control, pace, atmosphere, feeling, big sound...

The listening session…

Michalopoulos-Jan-2012-pic02 The listening session good sounding and easily digested, began with the voice of YOUN SUN NAH (CD), a would-be competitor of JAKINTHA, on DANCING WITH YOU... Followed by TERRY CALLIER (VINYL) in 900 MILES and DHAFER YOUSSEF (CD) in the known TARANNOUM MALAK...

ANTONIO FORCIONE (VINYL) of NAIM in TARANTELLA and the here comes the first highlight of the evening ... JEFF BECK LIVE AT RONNIE SCOTT'S (CD) and GOODBYE PORK PIE HAT... no more words to say... music made to stay and accompany 'vintage' ATARI kids up to today's IPAD kids...

FILIPPA JORDANO opera style HABANERA (CD) and immediately after the second highlight of the evening ... RIMSKY KORSAKOV - DANCE OF THE TUMBLERS FROM THE SNOW MAIDEN (VINYL THORENS) ... The vinyl on top of the time ... Absolute control, outbursts and the perversity of the composer in all of its splendor...

Finally, SAINT SAENS - ORATORIO DE NAVIDAD (CD) and one more great moment we lived by request of the audience ... HOSE CARRERAS by MISSA CRIOLLA accompanied by an orchestra, harpsichord and choir... The words are redundant to review this show ... We were looking around perplexed hopefully to see the armies of the cherubim and seraphim singing behind Jose ...

Here the session ended, the lights turned on and the evening was continued with food, cake cutting, and wishes with relaxed listening...

The sound…

Michalopoulos-Jan-2012-pic03 Contrary to what many argue for the short time duration of the memory of hearing, I cannot agree that this is 100% truth... At least for me... I remember very well the systems I've heard, I remember very well the previous Aki's system with huge JBL and its sound in the same place ... The differences and points that contraries this premier system...

In this show, so I call the ritual of this hearing, everything was different ... Simply because, and this is the great conversation coming out at this writing, you can buy a performance at the Concert Hall, you can buy a concert in Lycabettus Hill with 10 kilowatts piercing your ears and beating your stomach, but you cannot easily buy and hear such an absolute system...

It is no coincidence, therefore baptism becomes felicitous... GRANDE UTOPIA...

Big thanks to Akis and his lovely wife for their hospitality and honor that made to us...

The System

  • Speakers: FOCAL, GRANDE UTOPIA Be
  • Preamplifier: VAC, RENAISSANCE MkII
  • Power amplifier: LUXMAN, B100F (monoblocks)
  • Turntable: KUZMA, Reference
  • Arm: KUZMA Airline
  • Cartridge: DYNAVECTOR XV-1T
  • SACD: LUXMAN D08
  • Rack: COPULARE

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  • Akis meeting 14 Jan 2012 video 01
  • Akis meeting 14 Jan 2012 video 02
  • Akis meeting 14 Jan 2012 video 03

Akis Michalopoulos' Member Page

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