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14 Sep 2003: Theodoros Kantzavelos

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By Stelios Mitsionis & Nikos Kamvysis

Theodoros is one of the older members of our club and a long-term audiophile. Through the years, Theodoros, has gathered a respectable record collection, especially vinyl (great rock and jazz albums).

At the present time, he feels torn between his love for being an audiophile and his passion for motorcycles. He owns a beautiful Harley Davidson and is also a member of the Harley Davidson club. Lately he spends most of his free time traveling with his beloved Harley. But, he still keeps some precious moments reserved for cultivating audiophilia.

This was the first meeting after the summer vacation period and all of us felt very enthusiastic to see each other again and discuss our favorite subjects after a long "detoxification".

The new gear of some members...

Kantzavelos-Sep-2003-pic-1CS was very excited about the latest improvements he has made on the analogue section of his audio gear, NK kept inviting everybody for an audition of his new valve mono-block amps, PA was talking about the qualifications of his new preamp and MK was sharing his disappointment with his latest speaker purchase. OTOH, ARCO who went through a specialized detox program (SDP for Audio-Mania or sdepam in short) for the summer period, said that coming back from vacation could not turn the system on for a whole week. Ha ha... Do you think that he is cured from the virus? I bet that in another week's time, audiophilia will be the only thing in his mind.

It goes without saying that this meeting had a strong participation. And it has nothing to do with the fact that Theodoros is a great cook! Or maybe it does... We need to thank him once again for the excellent appetizers served during the event.

For the first part of the evening, everybody was talking very loud so that the level of noise in the room was probably above 85db. There was no chance of listening to the system under such conditions. Later on, as the music program improved mostly due to SM kind efforts (a good dose of bragging never hurt anybody), people begun to listen and the noise level went down... a bit.

The listening...

Kantzavelos-Sep-2003-pic-2We first listened to the digital source. We played "The Blues Sonata" by Charlie Bird. On the piece "Scherzo for an old shoe", the drums were described with realism and good dynamics, but the guitar was somewhat artificial and bright. Next we listened to Solomon Burk's latest album. On the pieces "Don't give up on me" and "Flesh and Blood", Solomon's voice was deep, with enough body, but was not clearly recognizable. (Some people thought that it was Tom Waits).

NK said that Solomon's voice did not have the deep nasal characteristic and was also a bit flat. On the classic T&A collection, Friedman's voice was again a bit altered and the background was not as black and quiet as we would like. NK said that dynamics and rhythm were good but the sound was very bright.

In general one can say that the digital source had some artificiality in mid-high and high frequencies. One could also detect this character in the way the blowing of the sax was presented. (It was there but not really blowing and a bit glassy in texture)

OTOH, the system had good rhythm, full body and good mid-section. Soundstage was big in all dimensions, but with average height. It was also a bit diffused. Highs were somewhat bright and mechanical (I think, I said that again) and the lows were deep but not as well defined as we would like.

Discussing the system...

Kantzavelos-Sep-2003-pic-3NK said about the system "...This was to my view a system tuned for rock music. It had emphasis on dynamics, scale, rhythm and slam. The electrical instruments were well defined and along with the percussion communicated the emotions of the music...." He also thought, that the speakers were playing at uneven levels, probably due to imperfect positioning.

After discussing the system's performance with other members, we came to the conclusion that the digital source is not up to the system's class.Theodoros said that it is soon to be replaced. We wish him good luck in his search for the next digital source.

After we had enough with digital, decided to switch to analogue. And for the rest of the evening, we kept it there. The analogue source was much better in every respect. First of all, the emotional context of music was communicated by the system. The sound was well balanced with good micro dynamics. No wonder,Theodoros keeps such a big record collection.

We started with Otis Span "Walking the blues". The presentation was homogeneous with no edges at either side of the spectrum. Next we listened to "Tobacco road" by Brother Jack McDuff. Harmonics were rich and the music had rhythm and good flow.

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.
  • Digital source: Nakamichi MB-3 Cdplayer was additionally used.
  • Wiring: Monster cables
  • Power cables/Electr. install.: Not special

The last part of the evening...

We spent the last part of the evening listening to Theo's excellent record collection. In general the analogue part of the system was very good, with its flaws being rather subtractive in nature. Both sides of the spectrum were rounded off a bit and there was some fine grain present, but as it was proven after a long listening session the system was enjoyable and relaxing.

We wish to thank Theodoros for his abundant hospitality that created such a pleasant evening.

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