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17 Feb 2002: Christos Kantarelis

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By Stelios Mitsionis

This meeting was different from the others. Apart from the usual stuff like listening and talking and drinking, we had programmed our 3-year Club Elections here. Our esteemed host was the President of the Election Oversight Committee as well and he had to organize all that.

Three years have passed from the first elections of the club. Since then, A.C.A. has evolved in a well-respected organization domestically and internationally. Now, there are a lot of new ideas on the way. So, there is more to come. Our aim is not only to have fun with our hobby but to also promote audiophilia to folks that haven't been acquainted with her yet.

The elections...

Kantarelis-Feb-2002-pic-5The elections were held according to schedule at Chris's Kantarelis house. Chris and his wife Angelica live in a nice apartment in a southern suburb of Athens. This is the second meeting there and our memories from the first meeting were very pleasant.

We drove down to Chris's house with L.Valleras and Angie. We arrived early because we were all candidates for this election and - as you understand - we had to make a good impression. When we entered the apartment, the only other people there, were the hosts and the rest of the candidates, ha, ha! So all the candidates, we sat around and waited for our voters/fellow members to arrive. It was time to prepare our election speech and a catchy slogan.

Soon, our dearest fellow members started showing up and before you know it, the place was crowded with people. It was a classic election night, with small groups forming around candidates, private "meetings" arranged in the veranda outside and mysterious envelopes exchanging hands in a conspicuous manner. The smell of gunpowder was slowly covering the air.

Our host, Chris was making honest efforts to distract us from this election fever. He presented us with an excellent music program, played the system quite loud at times, but in vain. The more courageous candidates had already begun shouting their slogans even louder than the music. "We will Rock your vote", "Here you vote for the audiophile ideal", "Amplify your vote with us", "Vote for me - the classical choice", "Interconnect your vote", "Vote for valves" were some of the most popular. With the help of our fine host & hostess the situation never got out of hand and finally it was time for people to begin casting their votes. For us it was time get a close listen to the system.

The gear...

Kantarelis-Feb-2002-pic-7 Chris has made some changes to the system (in accordance to standard ACA procedure) since our last visit. Amps and pre-amp is now the Quad II-40 (mid/high) / Sony (low) and Quad 24 respectively. A new turntable is now the analogue representative and that is the fine Avid "Volvere" with VdH mc1 special cartridge. And finally on the digital front end we have the XA-777ES integrated from Sony. Come to think of it, all the system was changed except from the speakers. It seems that audiophilia is turning into an epidemic.

The music...

Kantarelis-Feb-2002-pic-2Music program ranged from Jazz to Rock and Blues was well coordinated and created a bubbly atmosphere. The system was very "entertaining" in the original sense. Chris's living room was transformed into a cozy bar area. The analogue source clearly won the audience vote. The Sony XA-777ES proved a decent performer but also revealed it's weak side by "misbehaving" a little when pushed hard. Actually, the whole system would play closer to "the truth" in midlevel, but revealed a more forward nature when the dB were closer to three digit figures. The sound stage was good, but it was formed more in front of the speakers rather than at the back (mainly because of speaker placement - close to the rear walls). In general, one would enjoy music at any part of the living room, even the further corners. And this is a very positive aspect of a system.

Our good hosts did their best to cater to everybody's need for food and drink. By mid-session the buffet was set on the dinning table. Our fellow members and candidates (exhausted from the vote hunt), all joined in. The sandwiches were long gone, only minutes after they appeared. They were so good. In fact, all the hors d' oeuvres were extremely appetizing. We all felt like home at Chris & Angelica's Bar..., I mean residence!

Soon, we forgot all that because ballot closing was fast approaching. CS was out on a photo mission, for the purposes of updating one of our members site-page. The two men arrived just in time for closing. CS was impressed by the soundstage and general performance of this new system. Hopefully a meeting will be held in this house, so that we can all appreciate the merits of the set in question.

It was 10.00 pm and ballot closing was a fact. By this time, some of the candidates presented signs of campaign related fatigue, resulting in panic statements of the sort: "I give up my votes in exchange for your amp", or "Am I getting elected or am I permanently short-circuited?". The election oversight committee appeared unaffected by all that and proceeded to the task of counting the votes. This actually proved to be a very long process. Especially the electronic votes seemed to take an eternity to access. Finally all systems worked according to plan, all votes were counted correctly and a new board was clearly elected. We all wish them success in their new posts.

And the end of the night...

Kantarelis-Feb-2002-pic-1The night continued in conversations about the elections and plans about the future of the club. Comradely was re-established. We are all together again having fun in private or scheduled meetings. It was after midnight when we left the premises. We wish to thank Chris & Angelica for hosting this event and congratulate them for the excellent treatment that they had in store for us. It was a very enjoyable election night.

System Description

  • Tannoy "GRF" w/ST100 super-tweeter, driven by QUAD II-40 (mid/high) & Sony (low), QUAD 24 preamp
  • Digital source: Sony XA-777ES integrated
  • Analogue source: Avid "Volvere" turntable with an SME 309 arm bearing VdH mc1 special cartridge on a Musical Fidelity XLP upgraded phono
  • Interconnects: VdH 'the first ultimate'
  • Speaker cables: VdH 'revelation'
  • Power cables: Stock

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Christos Kantarelis' Member Page

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