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20 Jul 2013: Christos Kantarelis

Kantarelis-July-2013-system

By Tony Pothitos

Monthly Meeting ACA at Christos Kantarelis

Sane men, as most of us are, have exceptions. Our host tonight is simply the epitome of this statement. Or is he sane and are we crazy?

Let us find out.

We have been to Chris's home, at least 20 times. At least, I have. I have sat and listened, learned and even danced with Chris several times a year over the 15 year period I know him. We have done tests together, we have exchanged opinions but what Chris has given me beyond any doubt more valuable than gold itself is the secret to being a good audiophile.

It's simple. Just listen to the music.

Means nothing deep when you think about it at first, but as the years go by it sinks in and your forced to remind yourself that this hobby is about the music and not the machines, even though it seems differently to others, or even to ourselves for that matter.

So on our last ACA meeting for the 2013 summer, we had a surprise beyond anyone had imagined. I say that since the only thing Chris plays is a pair of GFR Tannoy's, and we all know he wouldn't change those unless hell freezes over or if he wanted to prove his point yet one more time that nothing plays like a Tannoy.

So tonight was a surprise indeed, but before we get to that, let us take things from the start.

Kantarelis-July-2013-pic02From downstairs I could hear the life I always hear when I come to Chris’s home. I knew the night was going to be a great one when I heard that we were comparing two turntables, three amplifiers and a few other items at hand. This time around we were set on just enjoying the complete difference between a Thorens TD160 and the carnival gambling eye candy back from the future the Transcriptor Hydraulic Reference immediately afterwards.

If you remember, in the ACA documentary, it was this man who could have a house near the temple of Poseidon if it were not for his infamous passion for amplifiers and testing. I say that but I forgot to mention the only thing this man has not changed in his life are the Tannoy’s GFR which sit in front of me one more time.

The System...

The Amplifier was a Crown D-75, 35 watt which was sitting under a DIY pre amp. Next to it there was a push-pull, and yet another Audion integrated SE, next to that.

So in reality we had two turntables, 3 amplifiers and wires to be changed. A wild mix to say the least.

Kantarelis-July-2013-pic01The Audion proved to be a very good match, but nothing compared to the DIY which the Crown power amp was using as a pre amp. Noticeable was the speed the Crown had and the Audion didn’t. Others said the opposite occurred, which was only normal to happen since not only do we have difference subjective views but age differences amongst the ACA members.

The smoother Audion outcome was not worth the loss in speed and thus the DIY preamp with the ECC82 tubes and Crown D-75 won hands down in this comparison. The Transcriptor Hydraulic reference was simply overwhelming by looks alone! I cannot imagine why the still don’t make them.

The Micromega microdrive with its dac, although a machine I have never liked, except for when it is in this setup, still does the magic all the way to the last db it is played.

Push Pull from the Realistic Sterling was simply beautiful in part two of our amp changing experiment and the same song albeit was evidently playing Class AB and despite its lower cost and an EL84 bulb would be preferred for rock music. It did though sound inferior with Skynyrd. I have heard these speakers play this tune before and the push pull doesn’t seem up to the perfection the other two amps offer. This comes into direct conflict with what I said before but it still remains true.

The DIY preamp with the ECC82 tubes and Crown D-75, simply beat the rest by harmony alone (although Our ACA moderator loved the Audion due to its smooth character and will whip me next time he sees me for saying that I felt it was boring).

With Skynyrd, one of our members, George Toufexis said it best when we changed amp,s and went to the Crown and uttered the words, NOW we have ROCK! Just the expression on his face was enough to understand the feelings the two machines had together in comparison to the other two amps and turntable.

Kantarelis-July-2013-pic03It was getting hot and when too many men breathe heavily while listening to speakers the best thing to do is to go out to the balcony and eat what was a sincerely well planned dinner for us. I of course was first at the dinner table with George Heropoulos fighting for the first fork and spoon so in reality we both ate first. There was so much food there were left overs for home and that just simply made the night even more easier to remember the next day while the music still played in my ears.

They say music is forgotten easily, the hypothalamus cannot remember much when it comes to notes, but the truth is when you train to listen to every single note, it's much easier.

The Outcome...

I left Chris's home with my wife very satisfied, but I did long for one more thing. I longed for Chris's insatiable insanity while he performs the duty of being a DJ. He is outstanding at this task and while we were outside he was inside playing music as if the room was full. I wish I was there. Listening to Chris perform is simply magical, and despite the home's aura of beauty, the ACA members inside Chris's home can simply not be compared to any other home we have been too.

Biased, yes. Subjective, yes. But no sane man can be otherwise.

So in the end, it is Chris who is the sane one of ACA.

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  • Kantarelis meeting 20-07-2013 video 01
  • Kantarelis meeting 20-07-2013 video 02
  • Kantarelis meeting 20-07-2013 video 03

Christos Kantarelis' Member Page

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