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30 May 2015: Manos Bitsakakis

Mpitsa-May-2015-sys00

By Kyriakos Kougioumtzoglou

Monthly Meeting ACA at Manos Mpitsakakis

Manos is known to everybody mainly for three things, his point of view on the music selections, his straightness and friendly communication with people and his love and dedication to ACA club.

In this meeting night at Manos place, we've auditioned some lovely selections from his playlist.

Before we get to that though let me acknowledge the giving and care which Manos has given to ACA, not only with his many hosting evenings but his awareness and continuous help on our site ACA.gr. He is a contributor, a leader and above all someone, who everyone loves to be with.

Manos is also an avid fan of DIY, (Do It Yourself) and has tampered with his wires and has done a great job indeed. He also plays with amps, digital music, as well as anything that comes into the future of music and its reproduction. In reality, he is a true believer that music itself stops, only when we do. His home is situated somewhere albeit very hard to get to, but very hard to leave once you see the systems he has set up and tasted some of the most amazing cooking his wife has for us.

Now on with the music...

The strings, the and momentum of the music seemed endlessly rolling out of the speakers with such ease that it made the entire production seem seemingly a joy ride. It played so easy, with such precision and bass, speed and accuracy that the Kef showed their true potential to continue time and time again that there are speakers for the forever.

They tie in well with his amplification and his hand made cables and the music is simple, uncomplicated and very true to the original recording.

The amplification, proved yet again to be blazingly quick but in tone with the instruments and it led the system with prestige and manor throughout the evenings listening event.

The audio set up being the Nottingham Analogue Space 294 ACE- accompanied by the Space 294 (arm) and a Shelter 5000 (cartridge) tied well together bringing the musicality, while not allowing the harshness of the digital era to come in and destroy the sensation of what Manos wanted to hear and for us to appreciate tonight.

The Tunes...

B.B. King ‎– Lucille Talks Back, When I'm Wrong
Was blissful, passive, yet rocky, set within a background of instruments and fowl smoke. The air the title gives off is simply seductive. The amps here played such a role in this execution that the mild guitar was music as well as tentatively plumbed. A great start for a new drink on the table!

 

BB KIng feat Ron Levy When I'm Wrong

 

Jun Fukamachi - At Steinway, Ran-Man
Was simply so alive, I could feel the ivory from the keys hit the chords inside the piano. Here the grand full quarter piano brings depth and subtlety to a prism of new feelings. I have never heard this piece before played like this. It simply tied in with the nature of the system and the soft “”Kef-ness” blended with the pianos energy. Listen to the track and you will hear what I did. But multiply that feeling by 100.

Beauty is the ears of the beholder? Well if anyone finds this track as boring or non-musical then let them speak now or forever hold there peace. This piece is a miracle on its own. Especially in E-Flat Major as we heard it that night.

 

Jun Fukamachi At Steinway TAKE 1

 

George Benson - The other side of Abbey road, I Want You, with blackness, a vivid spectrum of notes and never clouded judgement on the music, it was the perfect way to show how this system is so well tied together.

 

George Benson - Here Comes the Sun & I Want You (She's so heavy) - The Beatles cover

 

His choice of Peter Hammill - And Close As This, Too Many Of My Yesterdays, was an example of exactly the type of music which was played, and appreciated since it took its complexity and true nature to play only what the musician wanted us to hear.

 

Peter Hammill - Too Many Of My Yesterdays

 

During the title played, Mary Black - The Holy Ground, The Holy Ground, we succumbed to the vocals and drenched feelings of emotions from the artist and with this in mind, proved to be the actual hardest song to be played this evening, albeit despite the classical which was very well placed, quiet and alive at the same time, touching upon our senses in ways to make our minds work on it wanted to have us feel, rather than the opposite.

 

MARY BLACK -- THE HOLY GROUND

 

Montserrat Caballe - Verdi Rarities, Un Giorno di Regno
Montserrat Caballe was simply like water flowing from a mountain, drop by drop, and not in a rush to make noise, it was so much in tune and responsive it set the way for me to want to hear more of the Verdi Rarities. The speed gave me the sense of true speed, and the vocals were tonally correct by any standards given.

 

Montserrat Caballe. Ah! Non m' hanno ingannata. Un Giorno di Regno. Verdi.

 

Southside Johnny & The Jukes - In the Heat, Captured
Reminded me of days when my father used to play this in the car while taking us to school. Just like the song says, time is captured, and on this system is certainly was. Freedom of air and bass, mids to throw in and measurable amounts of volume sincerely took me back to the days when music was in a dimension of its own.

 

Southside Johnny & The Jukes - Captured

 

The System…

Analogue
Nottingham Analogue Space 294
ACE-Space 294 (arm)
Shelter 5000 (cartridge)

Digital
SONY XA5400ES

Preamplifier
Trulife Audio TLA Athena (line)
Bluenote Demedici (phono)

Power Amplifier
GEROUKIS 211 / PSET 70W RMS (Monoblocks)

Speakers
KEF Reference 205/2006

Cables (All DIY BY MANOS)
7N, Solid Core, Single Crystal, Ultra-Pure OCC Silver (IC & Speakers)
6N, Solid Core, Single Crystal, Ultra-Pure OCC Copper (Power)

Overall impression...

The overall impression of the quality of reproduction is very impressive, with brush strokes of faint coloring as to not taint, but to help the harsher recordings sound like they should.

The turntable is essentially a beauty and the shelter plays very very well indeed. It brings out the musicality and at the same time the actual feeling of what the artist feels. You actually hear this through his voice as well as through the 3D imaging he has created within his space. I would love to listen to more music at his home any time of the week!

The Ending...

I want to thank Manos for his hospitality, his reverence and given passion for his music while also thanking his family for allowing us to come into his home and be part of his musical experience.

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