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16 Apr 2017: Stamatis Giannoulis

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By Tony Pothitos

Monthly Meeting ACA at Stamatis Giannoulis

Going to our hosts home tonight was a thrill, he lives close by, that's a plus, and he has a great garden, a super listening room and some awesome coffee worth killing for.
Our host is never without his spouse who is a big lover of music and ACA itself.
I remember them together when they were still a couple and I had no second thoughts about his spouse and mother of his children today. An amazingly competent woman.

Now, if you have a woman like that behind you, it's hard to think that the man next to her will also benefit. The truth is, that if it was not for her support, who knows if Stamati would be in the high end business at all?

I am only saying this because she is such a prominent person in ACA and her presence and kindness shows not only in her first class hosting of ACAs meeting but because of her choice of system she listens to.

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The System...

  • Turntable : Acoustic Solid Royal**[br]Zeta arm+Shure V15 Type III
  • Digital Source : Ayon CD 5
  • Preamplifiers : Art Audio, Vinyl One (phono)[br] Art Audio, VP1 Μk2 (line)
  • Amplifiers Tube : Art Audio, Jota (monoblocks)
  • Speakers : Avantgarde, Duo omega
  • Cables : MG Art Audio
  • Rack : Audio Desing

The Tracks...

In this case, the system was, as described above, but the actual music played was picked by the spouse.

What would a spouse pick for the first listen you might ask? Amelie, what else!

Amelie Soundtrack - Yann Tiersen {Original-Unmute}

The sound from the the Avantgarde duos were so romantically set with the sound track music of Amelie, along with the supreme General Electric bulbs used that it was an immediate jaw dropper for me.

I was lost within seconds, and the softness, was not accompanied by light bass or tight boot bass, but perfect tones and strength of the instruments.

These instruments were passionate as a red rose on a mountain of rocks, the tubes were throwing along with the accordion a musical party of its own.

I use to play the accordion and listening to it again was accompanied by a smile so big, i felt i was 10 years old again and saw my father clap for me (as I would full of shame) play for those older people who actually liked this instrument.

I guess I am my father's age and the accordion is now appreciated, it has waited for years and it is now where it belongs in the hall of my fame of instruments, along with others i have collected over the years.

The rhythm of Amelie is simply a joy to experience, no matter where you are, how old you are and where you come from. It is an internationally loved piece of music and a tribute to mankind. Yes, a tribute to mankind. I know most of you are laughing, but when was the last time you heard everyone on the planet agree on listening to an accordion?

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Next up was 1812, never over the top and always in check, I found some problems from where I was sitting but I believe that if I were to be in the centre of the speakers I would not have been so blasted by the left horn where I was sitting closer to.

Piotr Ilich Tchaikovsky - 1812 Overture (Finale)

Next was a 3 Blind Mice recording. I do not recall the name but only the fact that it brought back memories again of the past and the fact that music, no matter when recorded and by whom, if it is properly reproduced can always sound like it is fresh like a lily flower in a pond.

The notes carried like they had feathers and the vocals were sharp and deep from within the performer's voice.

Brian Kean and Oman Faruk, took us on a carpet flight around the world with Beyond The Sky.

Omar Faruk Tekbilek & Brian Keane - Beyond the Sky

This genre of music is very well reproduced on the Duos, accurate to the point of a blade in your skin as it penetrates your entire soul if you are left to your own devices and forget the world behind you. This is exactly what I felt and it was a wonderful experience.

The we left the General Electric bulbs and went to triode EL 34’s. Which were more robust, but simply not as sweet. It did have an overall depth though which was not expected and fully appreciated I might say.

Diana Krall, Let's fall in love was simply perfect. I know the mastering of her recordings, and i know how bad they are, bass wise mostly, but this time because of the separate bass produced and set by the owner, it actually sounded VERY close to perfect.

DIANA KRALL Let's Fall in Love.

That says a lot since I can’t stand her recordings, but adore her live.

This time, the love, eloquent subtle bass was not heavy and the bass was in perfect tune with the piano and chords. Even the solo of the double bass was close to perfect, as it is not recorded with enough care as it should have been. Definitely not the systems fault.

In conclusion

From there on in, Stamatis played whatever we asked for. Something very much liked by most. I totally enjoyed the Greek music by the old performers, and doubtfully called serious, at least they were excellently reproduced and fun to listen and sing to.

Negatives? Sure, I am sure I could name a few, but nothing that could stand out for me to complain about. I think I could be prejudice in thinking that from Stamatis I would be awaiting to listen to the newest range of his liking, but he kept to old and reliable solutions for the evening. That’s totally subjective and personal though, so it's not even fair to mention.

Thank you Stamati and Mairie for a wonderful evening, I had a great time, and i cannot wait to come back and listen to what Stamati is brewing up next!!!

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