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16 Sep 2017: Stamatis Aggelou

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By Tony Pothitos

Monthly Meeting ACA at Stamatis Aggelou

As the summer ends, it is hard for us Greeks to sit down and listen to music, still in 35 Celsius weather. But tonight is a joy, the evening with our host being on a top floor, or call it the excitement of seeing the ACA members together, tonight was different.

But let’s get to the real reason you are reading this article.
It’s about the music and that alone.

I will not write about the reel to reel, first cut, Master Cut, original soundtrack which was brought over by our president, as it was blindly the best sounding of anything heard tonight. Keep that in mind as you read the rest of this article.

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To be honest the B&W 802 matrix was never a speaker which I liked. I have never heard it play like this, and I have heard many in my day. Even I had the 800 model and then the 801’s and never heard them play as well as I am hearing it tonight.

The ability to reproduce bass without any hesitation at high spl levels and channel separation, multiple layering and sonic clarity was something i had not heard until now. Which gives me an idea.

Maybe I should get a pair which sells for nothing and get myself into this sound. Why work with the newest which costs ten times more when what we have from the past is nothing but a blast.

The System...

  • Analog Source : Technics SL-1000 (SP-10MK2+EPA-100), Shure V-15IV Jico SAS
  • Digital DAC-Sreamer : Pioneer N-70A
  • Digital Source : OrigenAE
  • Preamplifiers : Marantz SC-11S1
  • Amplifier : Marantz SM-11S1 monoblocks
  • Amplifier Tube : Denon POA-1000B
  • Speakers : B&W 802 Matrix Series 3
  • Cables : Hitachi QAX-112 XLR, Oyaide QAC-212 RCA, Hitachi SSX-102P
  • Rack : Custom made wood

The music starts…

Sonny Boy Williamson,
Firstly, let’s touch upon the soundstage. It not only exists but also in spades, despite the horrendously harsh conditions the speakers are placed in. This actually defies 99% of what I know when it comes to home acoustics. This should sound BAD, and I use the capitals on purpose. There is a flat screen in front of me with a kitchen behind that, a fridge, and each speakers 3.25 meters away from each other.

The vocals are clear as a bell and the instruments are separated not only in depth and width but in height!!! Which is extremely difficult to get with any system, let alone a speaker which is shorter than 99% of today’s technology speakers out there.

The B&W 802 s3 Matrix speakers, were made over 20 some years ago and is not made of special materials which we see today, or some type of metal from space, but wood. It is a true smooth and well enjoyed system, with all the characteristics of what we want in our “high end needs”.

Next up is an Onkyo demonstration, which is very rare, and with utterly extreme intentions in mind. This is so well recorded, it is shocking. It lacks nothing from the absolute best recordings I personally have heard.

I wish Tassos was with us tonight, our World wide expert on LP’s. Sincere critics of any kind would have a hard time on this one. Despite the age of everything that is being used to reproduce this music this evening at our ACA meeting.

This system puts to shame many of today’s stereos out there. I say that because we have turned to plastics and small woofers to try to make wives and small apartments able to digest the stereo market in a small room world where everything is getting smaller day by day and we think smaller is better in everything, well… almost anything.

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Take five was next, a title, I simply cannot get enough of, I can only hear it again and again, and this time, I heard the cymbals large and decently portrayed as the actually boot, and full drum depth.

It sounds so real its almost frightening since I listen to systems which cost 50 times more than this, (slight exaggeration) and this plays it so musically, delightfully colorful, as it was meant to be, with the color a real beat from a drum has.

So, we are not talking about the coloring of a system but reproducing the warmth of the real recording. This is an LP of course played at 45 rpm which means it is of higher quality, (taken as a given).

We then heard for a full 9 minutes a Staple Stevens, (and more), I’ll take you there, compared to another classical from the same Thorens album, and because of the incredible bad recording I had to ask our host tonight to turn it off immediately.

If you have a chance, do not forget to NEVER buy the 1883 to 2008 Thorens 125 year compilation, if you want to hear classical.

Time for DAC!...

Carmen Fantasia, Northwest Sinfonietta, Super sound, FIM record. 44.1. Quite interesting indeed.

Light on the impact, bass included, the Pioneer lacks the absolute precision as well as depth of field we had before. But to be honest, for 1200 euro, it’s quite amazing we can stream at all!

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Ending up

I want to thank our host, sincerely, for reminding me of how well we can hear from speakers and equipment from the past. I couldn’t believe it. Really, without any doubt, the best 802 matrix setup I have heard.

It was great to see the ACA members and a blast to wait for more meetings to see the other members more often. These people are my brothers as any brother I have and would not wish for a better family, sonically or not.

Music is a great thing, but the members of ACA and I am sure of all clubs as serious as us, are as surprisingly warm and brotherly as we are. My best to everyone for a super autumn and an even better winter.

Until then, we listen to Zorba the Greek stir our emotions as I am about to leave this pc and get up and dance. OPA!@@@

Thank you Stamatis and Maria for the nice evening and hospitality...

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