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17 May 2008: George Heropoulos

Heropoulos-May-2008-sys

By Pasi Laine

Up on the steep hill sides of Voula, within a maze of small streets, it would be the least plausible place in Athens to start searching for live gigs, concert halls or full size opera performances! Believe me or not – and how absurd this might sound, but I got into something very close to this at the A.C.A.'s club meeting on 17th May. The price I had to pay for this was, as ever typical prior to our club meetings, the tremendous effort in trying to find the right address while tracking simultaneously a map on my lap in the car. After a bit of luck I got at Pindou 11, the house of George Heropoulos.

“Alive, She Cries!”

Heropoulos-May-2008-1 Up on the steep hill sides of Voula, within a maze of small streets, it would be the least plausible place in Athens to start searching for live gigs, concert halls or full size opera performances! Believe me or not – and how absurd this might sound, but I got into something very close to this at the A.C.A.'s club meeting on 17th May. The price I had to pay for this was, as ever typical prior to our club meetings, the tremendous effort in trying to find the right address while tracking simultaneously a map on my lap in the car. After a bit of luck I got at Pindou 11, the house of George Heropoulos.
After entering George's house and his spacious listening room, the first thing that really grabs your attention is the Usher's top of the line horn-loaded speaker pair 'D2'. Previously I've heard other Usher's speakers from its 'Dancer' – series and was impressed of their neutral and smooth sound. As far as the technology and looks, the 'D2' – pair was something quite different; horn-loaded design in cabinets of exceptional workmanship and build-quality. I was wondering how George did manage to get these 2 x 230kg babies into the house? You, dear reader, are probably pondering whether we did the usual experiments in changing speaker locations to improve sound stage? No, we didn't do that this time!

Tube experience:

Heropoulos-May-2008-2The 'D2's were driven by an impressive stack of electronics: the silver discs were played by Bluenote Sibbert CD-player and the amplification was a B300 – based SET system. And the icing of the cake was realised via a luminous colour changing lamp – I couldn't find any details on the George's ACA page about this piece of high-end, nor I didn't recall anyone's subjective listening experience being affected by this special feature!
Silence … first silver disc spinning … Alive! The strength of this system was quite clear from the first notes of the 'Songs from Medieval England': the music was alive, there was a sense of live concert hall experience in George's 60m2 living room. Through the classical music pieces, this sensation was prevailing and I noticed another field this system was excelling in: the depth of the sound stage. For the latter, the credits would go to the valve-electronics – however, it would be interesting to hear this system with solid state amp.
Track after track, I was getting convinced of the strengths of George's system. Dynamics, and rather micro-dynamics, were demonstrated through Ravi Abou-Khalil's Time; there was a good sense of timing and percussion was well integrated with the rest of the instruments. However, when the lowest frequencies were present, the system hinted of lagging in pace with the mid- and high-frequencies.

When it comes to the mid-frequencies, the Nina's 'I put a spell on you' was the one to divide opinions among A.C.A. members. For some, the horn loaded design is the way to go and for others … well, they would go for something else to avoid the perhaps unnatural or a bit of nasal expression of vocals. As far as I was concerned, I couldn't find any ground shaking negatives that this system would put my listening enjoyment down – instead I just closed my eyes and enjoyed the music.

Way back home:

Heropoulos-May-2008-3On the way back to my car, I noticed the 'ΠΡΟΓΡΑΜΜΑ ΑΚΡΟΑΣΗΣ' – flyer on the entrance door: a picture depicting a classical orchestra in full action in concert hall and a list of tonight's musical pieces laid on a red velvet curtain. That was pretty much about it – live concert! Well done George!

Music Program Highlights

  • The Dufay Collective. Song from Medieval England. Miri it is. CHANDOS 9396
  • G. P. Foscarini. Passacalles per l' alfabeto falso e per tutte le lettere. Εnsemble Kapsberger, Rolf Lislevand, Naive Edition E8903
  • Ravi Abou-Khalil, Bukra, Time, Enja 93722
  • W. A. Mozart, Menuetto from Quartet No 23, Talich Quartet, Calliope 5245
  • A Yacucho-Canelato. Tango. Music of the world, Melodia No 8
  • J. Coltrane, Blue Train. I am old fashioned, Blue Note CDP 7460952
  • N. Simone, I put a spell on you. Jazz Masters No 17, Verve 518198-2
  • Aril Andersen, Paolo Vinaccia & Cikada String Quartet, Patch of light, Hyperborean, Sampler (1)1997, ECM 1650
  • Verdi, Il Travattore, Introduction, Coro de Zingari, Philips 446 151-2

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George Heropoulos' Member Page

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