Christos got infected by the "Hi-End virus" in London, during his MSc. course, back in 1977. Since then, he has upgraded his "listening hardware", 6-7 times and he was one of the first that acquired a CD player (1980).
As time passed by, he realized that, analogue sound was always better, more musical and more realistic than digital. He loves simplicity, accuracy and realism this is why he prefers neutral cabling, parallel tracking arms, transistor electronics and so on, as he says.
His listening room is the main living room of the house which is 48 m2 (5 x 9.3m.). These speakers love big rooms and distance from the walls.Christos is 45 years old, married to Popi Gretsi (who is quite tolerant to his hobby), and he has 3 children, 2 boys and one girl, Panos and Tatiana, 3 1/2 year old (they are twins), and Nickos, 4 months old.
In 5 months from now, he is going to move to a bigger house with the main living/listening room being almost 90m2 and with a high tilted ceiling.
He is a Petroleum Engineer, with an Msc. degree at Imperial College, in London. Christos is the Founder and President of the Audiophile Club of Athens (with which Istanbul Hi-Fi Club has excellent relations), as well as designer of the A.C.A. web page (his recent hobby!!).In his record collection he has 1000 vinyl records and 1000 CD's, most of them classical (50%), jazz (35%) and pop (15%). Mainly he listens to vinyl and this is why he prefers top transistor amplification which to him is more accurate in producing signals. Needless to say, he is a 2 channel audio person, disregards Home Cinema and hopes to stay that way. The CD's and Lp's he is using for evaluation purposes are the following:
- Firebird (Stravinsky, LSO/Dorati, Mercury reissue LP)
- Symphonic Dances (Rachmaninov, DSO/Johanos, Athena LP)
- Capriccio Italian (Tchaikovsky RCAVSO/Kondrasin, LSC2323 LP)
- Exotic Dances (MISO/Oue, HDCD, Ref.rec.)
- Mahler Symphony No 2 (Philharmonia Orch./Klemperer-Schwarzkopf, EMI CDM 7 69662 2)
- Live @ Ethel's (Clifford Jordan Quartet, Mapleshade CD)
- Mari (M.Nakamoto,TBM xxrcd)
a.a.s. Gabriel mk I/ext.bat.psu
Souther "TQi" linear arm mod.
Clearaudio "insider gold"
Rowland "phono stage"/ext.psu
Rowland "model 8T" + Genesis 300 servo amplifier
XLO type2.1 "signature"(XLR)
XLO "lim. edition"(BNC-BNC)
Nordost "SPM"(biwire) + audioquest (4 channels)
2 phase AC installation, 2 audioquest 3.3 power lines (6&2m), Clearaudio diamond cleaner, ECO 3 static inh., Kontac cleaner, Bedini ultra clarifier, Cardas sweep record, Zerostat3 gun, Metroline PM52 voltmeter, Symposium Roller blocks, etc.
Christos's comments about his System:
AA: Chris, how would you describe your system's sound?
CH: It is natural and has an almost life-size image and good balance with extreme low and high extension. I prefer big orchestral works, you know.
AA: Do you think there is room for improvement?
CH: May be, in the digital domain but it is not worth it, since I will always prefer my analogue sound which is superb!!!.
AA: Have you got plans for upgrading?
CH: Yes, I am going to "upgrade" my listening room to a bigger one, since I am moving to a new house with high tilted ceiling. Then I will decide.
room assymetry & tilted roof
new vs.old Genesis Xover
DARA silver inter.& sp.cables
pick-up + phono stage behind
DACT CT100 phono module
custom made psu's on the floor
Robert Sucky trying hard...
the new arm track in place
|"Re-Visit" Notes (08 July 2001):|
You will recall that when I asked Chris 2 years ago if he intended to make any changes to his system, he answered that he wanted to see how his new listening room was going to react and then decide what changes would be appropriate.
So he moved 15 months ago and since then he realised that his new listening environment was thirsty for power because, due to the assymetry of the place and the tilting of the roof, there were no such things as static waves, floor wobbling etc. to deteriorate the sound. It is also known that panel speakers demand big spaces to brieth and especially Genesis speakers love high ceilings. So most of the changes are targeting to better sound quality in realistic acoustic levels, he loves big orchestras you know.
The following lines describe tha changes Christos has performed, not in chronological order, but in order of importance, as he personally feels, with the first being the listening environment.
For detailed description of these interesting "updates" there are convenient (opening new window) links to HTML files, incorporated in the web-site of the Audiophile Club of Athens.
Moving to larger and taller listening room + special home electrical install.
Moving to a larger and taller room for these speakers was the greatest upgrade of all. The sound improvement was beyond imagination. On top of that, there has been a special electrical installation with 3 phases and a heavy rack with selves made of 3 layers. Construction details are reported in audio... paper#09.
He has also tested and founded very suitable for his system, both power isolators V-4 & V-3 made by a Greek manufacturer Nexus Acoustics - B. Xaitas. Comments and graphs are reported in equipre#09. He has also replaced the Essence power cords with the Xaitas "black signature" ones. It seems they are better sounding if you place them with these isolators. Click equipre#05 for details.
An interesting burning cables apparatus called C able B urn I n D evice or CBID, by Nordost, has also been used, which really made a lot of improvement to the cables' behaviour.
Clearaudio insider "reference wood" replacing insider cartridge
Due to bad lack the left coil of his "insider" cartridge was cut off and so he was obliged to either fix it and retip it, or upgrade it with the "insider" reference wood, paying 50% of it's price ($10,000). Christos decided the second alternative and ordered the top Clearaudio model. In the meantime, he played with the BMS (Benz Micro Ruby wood) the Vice President of Audiophile Club of Athens had brought to him. Comparisson details are reported in equipre#08. It can be stated here that "insider" reference wood cartridge is beyond comparisson with anything else and, believe it or not, the sound pays back every dollar you have spent on it!!
New mid ribbon & crossover for Genesis 300
The new mid ribbon and crossover for the Genesis 300 have been installed. Right from the start, the new ribbon showed a much better control over the frequency spectrum and an ideal behaviour along the difficult area of 120 to 250 Hz. As time passed by, sound was becoming more open, detailed, richer in harmonics, wormer, more real and convincing and having more impact and live character. Later on, the soundstage got bigger and deeper with the stereophonic picture becoming much more accurate and solid even with more than 110 db's listening levels. Photographs and listening report are found in equipre#10.
DARA custom silver cables...
All cabling of the system has been gradualy (in 3 1/2 months time) upgraded with the top of the line DARA silver custom cables, made by a Greek fellow audiophile. Photographs and description details are shown in equipre#13. It can be stated right here that they have been compared with Nirvanas XS and XLO limited edition and Nordost etc. in various positions and have been found better in detail, picture, extreme ends etc. Of cource their cost is not very low but they are better value for money (if you can say that for a total package of 3 interconnect pairs, 2 pairs of speaker cables, 1 digital and 1 arm phono cable, costing $10,400!!).
DACT phono module + ultra fast psu's
The new phono module from D anish A udio C onnect (one of the first in Greece), found it's place in Christos' system. Due to it's minimalist design and the available space of the selve the turntable is sitting on, it was easy to be placed exactly behind the arm (something that the manufacturer recomends for optimum performance).
With the shortest possible low signal path (custom design, silvered lines in & out by Daras) and the dual mono - ultra fast - gnd free - 550w, custom p.s.u., designed by Xaitas, this gear really outperformed anything available today for low signal amplification on planet earth...
On the other hand, an ultra fast - 450w, custom p.s.u., designed by Xaitas for the line preamplifier, made a lot of difference to the sound "authortity" at high listening levels.
Improvements on the analogue system...
On the other hand, with the new reference cartridge, Christos changed the arm track with a new one which has new bearings and 90% less friction than the older one. Robert Sucky himself, during a business trip to Athens, came to his house and changed the track on site
Further improvements on the analogue system a.a.s. Gabriel have been made as well. Photographs and description details are shown in audio... paper#12 and audio... paper#14 as well as interesting listening report.
System's Components (updated)
a.a.s. Gabriel mk I/ext.bat.psu, with modified platter seat
Souther "TQi" linear arm, heavily modified with extra weight, supporting spring, new track-arm holder and seated on symposium roller blocks
Clearaudio "insider reference" wood, replacing "insider gold"
DACT CT100 (w/dual mono ultra fast 550w custom psu), replacing JRDG consummate
Wadia 8 transport / Wadia 15 AD converter
Jeff Rowland "consummate" (w/ultra fast 450w custom psu)
Jeff Rowland "model 8T" + Genesis 300 servoamplifier
Genesis 300 (w/ new mid ribbon & crossover)
DARA custom silver(3 pairs), replacing XLO "signature" & Transparent "reference"
DARA custom silver arm cable (f/cartridge to phono stage 80 cm., no jacks in between), replacing Clearaudio Litz type flexible arm cable & XLO "signature" phono cable
DARA custom silver digital cable (BNC-BNC), replacing XLO "limited edition"
2 pairs of DARA custom silver sp. cables, replacing [Nordost "SPM" & Transparent "reference"(for mid/highs)] & [Audioquest(4 channels for lows)]
Xaitas "black signature" for all, replacing Essence + 2 power distributors one w/Audioquest 3.3 cord and one Audio Agile.
2 dedicated phases of 35A/phase, one for the amplifier, preamplifier and phono stage with power isolator V-4 and the other for the servoamplifier and the digital with power isolator V-3.
Silicon "tears" on a.a.s. platter + DIY record clamp, Symposium Roller blocks, Clearaudio diamond cleaner, Kontac cleaner, sound level meter by Radio Shack, Zerostat3 gun, Cardas sweep record, Bedini ultra clarifier, Metroline PM52 3phase volt/freq.meter, etc.
You would wonder however, what is the final musical experience you are getting, after all those changes in his system?
Christos comments as follows: "When I am sitting quiet and listening to Mahler's or Bruckner's performances on a vinyl record, I wonder,... if I will ever be lucky to reserve a good seat during a live performance to get the same feeling as I am getting, sitting in my listening chair..."
Editor's Note: Christos very kindly wrote the above text as if narrated by me. Unfortunately I never had the opportunity to visit Christos' place and to audition his outstanding system. But I'm looking forward to visiting him in person.