Mert Aybek's 
Date of Visit:
21 January 1999

15 April 2000

Third Visit:
18 August 2001

The System

EgglestonWorks Andra

listening room

facade and courtyard


e-mail to:
Mert Aybek

What is amazing about Mert is the fact that while he owns both CAFE GRAMOFON (a famous jazz club where celebrities like Milt jackson, Aydin Esen, Grady Tate, Slide Hampton, Ted Curson and Melba Joyce played) and MILLENNIUM (a very "in" underground club) he can still listen to recorded music when, at 05:00 am, he comes home from work  after being exposed to live jazz and high volume "house" music. A real audiophile and music lover!!!

Mert lives on the second floor of a late 19th century historical building (facade and courtyard view form his window on the left). As in most old buildings the rooms have high ceilings and the best of them is reserved to his Hi End System! Yes, Mert is single.

As you might have guessed, Mert mostly listens to jazz music (90%) but also to classical (10%) and he is a member of Istanbul Hi Fi Club.

System's Components


Michell Gyro Dec


Rega RB 300


Benz Micro Ruby II

CD Transport:

Classe CDT 1

Jitter Unit:

Genesis Digital Lens

D/A Converter:

Classe DAC 1

Mini Disc Player:

Tascam MD 501

Phono Preamp:


Line Preamp:

ARC Reference 1

Power Amp:

Krell FPB 300


EgglestonWorks Andra


Transparent Ultra XL

Speaker Cables: 

Transparent Ultra XL

Digital Cables:

MIT Reference Proline

Power Conditioner:

TICE Audio Power Block 3 Signature

Power Cables:

NBS Professional

Mert's comments about his System:

AA: "Mert, how would you describe your system's sound?"
MA: "Transparent, airy, detailed, neutral and with large sound stage."
AA: "Do you think there is room for improvement?"
MA: "Yes, I would want to add a very slight warmth."
AA: "Have you got plans for upgrading?"
MA: "Yes, I'm considering SME 5 arm and ARC VT 200 power amp."

the new system


Genesis V

Re-Visit Notes (15 April 2000)

Mert no more lives in that 19th century historical building, he moved to a modern flat (20th century, I guess!). It is curious to notice that this move is accompanied with a major system change just like Sinan Ustunkal whom I had re-visited last week. Sinan has now Mert's previous Andra speakers.

Mert's new speakers are Genesis V's which have a dedicated servo amplifier for the bass drivers. With the exception of CD Transport, DAC, Digital Lens and Turntable all other components are new as listed below:

Line Preamp:

Sonic Frontiers Line 3

Phono Preamp:

ARC PH3 with Gold Aero Platinum 6922 tubes

Power Amp:

Marc Levinson 332


Genesis V


Transparent Reference XL, Ultra XL

Digital Cable:

MIT Proline Reference

Speaker Cables:

Transparent Reference

Power Cords:

NBS Statement Mk.II, NBS Professional, NBS Master 2, Synergestic Master Coupler and Custom made ones by Mert

Mert thinks that his new system sounds warmer and more musical. I agree. He also started to experiment with power cables which are his own creations. We listened and tested two of them and found that the stranded one was clearly superior when used as the power cable of Genesis V's servo amplifier. Quite an achievement. 

Well done Mert, continue experimenting, you're getting there!

revised system


doesn't he look innocent?

Prokofiev is Putto's
favorite composer


Third Visit Notes (18 August 2001)

A year ago Mert moved a second time. In fact he had spent only 6 months in his previous flat that he seemed to have used as a stepping stone. He is now well settled and happy and consequently has no intention to move for the third time in the near future. As he also has a garden, he could afford to acquire an unusual companion for an audiophile: a DOG! I'll tell you more about him later. First let's see what's new in the system.

The three pieces digital front end (Classe CDT 1, Genesis Digital Lens, Classe DAC 1) is now replaced by a single piece Audio Aero Capitol CD Player. Yes, It is indeed the well reputed, French made, 24 / 192 oversampling CD player with tube analog stage.

Marc Levinson 332 power amp is replaced by two mono Pass Aleph 0 solid state Single Ended amplifiers.

The speaker cables are now Van den Hul Magnum (used twice in a bi-wire configuration for mids and highs).

Although it's been more than a year since my last visit, I seemed as if the sound is more musical and relaxed than the last time. In fact, maybe it is unjust to make a comparative statement. I should simply say that I was pleased with the sound of his revised system. Perhaps just a little dry at the bottom end.

As Mert had asked me to I had brought with me my two pairs Kimber Select KS-1030 interconnects (click to read my review in and my Kimber BiFocal - XL speaker cables (a review will appear very shortly on First we replaced the speaker cables and heard important improvements. Bass extension, weight, control, soundstage, air, dynamics, tonality, nearly everything was improved and the bottom end dryness that I mentioned in the previous paragraph had totally disappeared. The assessments were not made by me and Mert alone but also by our other close audiophile friends who were also present: Nejat Basar, Aydin Esen, Haluk Ozumerzifon, Kamil Sukun (in alphabetical order). I was pleased to notice how unanimous we were!

Next we replaced the Transparent (XL and ultra XL) interconnects with my Kimber Select KS-1030's. This time the improvements were relatively subtle and they were in the area of tonality, inner details, ambience. They simply made the system sound even more musical and involving. Upon hearing such a result Mert took the decision to place an order for the Kimbers asap.

We all know from my previous visits that statistically audiophiles like to own cats. Mert happens to be the first audiophile on these "Istanbul" pages with a dog. It is a beatiful, male, one year old, brown Labrador retriever. It's name is PUTTO (according to Webster dictionary: "a figure of a plump, young, male angel, or cupid, as in baroque art"). Although he really looks cute like a real "male angel" (on the second picture from the bottom), he sometimes wants to demonstrate, in his own way, his love for music! The CD cracking between his teeth is the "Romeo & Juliet ballet suite of Prokofiev". Now I know why most audiophiles own cats!!!