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MaxG thanks for the experience...

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To be honest, the frequent posting of MaxG in this FORUM impresses me.

I still cannot say if it is better the time spent writing and answering posts, to be devoted in listening more music, or listening more systems and gaining experience (I think you started heating me again...).

From what I heard in his place it seems I am wrong.

I think you will all agree that nobody expects from a 37 year old fellow who was 16, when the digital era begun, to understand and use analogue. And it is interesting indeed the fact that this guy one day starts buying vinyl records like crazy after a visit he made to an old friend of mine ARCO.

This is the reason I decided to include this part of Max's life in a paper in http://aca.gr web site with a title including the phrase "transformation to a vinyl addict" but later on, changing that to a "softer" description.

From there on, I started to watch MaxG carefully and I was curious to what he was saying here about differences between the 3 main source formats of today. After all, no matter what we, (the older ones), believe about analogue source superiority, if we do not have (or if we do not create) examples to prove that, it seems we like to live within our own paradise, but blocking the others to join and share.

I was also curious to listen with my own ears. Some people say (me included) that small to medium priced digital sources are in favour vs. analogue of equal price and only going to expensive gear, analogue sources start to show their teeth, overtaking any digital format whatsoever...

As I am spoiled by the fact that I am in the high category (not used to be though some years ago) and also many fellow members of the Club are not far behind, I really did not have the opportunity lately to make such comparisons with low to medium end gear. So this was a chance I did not want to miss.

Pretending that I am interesting to a record shop in Glyfada MaxG recommended to Aristidis, I joined their company and arrived at Max's place on a Saturday morning March the 30th, with ARCO. Everybody seemed to be interesting in records but I should confess everybody wanted to listen. Me for the reasons I described, ARCO obviously for the same (he had listened to Max's system before Max acquired his Pro-ject) and Max wanting to show his new girlfriend (I shouldnt say that) to us and express our opinion (I see you are smiling).

This is why I had brought with me my Shure SFG-2 scale (to check the vertical tracking force) and my Ortofon test record (to make the tracking ability test and correct the tracking & the anti skating, if needed...).

To my surprise although the Pro-ject 4 was seated on a DVD player, the cartridge was tracking up to the deeper cut groove and the player seemed levelled. Tracking force was right for this type of cartridge at 2gr. and everything else was OK.

And we started the show. To my surprise again, the system sounded relaxed and balanced. Although speakers were seated on wooden cabinets (opening their doors was the immediate response of ARCO), sound was coming from behind and it was later on that I realised Max was using a subwoofer too - and not in the middle but at the far left side!! Meaning he had managed to melt it's sound with the Heresys... His listening room I should say is serving very well (above the average of a typical audiophile room I have seen) and I do believe Max's remark that taking away the carpets just a few days ago caused some sound deterioration (always does).

That was the general impression regardless of source.

Coming to the specifics, although Max was preferring SACD over the normal CD, that was not ARCO's feeling or my feeling when we compared 2 recordings of Rachmaninoff's "Piano Concerto No3".

(Marantz CD 6000 and Sony DVP NS900 SACD/DVD competing)

The one with Martha Argerich in normal CD (Decca - Philips) sounded to us more natural with the Piano more focused and clearly in front of the orchestra at the back. The other one in SACD was a different recording (I am sure Max will give you the details) but to ARCO and me seemed flat, without atmosphere, a sort of line-up instruments instead of filling the space (may be it was the recording I don't know, but it is one of Max's favourites).

A second comparison was between some choral recordings. Normal CD (HDCD this time) was a FIM recording "Hush! The Angels are singing" track 6 and the SACD was something equivalent. Again CD was better.

Then we turned to vinyl. Conclusions?? Well, I wouldn't think such a big difference could exist between equipment of this price range. In fact, after the digital recordings (carefully selected though) an EDITION PHONIX by AAA record seemed simply full of Authority and Grace (I wish I could speak German). Voices coming towards you and going back again and to the left and to the right violins at the back Soundstage! Soundstage! Soundstage! (Something I know Max is proud off... and he is right.).

And at the end - Oh at the end...I kept THE record at the end, "CANTATE DOMINO" by Proprius - side II "JULSANG", when feelings and beliefs of years collapsed. Tony Pothitos (he was there too!!) was asking me if this record was still available, he was ready to run 30 Km. away to the local Proprius representative (I told him I was interesting for a second copy myself if he finds it).

Max commented: This is a feeling I had never had before; this is the best record I have ever heard in my life...

This was the best time to stop and rush to the Vinyl shop nearby. We bought almost 100 records.

And when we got back, we heard some more... I insisted.

Max, my friend and fellow member, thank you for the experience and thank you also for all the flattering posts you have entered the last days about me.

You must know one thing. After 3 years I had been dealing with Hi-Fi (22 years ago) your present system was a dream for me... and believe me. You got potential and good friends... (and your system has better value for money than mine).

Christos Skaloumbakas

President of the

Audiophile Club of Athens

This message has been edited by skaloumbakas on 04-04-2002 at 04:31 AM

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Great post!

THAT is the kind of passion that makes everything about High Fidelity as wonderful as it is. You dont need money to have passion like that, though it helps to acquire the equipment (I know from experience). Wink.gif

I truly believe that good equipment is something t be shared with others. What I have is modest at best, but its such a joy every time I set someone down who has never experienced music in such high resolution.

It took me literally weeks to get my jaw off the floor the first time I heard my Klipsch RF-5s (Set up correctly in my room). I was totally stunned, and like you it sent me in a frenzy to the local music shop, used record shop, and book store. Ive been unable to stop listening to new music, old music, new artists, new genres, vinyl, you name it!

Its an amazing experience, and many of us (younguns) have only just begun.


Barista T. Bill

My Rig

This message has been edited by Barista on 04-03-2002 at 08:51 PM

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Great post,no make this wonderful post.And sick sick system,your system must be very close to audiophile perfection.

Audio can be a money pit,when you start to spend most of your salary its a sickness.I knowI have the bug,since I was a kid I was intrigued how sound was "created".From then my quest started,and now I can say I arrived at a level where any more improvement costs lotsa work and green.

When I sit in my listening chair and press play(yeah I belong to the CDphile generation),I leave the room and am transported.

Its all about the end result,and the result is good.

High-End needs more like you Christos.

Too few true audiophiles out there who have loads of cash and just buy gear to raise some phony status.And too many true audiophiles who simply cannot spend more because of financial limitations.


Great start,the RF-5's are great performers.Like you pointed out they are great for a wide range of musical styles,great buy.

TheEAR(s) Now theears

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Christos said:f>s> "..and it was later on that I realised Max was using a subwoofer too - and not in the middle but at the far left side!!f>s>

Christos -- your comment indicates that you were surprised to find the subwoofer in the corner. I find it intersting that you would be surprised by this -- it is after all, the most common form of placement.

It is also the most practical way to boost the overall output of the sub, so it will more easily integrate with, and match up to the efficiency of horns.



S Frontiers/Anthem CD-1f>s>

Cary AE-25 SuperAmpf>s>

Sonic Frontiers Line 1f>s>

Marantz DV-7010f>s>

Klipsch LF-10f>s>

Klipsch RF7'sf>s>


Toshiba 36"f>s>

Inside every small problem is a large problem struggling to get outf>s>c>-- 2nd Law of Blissful Ignorancef>s>c>

This message has been edited by deang on 04-03-2002 at 10:47 PM

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Well I really dont know what to say other than thank-you Christos.

From that review you might be fooled into thinking that his system and mine have similar sound quality - they don't.

To put this into perspective, however, my entire system - including my TV, cost less than half what Christos' turntable did so I think I can see where the value for money line comes from!!

As for the rest - I have been convinced for a while that I do have good sound. This review has confirmed that - but it also has helped me to understand what is possible - and the gulf between what is truely possible (money no object) and what I have.

Now at least I have a target. I wonder if I can get close without spending the GDP of a moderate African country??

Thank you again Christos!!

(Mike - Christos and Aristidis live at the opposite side of Athens from Tony and I (we are about 1 mile from each other). It is about an hour on a typical run in the car.)

On Sunday there is an ACA bash at another audiophile's house. He has Montana ESP speakers (never heard of them) mated to a Cary V12 100wpc amp and a CAT SL1 pre-amp.

If I get there it should be interesting...(if I dont then I will be in the maternity ward! Wife due any time now!!)

cheers all


My System: http://aca.gr/pop_maxg.htm

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You have all the time in the world to think about equipment upgrades.

Right now concentrate on this beautiful thing you are expecting and from now on choose soft music to play...

And when you will have your first photograph of her, do not forget to send a digital copy to me. We always keep these first pictures in the web-site (Profile page) for a month or so. This tactic increase WAF after all...

I wish you all the best

C. S.

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You should not give up on SACD. Your comparisons, as you must know, don't demonstrate anything since you were using entirely different recordings.

I have never before even read of anyone preferring CD to SACD.

All the best,


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You might be right, but most of us at the A.C.A. are mainly music lovers and - as such - we rarely feel the urge to adopt new technology, not yet backed by sufficient software. Moreover there are two more SACD (or DVD-A...) related issues that seem annoying, at least for the time being:

The first has to do with the ongoing format war. We have lived many similar format wars in the past (last one was between DCC and Minidisk) and two things are for sure:

a. You don't really know who will be the winner and

b. Past experience, shows that the winner might not be the best format sound wise!

The second relates to the ever-growing interest of the record companies to protect them selves from piracy. This has led up to date to numerous unacceptable (audiophile-wise...) solutions such as watermarking, or the inability for the consumer to use 24/96 digital outputs to better the so-so DAC performance of most integrated SACD players (or to use digital room correction, why not?).

All the above, plus the fact that record companies do not want to "discard" normal CD so early, lead the SACD issue away from massive software support and away for serious audiophile use. What is left for the hardware companies (cannot wait any longer!) is the "democratisation" of the format, i.e. its adoption from the general public, hence the lowering of prices.

Problem is that the general public is even more "difficult" than audiophiles. This public will not switch to SACD, unless convinced of its superiority vs. CD and unless cheap and plentiful software is available. We are not talking about first adopters here, a role usually reserved for audiophiles or technology freaks. And one should never forget that, more than ten years after its launch, Minidisk has yet to throw cassettes out of the market!

As a result, "wait and see" will continue to be the motto of most of us at the A.C.A.

Christos Skaloumbakas


President of A.C.A.


This message has been edited by skaloumbakas on 04-05-2002 at 08:38 AM

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I agree with your points but have reached different conclusions.

I like SACD because of its superior reproduction of music, not because it is newer technology than plain CD.

I don't care about the format war, except that it delays the ultimate success of the victor. If I never bought one more SACD in my life, I'd still have the 30-40 I already have purchased. They've given me enough pleasure already to justify the purchase price.

SACD is precisely for music lovers and high fidelity enthusiasts. The average person is not going to be overwhelmed by hearing less glassiness or better localization of instruments any more than the average person is going to hear the difference between a $100 table and a $10000 table. The important thing is whether you personally hear and enjoy the quality improvement.

Usually when I read about anyone with reservations about buying SACD it is as compared to vinyl played on an expensive table in an expensive system. But I have never heard anyone who preferred CD to SACD. That is why I wanted to tell you that you did not conduct a meaningful test when you compared different recordings.


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I have different experience.

During a Hi End Show in Athens a couple of years ago, the magazine sponsoring the Show had organized a blind test. This was taking place each hour, with random listeners using the same recordings in a test disk, between SACD and normal CD.

A Sony SACD player SCD-1 (can play both formats) and Sony SS-M9ED hi end speakers incorporating a super tweeter were used.

It was interesting to note that:

5 out of 7 listeners during a session (the Secretary of the Club and myself being there), preferred the normal CD sound.

To your information only 2 out of the 47 members of the Club have a SACD player in their wardware (and I am not 100% sure they prefer it all the way).

But I am glad you feel happy with what you've got.


This message has been edited by skaloumbakas on 04-05-2002 at 04:46 PM

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