The Colossal WOW factor – ‘Single Ended & Horns Reality’ ! [English]
The Colossal WOW factor – ‘The Reality’ Synergy ! [English Edition]
At home with mr. Nick Kostadimas of Chameleon Audio!
What you don’t know will hurt you.
Jim Rohn wrote that first, I’m saying it second.
That’s what came me to mind as I saw the most immensely overgrown white Lego pieced amplifier I have seen in 9my entire life. Sure, I have heard the best, or almost the best in the world, mostly products which I have written about over and over time and time again, and for a very long time, stopped writing about stereos, high end or not, simply because, when you make something perfect, you destroy it, (German Romantic Period).
Introduction to insanity, part II.
Some of you might find this to be a non-conventional way of a topic heading, but in this case it honestly feels this way.
I had a call from Nikos Kostadimas on a media server we share and he told me to come by his home that same evening to hear something he wanted help on. Nikos is a friend, no doubt, he is a true lover of music, a true lover of automobiles, and enjoys life as most want to, but never have the courage to. He does, and in a way what he did and what you will read about is simply an extension of his own persona into the world we all love and share within music.
I walked into his home, and saw his boring looking speakers, with a white set of something which seemed or only could be an amplifier. I stared at it for about 3 minutes…and the first thing that came to mind was: When they decided to make this amplifier, what in the world where they thinking? Let’s make yet another amp, to compliment the dozens of high-end amps already out there? Why somebody would get into the arduous task, and which company would deploy on making a spaceship of this size to place in someone’s home? I conceded with the thought that depending on the psychosis, dreams or drugs you have taken in your life, everything is possible.
Way too big, I mean seriously, COLOSSAL! Not to mention they probably cost a leg and an arm, two eyes and whatever kidneys you have left.
As I know the owner from the Audiophile Club of Athens, and the fact that we live close to each other, I have heard the aforementioned system, more than just a few times, but never with these amps, so I pretty much knew what to expect to hear, more or less from the systems output. I only remind the reader of this fact since it could have been the system in its entirety which made the job so much more easy for me since I only had one change, variable to work with instead of three.
What about the sound?
Who cares? Just the fact that no one can steal them makes them a safe bet in my mind. Not to mention the WOW factor. Seriously! The colour emitted from the bulbs was so attractive and different in hue that I realized, no artist could ever make this colour on canvas, and that means something very serious. If they could make a colour I have never seen, exactly, then they could after all have made an amp which might be different as well. So, If we include the sound, which up to know seems to be a dream come true, well then I have to rob a bank, and soon. Did I break the news too early? Sorry, this wasn’t written to be a story, but my truth.
I honestly do not know what they are called, nor do I know what we are listening to, it’s beautiful, and it must be a recording which is so well done that makes the system sound so much better, not just different to what it did before. I have heard so many times music that sounds good, and when we get to the music and recordings we know, then I see a whole different basket of fruits.
Until now, song three or four, it seems very well balanced, very natural, insanely natural, without distorting the size of the vocals, the instruments or the sound in any way. The depth on these recordings is unequal to anything I have heard recently, and I do mean the past 52 years of my life.
The microphone is not only in the face, but in the orifice of the mouth, maybe down to the esophagus of the artist. Despite the 116 +db we were listening at.
One by one.
The organ, sound like….well like an organ, less stretched for volume as they do live though, as I have experienced sometimes.
The harp, Well, that sounded like the deepest harp I have heard in my life, other than a real harp playing next to me, but again, let us refrain from the over enthusiasm, let us be honest and wait for the real recordings. I know very well that a recording can break or make a system. I am sick of such systems, honestly, I despise systems which play well only on 386 recordings or vinyl that is worth dying for.
Next up was the …
Piano, Wholly Jesus Christ the lord. This recording simply makes the full four quarter piano sound, exactly like a four quarter piano. Simply said, as honestly musical, as life can offer. The hammer of each string seemed to be so true that it carries into your memory unlike any other sound which I have heard, it actually stays in my short term memory for longer, and wants to stay forever had the next note not come along. I just heard the pianist go up and down the keys and it didn’t separate the notes as well as it should have, finally something wrong with this amp I thought. Then the pianist went up the scale, but this time pushing harder on the keys, and the entire blasphemous statement of the previous sent, went away, and was exchanged with the exuberance of luxury that only a piano lounge gives way too. I heard a smaller note come out with the higher scales that were being played. Let’s see what we hear as the night goes on, I said to myself. It could all be just good recordings.
Rhythm, musical and beautiful, but I am concerned if it is natural. The very staccato hits on the guitar seem too soft, despite its musicality, I find them too weak, and I am wondering if this amp indeed is now showing its weakness. Is it too sweet for me to call it top notch ultra-high end audio?
There is a hiss in the recording that was played next, and I wonder if it’s from the recording or the back end because of the decibel count being so high? As you can now understand, I was not prepared to call this amplifier a well deserving adjective unless it really was, and I have to hear it play every instrument and genre of music I have at my disposal.
Next up was the saxophone, it sounded like its being played by the Barry White himself (The most seductive man alive in my opinion), it’s so smooth that if a female went up to it, as its player was “who he was”, there is a moment in your mind when you wonder if your girlfriend could get pregnant if she gets close enough to it. Meaning, the seduction was so empowering that it was sincerely hard to register it in my mind.
I am starting not to like this. It makes everything sound musical, and I know for a fact that life is not perfect, so how can music be.
As you can notice, I am not citing music or artists this time around in this write up, I literally am listening to the notes instead, I am trying to inspect each and every note from each and every instrument, including the sitar, large Japanese drums, while a mesmerizing drum is also pounded by a pair of hands was heard next, no idea of who it was or where it was recorded I just felt what was coming my way. The snare and simple drum set was also bewildering, and again the Sitar was spot on, and the drums before my eyes created the feeling that I was about to start to float in the room. It was crushing me. The SPL and the impact on my soul is tragically intruding my senses and I was not ready for this, I felt it was doing psychotherapy on me without permission.
Since when can a song, or a stereo, open up your mind and body like a surgeon can within a 3 minute period? It was insane.
I took a break, I needed to recollect my entire ego and drink some cold water. Not to mention I was cold up on that flying carpet for so long…
It was time, I took over the title playing, and I wanted to hear it my way. Enough of this high end crap recording, let’s get down and dirty.
Black magic woman was my first pick, at the lowest quality, was demanded to be played by yours truly. I wanted it full volume so that I could hear the guitar scratch and cry like I know it does. Finally I said and was content to blemish this amp other than its size and weight, but as the guitar strings did indeed cry and scratch, I realized wasn’t a scratch, but a “set part” of the cry enveloping the song, as I believe, it was recorded like by the sound master engineer.
The next title comes with the harshness of every omen I have heard, it has uncovered every amp I have tested and I suggest you use it to test your next amp as well.
Statesboro Blues, where the power of the electrical cord is played like nothing I have heard recorded before. (The Allman Brothers Band)
Finally, some awful strings were heard, as meant to be, but even they were musical, without being soft. That is what I hate about this set up, it’s not soft, but it’s musical, analytic, and entertaining, rich and laid back, like very few soundstages in my past. I will punch Nick in the face unless he puts on my next pick of impossible to play and like music.
Banshee, John Abercrombie, with only 79 shazams, was next. Can you imagine that only 79 people in the world wanted to find out what this song was called, and who in the world played it? Because it sincerely doesn’t sound like something I would want to hear, unless I was blessed by poppy plants and I was a flower child. This turned out to be a Greek tragedy turning up to a dramatic piece of musicality. It was hard to swallow.
I then forced the sick owner of this system to put one more song on, as to test this set up. A simple recording. No tricks nor hard to find music, but something off of the net, literally off of YouTube! I couldn’t go lower than that!
Private investigation. You know the title and you know the artists, need I say more? Well think of it at the sound pressure level of a concert, dare I say even more. This was so loud, I honestly was flabbergasted by how loud this system could go, without one iota of a problem with the distortion of any notes.
This title, as heard by many of us while growing up on a myriad of turntables and then on CD, was in my generation the tune of all tunes to hear loud. Here, at this event where I was, sitting in a house, the loud made all the sense in the world. When we were young we wanted loud because we wanted to feel high, now, for some, but not I, need loud due to older age. We draw from the emotions even at lower volumes and that makes us wiser and much more mature listeners I believe.
So if you want to experience, with no one else in the middle writing about it, just go and experience this for yourself. I will leave it up to you. That is my conclusion.
Go listen and put yourself to the test. The amplifier will do the rest.
By Tony Pothitos