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To tune in I had familiar stuff from Yazoo. "Don't Go" and "Ode To The Boy" on Upstairs At Eric's have arrived at good sound quality thanks to various remasters. And what I heard here was cause for joy. The Tsakiridis twins left no doubt about being valved machines. Alison Moyset's voice clearly peeled out of the plain arrangement to take up space with much expressivity. Granted, tubes and vocals never fall far from the tree.


Because this was so much fun, I stuck with the recipe and shifted to Stacy Kent's Dreamer in Concert where the vocal recovery fulfilled high expectations. Also when an instrument played it forward with a solo the Greek combo instantly cleared the stage and re-aimed the spot light, say with the saxophone refrain of "It Might Be Well As Spring".

True, this gear focused the sonic goings-on a bit different than I'm used to. My more than twice-priced Musical Fidelity AMS 35i recovers more background detail but sacrifices some urgency and expression which the Tsakiridis get out of vocals or solo instruments. Whilst the low bass on "Samba Saravah" is more controlled and differentiated with my transistors, it's not as fluffy and nonchalant as over the tubes. For now I stuck to intimate arrangements. Caroline Wegener's piano from Jazzsketches clearly had priority over her two collaborators which these electronics underlined. Here too I'd grant the Musical Fidelity the higher resolving power. Nuances of individual hammer falls were brilliantly illuminated. But the Tsakiridis bottles had a better flair for musicality. Sounds let go easier and felt more embodied which here wasn't spatial.

Rather each tone seemed richer and endowed with more facets. I'll attempt a comparison to a video monitor. A matte screen improves detail perception because there are no disturbing reflections. But the more brilliant picture comes from a glossy screen even if the occasional detail gets lost in a gleam. And here the Tsakiridis kit played it shinier. On Eva Cassidy's Live At Blues Alley I was enthused by how realistic the tubes recreated the live atmosphere. Her voice had top billing and the lady appeared clearly localized on stage. In general these components played it dimensionally well sorted but one also remains a bit uninformed about the recording venue proper. Some electronics convey its scale and qualities before the first musical sound arises. This quality was less keen with the Greeks. They focused on precise image lock with sharp outlines.