TNT-Audio Readers' Corner
Monthly section devoted to your letters, positive and negative feedback about everything related to Audio and HiFi.

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April 2006

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Vintage preamps and T-Amp
Hello all,
I have matched the stock T-Amp to a pair of Tannoy Saturn S8LR with very good results. These are single 8 inch dual concentric bookshelves I bought new for ca. 400 Euros when they discontinued the line. Impedance and sensitivity figures appear quite compatible with the little T-Amp. Definitely worth a try, you won't be disappointed!
I also bought a second-hand Threshold FET-1 MkII preamp (over twenty years old) in absolutely perfect condition inside and out. I would be grateful for any technical info you or your readers may have on this 20+ years-old item such as schematics and manual (need capacitors value and ratings since I will eventually have to replace the unmarked electrolytics some day), output voltage or gain, whether it is passing through DC or not, if the second pair of RCA outputs are independent from the main pair or just wired in parallel (to connect a subwoofer that sums the L&R channels).
I am considering which power amp to add to it and I am ready for advice and recommendations. I missed my chance to purchase a used Classe CA-150, a Meridian 557 then a Rotel RHB-10 for litte money. I now hesitate between the NAD C272, Vincent SP-997 monoblocks, Audio Analogue Corelli, Roksan Caspian Power, a pair of used MAC-MOD Quad 405 monoblocks or a Quad 909 but input sensitivity looks too high at 0.775V.
Another idea for a review: Comparison test of basic inexpensive turntables that perform reasonably well, let's say under 300 Euros. One model that may be worth a look is the 200 Euros Sherwood PM-9805.
I understand I have to keep this message short so thank you for being patient and congratulations for a wonderful Web site..
. Very best regards and happy holidays,
Michel - E-mail: libido (at)

Dear Michel,
I have no detailed infos on your Threshold preamp, perhaps you can search for its service manual on or The service manual will tell you everything you need to know in order to keep your preamp up and running.
As for power amps, search the web for a Threshold unit...possibly of the same vintage. Sonical (and electrical) match is guaranteed!
Finally, as for inexpensive turntables comparison tests...well it sounds like a good idea, perhaps our Geoff could turn its "high-end TTs shootout test" into something similar devoted to entry-level gear. The only problem I can see is that cheap stuff is harder to get for us reviewers. It is much easier to get high-end components samples, instead, funny as it may appear....
Thanks for the feedback and stay tuned!
Lucio Cadeddu

Professional/Broadcast CD Player
Hello Lucio,
Some of the famous Professional/Broadcast CD players, such as EMT 981 & 982, Studer A730, & Philips LHH-2000, used to be very expensive when new, and they have been very well regarded by some audiophiles.
Their used units, if ever available, still cost a lot of money despite their long age! Have you ever listened to them? If so, how do they differ from other domestic high-end players in term of their sound performance? Is it worthwhile to purchase those second hand units at reasonable offer? Some audiophiles believe that those professional/broadcast CD players generally offer more neutral sound without too much of their own characters (read : coloration), do you think that this is true?
Thank you for your advise in advance.
Best regards,
Hing - E-mail: yumanhing (at)

Dear Hing,
professional gear is made to last, first of all. Audio quality comes in second or third place. Secondly, audiophiles like myths. They simply can't live without these. That said, it is true that the pro CD players you mention do sound quite good, even by today's standards. Worth a try, definitely. For some of them you may be in trouble with spare parts, eventually. Considering this, I'd look for a Studer CD player, easier to keep in good working order.
Hope this helped somehow,
Lucio Cadeddu

T-preamp power supply
I liked your review of the TC-754. I sent a note on the TC-754/SI combination to the English-version of your website about a year ago; I'm glad to see that TNT is as impressed as I was! BTW, the single-input TC-760 makes a great phono stage preamp for home theatre systems ... at a cost of USD53.50 (!)
Would you know where a proper 13.8volt/3amp power supply can be had in the US? I use a 13.5volt/1.7amp unit with the T-Amp; however, if the unit can stand a full 3 amps then I'm guessing I'm still missing some dynamic content (a very strong suit with the T-Amp!).
Also, please accept my apologies for not writing to you in Italian...
Thank you very kindly,
Scott - E-mail: scotbuck (at)

Dear Scott,
3 or 5 Amps 13.8V power supplies should be easy to find at any electronic components store. Consider these are commonly used on CB radios, for example! Go get one (better if 5A, stabilized) and then connect both the T-units to it. Sound quality will improve for sure. Perhaps even Radioshack has these PSUs in stock.
Hope this helped somehow,
Lucio Cadeddu

A contribution to your DIY site
Hi: I have read your website with great interest. I read an article on super-cheap spikes using bullet points. I thought you might like to know that there is another source of spikes from your friendly neighborhood sporting-goods store: Archery arrow points!
Seems that all alimimium or fiberglass arrows nowadays are made to accept screw-in replaceable tips, of which there is a wide variety of sizes and styles.
When this idea occurred to me, I went and selected a handful of bullet-shaped points (about $0.20 each here in Canada). All are made from very hard steel with a 30mm stem, threaded 6-24, extending from them. Equally cheap are the aluminium inserts that they thread into. These are not necessary, but make a very finished installation.
These make excelent spikes and are very easy to install on anything from electronics to speakers.
Just wanted to share this to thank you fellows for the wonderful DIY section of your site.
Jesse - E-mail: JessG (at)

Dear Jesse,
thanks for the precious tip!
Lucio Cadeddu

Hi Lucio,
I've been a huge fan of the T amp since I discovered it through TNT audio and have tried various system arrangements with it (or two of them in reality) at the heart of each system. I've long wanted to create a system of seemingly ludicrous components - because of size, appearance, cost - which deliver a sound way beyond expectations (maybe that could even be taken on holiday?).
And, I think, I'm well on my way there. I won't go through various permutations I've tried, but the one which I've just discovered is absolute magic. Got a pair of Monitor Audio Radius R90s off ebay which you must review if at all possible. I'd read good things of them through Hifi World and had to give them a go. I've tried them on different home systems and they're sitting beautifully on the end of the following one:

I've already discovered the CA and Art Dio work really well together, the T amp I have huge admiration for, but the R90's have also, now, blown me away. It's difficult not to be impressed by their tiny dimensions and, in my opinion, gorgeous design - I've got the white ones - but the sound they deliver is mind boggling in a similar way to my first reaction to the T amp - How can these make sound like that????!!!
I know they don't and can't excavate bass, and I normally like a decent sense of bass, if I'm not to find the sound thin and insubstantial, but they still fill the room with remarkable music. Though mini speakers can be relatively insensitive, the R90s will go perfectly loud enough for me with my T amps. And the sound completely belies their mini monitor dimensions - transparent, detailed, musical, fulsome, animated, fantastic with acoustic but can dance as well as or better than many a larger speakers.
I'm still a bit stunned. Bottom line, though, is that I keep forgetting to "analyse" the sound and am simply drawn into the music. If you can, please review them on the site. They really warrant the attention. And, once I've discovered a great portable source, I could just have that holiday system I've been searching for.
Thanks for making the TNT site something special. I'm not going to sink into sycophancy, but I find TNT's approach to hifi and music so much more sincere and helpful than most magazines and other sites out there.
Keep it up
Chris - E-mail: chrisjmiller (at)

Dear Chris,
thanks for the suggestion! We'll keep the Monitor Audio Radius in mind...
Happy listening!
Lucio Cadeddu

My reality check
Dear Lucio,
I realise I have been browsing TNT-Audio for several years now and never written to thank you for saving me a small fortune, particularly on items such as amplifier isolation platforms, Sandblasters etc. In fact, you also kept me sane during a three-month solitary assignment in Saudi Arabia a few years back when I made most of this stuff!
Apart from the editorial independence and the excellent quality of the reviews, TNT-Audio is for me first and foremost my reality check. Just when I am getting seduced into considering spending thousands of dollars on this equipment stand or that upgrade, then I remember to look at TNT-Audio for a much cheaper and as effective a solution.
So my next project is to make a TNT Flexytable and save myself at least $500!
Thank you for a great website and best wishes from London.
Andrew - E-mail: aasm_1 (at)

Dear Andrew,
thanks for your kind words and precious feedback on our humble DIY designs. Trust me when I say it is hard to suggest inexpensive alternatives to hyped commercial gear. For this reason TNT-Audio has so many...ahem...enemies ;-)
Happy listening!
Lucio Cadeddu

I'm a huge fan of yours! From your recommendations I now own the Super T-Amp and T-Preamp. I have a recommendation for you for speakers to build your "T" system. I would love for you to review the Ascend Acoustics CBM-170 SE.
They only cost $348 for a pair but rival speakers costing twice as much. I would be curious to hear what you think of Axiom speakers as well. Both of these brands (Ascend Acoustics and Axiom) seem to be the leaders on the internet that are referred to as "giant killers" for speakers on audiophile forums.
I can't wait to hear your review on these brands.
Thank you for saving me money!
Kind regards,
Ben - by E-mail

Hi Ben,
thanks for the recommendation, we'll try to get review samples of the speakers you mention. We're currently receiving quite a few suggestions on "T-able" loudspeakers :-) We'll keep you updated as soon as our tests proceed.
Thanks for the feedback and stay tuned!
Lucio Cadeddu

Concordant Audio
Pardon for my English. I have read your article on the Concordant Excelsior preamp. It is a component very hard to find. I've only found an Exhilarant or an Exultant. I'd like to know your opinion on these and whether they are very different from the Excelsior or not.
Thanks for your time.
Manuel - E-mail: mlopezj (at)

Hi Manuel
Your English is better than my Spanish. I liked the Excelsior better than the more expensive Exquisite. The Exhilarant is line input only. It will not match a pick-up cartridge. The Exultant is a cheaper model than the Excelsior, and it sounds OK but not as good as Excelsior.
They have not been made for over 10 years, so a used example is all you will find. Then it be worth putting new capacitors in the power supply.
Kind regards,
Mark Wheeler

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