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Readers' Corner - August 2001

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Wire for mains cable
Dear Lucio,
A super site !!

I saw the problems [in your letter's page] about trying to build the "Merlino" mains cable. I had a bit of trouble getting wire but [in Dublin -- Ireland] found that all the electronics shops don't know about screened mains cable but electrical wholesalers do and will sell it by the metre.
I bought some from "O'Reilly Electrical" and they had screened mains-lead in 2-core 3-core and 4-core [presumably for 3-phase + earth] and they had it in various diameters. It cost [maybe] 50% more than the same un-shielded wire [i.e. it is CHEAP].
They have 1.5 sq mm and 2.5 sq mm but I think 2.5 sqmm wont fit into standard socket. [I think thay have even bigger diameters].

I have not built the Merlino yet [I was getting a ring-main installed for my hi-fi] but it seems a good idea so [as you say] why not try something cheap [and I know you are getting no profit from this !!]. So thanks !!
Best wishes
James Hamilton - E-mail: J.Hamilton (at) iol.ie

Dear James,
thanks for the infos and keep us updated on your experiments!
Stay tuned!
Lucio Cadeddu

Hi TNT-Audio!
During my vacation i have successfully built a TNT-FleXy. It was good fun building. Cheap 750 Skr. (Swedish kroner) It works just PERFECT. I am very happy! So keep all the good stuff comming.

Just to inform you guy's. There is a new KILLER speaker brand coming. It's called QRS Developed in sweden by a local hifi-store, QLN and Advantage. Using special developed ScanSpeak elements (Above top of the line) Ultra expensive X-overs. Causing a stirr in the swedish market. (lot of politics in the local magazines). Due to be exported to Germany and GB. Little info avalible at www.hificonsult.se

My connection is only that I own their QRS Saturnus model since a year and it's a totally nutty good speaker. At half the price of Wilson/Sonus faber/Martin logan ect. There of the stirr.
Greatest Regards.
A happy online reader!
Henrik Abrahamsson - E-mail: henrik.abrahamsson (at) mbox301.swipnet.se

Dear Henrik,
glad to read your FleXy works fine. Stay tuned because new DIY projects will be published soon (a DIY tower loudspeaker and an isolation platform). I'd love to have the speakers you mention reviewed by someone at TNT-Audio. If the manufacturers are interested....just drop us a line of e-mail :-)
Lucio Cadeddu

DIY cables galore - 2 letters
Dear Lucio,
You may remember a few weeks ago I asked your advice about the Ubite 2 speaker cables. After receiving your recommendation to construct the Triple T speaker cables, I am pleased to report that they are a great success. The overall sound quality is vastly improved over anything that I have used before with much more detail evident. They are connecting my Musical Fidelity Nu-Vista M3 to my Tannoy D700s.

Readers may be interested to know that I used something called Enhanced Category 5 UTP solid cable, it is sold by Maplins for high speed LANS. It is claimed to have a better performance than ordinary Cat 5 cable. The only snag is you can only buy it on 305 metre reels, it costs £76 less VAT (£89-99 for UK purchasers) with the LSZH covering. The end result was well worth the effort involved, but I have enough cable left over to make several more sets!

I have also been experimenting with various cables sold by Maplins to construct inter-connects, After trying out several different types, including low loss satellite cable, high quality microphone cable and some silver plated stuff, far and away the best results were obtained from their High Quality AV Signal Cable. The code is: FN74R (one metre length) and I used their metal barrelled gold plated phono plugs for large diameter cables. Code: JU08J (red) and JU09K (white). The results have been most impressive.
The biggest improvement has been when they are used with my CD player, the detail is greatly enhanced and the sound made overall, much more listenable - almost more analogue. I would advise anyone to have a go at making a pair, the cable only costs £1-99 a metre, so you really have nothing to loose if you don't like them.
Thank you for your advice on the cables and also for a most enjoyable and instructive magazine.
Enjoy your holiday.
All the best

Dear Lucio,
Further to my last communication to you I have been doing some more experimenting with interconnects.

I have made the Piano 6 interconnects as you recommended and have had some interesting results listening to them and comparing them with the ones using the Maplin wire I described in my last e-mail.
In essence, the Piano 6 are very detailed but I find them slightly lean overall. The ones I described before, lets call them the Shark Opal Reference for want of a better name, have a richer and fuller sound which I prefer.
The cable is made by "Shark" and has a very nice opal coloured outer, hence the name! In fact, I have never heard any of my source components sound better than they do using these Shark wire interconnects. Just to reiterate, the Interconnects are simply made from the following Maplin materials:

Order Code                Description                                    Price (£ UK inc VAT)
FN74R                        Audio/Vid cable (1 metre)              1.99
JU08J                         Gold plated phono (Red)                1.99
JU09K                        Gold plated phono (White)              1.99
DP52G                       Fluxed silver solder                        1.29
The cables are directional (marked) and are simply made up in the usual way using the silver solder. I put a piece of heat shrink over one phono when the cables are finished as the phonos are quite large and could possibly touch on some items of kit. For the small sum involved, I really think they are worth a try.

For readers who are having difficulty finding materials for the TNT projects, I have found the following suppliers which may prove useful.

For the TNT TT-Snake: continental type, 2 core screened mains cable (type CY). Any branch of Newey and Eyre can get it for you, price about 70p a metre. Head Office number - 01205-351554. I got mine from the Poole Dorset branch, their number is 01202-679211.
This is the real stuff as described in the TNT article, well one of them anyway. It has 2 cores and is screened with tinned copper braid. It is a real job trying to get the end into a Brit. 13 amp plug!

For the Piano 6: IBM type 6 cable. From: VIDEK. Try - videkonline.co.uk Stock number 1296, cost £1.15p per metre.

I hope this is useful.
All the best
Phil Flint - E-mail: flints (at) callnetuk.com

Dear Phil,
thanks for the precious feedback and suggestions. It would be a pity if all the brilliant DIY ideas, tips and suggestions you readers share with the rest of the audiophile community would stay buried into these pages. For, I'd love to have a kind of a "sister" site where to store and publish all this precious stuff you send us plus the designs that we discuss on our lively TNT-Audio Addicts forum (almost 900 subscribers so far!).
There's already such a thing for our Italian readers and it is called HiFi Friends (incidentally, also a Classifieds site! Still a no-profit site like ours!!!) but, alas, it is available in Italian only...an international version would be mostly welcomed. Let's discuss this.
Lucio Cadeddu

Speakers & spikes, TNT FleXy and other things...
Hello TNT
the room where I have my speakers (floorstanders) has the floor made out from wood. And because I don't have that much space I sometimes have to move one of my speakers to get into a closset.
My dad is getting really tired of the scratches in the floor. I do not yet have spikes under the speakers, so the speakers just stands on a wood plate.
My question to you is concerning the importance of spikes. I would like to install the spikes but in my situation I need to move one speaker and if it has spikes it is difficult to move it, and also it will make more scratches.
Will it help to install spikes between the wood plate and the speaker, and then put some fabrik or filt between the wood plate and the floor?
Is that stable enough? Should I go for another solution instead of a wood plate? I have got the idea of that the speaker should stand very heavily on the floor (is does that with spikes, due to the definition of pressure pressure = force per area), but what if I have something like heavy metal or concrete made that the speaker could stand on of cource with spikes between, and then something soft between the heavy metal plate or concrete plate and the floor.
It all comes to what will happen if that soft material under the plate protecting the floor is there. Does it neutralize the spikes?

Oh by the way I have also made a TNT Flexy table. I just made it with some modifications. I had to use 16mm stainless steel rods.
I choose to give the table four legs, because I was afraid of it tipping over. Also I wanted to use MDF but the hardware store which had some with the right dimensions took overprices..Darn. The wood I could get for free so that wasn't so bad. Do you think it means that much to the sound? I made the table in a good and gifted workshop, so I was able to turn the rods so they are spiked in the ends.
I just have a few more questions.

  1. How do I get the table to stand really rock steady? I think it is a bit seesawing :( The shelves are only about 15mm thick :-(
  2. How heavy should a CDP Press be? Mine which I have made from lead is about 2,2 kg. Is that enough?
  3. Could you tell me in a few words what the TNT Sandblaster is? I have seen it on the Italian pages but I don't know what it is for.
Thank you
Mads Vinding - E-mail: MadVin (at) e-mail.dk

Dear Mads,
there's a solution to your problem, maybe three. First, you can use Teflon-made sliders known as furniture-movers. These are thin Teflon disks (sold at any bricolage store) that you use when you have to move large and heavy shelves, sofas etc. Just place the sliders under the heavy box and make it slide :-) (or just wait for a complete review on TNT-Audio...)
Second solution, a bit more radical: buy small steel ball-bearings and place them (with screws) under your loudspeakers. The contact area is very small (hence it simulates a spike, more or less) but you can avoid scratches. Of course, the speaker has to be heavy enough, otherwise it will be easy to move it accidentally.
Third solution, the TNT-reviewed Soundcare SuperSpikes.
As for the FleXy: thin rods and shelves may cause the table to be a bit "rocky". Try tightening the bolts.
Finally: the weight of your TNT Press is OK, while a TNT SandBlaster is nothing else than a sand-filled isolation platform (translation finished, will be online very soon).
Hope this helps,
Lucio Cadeddu

Tweaking Teac 1120 CD players...
I have a few questions concerning the tweaks for this player.  This the first time for me to modify a player.  I was able to purchase this for $69.99 US from JandR in New York City. When you put the cork on the bottom of the player did you place it across the complete bottom so the "door stoppers" that will replace the stock feet will rest on the cork?
  Also the  blue-tack, is this the 3M product? Do you just spread it over the chassis so the top cover will stick to the chassis? If you only use 3 "door stoppers" did you place them like you would the DH cones?  Any help would be appreciated.

Best regards,
Robert Pries

Dear Robert,
the door stoppers were glued directly to the chassis (2 in front, 1 in the rear), the original blue-tac is made by 3M and you just need to put it so that the top cover of the player stops to resonate. Do not glue the top cover to the chassis by means of this stuff...it could be a trouble when you decide to re-open the player for maintainance.
Hope this helps,
Lucio Cadeddu

TTS - Lentgh
I intend this letter for the reader's forum. I just finished a day of braiding TTS cables; btw, I found a good US substitute for the Italian cables in the article in shielded 2-conductor cable from General Cable/Carol/BICC General part no. C0458.41.10 (1000 ft). I made a strange discovery.
The first cable I made was only 3 ft. long. The next cables were 6 ft. Later that night, after I turned off my preamp, the amps began buzzing loudly, being plugged in to my homemade Jon Risch/Lukasz F. AC filter - they had not done so since I built the filter.
When I plugged in a standard IEC cord, the buzzing was greatly reduced. When I plugged in one of the 6 ft. TTS's, the buzzing remained roughly as inaudible as with the standard IEC. Whenever I put the 3 ft. cord back in, the loud buzz returned. Any ideas why length could be so critical?
Cotie Jones - E-mail: thetae83 (at) hotmail.com

Dear reader,
funny things may happen. Perhaps it is not the lenght but some small difference in the braiding and in the layout of the plugs to cause such strange effect. Lenght shouldn't be crucial for noise reduction...unless the shorter cable acts like a perfect antenna for a certain specific frequency.... :-)
Lucio Cadeddu

Problem with X-1.5
Dear Lucio,
first of all, congratulations for your great site. I stumbled into it just in time when I was planning to build new speakers and needed speaker cables. To be true, I did not believe that the speaker cable -as long as it has a sufficient diameter- would make an audible difference, but building the "Star" seemed easy and cheap enough to give it a try.
(In case anybody is interested: I used "LIY-CY"-type 4x1.5mm**2 cable. The price was 1.60 EURO/m. It is intended for industrial applications and rather ugly, but I did not want to order a 50m reel of the "SY" at RS).
I was more than surprised about the huge difference in sound that this cable produced compared to a simple 2x2.5mm**2 cable! It produced clearer treble, lower bass and overall much more transparence and detail.
Made curious by this experience I built a pair each of the UBYTE-I and the X-1.5 interconnect cables, and again there was an audible sound improvement in comparison to the cables that originally came with my CD-Player, although I do not have a "High-End" system.
The difference to some moderately priced "audiophile" interconnects that I borrowed from a friend is much smaller, but still detectable. Compared to these, the X-1.5 has much more detail in the lower mid-range, whereas the UBYTE has an overall warmer sound that is especially nice with human voices and acoustic instruments.

Encouraged by this, I replaced the original fixed cables of my old turntable with RCA sockets in order to try my new cables. The UBYTE worked like a miracle on this one; the effect was by far bigger than for the CD. In comparison, the TT sounded dull and lifeless before the change; no bass, no dynamics, very little depth and details.
But when I connect the X-1.5, there is a loud humming noise, almost as loud as the music. No other cable shows this effect, and when connected to my CD the X-1.5 is totally quiet. The TT's ground wire is connected to the amp, and I could not find any defect in the cable or the connectors.
Do you have any idea what could be the reason and how I can change it?
Dirk Fettweis - E-mail: dirk.fettweis (at) gi.rwth-aachen.de

Dear Dirk,
perhaps the X-1.5 isn't shielded enough to be used as a phono cable. Normally, phono cables need to be well shielded otherwise they act as antennas for the delicate phono stage. For this reason interconnects that are quiet with CD players can be noisy when used as phono cables. There's nothing you can do...
Lucio Cadeddu

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