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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February 2005

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10 years anniversary
Hi Lucio
I've been a fan going on to 5 years now, since I discovered your site. Thanks very much for the great work, and keep up the good job. Congrats on the 10 yr anniversary.
Chris - E-mail: yongchris (at)

Dear Chris,
thanks for your kind words and stay tuned for more fun :-)
Lucio Cadeddu

Rediscovering HiFi
Hello. I have recently joined your on-line community. I am re-discovering my love for good sound and I have begun a quest to build a system in line with or (probably) exceeding my moderate means. If you don't mind I will offer a couple of comments about me and after that will keep the signal/noise ratio to an absolute maximum. That is the way I normally function in life; I know when to have fun and when to be serious.
Being fed up with commercialized music, which is all they offer you on most radio stations and in the record shops, I signed up for satellite radio. I tuned into the deep album cuts channel and fell in love all over again. They were playing tunes the commercial stations ‘dare not' play. I found out some of the 30 year-old bands have new albums out! One thing led to another; I brushed off the vinyl, ordered a new needle and Rickie Lee Jones was first to take a spin. I dragged my Klipsch Heresy speakers out of the closet and started blowing the cobwebs out.
Considering I am driving them with a cheap Pioneer receiver, they sounded so sweet. I got that lump in my throat; the one you guys with "real" equipment talk about. Almost got the tears as well; not only because it sounded pretty good, but in anticipation of things to come.
I have been checking out your site for a month or so now, reading reviews and articles. It is very much appreciated that there is information of this quality available. I catch myself drooling over the equipment and even the text in the reviews that are very well written.
I really enjoyed the review of the Audion ETPP Monoblocks by Geoff Husband. I could enviously picture this system in my listening room when he said, "The soundstage opened out beyond the speakers, the drummer shuffled back a couple of yards behind the band and music flooded out." And this was compared to the killer amp he already had and adored! I just bought a re-mixed Traffic Hits CD. On the tune "Freedom Rider", where the sax gets low and pronounced, the Heresy horns finally educated me on what the term "flat" means. I had never heard that before, especially in anything that I have ever owned. The sax player was standing right there in from of me! I know that what I have is a very modest system and I am looking forward to yours and your readers' advice on building my dream system. Keep up the great work!
Kindest regards,
Rick - E-mail: rtrigler (at)

Dear Rick,
glad to hear you're redscoverng the joys of HiFi listening! Certainly your Heresy's need a better amp to really sing...even a low powered SET will be adequate, considering their high sensitivity. I'm not 100% sure your letter was intended for this section or for our Discussion Forum. Either way, welcome on board!
Lucio Cadeddu

Garrard Zero 100
Dear Sir: I have a Garrard Zero 100 with (probably less than 150 hours of play on it).. We moved to Israel in 1970 and hadn't played it except occasionally. I found about a year ago that the control for changing the speed had gotten stuck but I left it where it was at 33. I plugged it in yesterday and it made a squeeking sound. I opened it for the first time and took off the turntable.
I found small black "powder" around the base of the spindle and that was squeeking. If I lifted it up, the motor sounded completely silent. Do you have any idea how this can be repaired (for the noise). The rest of the machine works fine. Perhaps you know of someone in Israel who works with (and knows) this turntable. I'd appreciate any help you can give me.
Joseph - E-mail: jfogel (at)

Dear Joseph,
I'm not 100% sure what the problem might be. Is the motor "squeeking" or the spindle/bearing? Either way, all you can do is dismantle the turntable, lube everything and reinstall. Is it a belt-driven model (SB)? If so, you may need to inspect the belt, as well.
I know almost nothing (just visited a couple of websites) about HiFi dealers/technicians in Israel, sorry.
Hope this helped somehow,
Lucio Cadeddu

T-Amp review
Do you plan a review of the ampboxAudio SI+ complete amp? The ClariT-amp seems pretty overpriced... I wonder if it still sounds harsh in the highs and slow in the first octave using a car battery (or any other large 12V battery)...
Cool review.
Zavier - E-mail: info (at)

Dear Zavier,
perhaps I'll review the SoundPax speakers in the future, SI has offered a test sample. I'd prefer to wait until the "new" T-Amp comes out (early Summer, I think). Vinnie Rossi's modded T-Amp seems a very nice project. Do not consider the final price "alone", think at the load of work involved (SMD solderings etc.). If you think it's overpriced, try to do (exactly) the same and sell for 50% less ;-)
Finally, I'm pretty sure some of the natural troubles of the T-Amp can't be solved by simply using a battery. I wonder why audiophiles believe batteries are the solution for every HiFi problem. They aren't.
Hope this helped,
Lucio Cadeddu

Big Fun Box Success + T-Amp
Thank you for writing this article. I have built these with a sloped front baffle, damped-and-phase-plugged Fostex 206, carpeting inside the box. I built them for a Sonic Impact project. The Sonic Impact never came, so I got a Clari-T. It just showed up yesterday and isn't broken in, but the combo does play LOUD. Ridiculously. 6 watts. Unbelievable.
Relating to the speakers, I have been able to tame most of the directionality and shout of the driver. I didn't want to build a circuit and didn't. Just acoustic stuff. What's left is one of the best speakers I have ever heard. My Gallo Ref. 3's are in the garage, though to be fair I haven't brought them out for a side-by-side.
I used the Cat. 5e, no binding posts. I also put in a ground-jumper switch, per Maury James. The cable exit and switch are protected by a couple of short 2x2's, with another 2/3 of the way up the speaker, combining for a winding loop for the cable. It works pretty slick. I used plain MDF but I like the speakers so much I'm staining them a dark brown, which looks great with the drivers. Hopes of domestic acceptance, y'know.
Anyway, thanks for writing the article. This kind of stuff really kindles hope of economic sanity in the hobby.
Mike - E-mail: MichaelS (at)

Hi Mike,
Many thanks for the email and I'm glad the BFB has been a success - it's hard to convince people used to multi-driver speakers and muscle amps that such a combination as you have can even work, let alone produce music. Fine hi-fi can be had for the kind of money people spend on an evening out, but it's tough sell :-)
Keep me posted,
All the best
Geoff Husband

Turntable choice
I'm writing to You sir because lately I'm searching a proper turntable for myself, but as an amateur I've very poor knowledge in this subject and frankly I've got just no idea how and what to choose.
Searching in the web I've found a site of TNT and read Your article about Garrard Zero 100 SB turntable. I'd like to ask You for advice that could help me in searching the right turntable.
I m not aiming to posses a top equipment and I'm not a so called audiophile guy. I simply like to listen my music with nice sound quality and I really love '70 design of audio system components like my Marantz 1060, that's why I was thinking about some vintage turntable that I could get for about 150 euro. The one model I've in mind is Marantz 6200 turntable - mostly because I like the way it looks :) But finally as I've said I got no idea.
I'd be thankful for advice that could help me,
Best regards,
Przemek - E-mail: senegall (at)

Dear reader,
if you like vintage HiFi looks search for old Thorens or Dual turntables. These are easy to find, look "vintage" enough and generally sound good. A Thorens TD 166 or TD 160, for example, would be a wise choice. The Garrard Zero 100 is an interesting piece of gear but it is hard to find and less "intuitive" and more cumbersome if something goes wrong. The Thorens cited above are much more "straightforward". Incidentally, I like 70s gear as well and, like you, I own a Marantz 1060 amplifier. My 70s turnatable are a Garrard Zero 100 SB and a ERA (French belt-driven TT).
Hope this helped,
Lucio Cadeddu

DIY DIN Interconnects
Hi, Thanks alot for the great site, I have been making many of your DIY cables and I am very happy with them. I would like to make a 5 pin DIN interconnect and was wondering if you have ever made any and could recommend sites/ materials / suppliers.
Thanks again,
John - E-mail: johndavidedwards (at)

Dear John,
soldering DINs can be quite painful, especially if you use thick wires. Anyway, you can find any kind of DIN plugs and even good sounding, inexpensive "finished" cables at FlashBack Sales. These guys are extremely competent and friendly. They make almost anything, even clones of the oldest cables used by Quad etc. I'm currently testing their alternatives to (more expensive) DIN Naim cables. Summarizing, I'd say their cables have a very good VFM. Consider these before any attempt at fingers-burning DIN DIY cables :-)
Hope this helped,
Lucio Cadeddu

JMR Twins review
Dear Mr Holgate,
I read your review of the JMR Twin Mk IIIs with interest and thought that you might be interested in the experience of someone who has lived with a pair for slightly longer.
I purchased a pair of Twins from Paul Letteri just before Christmas and, on the whole, would say that my experiences matched those expressed in your review. Having just moved to a house with a much smaller lounge, I was looking for a pair of speakers to replace my B&W DM603 floorstanders. The new lounge dictated a close to wall positioning and I was looking for a speaker that would work in this environment.
In the end, it came down to a choice between the PMC DB1+ and the JMRs. Despite the DB1+s being superficially "more impressive" than the Twins, what finally persuaded me was the Twins' even handed presentation and sense of balance.
The stereo imaging of the Twins is particularly good and I find the presentation of vocals to be excellent with singers positioned firmly between the two speakers. I wouldn't say that the bass is too light - there's enough of it (no doubt helped by my close to wall position), its just that it doesn't always go low enough and the Twins are occasionally caught on the hop.
For example, the opening track of Annie Lennox's Live In Central Park album has a deep base line that was experienced physically through the stomach with the old DM603s yet is almost non-existent with the Twins. Unlike you I didn't find the HF soft, but do find that there is a significant improvement in clarity with the grills removed. If anything, my criticism would be of the mid range which, to my mind, lacks some definition. One final niggle is that they do need a bit of volume to perform at their best and I find myself listening at a level slightly higher than I would prefer.
On balance though, I am very satisfied with the all round performance of the Twins and, although they don't convey the sense of presence and openness of the B&Ws in the previous house, work very well in the new one.
Alan - E-mail: alan (at)

Dear Alan,
This is a most interesting personal perspective. I'm glad that the review is broadly consistent with your experience. This is reassuring really when you consider that everything else (sources, amplification, rooms, etc) is different! Thanks again for writing,
David Holgate

The Pig
Hi there,
Just read your article about the Garrard 100, very nice. In this article you refer to the good old PIG as a record clamp. Can you tell me what the good old pig is?
Jacob - E-mail: jacobhartstra (at)

Dear Jacob,
I'm glad you enjoyed my series of articles devoted to the good old Garrard Zero 100. "The Pig" is/was a rubber (sorbothane?) "nose" made by The SEE Company (maker of the SEE Revolver turntables). Very lightweight, it could be used as record clamp on every turntable, without adding weight on the subchassis/spindle. It also added some damping effect against the vibrations of the spindle. Very easy to use, quite inexpensive, it could be used with any kind of platter.
The closest thing to The Pig is the KAB Record Grip, a sano design that fits in any TT.
Hope this helped,
Lucio Cadeddu

AMC gear
Hi Lucio,
Would you review some AMC tube equipment? I owned a 30 watt power amp in the past that sounded good with my Vandersteen speakers. They now have amps with tube sockets instead of having the tubes directly installed into the main circuit board. I am interested in their 80 watt power amp.
Alan - E-mail: alan (at)

Dear Alan,
we are always eager to test interesting HiFi gear. Our choices mainly depend on the availability of a certain product/brand and/or availability of a local distributor interested in letting us test his products. With a no-profit magazine like this one it may become difficult: certain distributors/Companies don't feel "safe" dealing with someone who can't accept advertising. That's the way this crazy World goes on.
That said, if AMC (or any local distributor of theirs) is interested in sending us test units....we will be glad to throw our ears at them :-)
Hope this helped,
Lucio Cadeddu

Real Stereo Campaign
Two speakers powered by great electronics have been and continue to be a great source of satisfaction in putting myself next to the conductor on the podium. I have been trying to put various orchestras in my living space since I was a teenager. Surround sound has its place, but does not improve upon the intimacy of well recorded live ensemble playing, in my opinion.
I support your campaign to affirm the validity of true stereo as a record and playback experience.
Greg - E-mail: gbreault (at)

My name is Scott. I am an audiophile who supports stereo. Just wanted to let you know there are people out there, like myself, who prefer 2-channel stereo over 5.1 hometheatre. Long-live stereo!
Scott - E-mail: scottnicole (at)

Dear Greg and Scott,
thanks for your kind feedback! If you manage a website (or know a friend who does), feel free to display our Real Stereo logo on your pages! That way your website will be added to our ever growning list of Real Stereo Supporters.
Lucio Cadeddu

T-Amp experience 1
Hi Lucio,
I took the Sonic Impact board out of its housing and popped it in a Hammond cast-aluminum chassis, added some nice RCAs, etc and powered it from a 12V battery. This was broken in for over fifty hours. Then I took it to a friend's house to compare with

  1. A DIY "Gaincard"-like LM1875 inverted chip amp (20 watts)
  2. The Flying Mole digital amps (160 watts)
  3. A Sun Audio 10Y SET (1.5 watts)
The speakers were Altec 755Cs in 50L sealed boxes, and the upstream digital was a fancy transport linked to a DIY TDA1541 DAC, plus a transformer volume control by Stevens and Billington.
Alas, the Sonic Impact was by far the worst of the bunch, with an odd tonality that reminded us of CD players circa 1990. Yes, it had good extension and imaging, soundstage and detail, but dismal tonality.
We swapped in the LM1875 amps, which are also low-price winners since they have about $40 of parts in them, battery powersupply not included. This was so much better that there was no more A/B testing with the SI!
We also used the Flying Mole amps, tastefully modded by swapping an input cap and bypassing the volume pot. Better than the SI, and way more power, but it sounded "hi-fi" and were not as emotionally involving as the LM1875 "gainclone" amps.
The best were the 10Y SETs, which had their own brand of delicious presentation. Maybe it wasn't "accurate" but it sure was tasty! Alas, with only 1.5 watts, driving the 90db speakers was a bit too much. They went back to their old homes, driving a pair of TAD compression drivers in a biamped system.
Conclusions: The SI is cute but not worth spending time with. The Flying Mole amps are decent, and a good value (about $500 for a pair of monoblocks), especially as a source of big power. The LM1875 was worthy and emotionally engaging, and very simple and cheap, the best of the solid-state efforts.
This we could have a long-term relationship with, and did, listening for several hours into the night. Old-fashioned triodes still rule as Kings of Tonality, and we'll all just have to keep living with their expense and low power for a while longer.
Anyway, that was our experiences.
Nathan - E-mail: nate (at)

Dear Nathan,
the T-Amp doesn't perform at its best with batteries. You should have tested it with a beefy external power supply. Its "tonality" changes, becomes much more open and airy. Also, you shouldn't forget you're talking of a 20$ ready-to-go integrated amplifier, NOT a DIY design.
I'd be curious to listen to your findings re: T-Amp with a decent power supply.
Thanks for the feedback!
Lucio Cadeddu

T-Amp experience - 2
Just got the T-Amp after reading your review. As you indicated you were looking at reviewing it with hi-efficiency speakers. I used it with the Axiom m22ti and the combo really sounds terrific. The m22ti is a highly rated budget speaker that is also relatively efficient. I would recommend you include it in any future reviews. Thanks for your review and comments.
Rich - E-mail: rlouis (at)

Dear Rich, thanks for your feedback. As for Axiom's, we are always open to test anything interesting. Our choice of components to test depends on the availability of the product and courtesy of the manufacturer/distributor.
All the best,
Lucio Cadeddu

Music Servers or PCs as front ends to audio system
Hi Lucio!
Appreciate you work! I was particularly intrigued by your review of the T-Amp by Sonic Impact, but I am afraid my speakers are not sensitive enough to take advantage.
I am curious. It seems to me that an advancement in front end digital input to a stereo system could be made by using a PC or a "music server". I have not seen any information on this issue on your site. I have seen some companies that are making "music servers" and some that are producing higher quality sound cards for PCs. It would be interesting to have some of these products reviewed and compared to regular CD players.
It seems to me that the potential for storing an entire music library, accessing native file formats, more reliable pickup of the data and not having to worry about scratching or tweaking CDs would be a huge advancement. I wish that you would consider expanding the scope of your site to include this possibility.
This would not be contrary to the "real stereo" concept, but would provide music lovers with new possibilities.
Thanks for your attention.
Dan - E-mail: dbare (at)

Dear Dan,
you'd be glad to know we are about to review a music server based on 240Gb hard disk storage, built under strict "audiophile" standards. Stay tuned! We always try to keep our eyes wide open on everything's new around...NO PREJUDICES here :-)
All the best,
Lucio Cadeddu

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