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 2008

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Inexpensive DAC
Dear Lucio,
I've been using your site a lot lately, as I've my NAD Silverline to go for something smaller. Your advice suits me, as we both seem to think that Hi-Fi should be less about the voodoo and more about the sound perceived. I've ended up with a TA-10.1 and a diy preamp from the danish Dantimax (The owner is a great guy. And the products are great as well. Very recomendable.)
At the moment I'm using my PS3 as a source, with the plan to get a dedicated CD drive later. Anyway, I need a DAC for my setup. I've read on that Trends Audio are having a dedicated DAC coming out. Can you share any information on this? Will it be biased towards the computer-user (as the UD-10) or will it be for the CDP-user?
Finally, do you know when it's coming? If it's far from release, I might just go for the MoodLab Concept.
I thank you for the effort you put in your site.
Kind Regards
Morten - E-mail: morten_rask (at)

Dear Morten,
unfortunately the product appears to be "upcoming" with no further detail given. As far as I know it will be a real DAC, to be used with a CD player or transport, not with a PC (or, at least, not only). Anyway, the UD-10 can be used as a DAC as well, someone has modified it in order to use two standard RCA line outputs, instead of the headphone output. Trends Audio has a discussion forum that may help.
Lucio Cadeddu

Triple T feedback
just wanted to say thanks for your great site...years ago I made a pair of the original cat5...boy what a lot of work they were and now have made 4 of your Triple T for an active setup. Hard to compare due to active and passive use but I must say yours are a hell of a lot easier, neat and better looking too and very happy once run in with the sound....thankyou...
Chet - E-mail: tezcan (at)

Dear Chet,
I'm glad to read our Triple T DIY design suits you so nicely. Its construction isn't a walk in the park but the results are amazing considering the amount of money involved...
Thanks for the feedback!
Lucio Cadeddu

New amp
Hi, I currently own the Nelson 66i integrated paired with Angstrom Obbligato's (the originals).
I am looking at perhaps changing amps (Karan Ka-l1) and was wondering if you could give some insight since you have heard and reviewed both amps. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
Terry - E-mail: the4barnz (at)

Dear Terry,
the amps you mention have been reviewed by two different authors and, what's worse, none of them is still with us. For sure, the Karan would be a better partner for your speakers, but so would be any other high-power solid state amp. Let me suggest auditioning other amps in that price range and do not forget to include the NuForce IA7, the Naim Nait 5i and something from Classé and NAD (the S series or the M series).
I've mentioned some alternative that should be easy to find and evaluate.
Hope this helped,
Lucio Cadeddu

Internal bracing
Hi Mark,
Do you find that the bracing in B&W speakers is audible.
If so, do you like that addition to the music?
Rob - E-mail: rozman (at)

Hi Rob
I have never had the opportunity to listen to B&W speakers without their bracing so I cannot made a valid empirical judgement about the difference they make in that context. However, I can comment that correct design and materials choice in loudspeaker cabinet bracing makes a massive clearly audible difference, from my own experiments, which are due to be published on TNT-audio very soon. Indeed, even the woeful dead sound of MDF can be improved with good bracing choice, as I found in my experiments.
Loudspeaker bracing should not ADD anything to the sound. The function of bracing is to reduce the movements of the cabinet walls caused by pressure variations in the cabinet air volume and by direct excitement by the driver chassis. Bracing therefore reduces cabinet colouration caused by resonances in the cabinet material, thus lowering the system noisefloor and increasing signal-to-noise ratio by reducing the noise contribution. Bracing also reduces information lost (its energy converted to heat) by cabinet flexure, increasing the signal side of the signal-to-noise ratio.

B&W have probably done as much work in this area as anyone, and their matrix cabinets were a significant development beyond the existing state-of-the-art.

Bracing only works well if the brace itself and the adhesive are well chosen. My forthcoming article describes this in more detail.
Happy listening
Mark Wheeler

Crazy prices of HiFi gear
Hello Lucio,
I read your editorial. Things are worse than you said. For the shelter 501 for instance, you pointed an ebay dealer - this dealer is making (a little) money too - the list price in Japan of the Shelter 501 mkII is 89250 yens (570 euros) - now, when you go to shops in Tokyo, you an easily have 20% on this price and pay your shelter less than 400 euros...
This online dealer in japan is selling the cartridge for 77400 yens:
75000 yens for this one:
Ynfortunately, you can not buy from these dealers when you're not in Japan...It's nice to have some japanese friend in this case ;-)
Remember that the Shelter 501 cartridge was sold, a few years ago, under the crown jewel brand name for 2650$
Best regards,
Seb - E-mail: leo_lau_seb (at) -

Dear Seb,
thanks for the feedback and these precious infos on Japanese "street" prices. With a little help from my friends (i.e. you, dear TNT-Audio readers) we can shed some light on the issue of wildly varying prices, from one Country to another. Inquiring minds need to know.
Stay tuned,
Lucio Cadeddu

NAD 3120
Dear Sir,
the NAD 3120 is a NAD 3020B, without tone controls. They were built by Dahsen (Dasen?) in Taiwan. The earlier 3020 sets were built by Fulet, Taiwan. Really nice-sounding sets, but the RCA jacks are flimsy.
Using premium, heavy interconnects puts lots of strain on the jacks. I just use the el-cheapo $3 cables, cannot hear any difference. My favorite product from NAD, is the 7220PE/7225PE. These have the 3020 "topology", but include a good digital tuner. Very charming, compact receivers. I used to own a 7020 analog receiver, built by Fulet. But due to its non-sealed rotary switches, it required cleaning every year. The 7220/7225 sets have sealed pushbutton switches, and will run for many years without servicing.
Pete - E-mail: fixurown (at)

Hi Pete,
Thanks for this comment on your NAD experience. I guess this could encourage other TNT readers to give the 7220PE and 7225PE receivers an audition. I have owned both the NAD 3120 and the 3020 amps, and in my experience the unmodified 3120 sounded better than the 3020. Of course it also has the advantage of a reasonable MC phono stage.
David Holgate

Re: Harsh sound
Dear Mr. Cadeddu,
Thank you very much for your help! The truth is that although my listening room seems full, there is actually some echo effect when I clap my hands! Under normal listening levels the situation is controlled. However, since I am planning to move soon and thus be free to set up everything the way I want, I would like your opinion on that: do you feel that the Atoll IN50 would be a good match to my Tannoy Sensys 1 under ideal room placement? I mean without any reverbations and cancellations? (Using some decent cabling). Is the Atoll or the Tannoy's considered sharp or dry in the midrange?
I have auditioned both the Atoll and the Nad c352-which I felt that were the most serious ones-and the truth is that I found the Nad 'safer'. Not far from my Yamaha though in terms of overall presentation. (Of course the Nad is way better than my Yamaha). I got the impression that the Atoll was more musical. My Yamaha is definitely quite dry in the midrange and this is the main area I want to improve.
By the way, your site is totally amazing! The more I discover it, the more I like it! Greetings from Greece!
Panagiotis - by e-mail

Dear Panagiotis,
perhaps your decision has already been taken...anyway: I agree with you that the NAD would be a "safer" purchase. First of all, it does have a smooth and warnm sound. Secondly, you can resell it second-hand whenever you like. Reselling an Atoll would be trickier. In any case, with both amps you can't go wrong. They would be a giant step forward over your current Yamaha amp.
Hope this helped,
Lucio Cadeddu

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