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

You are here > Home > Staff & Contacts > Letters of the month

February 2012

Please take a moment to review the How to use the Readers' Corner manual - send then your enquiries to editor (at) or to the appropriate reviewer.

Three mini amps comparison
Hi Arvind,
I read your review of the TBI Millenia, the Trends TA 10.2 and the Dayens Ampino, just published on the TNT-Audio Italian version.
I found it very interesting and even outspoken, as well as well-written, as usual for your ones.
I appreciated the method you used to "stress" the reviewed amplifiers, using low efficiency speakers, but honestly I have to disagree for only one thing (if you let me do): In this specific case (IMO) the sound pressure level used to listen to the tracks should have been specified, because the Trends could go close to clipping due to its lower power than the other two ones, or should be forced to draw out only the latest watts (the worst ones), if the sound pressure level was high.
I can only suppose from the tracks you used this was not the case, but obviously I cannot be sure.
Could you please clarify this specific point?
Many thanks,
My best regards,
PS: I apologize if this was specified instead, since I cannot read (or even write) English so well.
Stefano - E-mail: sminiero (at)

Hello Stefano,
Don't feel badly if your english is not very good, since it is far better than my Italian. And since your's is the more beautiful language, you certainly have a leg up on me.
That is a very good question as to what SPL my test was done at, and it was something I should have clarified. For the tests with the Dynaudio, while I never measured, the SPL were on the low to moderate side. I'd guess the peaks would be in the 80-90db range. So the intent there was to see if the amps could deliver even normal listening levels, had they performed with no hesitation I would have tried for even higher levels.
I hope that answers your question.
Arvind Kohli

About TBI Millenia
Dear Arvind, I read your article 3 Mini Integrated Amps - Dayens Ampino, Trends TA 10.2 SE, TBI Millenia in TNT.
Thank you for your work! Beside the page on the manufacturer's site, I did not find any serious description in the net about the Millenia. It would be very interesting to know what exactly is the chip inside that amplifier...
Did you open it to discover its secrets? ;-)
To my eyes it seems clone of the Virtue, but more expensive, with less power and a very fuzzy technical description. :-(
Where TBI resides? Is it an American company?
Thanks for your attention.
Piermario - E-mail: piermario.clara (at)

Hello Piermario,
Glad you liked the article. TBI is based out of the state of Georgia in the USA. I do not know much more about the innards of the amp, other than it is class D and the brief description on their website.
And, yes, it seems there is no other review of the Millenia on the web yet...once again, it seems like TNT had a worldwide scoop on this product.
Arvind Kohli

Upgrading a power amp
Hi TNT-Audio, I am a bass player/sound man 51m years old. I don't know a lot about electronics but I am learning, I have always strived for the best sounds in my music. I recently bought an old Ashly 500 power amp, huge transformer, two very large caps 15000uf 100volts, I bought the amp home tested it and cleaned it, I am thinking of changing out the caps, due to their age, and maybe go from 15000 to 20000 uF.
From what I understand increasing the value a bit is a good thing, would you have the time to respond about what you think about modding the power supply in this kind of old amp, do you know any other things I could do to help improve the amp.
Thank you for your time,
Bill - E-mail: wcristofaro (at)

Dear Bill,
though I'm not familiar with your amplifer there are several things you can try to improve its performance. A beefier power supply is (almost) always a good idea and using larger filtering caps is the usual way to do that. From 15000 uF to 20000 uF is a large step forward, for this reason one has to be careful because the stock rectifiers might not be able to perform well with larger caps. As a consequence, many savvy tweakers improve, at the same time, even the rectifiers section. I'd suggest asking a qualified technician, in this case. Otherwise, you can try with larger or better quality caps (of the same size). Consider that larger doesn't necessarily mean "better". Larger caps might be slower than smaller ones. You might have seen sophisticated power supplies using many small caps, instead of just two bigger ones.
Lucio Cadeddu

Your Impressions of the OPC271 Versus Paul Hines/Lightspeed LDR Attenuator
Hello, I read your reviews of the P&S OPC271 LDR volume control and of the Paul Hines remote-controlled LDR (ala Lightspeed). What I'm curious about is the sound of one versus the other. Which did you prefer? Were they identical in sound?
In talking with George at Lightspeed, he told me that he thinks the OPC271 uses a series resistor with shunt LDR, whereas his units use both series and shunt LDRs, so I'm curious if you heard a difference. Any help is greatly appreciated!
Bob - E-mail: bob.magaletta (at)

Hi Bob,
Sound-wise I can't honestly detect the difference between these two volume controls. I think it really comes down to price, and if you really need a display of the volume setting. I find that useful but am not sure if it is strictly necessary.
The OPC271 retains the last volume setting when it is powered up again - the Paul Hynes version resets to mute. The Paul Hynes version also has a balance control that is not on the OPC271.
The OPC271 is finished very nicely and of course the Paul Hynes will be as good as you build it.
I hope that this helps.
Nick Whetstone

I just bought a Cayin 265ai! Now I wait...worst part (I hope). I'm benching the Scott until I decide what to do.
I'm going to run it with the Gallo 3.1's then probably move on....maybe a dynaudio or totem (I want to be just like you when I grow up [image: ;) winking]).
My wife wants me to buy a set of Orbs because they look cool but...they seem very 'midfi'....I'm such a snob!
Just wanted to tell you my exciting news (no one else in my life cares).
Neil - E-mail: neilwrob (at)

I wish you hadn't done that...the Cayin is a pretty awful amp...just kidding ;-)
I too am waiting on some gear (that I bought), and while I am usually a very patient person - now the suspense is starting to get to me. Also, some review gear being lined up. The Cayin did wonders with my Dynaudios, and I am very impressed with a short visit I had with their C1 model, maybe a future review....I have not had great treble experience with the Cayin and metal dome tweeters...although the Totems are probably as refined as a metal tweeter will get.
Let me know how it turns out when you grow up, I myself am not there yet....and hope to die young (at heart).
Happy listening!

SPL meter and HiFi test CD's
I enjoyed your article on SPL meter and am interested in evaluating and purchasing some hi-fi gear for my home. I recently joined a Vinyl listening meet-up group here in San Francisco and I think it would be useful, as we go on listening parties at each other's homes, to evaluate the equipment everybody has. Your article was key to my interest in purchasing great equipment for *my* new audio system. Btw I am a professional saxophonist and guitarist (and engineer) who plays all style of music, so have big LOVE for music.
Anyway, your article referred to a "...test disc, one of those with all the frequencies recorded into" and I was wondering what you can suggest for me to acquire one in which to utilize the tests you mention in the article?
Thank so much again for your help and education.
Jeff - E-mail: taylorfusion (at)

Dear Jeff,
I've recently reviewed such a test disc, namely the Denon Hi-Fi check CD which isn't easy to find, but is still available - from time to time - on Ebay, for example. Anyway, there are many HiFi test CDs, just type that search keywords on Ebay. Normally these CDs are very popular among car stereo nuts so you can even ask for an advice to any car stereo installation center.
Consider that evaluating a stereo system by means of a SPL meter can be misleadng, especially if one doesn't have a sufficient listening experience. Generally, evaluating stereo systems isn't an easy task at all!
Hope this helped!

LS3/5a DIY kits
The Pure Acoustics Pro-838 are an excellent alternative for those seeking speakers similar to the Linn Index or Heybrook HB1, for a good price and with the advantage of being new.
Other highly appreciated speakers are the LS3/5a, but the price new is impossible for most pockets, and second hand are also quite expensive, with the disadvantage of the years they have.
But now there are two good kits to build a LS3/5a. One is the Stirling Broadcast (, see That as a partial kit also need something like this:
The other kit has it Wimslow Audio, but in their website does not appear: I know that Wilmslow Audio have a complete kit, in various finishes, by friends who came into contact with them. These two kits have been around for months and nobody has published a test of them, perhaps TNT-Audio can be the first. This is just a suggestion, you could go in 'Wishes' section, but I'm sure that would interest many readers, including me.
Raul - E-mail: coutodominguez (at)

Dear Raul,
thanks for the useful suggestions! Certainly these DIY kits appear fascinating for LS3/5A lovers but for us reviewers it is becoming harder and harder to find the time to BUILD something and then test it. When spare time is close to zero, you prefer to test something which is ready to go, delivered to your door and easily available in the market. Personally, I don't like minimonitors much, too severe limitations in dynamics, sound pressure, bass weight and extension. Never fallen in love with the original LS3/5A too...
Anyway, if you purchase the drivers and the crossovers you suggested and you add the complete cabinet kit...I wonder how you can still consider this option as affordable: 450 UKP (that's almost 550 €!!!!) and you end up with a pair of loudspeakers that will be impossible to sell second-hand (who will buy a S/H DIY kit?). A far better option would be purchasing a pair of S/H LS3/5A or, even better, a pair of Linn Kans.
Happy listening!
Lucio Cadeddu

TBI Millennia
Dear Arvind, I was really impressed by your review of TBI Millennia MG3. I'm a class t/d lover and I've tried several amps: t-amp, winsone mouse, nuforce icon amp, Hypex 400 and 180 (in unbalanced mode), but none of them gave me same detail, resolution and musicality that the Trends Audio puts out. So when you wrote Millennia's got more detail than ta2024 chip I was quite skeptical about as well as I was surprised that, according to you, Trends has poor (or no) juice even connected to quite efficient speakers.
I've a couple of Tannoy Arden that need to be driven by a more powerful amp, that might just be the MG3 (according to the producer it would sound as a 50w amp). The point is that price is not exactly cheap (I also think about duty tax) and few years ago I got disappointed by Winsome Mouse, an amp mounting same chips Virtue does. Nick Whetstone reviewed the Virtue claiming its clear superiority to the Trends, but in my set up W.M. was blown away (apart from higher power, of course) by that juiceless box. So, I know it might seem a funny question, but can you assure me that MG3 is really worth buying?
Best Regards.
Fabio - E-mail: fabiofa2 (at)

Hello Fabio,
I understand your plight...but unfortunately have no magical antidote for it. I and all others in this and other hobbies, suffer the same dilemma.
In other words, I cannot assure you that the TBI will satisfy you...there is only one way to find out that answer for sure, and that is experience it for yourself. If there is one thing that I can assure you, it is that what I write is what I honestly experienced - and my tests are designed to satisfy my curiosity about the product. But your equipment, hearing, room and music might be different enough from mine - that we may have different conclusions.
Indeed, our own editor had a much more favourable impression of the Trends Audio amp than I did. But that is where TNT is different, you will see open and honest opinion - even when it is at odds with others and popular notion.
Also, I think the comparison between the Trends and Virtue amps were done by the folks at StereoMojo. If you can be patient, I am working on another amp review - this one is closer to $200USD and is rated at 75WPC into 4ohms.
Hope this helped,
Arvind Kohli

It's been sometime since my last confession. I still have the Gallo 3.1 an have been running them with Mapleshade's Scott 222c. Sounded pretty special when it first arrived (still lean but...sweet....pretty nice). Then the Scott started blowing tubes and as I bought it second hand I didn't have the 'specs' from Mapleshade to order the correctly matched replacement tubes.
I really wish Pierre would make a note of those or at least write it on a tag and stick it on the amp. Spending $200+ to send an amp across North America to have tubes matched and installed seemed silly so....I found a reputable tube guy here in BC and gave it to him. He flipped. "Why was there no cover on the bottom of this amp....there old resistors sitting 'on' the maple planks Pierre screwed to the base? " "Why is the connection for the new power cord (ie 2 marettes) on the outside of the cover?"
Why have none of the caps been changed in a 50 year old 'upgraded' amp?" "Why is the original active preamp that was bypassed still 'live'?" He said if he worked on the unit there are some 'safety' things he'd have to do before he released it. He stuck a mish mash of tubes in the output slots just to make it play and gave it back....uuugh! I bought a pair of B&W 640i at a second hand store here for $300 and when I got the Scott back compared it to the Gallo.
Bare in the mind the Scott just isn't at it's best. The B&W is not as refined....a bit harsh on top end compared to the Gallos but much more 'alive and transparent' than the Gallos and with more bass weight. The Gallos sound poised and refined but 'inhibited' and veiled compared to the B&W. Think Pink vs Nana Mouskouri. They both sound thin through the mid bass (my main beef with the sound) that's probably something upstream....DAC 1....Kimber Silver or 8TC?
Can't say I like either and now I'm stumped as to what to do with this Scott...fix it or sell it. I'm really itching to try a Dynaudio 1.3se. It's supposed to be faster and more refined than the 1.3mk2. Ever heard it?
I'm almost ready to buy a denon receiver and a set of Orb Sats with sub just to get off the audio carousel for a while.
Are you still running the 1.3 with the Cayin?
Neil - E-mail: neilwrob (at)

Hey Neil,
I can provide some insight into Pierre's philosophy that may help make sense of a few of the things the repair man had issues with. For one, Pierre believes to eliminate all covers, plates, cases, etc as to eliminate anything that may vibrate/resonate. Pierre also believes that maple planks are vibration sinks, so anything that will inherently vibrate should be placed on maple planks as much as possible. I am not vouching for these philosophies or knocking them, since I have not tested them. I do agree that he should provide more detail on the types of tubes included, and disconnected the preamp section and changed the caps.
The only B&W I have ever tested was the 805N, and was not impressed for the price point although it is very nice in absolute terms. In general, metal tweeters sooner or later wear on me.
I have no experience with the Dyn 1.3 SE, but I still have the 1.3 MkII and the Cayin and am still very happy with them, and have not been able to find a satisfactory upgrade for the speakers yet.
Arvind Kohli

[ 01/2000 | 02/2000 | 03/2000 | 04/2000 | 05/2000 | 06/2000 | 08/2000 | 09/2000 | 10/2000 | 11/2000 | 12/2000 | 01/2001 | 02/2001 | 03/2001 | 04/2001 | 05/2001 | 06/2001 | 07/2001 | 08/2001 | 09/2001 | 10/2001 | 11/2001 | 12/2001 | 01/2002 | 02/2002 | 03/2002 | 04/2002 | 05/2002 | 06/2002 | 07/2002 | 09/2002 | 10/2002 | 11/2002 | 12/2002 | 01/2003 | 02/2003 | 03/2003 | 04/2003 | 05/2003 | 06/2003 | 07/2003 | 09/2003 | 10/2003 | 11/2003 | 12/2003 | 1/2004 | 2/2004 | 3/2004 | 4/2004 | 5/2004 | 6/2004 | 7/2004 | 9/2004 | 10/2004 | 11/2004 | 12/2004 | 1/2005 | 2/2005 | 3/2005 | 4/2005 | 5/2005 | 6/2005 | 7/2005 | 9/2005 | 10/2005 | 11/2005 | 12/2005 | 1/2006 | 2/2006 | 3/2006 | 4/2006 | 5/2006 | 6/2006 | 7/2006 | 9/2006 | 10/2006 | 11/2006 | 12/2006 | 1/2007 | 2/2007 | 3/2007 | 4/2007 | 5/2007 | 6/2007 | 7/2007 | 9/2007 | 10/2007 | 11/2007 | 12/2007 | 1/2008 | 2/2008 | 3/2008 | 4/2008 | 5/2008 | 6/2008 | 9/2008 | 10/2008 | 11/2008 | 12/2008 | 01/2009 | 02/2009 | 03/2009 | 04/2009 | 05/2009 | 06/2009 | 07/2009 | 09/2009 | 10/2009 | 11/2009 | 12/2009 | 01/2010 | 02/2010 | 03/2010 | 04/2010 | 05/2010 | 06/2010 | 07/2010 | 09/2010 | 10/2010 | 11/2010 | 1/2011 | 2/2011 | 3/2011 | 4/2011 | 5/2011 | 6/2011 | 7/2011 | 9/2011 | 10/2011 | 11/2011 | 12/2011 | 01/2012 ]

[ Home | Staff & Contacts | DIY & Tweaks | Listening tests | HiFi Playground | Music & Books ]