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Readers' Corner - January 2002

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Shark Opal Reference Interconnect
Hi Lucio,
in your August 2001 Letter section you published an email from Phil Flint recommending the use of A/V Signal cable - Shark (Maplin code FN74R) as an interconnect cable.
I purchased this recently and find that it is made up of just 1 multistranded copper conductor. Do you have thoughs how Mr.Flint intended this cable to be used? I thought each Phono plug required 2 conductors? I will probably purchase the IBM Cat 6 cable that you recommended for your Piano 6/1 interconnect.
Just thought that I would let you know to save anyone else making the same mistake - or am I mis-understanding?
Thanks for an excellent web site. It is the first site I go to on a Monday morning.
Regards,
John Bennett - E-mail: Jmbennett@btinternet.com

LC

Dear John,
actually he suggests using TWO conductors. That cable is a coaxial one, so you just need to use the inner conductor for positive and the shield for negative.
Keep us updated!
Lucio Cadeddu

Tube amps comparison
I am considering purchasing either the Antique Sound Labs AQ1007 or the Zen SE84B tube amplifier. I have Klipsch Heresy II speakers. It appears by your reviews that both amplifiers are very good. I would like your opinion as to which of these two amplifiers you prefer and if you have any recommendations as to any other preferred tube amplifiers in the $ 500 to $ 2500 range.
Ear bleeding volume is not a priority. The quality of the music is. Did either of these two amplifiers produce audible hum or noise?
Regards,
Rick Waldhaus - E-mail: rickw@crownisle.com

RG
Hello, Rick,
I have to say that, other than both being tube amps, there is absolutely nothing in common between these two.
The SE84C (it has superceded the SE84B) is a 1.8 watt per channel, single-ended triode amplifier that uses one power pentode tube wired in triode mode per channel. It has very little power, but a very clean and detailed sound.
The Antique Sound Labs AQ1007 is a 22-wpc stereo amplifier that uses four triode tubes set up for push-pull operation. This amp would have over 10 times the power of the SE84C, but it is push-pull and would sound different. The power tubes in this amp are notoriously expensive.
Generally, push-pulls are less detailed, but provide much more *slam* to the music. Sound is more visceral when driven by that much more power.

The Klipsch Heresy II has a sensitivity rating of 96dB/1w/1m. This is sensitive enough for the SE84C - and will produce much higher volume than you would guess. As for the AQ1007, it will produce earsplitting volume with the Heresy speakers.

I am partial to the detailed and very musical sound output of single-ended triode amplifiers. Push pulls can be very nice - I have an old Dynaco ST70 that is a joy to listen to. But, I prefer the sound of my Zen amps. My Zen amps emit a very light hum - if you placed your ear next to the speaker with everything on you could hear it. It would be more audible with your Heresies as my speakers are only 94dB efficient. But, I can't hear it more than a foot away from the speakers. I don't know about the AQ1007 but it should be fairly quiet.
As to what amplifier I would buy if I were in the market for one right now in that price range - no question. My favorite affordable amp that I have heard recently is made by Fi - it is the Fi X amplifier. The Fi X is a single-ended triode amplifier with 3 watts per channel that uses 2A3 triode tubes.
I can't make a direct comparison between the Fi X and the AQ1007 - but the Fi X is just about as detailed as the Zen amp, and more lush sounding - compared to the Zen's drier and more analytical sound. It is simply a wonderful amplifier that will play music as long as you want to listen - but it has a very unconventional appearance.
Regards,
Richard George

Help Please
Hello from Tokyo.
Scott,
I'm trying to pick a tubed-CD player to add to my system and I'm basically down to the AH! Njoe Tjoeb 4000 and the Norh CD-1. (Like I had any other choices is that price range!)

They're within $100 or so of each other, so price isn't necessarily the biggest issue. Quality of sound is. The rest of my system is solid state, so this would be my first use of tubes. (I'm looking to add some warmth without getting muddy bass.)

Which player has the edge? Obviously there's a taste issue here, but I've read a bunch of your reviews and can sorta see where you're coming from, so I'd really like your opinion.
Also: I'm in the process of upgrading my entire system piece by piece. Speakers come next. I'm thinking about some Sonus Faber Grand Pianos. What else do you think can compete with those speakers in that price range?
Thanks,
Dave Rudolph - E-mail: dhrudolph@japan.email.ne.jp

SF
Hi there Dave from Tokyo,
Well, adding tubes to a solid state system, you are making a step in the right direction (IMO). Quite personally, I think the best sound reproduction lies in combination of the two approaches (tubed pre and CD, solid state amps).
As for your choices in CD players I can attest to the Tjoeb, but my comments are only speculation regarding the nOhr because I've not had the occasion to hear one (so take what I say with a grain of salt).
Comparing the physical differences, both seem to be rather stylish, the nOrh maybe having a bit of the edge with the brushed aluminum face depending on your tastes and the finish of your other equipment.
When we look under the bonnet there is a bit more to consider. When you look at the Njoe, the DAC is housed on a tightly packed circuit board that is far closer to point to point wiring than the nOrh. Looking at nOrh, the circuit path's are quite long. I'd have to believe that that plays an effect in the quality of the sound, just a guess, but it's a pretty good likelyhood.
Examining a bit further, the Tjoeb seems (I say seems because I haven't examined the nOrh) to have a far more substantial power supply section. Again, the Tjoeb allows some flexability for the die hard tweaker. The dual mono opamps are easily exchangable via the gold plated sockets provided. It is (generally) accepted that the 6922 is a better tube than the 12AX7 though a discussion of this could lead to a flame war all by itself :-) The Tjoeb has a muting circuit to eliminate the "click" between tracks, Richard mentioned that the nOrh still has that "click". The Tjoeb also has couple of nice factory tweaks. The stock AC noise killer is nice especially if you don't have a line filter in your system. The Shoes and Direkt power cord are a very nice upgrade.

Speaking of tweaking, one of the only drawbacks to the Tjoeb that I have found is the case. It is a bit thin BUT when you recieve it (assuming you buy one) you must remove the cover and install the tubes as they ship separately. At that time you can dampen the casing with bitumen sheets, sorbothane or rope caulk. All in all very easy and economical tweak.
Herman is about to introduce a 24/192 upgrade board for the Njoe Tjoeb. This can be easily retrofitted to the 4000. He has not announced the price yet. I get the impression that it will be commercially availible within a month or two. The ability to upgrade (to me anyway) without having to sell your machine is important. That was the major factor in my purchase of my Arcam (then) 7se.
Unfortunately, detailed information on the nOrh's parts and design rationale used aren't availible that I have found (ie, capacitor brands, power supply storage in uF, tranformer ratings, tube socket quality and the like). When Richard did his comparisons, he used a comparably priced CD player where I used one that is well respected and cost more than twice the AH! product (for what that's worth).
If I had to make a blind pick between the two units (AH! and nOrh), I would go for the AH!, simply for the reasons I stated above. After living with the AH! for some time now, it continues to become smoother with each play. Again, take all this with a grain of salt. I have never listened to the nOrh.

Now, speakers. Considering your budget (between $2200 and $3500 USD), you have literally tons of speakers to choose from. I have not had the pleasure of listening to the Sonus Faber line. Unfortunately, I don't have a local dealer.
Speakers are a very personal thing but some items are (somewhat) universal. If you primarily listen to classical and (relaxed) acoustic music, speakers that sound similar to a B&W would be in order. If you are a rock and roll and like more "upbeat" music something along the order of a DynAudio would fit the bill.
The primary difference between the two is best analagized this way. A DynAudio is like sitting in the front row of a kick ass rock concert where a B&W is like sitting in the 25th row of your local symphony hall.
I personally favor the Dyn's. They rate really high in the "boogie factor" department for me. Keeping that in mind, there are several speakers that can fit that bill. Obvoiusly the Dyn's, they have several in your budget range. They are extremely well built and have great sound. The Revel and Ruark lines have a very similar sound and have several offerings in that price range.
For something in between the two sounds, try Vandersteens. Richard has developed a line of speakers that sound really good. These are rather large in stature but you will be surprized when you hear them. Very nice speakers.
Keeping in the same genre of in between, have you ever listened to a set of Logans or Maggie's? If (and I say if) you have the floor space these are simply stunning. Ribbons, electrostats and planars need plenty of back space to "breath" and image correctly. When (and if) you provide that, these speakers are simply awesome. One downfall to these is bass reproduction. The Logans incorporate a ported woofer where the Magnapans don't. Both of these are well worth a listen.
When it comes to that very "polite" sound of a B&W, I'm afraid I can't be of much help. I personally don't care for the sound so I tend to stay away from it. I guess I've just spent too much time in the front row :-)
Hope that helps.
Best Regards,
Scott Faller

Maggies?
Dear Lucio
being a relative newcomer to your website, I may have missed this. However, given that Magnepan speakers offer much in the way of the best of both conventional and electrostatic speakers, and come in a wide range of prices, why have none been evaluated by TNT? (At least none turned up by your search engine).
I am the owner of a pair of MMGs. While I have not listened to every speaker in this price range, I have listened to quite a few, and I don't think that any compare to the Maggies in terms of a neutral yet accurate sound. I'd appreciate your thoughts.
Thanks and Best Regards
Tom Novicki
Kirkland, Washington
USA - E-mail: tnovicki@surfbest.net

LC
Dear Tom,
the reason why we have never tested Maggies is the same that applies for other brands/products: the manufacturer and/or local distributors haven't sent us a sample to review. We would be mostly happy to test Magneplanar speakers, so if someone in the know is reading this...please drop us a note.
Currently we have loads of things waiting for a review, so we no longer ask the manufacturers for samples. If they are interested in being featured on TNT-Audio...they should contact us directly.
Lucio Cadeddu

Speaker cables
Dear Lucio,
First of all, congratulation for your superb WEB site. I did a lot of research on the WEB on home made speaker cables and interconnect. Your site beat anything I have found.

After having spent the weekend reading all the articles on cables, I have restricted my choice to the following cables: TNT Triple T, FFRC and the Star. How do they rate against each other? What is the best and the second best? I will probably make two of them to compare.
My current system is a Classe 150 Watts integrated amp which is quite stable and will likely upgrade my speakers to B&W Matrix (used) or Nautilus. Thank you.
Alain Letendre
Gatineau, Quebec, Canada
E-mail: Letendre.Alain@ic.gc.ca

LC
Dear Alain,
the TNT Star is a very entry-level cable, well suited for the absolute beginner (in terms of DIYing). Also, it is the cable that causes less problems to amplifiers, since it is a low capacity/low inductance design. Not so the FFRC and the Triple T which sound better than the Star but, due to high capacitance, may be unwelcomed by certain amplifiers. This is not the case of your Classé, which is certainly able to drive even the trickiest of loads.
So build the FFRC and the Triple T and let us know your findings.
Lucio Cadeddu

Beaks tweaks
Hi Lucio
Whilst reading last weeks selected letters I was reminded why I had bought a load of chrome plated conical plumbobs some time ago, so I actually got around to trying them on my speakers.
System is STD305/Rega RB300/Goldring 1012, Pioneer A400, and Mission 753 connected with FFRCs. I put the cones on whilst listening to Vivaldi - The Four Seasons and was amazed how they brought out the harpsicord, then tried with LA Woman LP - the Doors, cymbals were more metallic and mid range more defined. I used two on each speaker - outer front corners and inner back corners.
The plumbobs cost less than 1.00 each and are made by Black Spur in UK.
Regards
Malcolm Coulson - E-mail: malcolm.coulson@ntlworld.com

LC
Dear Malcolm,
the conical shape certainly has something to do with the performance of the "beak" but, as underlined in another letter here, the resonant inner cavity helps a lot. So, if you can, try to find some plumbobs with a cavity or CNC-machine it :-))))
Lucio Cadeddu

Previous weeks letters

CD Cork
Hello,
could I suggest that instead of TNT CD Cork you could try a ready-made cd "label". These are made for labelling blank cd-r's and are therefore cut exactly to size already!
Some are paper, but some are vinyl which might give better damping?
If they came as clear plastic then you could still read the label I do not know if they would damp things down as well as your cork but they would be much easier...if a bit more expensive!
Yours,
Mike Hargaden - E-mail: MICHAEL.HARGADEN@BT.COM

LC
Dear Mike,
thanks for the tip. Cork works better than vinyl for two reasons: it is softer, proportionally lighter and, most of all, it is ANTISTATIC.
Lucio Cadeddu

Depression and despair
Dear Lucio,
I was very pleased to stumble onto your excellent audio web site. In the crowded jungle of advertising and hype hype hype it has been refreshing to find a group with their feet on the ground and heads in the music. For me the equipment has always been something I have to endure to make the music possible. Thank you.

That said, I feel that I have so many limitations placed on me that it is very difficult to get great sounding music. I feel condemned to a life of sound and noise rather than real music. Let me please explain. Then any comments you may wish to share with me will be appreciated.

(1) My listening room is my restaurant, actually the dining room. The music plays from about 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM six days a week. I work there on and off all days and nights. The "music" is for the benefit of my customers, but I am the one who listens to it for hours on end every day (by the way I tried to pay "experts" to help me with the sound system but I am located about 80km from a major city and it was just too much trouble for them).
The room is about 12m long and about 7m wide. Ceilings about 3.6m. Three of the walls are hewn limestone blocks with lots of texture, the fourth wall has wood paneling below.
All walls have doors and / or windows. The ceiling has joists extending down 30cm, every every 40cm or so. Then there are 12 wooden and marble top tables and 40 wooden chairs. At one end of the room is a 5.5 m wood back bar which goes to the ceiling. In front of that is a wooden front bar (you can see better on my web site www.brewerycreek.com).
It is an interesting room acoustically. There may be from 10 to 60 people in this little room.

(2) The "best" place I have found to place speakers is in the gap between the end of the back bar and the walls, they are almost boxed in, but there is no place else where customers or employees won't trip over them. I am hanging then by chains from the ceiling (groan) so that the sound can get over the front bar.

(3) The speakers must be on each end of the bar, 5.5m apart and only 30cm from the walls so only a small part of the room can even hear both. Those of us working behind the bar never hear both.

(4) The equipment has to be placed under a stairway next to the bar which means the speaker wires must be nearly 11m long.

(5) My audio source must be a CD "mega changer" holding all the CDS available because the staff can't take time away from work to be selecting and changing discs. Also I don't trust them to make the correct music selections for the customers, and not destroy the CDS (the staff are mostly 18 to 20 years of age).

(6) The equipment I have been using is mostly throw away consumer stuff I find cheap because it gets abused and I have been reluctant to spend much money until I can figure out how to deal with my limitations.
An old Mitsubishi amp was replaced by an older Hitachi amp that has been replaced by a Pioneer something or other I picked up at an auction for about $20. The CD changer is a Sony that holds 200 discs, but after running constantly for 2 years doesn't always track too well so I plan top replace it with a 400 CD changer in the ES line. (I also have a single disc Rotel connected which I use when I am alone there).
The 86 dB speakers, Energy Pro20, weren't bad when I bought maybe 10 years ago. Interconnects? Cables? All junk.
About a month ago I woke up and realized that even if I don't exactly know what to do about the major components I can at least replace the lamp cord, that was posing as speaker cable (different length R and L, even splices I hate to admit). I decided to make my own, and found your site.

The music we play is jazz, lots of vocals, some new age, acoustic, blues, cajun and zydeco, some classical. I am also partial to anything with accordion. When alone I prefer opera. I would love to have enough clarity and definition in the sound system to be able to hear everything going on in the recording and still be at low enough volume for customers and myself to talk with one another. So I have been researching tube amps and sensitive speakers.

I know I have to stop feeling sorry or myself and get this fixed. Any input will be appreciated.
Thanks again for the great site.
Ciao
Jeff Donaghue - E-mail: brewpub@mhtc.net

LC
Dear Jeff,
since you need something ultra-reliable, that will last for years working 12 hours a day - 6 days a week or so, I'd stay away from tubes. After all, there are excellent solid state amps that can give tube amps a run for their money...plus they are 1) far more reliable 2) sturdier 3) built to last 20 years or so.
In the end, you just need a good solid state amp. You have plenty of models to choose, it mainly depends on your budget. If you're looking for tube-like sound you may find the Audio Analogue Puccini (or Puccini SE) a good choice. Even NAD and AMC make pretty warm sounding stuff.
As for speakers, look no further than Klipsch. They have a wide range of high-sensitivity loudspeakers, even of the bookshelf kind you may need. For example the SB-2 or SB-3 models (93 and 94 dB/w/m, respectively), these are inexpensive and damn good sounding.
For cables, use our recipes. Finally, one note about the CD changer. Perhaps yours needs just a cleaning session for the laser lens, use one of those cleaning CDs, from Allsop, for example.
Keep me updated!
Lucio Cadeddu

Speakers wanted...
I studied your very interesting homepage and after some more evaluation I bought a Rotel RA 1210 Amplifier and a Pioneer PD-206 CD-Player for EUR 150. I think these should give a pretty nice sound, don't you think so?
Now I am looking for decent loudspeakers which are the most important components. What would you recommend? The loudspeaker market seams a bit complex to me! I was even thinking of a diy-kit like the Mivoc sb 180 (www.speakertrade.com) or the Audax Kit Pro 13 TI (www.audax-speaker.de).
Thanks a lot for your advice
Duri Koenz - E-mail: Duri.Koenz@afw.gr.ch

LC
Dear Duri,
it mainly depends on your budget and your room. If you don't specify these, I can't help. If you're into DIY you may give our TNT Nues floorstanders a try. Otherwise, try the IPL kits.
As for commercial finished stuff, I'd try to go out and listen. Decide how much to spend and start listening around. When you'll find 3 or 4 candidates, contact me again and we'll try to sort out a possible best choice.
Keep me updated!
Lucio Cadeddu

Amp upgrade
Hi Lucio,
I have the following system:

I have been reading your articles (by the way great web site) I would like to find out... have you ever converted single feed speakers to Bi-wire? If you have could you give me a starting point in trying to convert mine, could I use the existing cross over and change the windinds on them to suite the bi-wire config?
I do not know if this is possible?
If not I shall try to improve my speakers with your tips and make new speaker cables.
I am finding them very flat and would like to try to improve them.
Have you ever tested the cd and amp combination before. If yes what speakers did you use??
Thanks
Tim Fradd - E-mail: timothy.fradd@ntlworld.com

LC
Dear Tim,
it is possible to make biwireable a monowired crossover though I do not recommend it, especially on budget speakers. Using a better speaker cable (instead of two less expensive ones) should bring a bigger upgrade. Secondly, selling a modified speaker in the second-hand market will be a nightmare. If you are not satisfied with the performance of your NAD 800, sell them and buy something better (second-hand).
The NAD electronics you own are very dynamic, so there must be other reasons for the "flat" sound you get. Perhaps the speakers aren't properly positioned into your listening room or you just need to try some tweak. Apply any tweak you want, except those that are "visible".
Better cables should be the first step, choose our FFRC, Triple T or Piano 6 to start.
Keep me updated!
Lucio Cadeddu

Mains filter
Hi, can you double up on those mains filters...use two in line or is one good enough? I tried one today on my 1985 CD player (Copland 289): excellent result, more open, cleaner. Is there any more tips you can recommend?
Thanks again
John - E-mail: WWWCALCLAIRE@aol.com

LC
Dear John,
doubling filters can result in an overkill. You can try...but I wouldn't recommend this UNLESS your mains supply has serious problems. Other tips? A good mains cable (like our DIY TTS) can simply make wonders :-) and will cost few dollars and a couple of hours of work.
Lucio Cadeddu

Totem beak
Dear Lucio,
This is regarding the Totem Beak tweak as discussed with Rob Turkington in the December 2000 issue of the TNT Readers' Corner section.
. I got the beaks made with aluminium and tried them in the top of my Cadence Diva speakers.
They are amazing. There is no perceptible vibration when you touch the top of the speakers - but once placing the beaks, you can feel the vibrations from the devices. I think that the countersunk cavities under the beaks act as resonators.
The effects are no short of amazing. The soundstage becomes deeper and wider and the instrument seperation increase. One can hear the layering of instruments.
Thank you for your inputs - since you were the first to suggest that they were kind of resonators.
Keep up the good work and thanks for a great on-line magazine.
Best regards,
D. Datta (Calcutta, India) - E-mail: Debopriyo.Datta@hpl.co.in

LC
Dear reader,
thanks for the precious feedback!
There are so many tweaks to try here at TNT-Audio...up to you to choose the next one :-)
Lucio Cadeddu

Second hand HiFi buying giude
Hi Geoff
Just wanted to say a big THANKYOU for your HiFi Buying Articles on TNT. Up to about a year ago I had an oldish system (that I had bought new in early 80s) of AR Legend with Linn Akito (it was terrible on it the LVV it replaced was much better), Rotel RB820B and Heybrook HB1s on Linn Kan stands.
I then decided to build up a second system for my study and came across your articles - now after much buying and selling of components I have two very nice systems:

Lounge - STD305D (as far as I am concerned this kills LP12s) with RB300 (tungsten weight) and Goldring G1012, Pioneer A400 and Mission 753 (just purchased today).
You were spot on about the A400 with 753 - beautiful.

Study - LP12 with RB250 (rb300 stub and tungsten weight fitted - not quite OL but it really does make a diference) and AT 30E MC, Musical Fidelity A1 and Tannoy Mercury M2s.
Both systems are connected with CAT5 based cables. Neither of these systems cost much more than 350 and that's not allowing for the money I got back on the old system (over 300) - can't sell the HB1s though as the cone foam surround went rotten and one of my greyhounds tails demolished it.
The advice you gave in the articles was some of the best regarding HiFi I have ever received - many thanks again.
P.S. you might be interested in this turntable mat I made, if you think it is good enough I am happy for it to be put on TNT: http://www.audioasylum.com/audio/vinyl/messages/100610.html
Malcolm Coulson - E-mail: malcolm.coulson@ntlworld.com

GH
Hi Malcolm
Many thanks for the kind words and I'm pleased that it spurred you greater things. At a time when most people spend 300 on a cheap mini-rack system and then don't use it, it's gratifying that some people approach the "high-end" for much the same money. Of course with such bargains about it leaves so much more for records :-)
All the best
Geoff Husband

Sparking Sound
Dear Lucio,
I am using Unison Research Simply 4 Triode Valve. I have changed the middle ECC82 recently after my amp produced humming noise. The technician replaced it with a ECC81 instead of 82 cause according to him, ECC82 is out of stock. So my 3 pre-amp valves are 82, 81 (in the middle) and 82. Which he says is O.K., no damaging will be done to my amp.

I did not find anything wrong with it so far. My amp sounds louder than before but what worries me is the little sparking sound like "Tick-Ting" after switching it on (need to put the ears close to speaker to hear for it) But once the amp is being warm up, the sparking sound disappear. Shutting down as well produces some "electrical sound" that last for 2 seconds after the power is off (pretty loud).
Could you please advice what should I do???
Thanks.
GOH - E-mail: gohyp@pd.jaring.my

LC
Dear Goh,
line level tubes like ECC 82 and 83 are easily available, both brand new and New Old Stock (NOS) so your technician isn't telling the whole truth. I'd search for the original tubes (contact Unison Research, eventually) and, in the meanwhile, I wouldn't be too concerned with the ticking sound.
Lucio Cadeddu

Amp upgrade
Hello,
my system consists of:

I'm ready to invest in a new (or used) amp (appears to be the weakest link). I have audioned the Puccini SE and was ready to try the Rega Mira and Arcam A75/A85. But I was suggested that I needed something more "powerful" (because of the KEF's bass radiator) like the Bellini/Donizetti (2*Mono). I have heard the combo Bellini/Donizetti (on a pair of Nautilus...don't remember which one) and yes it's better than the Puccini SE.
But is worth to make the extra investment since I don't intend to change the speakers...Also could I use the NAKA as preamp with the a pair of Donizetti as power amps (I'd would add a better preamp later)? Or do you have any other suggestion for a significant upgrade in the amp section?
Many thanks
Olivier Plancq - E-mail: oplancq@hotmail.com

LC
Dear Olivier,
if you can afford the Bellini + Donizetti combo, go for it! If you can't afford the pair, you can still use - in the meanwhile - the preamp section of your receiver and then upgrade this later. Please remember that "power" isn't everything. Much of the "finesse" of the sound is given by the preamp section.
Keep me updated!
Lucio Cadeddu

Budget floorstanders choice
Hi sir,
which of these floorstanders would sound best with my NAD combo (C370 Int amp & C541 CD) in my 16'x15'x9' room?
I have a 1m of Straightwire Chorus interconnect with Qed 25th Anniversary Silver Edition speaker cables.
I listen mainly to electronic music, rock and jazz.
Mission M73, Polk Audio Rt600i, Monitor Audio Bronze 3, Tannoy Mx3 or JBL xTI 20?
Thanks!
Christian Savoie - E-mail: christian.savoie@bell-nordic.com

LC
Dear Christian,
first of all, I hope you have the possibility to audition all those speakers, it should be the best way to choose following your personal taste. Consider the Polk Audio RT 600i and the Tannoy MX3 are quite neutral sounding, the Monitor Audio and the JBL are slightly brighter and the Mission a bit of the "loudness" kind. Your NAD combo is slightly warm sounding...so the choice mainly depends on which kind of "equilibrium" you wish to achieve and/or on the tonal balance of your room.
Keep me updated!
Lucio Cadeddu

Amp advice needed!
Dear Lucio,
I'm trying to build a decent budget HiFi system so I recently bought a pair of Avance Omega 501 loudspeakers and a Marantz CD4000 player..I haven't bought an amplifier yet (I've borrowed a NAD C302 from a friend) so I'm trying to decide which one would give me the best value for my money..I've made a shortlist of 3 integrated amps and I would really like to hear your opinion. The amplifiers are:

Which one do you think I should go for?? Please keep in mind that my speaker's strong points are their mid (especially) and higher ranges - lacking somewhat in bass. You could say they have a "tube" like sound...
Since I like the way the C302 works with the rest of my components, do you think I should play safe and just buy one of the newer models of NAD I mentioned above?
I can also get my hands on good custom-made amps from a friend at a very good price (almost only building cost). Do you think this solution could give me better value for money??
Of course I'm on the lookout for a good second-hand buy as well - I was hoping to get my hands on a Rega Mira or a MF X-A2 or something like that - but I haven't come up with anything good yet.
I would really appreciate it if you could give me a hand because I'm a bit confused and also very eager to spend the -little- money I have left!!
Thank you for your time.
Best regards,
Kostas Fissarakis - E-mail: shaman_82@hotmail.com

LC
Dear Kostas,
I can't say anything about your friend's custom-built amps...they could be a bargain or a waste of money. Consider that stuff like that tends to become heavy iron pretty soon, in the sense that you'll never be able to sell it second-hand.
In my opinion, the best choice for your needs would be the NAD C320 or 340, better if bought second-hand...so you can save money for discs :-)))
These are warm-sounding units that can give your speakers that kick in the bass range they seem to need.
Hope this helps,
Lucio Cadeddu

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