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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January 2013

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Re: Dayton troubles
Thx. for replying on your website. Unfortunatelly I had to trash DTA-100a...it started to produce high frequency noise when turned on and my warranty was not valid anymore (I had it for 1.5-2 years). I think this amp is manufactured very badly (many users on forums confirm that) and many users reported similar problems. However it is not a cheap amp, I payed it about 90$. Well, in the meantime I ordered some uknown mini amp called BIG ANT from ebay for 50$. I just hope it will last longer then this one.
Regards,
Pero - E-mail: orcalator (at) gmail.com

LC
Dear Pero,
I wouldn't dare to call expensive an amplifier that costs 90$ and puts out nearly 30 watts of high quality sound, like the DTA100 does. Perhaps quality control isn't good enough, this would explain why there have been so many failures. Eventually keep us updated RE: the BIG ANT amp you've just purchased :-)
Lucio Cadeddu

Zu Audio Essence
Arvind We've not met, but I wanted to thank you for your superb review of this loudspeaker. I've studied extensively with Ustad Imrat Khan and listen to ICM almost exclusively. I was leaning toward the Essence to begin with, but then I saw that you had auditioned them using a recording of Darbari by Shahid Parvez Khan Sahib! So, yesterday, I ordered one of the last pairs that Zu made (second to the last serial number). I don't have them yet.
Will be using a Decware Zen Triode to power them, which I hope is enough for moderate listening levels.
Thanks again for your review.
Carl - E-mail: crowley (at) thompsoncoburn.com

AK
Hello Carl,
I'm glad you found the review useful, and have decided to buy a pair. Please do keep in mind the caveat I mention in my review about metal tweeters - I have never been able to live with them on a long term basis, but it seems to be ideal for many others. It seems to be a personal preference thing.
The Shahid Parvez recording I mentioned in the review is perhaps the best ICM recording I have ever heard, but unfortunately I don't think it is available for sale anymore. Slightly related, the Real World recording of Nusrat Ali Fateh Khan's "Shahenshah" is also an outstanding recording, as are all the Waterlily recordings.
I have seen Shahid Parvez in concert once, and have to admit that I got overloaded even before he finished the 'aalap' on each piece that evening.
Arvind Kohli

Amplifier choice
Hello Nick,
I'm sorry to bother you but I was wanting your advice regarding two products that you've reviewed. If this is something that you're not prepared to do, perhaps because it compromises your position as reviewer, I would fully understand but it would be great if you could just send me a short email to that effect.
I have fairly recently purchased a pair of Decware ERR speakers - http://www.decware.com/newsite/ERR.html - and am looking for an amp to go with them. They're very efficient (93dB) and are used in a very small room (but one that's dedicated to the hi-fi). The obvious candidate would be one of Decware's own tube amps but my budget since purchasing the ERRs has become more limited and I'm looking for cheaper alternatives.
The two products I am considering are the Temple Audio Bantam Gold and the MiniWatt N3. I guess they couldn't be more different in terms of specs etc. but they appeal in different ways.
The appeal of the Bantam Gold is the valve-like quality some people attribute to such amps (?) plus the fact that it's UK-built, efficient and upgradeable with a linear or battery power supply.
The appeal of the MiniWatt is that it's potentially a natural combination with the ERRs given that its power limitations shouldn't be a problem.
Any insights you could offer me as to the respective merits of these two would be much appreciated!
Best regards,
David - E-mail: davidhardy18 (at) talktalk.net

NW
Hi David,
With such efficient speakers in a smallish room, almost any amplifier should be able to drive them sufficiently, and I suspect that both the Bantam and Miniwatt will work well with them.
I would recommend a tube stage before the Bantam, and as the Miniwatt has very low gain, you may require a gain stage before that. Unfortunately the only way to know is to try them in your room and see how loud the system goes. But both amps are very good, and I doubt you would be disappointed with either.
Regards,
Nick Whetstone

External size of the PGA 2311
Hi Mr. Norman,
please can you tell me the external size of the PGA 2311 preamplifier?
Thank you & best regards,
Roberto - E-mail: roby.ferracini (at) fastwebnet.it

AN
Mine is 16.5cm wide, 7cm tall and 24cm deep (excluding volume control that protrudes a couple more cm at the front) - but remember that there are many manufacturers making these up from kits so you'd need to check with the advertiser.
Kind regards,
Andy Norman

Dayton troubles
Hello,
I found your review of DTA-100a amp and find it quite useful. I bought DTA-100a year ago and i was using it without problems but some days ago problems started. When I turn on amp LED diod is not shining in full strength (it looks like it's dimmed) and there is no output from amp. Sometimes, after some time (maybe when it warms up a bit, i'm not sure) LED diode gets bright and sound output can be heard. Then it works fine, but the next day same story. I wanted to ask if you maybe know what could be the problem and is there a way to repair it or i will need to trash it? Thank you very much for help!
Regards,
Pero - E-mail: orcalator (at) gmail.com

LC
Dear Pero,
this is a very strange behaviour indeed! Never heard of such weird things occourring to other Dayton owners...
It seems like there's some internal protection that switches on and off erratically. I'd check all the connections (in/out) and contact the Dayton technical support to let 'em know what's happening. Perhaps it is a well-known bug, who knows?
If the warranty is still operative, I'd eventually ask for a replacement unit.
Keep me updated!
Lucio Cadeddu

Aktimate connections
Dear Andy,
I just read your review of the Aktimate Maxi's. Is it not possible to connect these to a PC with a USB cable?
If you can let me know how to connect them to my desktop I'd appreciate it. I have a xonar d2x card in it which has:

Thanks,
Simon - E-mail: johnwck90 (at) yahoo.co.uk

AN
Hi Simon,
unless they've redesigned it since I reviewed then that's right - it is not possible. It has a USB socket but that just takes a memory stick to play MP3s - you cannot connect a PC. It struck me at the time as a surprising omission.
Should sound fine using the mini-jack I think the DAC on the Xonar is at least the equal of whatever is in the Aktimate. I can't remember if the Aktimates have a single jack input if not, then you'll need to get a Y-cable that splits a stereo jack to two mono RCA connectors. They're readily available from Maplin or similar stores. If you find that connection is noisy, try a better shielded cable or rerouting the cable away from other electronics.
Otherwise check it's not the card itself (e.g. by seeing if it's OK with headphones). If it is the card it could be worth swapping slots inside the PC.
Good luck with it.
Andy Norman

Amplifier hook up
Dear Editor, I decided earlier this year to try my hand at amplifier building and chose the Elliott Sound Products P101 high power mosfet. I'd be interested in knowing your thoughts on hookup wire guage and type. In looking at some of your previous articles on interconnects, for instance, I found no mention of silver. I've contemplated its use in the amp's signal path but opinions seem to be all over the board, with some concluding that it is often harsh and can take forever to break-in, and others saying it's the cat's meow.
I've enjoyed your power supply tutorial, though I gave up on locating Sikorel here in the U.S. at any reasonable price and instead purchased the Vishay Powerlytics series. I did recently FINALLY locate a source for the Sikorels in Germany. Since I'll be traveling there in the Spring to visit my in-laws I'll make an ample purchase at that time.
With Deepest Thanks,
Ron - E-mail: organics1 (at) msn.com

LC
Dear Ron,
I wouldn't burn the midnight oil deciding which wire to use. Considering the short distances differences are going to be absolutely negligible. Silver is a fine conductor, the best one indeed: it lasts forever and has the best conductivity. The way it sounds depends on geometry, dielectric and...partners, of course. Its bright sound is just another audiophile urban legend. I use pure silver cables that sound refined without being harsh. The bottom line is: use it if it is reasonably priced.
Keep me updated!
Lucio Cadeddu

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