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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July 2013

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Audiophile Linux
Dear TNT-Audio,
Further to Nick Whetstone's recent M2Tech hiFace DAC and particularly the comments regarding Audiophile Linux. Can you report when Nick finally got this working whether the sound was better than Ubunto or any other edition of Linux.
Cheers and thanks for the great site.
Andy - E-mail: andrew.aldridge (at)

Hi Andy,
I only got this working last Saturday and haven't had time to for a good listen yet. So, from memory, I would say that Audiophile Linux does sound a bit better than Ubuntu. It should do in theory as the system is optimised for audio playback - a bit like what JPlay does for Windows computer.
I've also briefly heard Lubuntu with the hiFace, and that sounded perhaps a tad more revealing than Ubuntu. But again, I would need to go back and forward a bit with the same DAC/hi-fi to say all this for sure.
The bottom line is that these are all free, not much work to download and install, and well worth a try.
I'm kind of championing Audiophile Linux because Marko Lerota, the guy behind it is putting so much work into making it work for us. But Lubuntu is supposed to work with very few resources so should be ideal if you have an older computer with not so much RAM and a slower CPU - kind of the opposite to JPlay where we really need to keep the hardware up with the software.
Audiophile Linux should be run on a computer with a not too old CPU (say Core2 Duo onwards) and a minimum 2 gb of RAM.
Again, when I have the time, I hope to go more into this side of computer audio in an article for TNT.
Nick Whetstone

Temple Audio
Dear Nick and TNT,
Thank you so much for getting back to me. And for your advice - that is very kind of you.
Alas - I have good news: Temple Audio is alive and well, so I've now ordered a Bantam Gold - in part based on your review!
Thank you again. I'll let you know how we get one.
Best wishes,
Lisa - E-mail: lisa.lavia (at)

Dear Lisa,
glad to hear Temple Audio is alive and well! It is not an easy task to keep a small Audio Company alive and healthy these days...
We hope you'll enjoy your new amp.
Happy listening,
Lucio Cadeddu

Re: Digital upgrades (now analogue)
Dear Lucio,
thanks for your reply on the Readers' Corner.. that was quite helpful.
I have now purchased a Technics SL23 TT with Audio Technica CN5625AL cart + ProJect Phonobox which you have reviewed here.
That's the very same phonostage I have. I read the review just now.. wish I had read it earlier. I got this at about $50 as I wanted to start my TT journey. I need to improve the sound from the TT and I agree with your views completely in the review. There are 2 things:
Phonostage: Personally I could spend about USD 400 on a phono (something much better than the one I have) but am willing to increase this to USD 400 if this were to content me for the next 3 years.
Cartridge: Here the budget is about USD 125 but lower the better. My music is everything except heavy metal and trance. I don't like boomy chest thumping bass and screechy highs but need a great soundstage depth and focus.
I know I am asking for a lot from a limited budget. I am liking vinyl and am not getting turned on by CD any more.. do I have a problem ??
I am aware I will need to clean and maintain well but I think for me the vinyl and CD must co-exist and that will mean a temporary stop to my Naim CDP but that may not necessarily a bad thing.
May I have your thoughts.. a readers corner response over the weekend would be fine.
Mahesh - E-mail: mpwaran (at)

Dear Makesh,
my opinion is that you should invest more on the cartride than on the phono stage. The ProJect PhonoBox isn't all that bad and, in my opinion, it will sound much better with a higher class cartridge. For example, look for models in the 200/250$ price range from Companies like Ortofon, Grado and Goldring. Your total budget seems to be 525$, subtract 250$ for a better cart and you'll still have almost 300$ for a better phono stage, that you can search browsing the second-hand market, for example. A S/H Lehmann Black Cube would be just perfect.
Hope this helped somehow,
Lucio Cadeddu

Music and maths
Dear Cadeddu,
my name is George, I'm a student of physics and engineering in "St Kliment Ohridski" University in Sofia, Bulgaria. As you probably suppose, I'm a DIY audio enthusiast with great passion for music :-)
I built my first speaker from plywood and 12(!) transducers when I was 14. It was 2 meters tall! Later I built my first amplifier for our classroom at school, and it still works. So this is how it started. Now I'm mostly into headphone listening. I've recently completed my DIY PCM1794 DAC along with a high-performance headphone amp, and I listen to them with great pleasure.
My other passion along with music listening, is musicology. I love classical music, especially Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier books. What surprised me, is that you consider Bach's Goldberg Variations to be strongly math-related, something I've thought about extensively. The Goldbergs are some of my favorite musical pieces, and I've studied them a lot by rewriting and re-arranging. I've also tried to relate some of Bach's fugues to thermodynamic equations when I was 2nd year student and crazier. I did not supposed that someone else thinks of Bach's music this way, I'll be glad to discuss this topic with you.
I don't play the piano very well, and I use my PC with the Ivory Cantabile plug-in(40 Gb of samples!) to write and play notes. I also wrote(not very good) transcriptions to piano for Beethoven's 9th, Mozart's 25th and Bach's Concerto in D minor. I also have several own pieces, but I keep them for myself :)
I want to salute your work on TNT Audio - and the whole staff - you're doing a great job!
I'll be glad to stay in touch and discuss audio and music with the TNT club :)
Many regards,
George - E-mail: gltrenchev (at)

Dear George,
first of all, thanks for your kind words of appreciation. Classical music and maths are related and Bach compositions make no exception. Just type "Bach and golden ratio" or "Bach and Fibonacci numbers" on Google and you'll find many articles, mainly from musician or musicologists (e.g. Michael Radulescu), which deal with this fascinating topic. Many aspects are mainly based on a posteriori analysis as Bach probably ignored all the math these experts talk about :-)
Anyway, it is amazing how one can find such deep relations with music (or art in general) and mathematics. On a recent paper, submitted to a scientific magazine, I've described the relation between certain musical canons and non-orientable surfaces. I'll eventually announce it here when it will be accepted and published.
Happy listening!
Lucio Cadeddu

Digital upgrades
Hi Lucio,
hope you are doing well. I wanted to draw on your experience for the following information:
a friend of mine is in a dilemma. Hhe has an active 2 ch setup of Genelec 8030 speakers and he uses FLAC files from a PC to play audio. Recently he had the chance to audition the Antelope Zodiac Gold for 2 weeks at him home. He was blown away by its sheer magnificence in musicality. Now unfortunately he has returned it back to the dealer as the quoted price was USD 4200. Now that he has tasted what the extreme hifi is...he is desperate in search of a good dac in the USD 1800 range..with a good USB implementation

His music taste is Deep Purple, Ritchie Blackmore.. leaning towards the harder side of rock.
Does anything come to your mind apart from these ?? He will require the DAC to have balanced connectors and have a high resolution too...
Please let me know if you have something in mind.
On another note.. I am looking to change my Marantz SACD 7001 player to a Naim CD5si player .. I am told this will be a good upgrade..and a better match to the Naim Nait 5i which I already have.
Would it be really so to justify USD 1500 on the CDP ??
It's so tempting to have an all Naim system...
Best regards,
Mahesh - E-mail: mpwaran (at)
[Naim CD5X]
Naim CD5X

Dear Makesh,
we positively reviewed the Wyred4Sound DAC 2 you mention, perhaps your friend should try to audition it, if possible. We haven't reviewed the M2Tech Young DAC but, considering our recent reviews of M2Tech gear are all positive, I guess it could be a nice choice as well, certainly worth an audition.
It doesn't offer balanced outputs but this isn't a real problem, your friend can use RCA-->XLR adapters.
As for your CD player upgrade...go for the Naim! Eventually, search for a second-hand model of higher class (e.g. the Naim CD5X we reviewed). I'm pretty sure it will be a real upgrade over your Marantz SACD player. But do not ask me if the upgrade is worth the money! This is one thing that you should judge by yourself. It all depends on what do you expect for such amount of money. Differences that might sound HUGE to someone might appear negligible to someone else! If you already own a Naim Nait 5i amp, the CD5si CD player should be a perfect match.
Hope this helped somehow,
Lucio Cadeddu

Blue Ray High Fidelity Pure Audio
Hi guys,
Blue Ray High Fidelity Pure Audio, you couldn't make it up! I think you've said it all really, another lame excuse by the music industry to sell us more of the same old same old.
Granted there will always be those of us who are willing to spend, spend, spend for that last degree of (insert your own favourite euphemism) that supposedly brings us forever closer to real thing but is it for the masses?
I think not, they tired long ago of being sold the same product time and time again whether it be music or film. Personally I gave that quest up long ago and after various incarnations of T-Amps coming and going following use of things like BBC monitor speakers and Lentek amps I went out and bought stuff from the past and live quite happily and contented with a small set of seventies Sansui gear and pair of Scandyna A-25's.
The only modern pieces are a minidisk recorder for off-air recording and editing and a Project Debut from when they first became popular. Even the Project is due for replacement by a Sansui turntable recently acquired and going thru' the shop.
It's as if somehow we all lost the message (music) whilst concentrating on the messenger (media type) and at the same time played the same demo quality tunes over and over again to convince ourselves just how good was this bright new world we had all bought in to. The only benefactors were the record and music companies who stopped looking for new talent and simply repackaged old farts greatest hits for the umpteenth time!
The end result is to be seen in the paucity of new talent that doesn't come from X-Factor or Britain's Got Talent or the even worse 'The Voice'. No longer do we here talk of the new album or single from our favourite artist, instead the conversation is over their latest tattoo or celebrity boy/girlfriend and whether or not they are seeing someone else on the side. It's as if the music is a by-product, and in many cases it sounds like it to these ears.
I honestly believe that music as I know it is dying and will soon be dead and buried, helped along by the music industry who seem to love fads and bemoan real investment and the nurturing of new real talent. Why bother with that if you can sell yet another download of Dark Side of the Moon or better still a repackaged version in another better, improved whiter than white format that will disappear quicker than sunshine on Skegness beach?
If all that sounds like a rant then, yes it is, but I feel the need to let off steam. And with that done it's nil points and goodbye from the Norwegian jury.
Best regards and keep on reporting,
Gary - E-mail: garyfrancks (at)

Dear Gary,
thanks for the feedback, it is highly appreciated! I'd love to get feedback from the industry (labels, HiFi Companies etc.) as well. This another lame excuse, as you put it, needs to be shared with everyone in the HiFi playground. We can no longer tolerate these attempts to steal the money from our pockets.
As for vintage gear: yes, you are right that it seems we lost the message whilst concentrating on the messenger but even modern HiFi can let music...flow, even better than older gear, in my opinion. But I do understand your point..and congrats on your old Scandyna A25's as they are really good sounding speakers!
You are right that music for the masses is a by-product of something else but it is plenty of new artists and bands out there, talented guys who just can't reach the masses because they don't have access to talent shows and MTV. Just use YouTube or Spotify to search for new stuff, it is amazing to discover so many unknown treasures out there!
Happy listening!
Lucio Cadeddu

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