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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June 2004

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Concrete vs pure stone slab speaker stands
Dear Lucio,
I have just read with considerable interest your article on these stands. Right now I'm trying to figure out what stands would be "right" to use with my Dynaudio Audience 50s: it seems that the heavy pillar type that I'm using right now is sucking something out of the sound.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, I wonder what you think of using a single slab of cut stone (granite is pretty cheap and plentiful) instead of the concrete/marble mix you were talking about? Would the single piece affect the sound in its own way? Would the molecules in a cast stone mixture be organised in a way that would tamper less with the signals?
I suppose before I wander off into gibberish land I'd better stop here.
Let me know what you think. Cheers.
Al - E-mail: ruhayatx (at)

Dear Al,
the only problem that I can see (but I'm _NO_ expert in the field) is that while the mix of marble powder/chalk/concrete _should_ be isotropic, a piece of stone (granite, marble, whatever) should not (or could not). This means vibrations propagate following unpredictable ways through the pillar. I'm not sure this is sonically good or bad but I'd say it's better to be safe than sorry. An isotropic material reacts evenly to vibrations, no surprises :-)
Also, the garden "pillars" I suggested are far cheaper (perhaps uglier?) than marble/granite pillars.
Anyway, choose the one you prefer, either way, you can't go wrong.
Hope this helped,
Lucio Cadeddu

Record cleaning
Dear Sir,
I contact You regarding my problem! I've bought 100 second-hand records (lp) from a friend. He took very good care of those records but as he didn't play those records for almost 15 years, I must clean them. Then I found that almost all the surfaces of these records are opaque. When I listen there is a lot of hum & hisses! When I asked my friend about that he answered me that all records were treated with an antistatic solution, and possibly this solution has created something like a "film" over the records! Records are visually in perfect condition (no scratches), played on (in that time) good turntable THORENS TD 320 with SHURE V15 cartridge!
Can You give me some advise? All of those records are original (for example all JETHRO TULL, all YES....)
Thanks in advance!
Nenad - E-mail: nematehr (at)

Dear Nenad,
antistatic fluids were quite popular in the mid 70s and early 80s. I'm sure everyone remembers the ubiquitous (pun intended) LencoClean fluid. There's just one single thing you should do: WASH those records, following the recipes you can found on this very website. Click here for several home-made recipes and here for a home-made record cleaning machine and commercial fluids tests.
Hope this helped somehow,
Lucio Cadeddu

Front-end upgrade
Hello Geoff,
my system is:

It's about time to change my cart...I was advised to go to MC: Ortofon MC15 is cheap...But my amp is MM only...Means that I need to change/buy a step up...But of course I don't want to spend megabucks on a new pre. We have the new NAD PP2 which has MC input but...So in your opinion, if I go to MC do I need a much better preamp in order to get the benefit...if i's the case I'll probably stay with MM carts...which is ok...I enjoy my LPs but you know how it works...
I mainly listen to pop/rock/blues LP: bough second hand...I also read that MC might be a better fir for jazz/classic lovers...
What do you think?
Thanks much,
Olivier - E-mail: oplancq (at)

Hi Olivier,
Thanks for the mail. Personally I'm not convinced that an MC upgrade is really the best way to go, you'd need a step-up amp such as the Elevator at about £350 and your front end isn't good enough to justify that kind of investment (that+the cart). The PP2 isn't remotely in the league of the Gramamp. A good MM at £100 is as good as a good MC at the same price, don't be seduced by the technology...
A small easy upgrade would be a 1042 stylus change, then spend the rest on records :-) If you want a bigger upgrade and have £400+ to spend then a nice second hand LP12 + Ittok would be in easy reach especially with the money the Rega will fetch (£200?).
This with your 1022 would be well ahead of the Rega + any MC and will last forever.
All the best,
Stay tuned!
Geoff Husband

Fancy record cleaning
I have read your article on cleaning records, very interesting. I have a Alice Cooper "Schools out" album that the surface looks very clean but when played it has excess amount of hissing, popping etc. I couldn't figure out why, the record appears in excellent clean condition. I used a powerful Loop (gemological magnifying glass, 15X) and took a very close look at the record surface.
Now I "see" what the problem is, the grooves have much crap/micro debris lodged down into the groves. I tried the traditional cleaning methods, it help a little bit but the record still was very noisy to play. The other day while out using my home pressure washer, doing some patio cleaning with it. While taking a break for lunch, I thought, I wonder if using a 1700 PSI pressure washer would force the partials of crap lose that seem to be lodged deep down inside the grooves of the record.
So I gave it a try, being careful not to hit the paper label with water pressure. That would certainly blow the label right off the vinyl surface. I held the record very closely to the pressure nozzle, working my way around the entire record surface. When I viewed the results using the magnifying glass again I was AMAZED, I could clearly see most all the crap/micro debris were now GONE! The record plays very clean and nice now. Do you know of anyone else who has tried this idea? Perhaps others may not have thought of this. It surely worked well for me! I don't want to be saying my method is the best but I'm very pleased with the results I have had!
Bill - E-mail: roboman (at)

And I thought I held the record for doing whacked out stuff :-) Using 1700 psi to clean your vinyl! There's no way anything could stay in the grooves after that. In all seriousness, be careful. All that pressure might actually strip the grooves of the musical information. Remember you are dealing with micro-sized bits of information that is picked up by a device the size of a pin head. All that pressure could easily round off or even grind flat the information stamped in the vinyl. another thing, if there are micro pores in the vinyl (and no doubt there are) the pressure washer could loosen the vinyl enough that big chunks could pop off.
Your best bet is to contact the Disc Doctor (or your favorite record cleaning solution company) and get some product. The Disc Doctors product (and others) work extremely well.
Better to be safe than put your vinyl collection at risk.
Scott Faller

TNT-Audio addict
Thank you for clearing that increasingly uncomfortable commercial mist (impossible sales talk and so called 'independent reviews')from my eyes. I've been looking at audiophile equipment for a while, now. More than a year spent looking at equipment and wondering, "how can I trust this information?". "Can interconnects really justify the price" etc...
I had been thinking of DIY as a solution to my budget threshold - I've been handy with DIY before, and some of the stuff I'd seen in the commercial world just made me think, or rather, feel that I could do the same with the correct frame of mind and some time to be careful, and enjoy the experience. Wish I had found you guys sooner.
Thanks again for a wonderful magazine and philosophy.
Iain - E-mail: aerternym (at)

Dear Iain,
thanks for your kind words....this is our 9th year of web presence, it's sad you found us so late :-)
Anyway, build some of our DIY designs and then let us know! If you wish, you can join our Web forum so to share your experiences with thousands of other TNT-Audio addicts worldwide!
Stay tuned!
Lucio Cadeddu

Dynaco speakers
Hi Scott,
I've found a pair of Dynaco a35, enclosure, 3 ways. They are made in Denmark and they seems coming with original woofers "seas". I've listened to their sound but I've not so much experience to understand if those speakers are still able to give a good performance or not. Anyway, they cost 70 Euros. I've never had a true hifi, and I'd like to start with second hand speakers. Do you think it's a nice choice or not? What is the difference with a modern speaker?
Thanks very much for your nice articles on Tnt (I'll build your stands!). I look forward and thank you for your reply!
Domenico - E-mail: angeloc80 (at)

Hi Domenico,
First, sorry it took so long for me to answer. The Dynaco's were (and still are) a well respected speaker. Assuming they are still in good shape, you may consider purchasing them. A few things you may want to do is replace the capacitors in the crossovers, upgrade the internal wiring and replace the binding posts.
Not knowing the crossover slopes of the Dynaco's I'll speak in generalities. On the tweeters and midrange I would use an Auricap. Very smooth and transparent sounding. On the woofer I would use a metalized polypropilene like a Solen. They seem to have better bass response. Unless you want to spend a fair amount more money, your coils (inductors) should be just fine. If you have any resistors in the crossover consider a nice non-inductive wire-wound like a 5-10 watt Mills resistor.Choose the internal wiring and binding posts that you like most.
After you are done, you should have a fine sounding pair of speakers that not only sound good but should be fairly efficient too. This will allow you to explore some simple push pull tube amps like an EL34 or 6L6.
Hope that helps,
Scott Faller

Heavy metal CD player
Hi Scott!
Enjoyed reading your systems bio,..... I also liked the part about the smoke detectors lol :) I am buying a rotel ra 1070 amp and am wondering if you can recommend an all around great cd player but mostly for hard rock heavy metal music?
I would really appreciate any advice on this and ic and speaker cables would be helpful as well if you wouldn't mind. I am planning on buying a pair of Paradigm studio 40's v2 for this setup......does this sound like a good match for the rotel? Thanks in advance.
God Bless,
Michael - E-mail: TheBaconKing (at)

Hi Michael,
The Paradigm's should be just fine behind the Rotel. You may want to shop around a bit on the CD players. Since you are into heavy metal and the Paradigms are slightly forward sounding, you may want to go with a slightly smoother CD player.
Let me suggest something tubed. The AH! Njoe Tjoeb, the Jolida and even a Bill Baker at Response Audio tube modified Music Hall would be a good choice. Each of these players will allow you to tune your system the way you want it just by changing the tubes. This will be FAR less expensive than experimenting with 3-4 new CD players until you get the sound you want.
That is the single best thing about tubes, besides the fact they just sound better :-)
Hope that helps.
Scott Faller

Hifi adventures in Northern Italy
I'm planning a 1 week vacation to northern Italy, most likely including Milan, Venice and Florence. Can you recommend any good hifi shops in the area. We don't have much selection here in Estonia and I thought combining vacation with some new hifi experiences would be a good idea.
Also, if there are any hifi events in the area during this or next week, the info about these would be most welcome.
Martin- E-mail: martin (at)

Dear Martin,
HiFi events in Italy are scheduled for mid September (Milan), November (Rome, to be confirmed) and February (Milan, again). Keep an eye on our website for upcoming event announcements.
As for HiFi dealers try the following: Buscemi, HiFi Clinic Donzelli and TuttaltroSuono (in Milan), Dolfi HiFi and Digitex (in Florence), Zanella, Altra Musica and Stereo Arte (near Venice). For sure I'm missing some big name here, but you're on vacation, after all, so a search on the Yellow Pages when in Italy will yield more results :-)
Lucio Cadeddu

New loudspeakers
I bought a pair of Opera Super Pavarotti's and have been unhappy with them. Looking for near wall speakers that excels with clarity and midrange is excellent along with enough bass for an approx. 15 X 30 room. I like Italian speakers because of their beauty (like fine furniture). Please help! thanks, P.S. I have the Unison Research Unico integrated amp (hybrid) at 80 watts per channel at 8 ohms. Doug & Lori - E-mail: Frislie2 (at) (at)

Dear Doug & Lori,
it is quite strange you've found the Super Pavarotti's so disappointing. Have you let 'em play for a (long) while? They need at least 80-100 hours of break-in. Moreover, if you have placed them against the rear wall you are getting only a small percentage of their "whole" performance. They are NOT meant to be placed that way! On the contrary, they require a lot of "air" surrounding them.
Anyway, if you must place the speakers close to the rear wall you should choose models especially designed for THAT purpose. Among others, Naim and Linn loudspeakers are meant to be installed very close to the rear wall. A pair of Linn Ninka's or Naim Intro's could be a good choice. Forget the classy Italian walnut finish, though.
Hope this helped,
Lucio Cadeddu

TNT Stubby
I have built this TNT Stubby stand, thanks for your instructions. I have a few questions I am hoping you can answer:

  1. How did you attach the speaker, are they bolted to the oak stand ?
  2. I have used about 1/2" of bluTac on the bottom to hold them on... does this affect the sound?
Tony - E-mail: tbauman (at)

Hi Tony,
On my stands I just use those small sticky backed rubber dots or discs. Like the type that stuck to the bottom of small appliances or commercial boom boxes. They work fine as should your Blue Tack. Although you may get better coupling between the stand and your speakers, I wouldn't bolt your speakers to the stand. You'll definately hurt the resale value of your speakers.
Best regards,
Scott Faller

75 Ohm RCA plugs for Digital Interconnect Cables
Dear Lucio,
I was very intrigued when I read the article Digital cables shootout test: Introduction and methodology and after some research decided to build the EnjoytheMusic DIY digital cable on your web site. It appears from the article that true 75 ohm connectors are necessary, in my case a set of RCA plugs. I have tried to contact Mr Sommovigo for advice in obtaining such RCA’s but was not able to via the e-mail address that was provided in your article. Please advise which manufacturer actually makes such an item.
Thanks for the great web site. I find it informative and like the idea that it is not compromised by advertising considerations. I am curious as to whether the results of the shootout test are available yet?
Colin - E-mail: Lau_C (at)

Dear Colin,
75 ohm RCA plugs are easy to find at any local electronics parts store (those who sell cables, transistors, caps, coils etc.). I'm sure you can access the RS or Maplin catalogues from South Africa, as well, but shipping costs for a pair of RCA connectors could be silly :-)
Mr. Sommovigo can be reached via his Stereovox website.
If I may suggest an alternative, try searching used digital cables as well. Good stuff can be found at low prices. This way you can compare your DIY cable with the "commercial" competition.
As for the results of our shootout test, as explained a couple of times on this website, there's still to wait because we have decided to test a measure set for these cables. Initial results seem interesting but relating these to listening findings isn't an easy task.
Stay tuned for more,
Lucio Cadeddu

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