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 2005

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Your May editorial on SACD & DVD-Audio - again
Hi Lucio,
I too would like to add some comments and insights on your article on where the high res digital formats are going. My decision to go into vinyl was that of a stop gap measure while the market decided which of the two high res formats were going to be the new standard.
But what has shocked me is that the SACD/DVD-A releases to date have not really being up to scratch compared to a number of re-issues and new releases on vinyl. The classic case of this was the 30th anniversary re-issue of Pink Floyd "Dark side of the moon" here golden opportunity for EMI to show of the SACD format but instead we got a compressed 5 channel release.
While the new vinyl release had more dynamic range a far better sound stage that its SACD brother. As well as this, we have only got to look at Tony Falkner's new vinyl releases, which are very good indeed. It is also interesting to note that there appears to be in the high end of the market more R&D going on with turntables and cartridges than what is going on with SACD/DVD-A. With the way the industry is heading I can only see three formats being sold commercially:

  1. Red book CD
  2. MP3
  3. Vinyl for the Audiophile and DJ market
Greg - E-mail: G.Rudd (at)

Dear Greg,
thanks for your meaningful comments. I couldn't agree more.
Lucio Cadeddu

Loudspeakers choice
Hello Lucio,
It's been a while since I wrote last, and again I am after some advice!! :o))
I must admitt to getting a little disappointed in my search for new Loudspeakers. Below is a link to my system as it is at present.
I have moved to all Sheng Ya gear up front and have Wharfedale Pacific Evo 30's as my Loudspeakers. The Shengya equipment is made in China and are OEM for Vincent gear in Europe. I have a Tube CDP, Tube Pre Amp and a hybrid Tube/JFet Power amp capable of 150 watts RMS into 8 ohms or 300 into 4 ohm speakers. I do like the sound of my Wharfedales, but would like a speaker that is more efficent and of similar or greater power handling. Most times I listen at low volumes, but sometimes, I like to listen at extremely high volumes (undistorted) and my Wharfedales do go LOUD, but are 89 Dbl efficient. I would like your advise on more efficient loudspeakers. I like all music (except Rap and Country) but most music I listen to, is vocals, this is why I like the evo's, they present a nice midrange which is a little sweet, and a nice top end, which is a little recessed, and have good bass slam. They may sound a little different on all transistor gear. :O) What I am looking for, is a loudspeaker that has a slightly forward midrange, good airy extended top end, and reasonable bass extension, But I HATE loudspeakers that are all Bass which overwhelmes the vocals.
They must be more efficent than 89Dbl and be capable of LOUD MUsic replay without breakup. They must also be good value, and a definite UPGRADE from my Wharfedale Evo 30's, My wife has put her foot down, No moving Sideways, she said, if you buy new speakers, it has to be an Upwards move! What a grand wife to have who has indulged me more than she should.
It isn't easy to actually audition speakers here unless I am prepared to drive to a few cites to listen to them. Such is life at the Bottom of the World!
Can you short list any I should listen to if available in New Zealand please.
Thank you,
Colin - E-mail: colnmary (at)

Dear Colin,
I'm not aware of the New Zealand market, so I'll try to suggest you only well-known and widely distributed products, hoping you can easily audition them.
First things first. Efficiency or sensitivity have nothing to share with the ability of a given speaker in sounding loud. Your amp can deliver 150 watts on a 8 ohm load so 89 dB are enough to make the walls shake literally. Perhaps power handling is more relevant here. Also, you forgot to mention your budget. So I'll try to suggest you different products in different price ranges. Around 1500 € you can consider the KEF Q7, Klipsch RF35, Linn Ninka, Mission 782/783, ProAC Studio 125 (perhaps available at a sale price now), Triangle Antal 202. Above this price range (say around 2500/3000 €) you may consider Dynaudio Audience 82, Opera V, ProAC Response D15, Triangle Naia, B&W 703 or CDM 9 NT, JM Lab Electra 926.
I'm sure I've given you some "ideas" to start with. In any case, don't look for anything below the 1500 € price range (make you conversion on your currency) as it could be a side-grade instead of a serious definite upgrade.
Keep me updated,
Lucio Cadeddu

Your May editorial on SACD & DVD-Audio - 1
thank you for the hint to this document.
Some remarks: First, in several technical aspects the US is by far not the most representative market (Japan and Europe - in some aspects like eg. mobile phones, broadband internet and such are often erlier adopters of new technologies). Even the European market according to the IFPI had a little growth 2004 (although the first press releases showed up that the first half of 2005 is catastrophic).
I do not think this is the fist time the masses said "No" to an attempt to empty their wallets! Eg: (sorry, german only) although MMS (multimedia version of SMS) is around for several years only 3,9% of all germans use it and 83% never sent one MMS!
Mobile Internet is around for some years, only 4% of all customers use it and 90% never used it. And we have videotelephone connections, remember somewhere like 1992, TV shows gave the video telephones away as a prize (at least in germany). The whole UMTS hype has gone, nobody wants it, nobody needs it, it is a 50 billion Euro disaster (50 billion - yes, 50.000 million Euro - was the price the telcos payed in Germany alone!). Or remember MSN, Microsofts competition for the internet. ;)
We still have stupidities like ringtones and SMS (I guess in Italy it is the same and one cannot cross a street without hearing some stupid mobile phone somewhere), but sometimes - even in the past - the masses said no.
There is no question, we will get it sooner or later, like analog television and radio broadcast that will be stopped by 2010 (by request of the EU). And I think in 10 years they will stop GSM and everyone must use UMTS (just with no advantage for the Telcos). And in 10 years the CD will have died, there is no price difference between a DVD and a CD player, it is to be expected that in 10 years 90% of all people will have a DVD player (to play CDs that is) and CD production will stop.
However, I see disadvantages: a ringtone became number one of the Eurocharts. MP3 (copy protected) sales go up, and see this:
Thomas - E-mail: thomas (at)

Dear Thomas,
thanks for the feedback on my last editorial. One reader wrote me a very angry letter (asking to keep it private...) claiming my opinions on SACD & DVD-Audio weren't "objective". I just reported NUMBERS, which don't lie, and then added some comment based on the supplied data. Then, of course opinions are subjective!!! And thanks God there's still someone free enough to say what he thinks.
The examples and figures you supplied are extremely meaningful, it seems technology is going faster than average customers' needs (and purchase power).
Stay tuned,
Lucio Cadeddu

Your May editorial on SACD & DVD-Audio - 2
Dear Lucio,
Your May 2005 TNT editorial mirrors my sentiments exactly. SACD and DVD-A are not what they're cracked up to be.
I have stuck with vinyl since 1983; I have been made fun of, but lately some have said that I have been ahead of my time.
The facts and figures indicating a decrease in the sales of the new formats say it all.
Best regards,
Stephen - E-mail: sk_chen97 (at)

Dear Stephen,
actually we already have an high-resolution's vinyl! LP sales are decreasing too, but the rate of decrease is nothing compared to SACD and DVD-Audio. Perhaps this trend will change...who knows? Perhaps the music industry will discover how inexpensive and perfectly copy-protected was the good 'ol LP! In 2004 more than 100,000 turntables were sold in the US! This means something to me.
Thanks for the feedback!
Lucio Cadeddu

Garrard again!
I have just read your article on the above turntable, I am a bit confused as I have just bought one, the only trouble is the sub chassis on this one is made of plastic and I was wondering if you had any idea where I could get a template for a wooden housing unit as this one is shot. Also how do you remove the cartridge from the the arm and is it possible to fit another type of cartridge? The one I have on it is a Empire, I would like to fit a Shure m75 ed.
Thank you,
Barry - E-mail: watchesaway8 (at)

Dear Barry,
a template for building a plinth for the Zero 100 was originally supplied with the owner's manual. I'm pretty sure it is possible to find a copy of this somewhere online. If not, dismantle the original plastic plinth and "copy" it.
As for the cartridge...just have a close look at the arm shell: it should be made of two (sliding) parts, just unlock the lower "slide" and you're done. Disconnect the wires, unscrew the bolts that keep the cart in place and install the new one. It is harder to describe that to do it.
Hope this helped,
Lucio Cadeddu

Marantz PM7200 Review?
Hi Lucio,
I've thoroughly enjoyed your website and the great reviews you provide (just finished reading on the Sonic Impact T-amp as I'm planning to buy one to try :-)
Just curious... would you consider reviewing the Marantz PM7200 integrated amp any time soon? I read your review on the PM7000 and you don't seem to be thrilled. PM7200 seems to be a different beast and has garnered some very positive reviews from British mags like Hifi Choice and What Hifi (I like HiFi Choice better). I know in Europe there's a PM7200-KI version (reviewed in the latest issues of HiFi+, I think), but I'm more interested in the regular version, because we don't get the KI here.
I look forward to seeing your review on this amp. Thank you, and keep up the great work!
BTW I like Alfa's as well. Love the Spider. I've only seen it once in real life, when I was on a trip in London.
Ken - E-mail: kceb1 (at)

Dear Ken,
no review of the 7200 is scheduled at this end. That doesn't mean it won't happen but let's say it is not on our wish list. Furthermore, as I explained in response to another reader's query, reviewing products from "big" Companies is sometimes harder than reviewing small Companies components. "Big boys" aren't always interested in online magazines. That attitude may change in the future, though.
As for Alfas...I've recently bought a 1981 GTV6 2.5 V6 (report and pics soon!).
Hope this helped,
Lucio Cadeddu

Italian HiFi Shops?
Greeting Lucio,
I really enjoy your TNT website and am grateful for good people like you that fight the good fight for audio /musical truth. Keep up the great work.
I will be visiting your great country in late June and wanted to find out if you could possibly recommend a hifi store to visit? I am interested in analog hardware. We will be staying in Tuscany and Milan.
Ken - E-mail: kenreau (at)

Dear Ken,
while I suggest you to join our regional communities TNT Lombardia (for advice on the Milan area) and TNT Toscana (for advice on Tuscany) I'd say you can't miss a visit to Oasi Audio (S. Giuliano Terme, near Pisa), HiFi Natali (Monsummano Terme), both in Tuscany and Buscemi HiFi (Milan), Vittorio Franchi (Milan) and Donzelli (Milan). Check out the Italian Yellow Pages when you arrive.
Hope this helped,
Lucio Cadeddu

Still on Garrard Zero 100...
Imagine my surprise when, Googling around for information DIY (do-it-yourself) audio equipment repair, I found your site--about the very thing I'm trying to fix, the Garrard Zero 100.
If this reaches you, I wonder if you could give me some advice on fixing this beast. A friend gave me hers, and I've fixed a couple of things: regreased and oiled the changer mechanism, since the grease has gotten sticky and the motor couldn't drive through the entire cycle without stalling, and also ended up rewiring the tonearm. (Don't ask why!).
There are two prolems: one is that there's way too much resistance in the tonearm pivot, so it just won't play (sticks in one groove). And for some reason there's extremely low output from the cartridge, but I'm wondering if it isn't maybe a moving-coil instead of moving-magnet cart (it's a Grado FT+).
And mine isn't belt-driven, so I guess it's not a Zero 100 SB, just a regular Zero 100.
Anyhow, if you get this, I'm hoping you might have some words of advice for me.
David - E-mail: kopanitsakid (at)

Dear David,
lubing the arm mechs should help, perhaps there's some sticky old grease somewhere near the arm pivot. Eventually, you can try to fully dismantle it, lube again and reinstall. The cartridge output should be high, since that Grado cart is like a MM. So, if its output is too low perhaps the stylus or the cart itself are damaged. Installing a new cart is highly recommended. Something basic as a Grado Black (50$ or so) should do the trick without harming your wallet.
Hope this helped,
Lucio Cadeddu

Advice on speakers
Hi Lucio.
Firstly, thanks for giving newbies such as me a refreshing view of the Hi-fi world! I have had a Rotel RB-981 power amp and a Quicksilver Line stage valve pre-amp being fed by a Rotel RCD 950 CD player for a few years now and am quite happy with this combination.
I am in the market for new speakers and was wondering whether you had any opinions between the B&W 604s and the Rega Juras? I mainly listen to Blues, Jazz and 60s-70s rock...
Satya - E-mail: satyavrathk (at)

Dear Satya,
given that you should ALWAYS choose a loudspeaker following your PERSONAL taste (after a careful comparison test) my preference goes to the Rega Jura's as - in my opinion - they are more natural and less "HiFi", if you know what I mean. Perhaps the B&W have a deeper and beefier bass but the Rega seem a more "balanced" design overall.
Hope this helped,
Lucio Cadeddu

Triplanar review & SME IV info
Hi Geoff,
I've read many of your tonearm and related reviews on TNT and have consistently enjoyed your nuanced opinions, more nuanced than many reviewers who often sound like promo men for what they are reviewing.
At any rate, I have a SME IV on a SOTA Star series 5 (with the SOTA composite arm board and a Benz Ruby) and have felt frustrated by the difficulty of making adjustments while playing LP's. Part of this may be that I have no manual for the arm because it was a used purchase, but what I did understand seemed to preclude this. (Doubtless compounded by mid 50's eyesight that's nowehere as sharp as in my 20's coupled with more than a bit of worry about damaging a very expensive cartridge.
I was much more adventurous in my 20's and 30's when prices were not nearly so dear for Ortofon and Entre MC's and a Formula 4) Then I read your review on the Triplanar Mark VII ( and the biref discussion therein about adjustments to your, apparently modified, SME IV "with damper and VTA adjuster as found on the SME V."
Is there anything you could direct me to that gives instructions, or a source, for these mods fir the SME IV because these would allow some of the flexibility I am looking for with this arm? How much did this seem to afect the overall sound of the SME for you?
Thanks for any information you might be able to share,
Dave - E-mail: kbrd6 (at)

Hi Dave,
Thanks for the mail and the kind words.
Two things... First the SME damper VTA adjuster kit is an add-on that can be ordered from SME - it's not cheap at around $300. It doesn't offer the flexibility of the Triplanar VTA tower being more of a fiddle to use. As for the effect on sound the damper does offer a tighter bass performance with some cartridges.
However my own view is that becomming obsessed with VTA is a snare and an illusion, I've yet to hear convincing evidence that critical VTA is a reality down to fractions of a mm (I'm assuming you've read my article on VTA on the site), nor have I seen any scientific evidence to prove the validity of the argument. Even if I could hear minor differences I would not go through the hassle of changing it for every record. The other point is the SME adjuster does not compromise arm performance in any way, the Triplanar is noticeably less rigid because of the adjuster. Lastly adjusting VTA 'on-the-fly' is tricky and when the arm is tightened the parameters of the arm (stiffness, resonances, actual VTA etc) also change so that when you've found 'perfect VTA' the act of tightening the adjuster will make another difference to the sound.
I'm aware that these are controversial views, but I'm also aware of a large number of audiophiles who spend a lot of time and money fiddling with their rigs rather than listening to music. I'll also add that up to now all correspondence on the VTA issue that has come to me (30+ emails), many from very experienced audiophiles, manufacturers and reviewers has been 100% supportive, I expected a rash of hostile mails but not one has arrived to date.
So yes the SME is a bit of a fiddle to get 'VTA' correct, but once set for an average record just sit back and enjoy...
All the best,
Geoff Husband

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