TNT-Audio Readers' Corner
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On Compact Cassettes - 1
I'll put my Dragon and RX-505 against your digital music any day and will win in a double blind test. I think you should give Naks and some Tandbergs a listen before making such an aloof statement. Great article otherwise. And thank you for the exposure :)
Jason - E-mail: jasonnewell (at) hotmail.com

LC
Dear Jason,
I own a Nakamichi DR2 deck, which isn't all that bad :-) but I tend to disagree: a copy can't sound better than the original. It's a copy!!! Can a picture look more real than the real thing? Of course not. The point you raise is interesting, though: if a copy sounds “better” than the original, clearly something, during the recording process, gets lost: some harshness, perhaps, some excess of high frequencies, some hard to handle dynamics. And this filter can make music more enjoyable...but it is MyFi, not HiFi.
Compact Cassettes on good decks can sound extremely good, but if my aim is getting a perfect copy of the original stuff, and considering I can make a bit-perfect copy of any digital track, why should I search for something different?
Anyway, enjoy your Naks! :-) And stay tuned for another upcoming article on Compact Cassettes...
Lucio Cadeddu

On Compact Cassettes - 2
Dear Lucio,
Thanks for your editorial about the comeback in compact cassettes. I agree with you that in general the sound quality from pre-recorded cassettes does not match vinyl or hi-res digital files but the cassettes have their uses. Thanks to a local library I have access to more than a thousand CDs of mostly classical music. Initially I made a few CD copies of these using iTunes but the results were disappointing. Copies made on cassette (CrO2/Dolby B were smoother and just easier on the ear-due no doubt to some high-frequency rolloff which eliminated the digital edginess. The music on cassette was not hi-res but it was enjoyable!
Also, I have occasionally found a pre-recorded cassette that sounds better than either the LP or CD version. If you can find it try Mozart Piano Concerto 23 with Ashkenazy/Philharmonia on Decca. I have all three versions and the cassette is the best by some margin. (see the Penguin guide for confirmation). Done properly the humble cassette can be a very good source of music. Unfortunately many cassettes of rock/pop music were/are not done properly which is why they are dismissed as inferior sources.
Raymond - E-mail: rmahoney (at) foodsci.umass.edu

LC
Dear Raymond,
thanks for the kind and precious feedback! I agree with you on making copies via iTunes, they normally sound bad because of the very high compression ratio! And I can understand why copies made on cassettes might sound more enjoyable, it happened the same in the Seventies, when cassette copies “seemed” to sound better than the original LP pressing! This is exactly bacause of some added smoothness in the mid-high range, together with a slight dynamic compression. One shouldn't forget that “more enjoyable” doesn't necessarily mean “more faithful to the real thing”. Real music is often harsh (a trumpet, for example, or a violin).
Finally, it's good to know there are better sounding versions of some Mozart piano concertos, when recorded on Compact Cassette. I wonder how can this be possible (I'd have a couple of questions for the recording/mastering engineer) :-)
Thanks for the input!
Lucio Cadeddu

Novaudio Classic 8 Reference review
Deat TNT-Audio,
these are very close to the Novaudio Classic 8 Reference you've just reviewed, but more cheap: Wilmslow Audio HB1 kit
Juan - E-mail: coutodominguez (at) yahoo.es

LC
Dear Juan,
thanks for the feedback and link! The Wilmslow Audio HB1 kit is, quoting their website, “based on the original Heybrook HB1 designed over 30 years ago and has been brought back to life due to customer requests”. And yes, they are very close to the Novaudio Classic 8 I reviewed. Their cost, when purchased as a whole (with walnut finished cabinet and installed drivers and crossover) is 810 UKP, that is 926€, much less than the Novaudio Classic 8 (1900€). To make a fairer comparison, it should be considered that the cabinet of the Wilmslow Audio kit is MDF with added walnut finish, though the Novaudio one is from solid beechwood and real Italian walnut finish. This adds some value but, I agree with you, the difference is still impressive. I'd love to compare the Wilmslow Audio kit to the Novaudio Classic 8 I tested!
Thanks for the precious feedback,
Lucio Cadeddu

TNT StoneBlocks not only for your feet
Hi Lucio,
I have been looking at the TNT StoneBlocks and had a hard time finding these artificial pumice blocks. However the Italian page mentions a company Farmamed. Looking at these spugna abrasiva, I saw “100% vetro” on the package. Googling further I found this is cellular glass, or in other words foam glass. Nothing less than an excellent building material. See this site. This stuff is very easy to cut, weighs hardly anything (165 kg/m3), is very pressure resistent (with Foamglass Perinsul even walls are built from this material). This would make the price for the blocks even lower, and this Foamglass is readily available, also in Italy!
Just wanted to let you know. And I enjoy reading the site and plan to implement some DIY!
Regards,
Henk - E-mail: weeteringhoff (at) gmail.com

LC
Dear Henk,
thanks for the precious feedback! This stuff seems extremely interesting, indeed!
Keep us updated on your DIY projects! :-)
Lucio Cadeddu

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