TNT-Audio Readers' Corner
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About Spoke review
Hi Mark
I saw your Spoke review...
The spoke mod works like fishing-rods actually allowing rocking and vertical sub-chassis movement but restricting it... The rotational 'scrubbing' mode is dead both fore and aft if the spokes are rigid but they might not need to be to get the best isolation to kill forward scrubbing...
The old Connoisseur BD2 (the Connoisseur BD1 was a rigid chassis kit) had better isolation than a Linn because it used hanging-springs in tension as opposed to compression. The wobbling mass was still high above the spring mounts and was therefore unstable in rocking modes (compression = less lossy than tension in that configuration although admittedly/possibly more predictable in rotation)...

I built a kit from a BD1 using only the bearing and platter (as a sub-platter) with a 14" glass platter on top and a stone mass as a weight upon which the sub-chassis (another lump of glass) sat stiffly-decoupled by rubber. The whole mass was hung from a plinth on free-ended tension springs (Later SOTA did a similar thing using 4 tension springs and low CofG) .With a Centre of Gravity lower than the playing surface the suspended mass was stable due to gravity. The sub chassis took a lot of effort to disturb in any plane with the BD1 motor rigidly mounted on the plinth. The biggest feature due to the mounting system (as opposed to the materials used) was that changes in tempo and clarity of low-level detail was quite incredible as it allowed the motor to drive the platter without interference or 'blunting' by the BD1s horrible rubbery motor-mounting . My BD1 made my two Linn-owing friends very glum and especially as I was using an arm/cart many times less expensive than their ITTOK/ASAK/SUPEX-SD900 combo's. On some LPs the rhythm-sections' forced speeding-up and slowing of the whole band's performance was impossible to hear on the Linn and the bite of brass and steel strings (and decay) was 'live'.

I later re-mounted the motor on an eccentric but rotationally free axis (still horizontally rigid) so that the vibrational/rotational motion was opposed by the belt tension as a self-servo; Later Roksan did a similar thing with a concentric-axis-motor-mount and spring... It would not have had the servo-action though.

My 'piece of glass' was so much better than my two Systemdek 'transcription' TTs (a I and a III) that they were discarded thereafter.
Regards,
Anonymous - E-mail: kingsmeynellhouse (at) tiscali.co.uk

MW
Hi,
Thank you for sharing your experience with the magnificent Connoisseur BD1 & BD2 turntables.

I am planning a photographic odyssey around Yorkshire's finest historic hi-fi sites, when time permits. Many great and highly innovative audio manufacturers thrived there in the mid 20th century.

Arnold R Sugden (no relation to J E Sugden, the amplifier manufacturer, it is a popular name around God's own county) started the company making electronics but became interested in transducers and developed some innovative pick-up ideas and turntables. As a schoolboy your Old Scribe built a BD1 into a very solid plinth with perspex and hardwood components. The motor mount was a constant source of experiment. Rega successfully developed and employed the rubber band dangly motor concept for their turntables, along with glass platters. Would you be willing to write a little more and share some pictures?

We all look forward to hearing from you.
Happy Listening,
Mark Wheeler

Genalex PX 300B review
Hi Roger,
I enjoyed reading this review at TNT-Audio. I have a Canary 330 MKII and I'm going to upgrade the tubes. I bought my amps about 6 years ago. All the tubes are Electro Harmonics, 6SN7, 5U4G and 300B . What are the NOS driver and rectifier tubes you used? I will get the PX 300B's also. I have Audio Note speakers with Herron line stage and phono.
Thank you,
Bill - E-mail: ad49 (at) @myfairpoint.net

RMcC
Dear Bill,
I am using Phillips JAN 6SN7WGTA. If I am reading the label correctly they were manufactured in 1986. My rectifiers are also Philips, JAN 5U4GB. I have had these tubes quite a long time and am unable to find the purchase documentation in my files today so I can't give you any additional details!
I hope that you will enjoy your new Genalex 300B tubes as much as I do.
Best regards,
Roger McCuaig

DIY speaker cables - part II
Hi Lucio,
Please find attached some shots of the "cables" under construction and fitted. You'll see that they are a bit rough and ready but I did some serious listening on Thursday night with my daughter, who is also a music lover and we were both blown away by the quality of the sound.
As an addition to my previous email, after much thought as to how best to insulate them I am going to wrap them in 2 or 3 layers of cling film! Research on the net gives the dielectric constant for this material - LLDPe, linear low density poly ethylene, as 2 - 2.3, roughly the same as Teflon and should be ok for low voltage insulation. I think this would be a good option for some of the DIY interconnect cables as well.
Regards,
Colin - E-mail: colinmalecki (at) gmail.com

[Colin's DIY cables] width=[Colin's DIY cables] width=
[Colin's DIY cables] width=

LC
Dear Colin,
thanks again for your precious feedback! As for insulating the interconnects, please be careful, as line level signals are quite easily attacked by noise, EMI, etc. Good insulation is generally mandatory.
Happy listening,
Lucio Cadeddu

Old Thorens turntable
Dear David,
would you kindly to give me some information about this old turntable?
Thanks so much
Alfredo - E-mail: alfredoparolino (at) gmail.com

[Old Thorens turntable] width=

DRH
Hello, Alfredo,
Thanks for writing, even if the result will be to expose my own ignorance. I don't recognize that model, but looking at it I would say the following:

  1. It's old. By the look of it, I'm pretty sure it must date to no later than the 1950s or early 1960s; that style of tonearm was common among many manufacturers at around that time. My parents' first "hi fi" set, in their case an RCA Victor cabinet model dating to the early-to-mid 1950s, had one rather like it, albeit made of gold plastic rather than white and with a flip-over cartridge.
  2. Considering its likely vintage, I would not be surprised if it were mono only. If you are considering buying it, that's something to check. Another thing to check is whether it can mount a modern replacement cartridge.
  3. As far as I can see, it has no pitch adjustment. If you want it for 78s, that means it's suited to those no earlier than 1926 and not all before about 1930.
Now, as luck would have it, our very own Old Scribe, Mark Wheeler, has just in the most recent issue reviewed a comprehensive guide to the history of Thorens turntables. I'm copying him on this response, because I would guess he can shed much more light on the model in question than I can.
All the best!
David Hoehl

DIY speaker cables
Hi,
Firstly, to all at TNT, many thanks for your wonderful and informative website. I am writing to share my experience of improvised DIY speaker "cables", inspired by your articles, in the hope it may be of interest, particularly to readers on a limited budget like me.
I have been a serious music lover for at least 50 years and over the last 10 or so have rediscovered my HiFi addiction. Recent enforced retirement has put financial restrictions on my hobby so I am particularly interested in maximising the sound quality from what I already have. I have always been very sceptical about the effect of cables on system performance, particularly speaker cables and line inputs. The exception I was prepared to accept was tone arm wiring and I did rewire my Rega RB300 arm with Litz wire in a continuous run to the RCA plugs and did notice an improvement in sound quality.
However I found the TNT website and read the articles on DIY cables and decided to have a go. Rather than buy a reel of CAT 5 or low loss Sat cable I used what I had lying around, namely 8 reasonable banana plugs and some 8mm microbore plumbing pipe. Despite the obvious impracticality of "rigid" speaker cables the pipe seemed to fulfil the basic criteria - solid conductor, no insulation, wall thickness 0.6mm ~ 22AWG so no significant skin effect in the audible range. Cross sectional area of the copper was 11mm² reducing to 5mm² in the plugs. After some careful measuring and bending, I flattend the ends of the pipes and cut them down to a width ~4mm that would fit inside the banana plugs, cleaned them with 400 grit wet or dry then screwed the plugs on using the 2 grub screws - no solder. The pipes were carefully fitted between amp and speakers making sure there were no shorts! The runs to the + and - of each speaker take very different paths so there is no parallel or close proximity effects.
I have just finished my 1st listening test and I am convinced, cables do make a difference! There is a definite improvement in clarity and definition, my wife also noticed it as soon as she came in the room. This has convinced me to carry on and try a more practical arrangement for the speakers and also try some of your ideas for interconnect cables. I can supply photos if anyone is interested.
Again many thanks for the inspiration.
Regards,
P.S. Current equipment: Linn Axis; RB300 (modded); Denon 103R; Sowter 9570 suts; Yamaha CA800 Mk2; Tannoy DC6T; Tannoy Eaton (modded)

Colin - E-mail: colinmalecki (at) gmail.com

LC
Dear Colin,
thanks for your feedback, always welcomed. Glad t hear we've been a source of inspiration. I'd be curious to see your DIY cables! Certainly this one pretty radical design! :-)
Happy listening,
Lucio Cadeddu

Nobsound F900S caps
I read your review of the Nobsound F900S amp. I supplied 24V power to 25V capacitors. I don't think it is a good idea to do so. It's a good idea for capacitors to have substantially higher maximum voltage than the power supply voltage. 22V power would be somewhat better. 19V would be safe.
Anonymous - E-mail: crockabiscuit (at) gmail.com

LC
Dear reader,
certainly one can be “safer” using higher voltage caps, but 25 volts caps can handle 24 volts power supplies. At least, the amp has been working flawlessly here at home for more than one year. Moreover, using a lower voltage power supply doesn't allow the TPA3116 chipset to deliver its full power potential.
Just my 2 cents,
Lucio Cadeddu

A return to the fold?
Dear Lucio, fellow (staff) and all reviewers,
It’s been a long time since I entered the gold-mine of audio pages and I certainly have a lot of catching up to read! There has not been much hi-fi activity at home since we moved house nearly 3 years back except for hooking up the new “smart” TV to my amp via a new D/A converter - what a sound improvement over the built-in Tv speakers even though the new (**)TV has one of the best reviews for sound quality, and the other main topic has been helping my 6-year old grandson hook up his IPad to my amp.
But now I feel like a new lease of life to tackle some long awaited modifications, and I hope improvements to my system. Now the first job has not much to do with hi-fi and perhaps TNT is the wrong forum to seek some advice but I’ll pose the problem anyhow and perhaps some feedback will come. I receive my TV reception via an ADSL link through the telephone network. The signal is transferred from a router via two wireless units to the TV (avoids cables running through the house). Now I want to send signals to another TV in a separate building.
It is too far for the range of the wireless unit so I will run a CAT cable between the house and the other building. Now here comes the question - and maybe I will be disqualified immediately for posing a question regarding cables - see the “Does and Don’t” advice for readers letters! How do I terminate the CAT cable to a USB connector that I can plug in to my router?
OK now I’ll start reading some of those weekly reviews that I have been missing.
P.S. How do we avoid the demon Google? I am just so damned tired of deleting all those pop-up ads as soon I read my newspaper and all other activities. If I delete Google and go to Firefox will the monster Big Brother foul-up my whole system?
Michael - E-mail: michael_shanahan (at) telia.com

LC
Dear Michael,
connecting CAT5 cables to USB is very easy: first of all there are adapters with the usual RJ45 plug at one end (for the CAT5 cable) and USB at the other end. Just search the web for “USB to CAT5” and there will pop as many solutions as you wish. These adapters are extremely cheap, too. If you're more a DIY guy, just follow this easy step by step guide.
Finally, though not audio related, I suggest you installing an AD-Blocker plug-in into your browser, it will detect and block most of the annoying pop-ups.
Hope this helped somehow,
Lucio Cadeddu

Interconnect new design and a very good tweak
Hello TNT!
Several years ago I made an IC like the TNT Air Coil from CAT-5E/6 (single core copper 0,5mm with teflon insulation) just using the cheapest RCA's with hollow center pin, and each time it was tested against commercial cables, except the most costly ones, they blew them away like yours did :-)
Now there is a new design I would like to suggest, where the wire is spiraled in parallel around the tube, instead of the wires crossing around like in the Air Coil. The new design is of vhudio.com see link and is even better sounding, I think. I though have spiraled the wires opposite (right turn) around the tube, this makes for a little “faster”/cleaner sound and more bass control (I learned this from Unclestu (see below). I would highly recommend to use the Eichmann bullet plugs, the best you can get, better and much cheaper than the WBT next gen or anything else out there.
Ok, and now to the very good tweak. It is fairly easy to make if you are able to use a soldering iron. It was developed by Unclestu, who made it accessible on Audio Asylum (Tweakers'/DIY), read more about it if you like: www.audioasylum.com and search for "Unclestu BGT" (Battery Ground Tweak) in the “Text to find”. To spare your time by going through numerous of posts and the discussing there, I’ll describe it here: You need 5 x 10.000uF 10V DC electrolytic caps, one 1,0 uF film cap of 9V (at least) and a standard 9V battery. I used 10.000uF Nichicon 10V PW(M) they last long and are cheap, 1,0uF Wima MKP 4 and a 9V alkaline. Solder in parallel the 10.000 uF's to make 50.000uF (positive to positive and negarive to negative), connect this combo to the 9V battery (+ to + and - to -), then bypass (parallel) this with the 1,0uF. Solder a copper wire, only to the negative of the battery, and now connect this wire to the groundpost on your preamp, or use a RCA phono (the wire soldered only to the negative) and plug into an unused input. As the battery just use energy to load the caps (use a good standard battery eg. alkaline) and it will last to the end of the Exp. date or maybe longer. This tweak can also be used on the power amp and on the speaker terminal, it is cumulative, but the following one(s) you implement are not going to give so much more extra impact. This tweak translates to: larger soundstage (height and width), takes away harshness (smooth treble), better dynamics, deeper bass, little more focus and a little cleaner sound. You may expect an increase of sound level about 2dB.
Try it, it can do no harm to your system or yourself, just follow as described. There are no downsides to this tweak, it is the best tweak I have ever done! If you want brighter sound use two 9V batteries in series (+ to -), but then remember to chose caps with higher voltage eg. 25V!
For your widescreen (or any digital component CD, DAC, PC etc.): use 10 x 10.000uf, 0,1- 0,2uf bypass cap, 9V battery and silver wire. Better color separation, better saturation and the white gets more white and the black gets more black. Loading time about an hour, a little longer than the analog above.
I think you needed more for your DIY section/readers ;-) and I even have a few more and easier tweaks to come if you like?
Best regards,
Morten - E-mail: mojul (at) mail.dk

LC
Dear Morten,
thanks for the useful comments and suggestions, highly appreciated! As for our DIY section, we are always searching for new reviewers who can regularly contribute to our magazine with tweaks, DIY designs and the like. They have to be original designs, not just something stolen somewhere else :-)
Thanks for your feedback!
Lucio Cadeddu

Re: Test on TNT Aircoils
Dear Roger,
a small question: my line stage (Jeff Rowland Sinergy) declares an impedance of 51 Ohm on the balanced output. Following our discussions this connection should be the most sensitive to capacity since its impedance is 4 times lower than that of the Parasound phono stage which is rated 200 Ohm on balanced output. The two cables connecting the line stage to the power amps should be those I look at first; do you agree?
Regards,
Piero - E-mail: Piero.Canova (at) unicooptirreno.coop.it

RMcC
Dear Piero,
I did a calculation of the frequency response of your cable (the 0,203 nF one) using the Jeff Rowland line stage and it turns out that the frequency response is flat to well above 20 kHz. I see that, in fact I stated the problem backwards in my previous email. Sorry for the confusion. The correct statement is the higher the output impedance, the more it is sensitive to cable capacitance. I also ran the calculation for your 2.55 nF cable connected to a 1000 Ohm source and it results in -0,2 dB at 15 kHz and -0,43 dB at 20 kHZ. These are very small numbers and I think not detectable to the human ear.
So, in conclusion, I would say that the capacitance of your interconnects is so low that there should be no audible frequency degradation no matter where you use them in your system.
Regards,
Roger McCuaig

Re: Test on TNT Aircoils
Dear Roger,
definitely your article has generated plenty of interest in many people. I know cable manufacturers (better, allow me the term, cable artisans) that use your topology and sell them for thousands of euros for a 1m interconnect and as one of my professors at university told me “there is nothing pleasant as somebody confirming your hypotesis”.
The test was made between Parasound Halo phono stage and Jeff Roland Sinergy line stage. As second test I have made the burn in using my cd player Esound E5 Signature in repeat for at least 50 hours. Both confirmed that the lower the pitch the less open in high frequencies was the system.
On the quality of capacity measured with my multimeter I do agree but if there is an error it is systematic; this weekend I will swap one of my cartridges for a DL 103 and some Cello interconnects. I will listen these cables and then measure their data. In this way I can build a small database to understand where industry is going and to see if I can predict the performances of a cable by measuring it.
I will post you as soon as I have more data.
Piero - E-mail: Piero.Canova (at) unicooptirreno.coop.it

RMcC
Dear Piero,
Well, for the record, I can't take credit for the basic design for this cable. Similar style cables have been around for at least a few years. My approach for this project was simply to apply the laws of physics to design an interconnect with low capacitance which people could make at home at a reasonable cost.
I looked up the specifications for your Parasound phono stage and it appears that it's output impedance is listed as "less than 100 Ohms". That is quite low, possibly low enough for the capacitance of the interconnect to have an impact on the frequency response of your phono channel. You may get different results if the same tests were performed inserting the test cables after the line stage.
Regards,
Roger McCuaig

Unison Research P70
Dear Director,
I wonder if you can help me. I have a UR P70 Dual Mono Integrated Amplifier 2x70 watt. It blew the right hand channel and I had it fixed. When I got it fixed from the people I brought from and received it back it then blew both channels. I have found a top guy to fix it but he needs the units manuals. We have been to the company in Italy for a manual but had no reply. I am afraid they are going to come back soon asking me to courier the unit over to the factory in Italy. It weights 40kg and I am afraid I will spend a fortune on to and from courier charges before we even get it fixed.
I wonder in your network of contacts you have a copy of the above manual. I would be very happy to pay any reasonable costs if you find a copy and forward it to me.
In the mean time I have always enjoyed your website and refer to it regularly for ideas and reviews.
Best Regards,
Adrian - E-mail: norvass (at) gmail.com

LC
Dear Adrian,
service manuals are quite rare, unfortunately, and Companies aren't always “ready” (nor happy) to supply them to customers. I hope someone who reads this page can lend a hand. The only thing that I've found (and that you already have, I'm afraid) is this blurred schematic, which doesn't help much. Try contacting the Unison Reaserch official distributor in your Country. Perhaps they can help or service your amplifier.
I agree with you that shipping such a heavy unit is a no-no, unless there's no other way to have it fixed locally.

[Unison Research P70]
Hope this helped somehow,
Lucio Cadeddu

Belt for a Garrard Zero 100SB
Ciao Lucio!
I found your very informative posts about the Garrard Zero 100 turntable. I restored one and have problems with the proper speed. Could you recommend a belt, that fits the Garrard perfectly? I bought two. The first one is so long, that it falls from the platter, the second fits very tight around the platter. With the first one, the Garrard runs to slow, with the second, the speed was ok, but after a litte span of Listening, the speed broke in.
Best regards!
Axel - E-mail: awittich (at) aol.com

LC
Dear Axel,
thanks for your feedback on my articles on restoration and tweaking of the glorious Garrard Zero 100 SB turntable. It is a very fine deck that - properly set - can sound good even by today's standards. Worn belts are a problem on vintage turntables as they tend to become longer than they should be. As a result, they cause variable speed and longer start up times. The correct lenght for a Zero 100 turntable belt should 138mm (diameter). Original spares are impossible to find, of course, and even if they exist they are certainly damaged by age. Any decent electronic parts store should have different diameter belts in stock. Eventually, try even slightly different lenghts, ±2mm shouldn't do any harm.
Hope this helped,
Regards,
Lucio Cadeddu

Test on TNT Aircoils
Dear Roger,
Weather in Italy during the month of may has been quite miserable so I had plenty of rainy days to use.
I had one question ringing in my head: how can we translate our impressions in something misurable, in some way a bit more scientific than the pure feeling of our listening. I have made the following: with a spare spool of siver wire enamelled from Vacuum State (AWG 28, 99,999 purity) I have built a set of cables varying the pitch of the crossings between the two wires and I have tried to measure the results.
The cable is a balanced cable; 1 meter length from pin to pin; inner plastic (PA 6) is 12mm; inner conductor is in copper AWG 24; connectors are Neutrik silver plated pins. So you have the tube with inside the copper cable, the two silver conductors winding in opposite directions, one wrap with teflon tape, a nylon sheath. At the two ends, since the diameter was too big for the connectors, I have made a short braid 5cm long on each side covered with heat shrink jacket.
I used my digital multimeter to measure resistance and capacity and a digital inductance meter to measure this parameter. The results are the following:

Summarizing: in my system there is a clear correlation between capacity and inductance of the cable and the sonic output. It seems that in my system and for my taste lowering too much capacity makes the sound fatiguing and too bright in some records. This means then that the above results are too much related with the system, the room and the listener but, at least, if your system leans toward the bright tighten the crossings and if it tends to the dark go for few crossings.
I have also tried to add screens to cable 2; capacity went up to 2,55nF while L remained practically the same. Like a filter cutting everything above 3 KHz.
System: Dual 1221 motor on self built plinth and self built 15" arm; ZYX R1000 Airy3S, Parasound Halo phono stage, Jeff Rowland Sinergy line stage, Nu Force Ref 9SE power amps and Thiel CS3.6 speakers. Room professionally treated with linear response from 100Hz above.
Best Regards,
Piero - E-mail: Piero.Canova (at) unicooptirreno.coop.it

RMcC
Dear Piero,
Thanks very much for your email. Its great to see that a TNT article can generate some interesting research. It would certainly be interesting to know if other people have had similar results. I have some thoughts on your results that I hope you will find useful.
In my personal experience, I have found capacitance measurements done with a digital multimeter to be a bit unreliable. I tend to use the results as just a ballpark value. Also, it is possible that the 5 cm. braid at each end of the cables has a significant and possibly non fixed impact of the overall cable capacitance. All that being said, I find your measured values to be quite reasonable when compared to my results. The impact of the capacitance of an interconnect cable on frequency response is dependent on the source impedence of the device it is connected to. Typically, one can expect source impedence values for preamps to be in the 100 to 1000 ohm range. Your email does not indicate between what devices the the test cables were placed. Assuming a typical scenario of 600 ohms, I would expect that even the shielded 2.55 nF design would not produce any frequency roll-off in the audio frequency spectrum.
The effect of inductance on the frequency response of an interconnect cable is typically negligible. This is because inductive reactance (the amount of Impedence that an inductance creates in the circuit) is proportional to current and frequency and the current in an interconnect circuit is extremely small. (a few milliamps) Conversly, inductance may be of significant importance in speaker cable design where current is high. Therefore I would rule out the inductance value of the 3 cables as a factor in their performance.
Regards,
Roger McCuaig

Atoll IN 50 that does not work
Dear Lucio,
I hope you will forgive me interrupting your busy life but I found your review of the Atoll IN 50 on the web and thought, with your knowledge, you might be able to help. I am sitting in a rented house where I have found an Atoll IN 50, a Philips CD player 723, and some B&W speakers 602.5.S3. Compared to my laptop and a small wireless speaker it would be great if I could get the system to work. But it does not.
The Atoll is a slightly different version to the manuals that I can find online and may be I am missing something. The power light is always orange, rather than green and I wonder if this is the problem. Anyway I am attaching pictures because they are always easier to understand.
I hope you do not mind my contacting you. I will understand if you are too busy.
Regards,
Alastair - E-mail: abarclay589 (at) gmail.com

[Atoll IN50] width=
[Atoll IN50] width=

LC
Dear Alastair,
first of all, sorry for the late reply! The first thing you should do is to contact the official Atoll service department at mail@atoll-electronique.com or their local distributor in your area. Here's a list of contacts you might use. Secondly, the problem seems - hopefully! - a common one: perhaps there's a relay that doesn't switch correctly, because of age or oxide build-up. This should be a relay that connects the speaker outputs after a couple of seconds, just to avoid the usual thump noise at power on. It could be an easy DIY repair or you could ask any decent technician to fix that for you, eventually replacing the faulty relay. If it is not the relay, it could be a fuse. If not, I suspect there could be something more serious inside and for that you need to ask the opinion of a well trained technician.
Hope this helped somehow, keep me updated!
Lucio Cadeddu

AH! Njoe Tjoeb 4000 CD - tube-equipped CD player
Hello; I have been visiting the TNT website fairly regularly for about 12 years or so. I like the reviewing style of your contributors, who provide genuinely unbiased and useful information.
A few years ago, I read the review of the AH! modified Marantz cd 4000. I bought one of the basic cd 4000's about 15 years ago in a sale, I paid about UKP30 for it. It has a dynamic sound for a budget unit, but tends to sound a little harsh - a common complaint about digital technology. The review says that the AH! modifications give the cd 4000 a much more analogue sound. Last year, I bought an ADL Stratos DAC/headphone amplifier, which has a couple of digial inputs, and the cd 4000 has a co-axial digital output, so I was interested in hearing how the basic cd player might sound via the Stratos. I was very pleasantly surprised to hear that it has a clear, detailed and powerful sound, no harshness, and plenty of music and rhythm. I know nothing of electronics, so I can only guess that the signal from the cd drive to the co-ax output is a direct tap-off before it is passed to the rest of the internal circuitry, so it is unprocessed, leaving the Stratos DAC to do its best.
I am not familiar with many cd players, but my main player is a Wadia 302, which has a very analogue sound, I can only wonder at and envy what their top-of-the-range players sound like. I'd say that the cd 4000 and Stratos combination is not as good as the Wadia, but my best guess is that if I paid £500 for a cd player and it sounded like the cd 4000/Stratos, I'd be very happy with it.
So the purchase of a decent DAC can give a new lease of life to a most basic cd player, and with the increasing availablity of DAC's to fit just about anyone's budget, there's plenty of scope for experimentation.
Regards,
Tony - E-mail: tony.hackett72 (at) virgin.net

LC
Dear Tony,
you are right! Using the digital output the D/A section and the analogue output stage of your CD player are by-passed. In other words, the CD player works as a pure CD transport. I'm not surprised that a decent modern DAC can sound embarassingly good when compared to some expensive older CD player. Moreover, as I always say, differences among digital players and DACs are subtle, sometimes elusive. Hence, a reasonably good sounding digital set-up can be had - nowadays - for peanuts, compared to the amount of money that it was necessary in the past.
Many thanks for your precious feedback!
Lucio Cadeddu

Sapphire Force XL
Hello Arvind. I hate to bother you but hopefully this is a fun topic for you :-)
I chanced upon a Sapphire Force XL pair of speakers locally and the Force XL sub and trying to decide if I can skip the sub entirely due to space constraints and WAF! I'm going to use this primarily for music and some movies in a 20'x20' family room. I keep reading that the speakers by themselves sound wonderful and with a wide soundscape so tempted to go with just that.
I came across your review on these and wondering what your thoughts were. There appears to very limited info on these speakers in general. I'm trying to coordinate a listening session this week. BTW, I happen to be from Bombay too. Moved to the US in 98 and been here since. Nice to see a fellow Bombayite hooked on hi-fi ....and writing so eloquently at that! Would love to read more of your reviews.
Best wishes,
Savio - E-mail: saviojoseph (at) gmail.com

AK
Hello Savio,
Sorry for the slow response. Get the subwoofer and a new wife - just kidding. The speakers don' have a lot of LFE and that is no a small room either, I'd strongly recommend a sub, and that is a very nice one.
Regards,
Arvind Kohli

Yamaha A320 Review
Thanks - interesting read. But try the Yamaha CA-1000 (switchable class A <> B). I had one once. OK - very different philosophy (& price point ...they still sell used for about GBP600) to the A320.
Like most Yamaha equipment of that era beautifully styled - rather like Braun. Very dry - almost clinical sound.
Cordially,
Paul - E-mail: rutherfordpaul (at) yahoo.co.uk

LC
Dear Paul,
the Yamaha CA2010 is another gem with switchable Class A operation. Prices for a good CA2010 are increasing, like the CA1000, which is even harder to find. The A320 is a completely different beast, but still another, amazing and forgotten gem.
Thanks for your kind feedback,
Lucio Cadeddu

Phono preamp under 500$
Hi TNT-Audio,
Budget phono preamp for $500 or less? Using a Project Debut Carbon with 2M blue cartridge.
Thank you for any suggestions.
John - E-mail: jtsowers62 (at) gmail.com

LC
Dear John,
in my opinion, one of the best phono preamps money can buy, within your budget, is the Lehmann Audio Black Cube Statement. Good alternatives could be represented by the Rega Fono, the Trigon Vanguard II, the Clearaudio Nano or the Pro-Ject Tube Box S2, if you wish to try vacuum tubes.
Hope this helped somehow,
Lucio Cadeddu

“Thank you!” & DIY interconnect cable without soldering...
Hello, I recently revived my interest in audio and rediscovered the TNT Audio website. The DIY & Tweaking section contains much valuable information and enables significant audio upgrades to be made with little cost. Thank You to all who have contributed to the website and to Lucio Cadeddu who makes the information freely available!
I recently made a DIY interconnect cable based on the UBYTE-I and found it successful, revealing rather more detail than my (modest) Cambridge Atlantic cable. Although familiar with using a soldering iron, I didn't fancy soldering to the fragile copper foil so decided to make it with satellite F-type connectors and F-type to RCA adapters (which were £2.99 for 5 on eBay). As you can see from the photo, I retained 5cm lengths of the white PVC insulation (which I split up to the compression F-type connector) and then anchored to the Polyolefin heat-shrink with 2 cable ties. (I couldn't find heat-shrink of the correct size.) Perhaps another TNT Audio reader will have a better idea for doing this which totally avoids the PVC, or perhaps this solder-free idea will help other readers?
Also, not having a hot air gun, I used a kettle of boiling water to shrink the clear Polyolefin. I initially made the Polyolefin 2cm longer than the inner cable, so with care could avoid any water getting inside.
I am now making FFRC speaker cables, and found on eBay some Outdoor 100% Copper Cat5e Cable which has Polyethylene rather than PVC insulation. I assume this is preferable.
Many thanks again for enriching our audio enjoyment,
Phil - E-mail: pdmjoker (at) gmail.com

[DIY interconnects without soldering!] width=
[DIY interconnects without soldering!] width=

LC
Dear Phil,
many, many thanks for your kind words of appreciation! We do the best we can to keep this magazine entertaining, alive and...free :-)
Thanks for your DIY cable design as well! I liked your solder-less solution very much! A neat solution, congrats!
Happy DIYing & listening! And keep us updated...
Lucio Cadeddu

Atoll IN 50
Hello from Greece,
I know, it's been ages ago since this review of the Atoll IN 50, but I trust this site and I am about to buy this amp..BUT ..
It's been stated that piano lost harmonics and that sound really bad as I need an amp rich and full for piano listening and vocals and most possible fatigue free!
With Atolls it is weird, some describe them relaxed and silk smooth, others the opposite.
Is it better to buy a Nad, same class or the Atoll IN50 is closer to classical music?
Thanks
Anonymous - E-mail: pire (at) outlook.com.gr

LC
Dear reader,
the Atoll IN50 I reviewed was a good integrated amplifier at the time but that was almost 20 years ago! If you have read my review you should have understood how this amp sounds. And no, not every Atoll amp sounds the same! The IN80, for example, was much more bright and lively, while the IN50 had a more mature and smooth sound. I'm pretty sure you won't be disappointed with its performance, but it is a rather old amplifier, you might need to check the status of its power supply caps. I hope the price is reasonable, considering the age. On the other hand, if you are referring to the new Atoll IN50 (called “SE” if I understand well) I'm afraid I can't help, as I assume this amplifier has been redesigned/upgraded after all these years! I haven't had the chance to audition it again so I can't comment. I can only guess its tonal balance has remained faithful to the one I described in my review and, hopefully, its general performance has been improved.
As for classical music and piano, it is not the amp that will make these musical genres less or more enjoyable! The speakers (and the listening room) have a much larger impact!
Hope this helped somehow,
Lucio Cadeddu

Upgrade for a 30 years old system
Hello.
I have just read your reviews on Doge 8 (preamp) and Doge7 (DAC). They were very instructive for me. I am coming back to the passion of listening music, and I was looking to the doge 8 as a possible next purchase. I am also from Canada, (Sherbrooke QC), and from what I read in your reviews, I share some similarities with you. Since I am French, I hope you will apologize my English mistakes. Before I proceed with my questions, I'm beginning with a brief topo of my situation. My system is 30 years old (maybe more). For me, every things needs to be upgrade. This system consist of TT = denon dp-45F, stero amp = denon dr-555, speaker paradigm 9se first generation. The cartridge is overdue and I am looking right now to change it (in the range of 1000$, maybe more). As you, I am more an analog guy. But I plan to had a tuner and a CD player.
I want for the next years (on an horizon of 2 to 3 years) building a “budget” system. My plan was first to upgrade my TT, going for a Jean Nantais products. I still plan to do so, it's partly depending of budget issue. But for now, my amp shows sign of deterioration. So maybe I will have to go for the amp pre-amp upgrade first.
First, questions concerning doge 8
When I am looking at phono preamp prices, I have the feeling that the doge 8 is a bargain if it's phono section is good. Do you agree with that? Since I want to upgrade my cartridge to be a MC type, and I think that the coincident statement step up transformer doesn't seem to be available (from their web site). Do you have a suggestion for a good step up transformer available in Canada? You mentioned that doge 8 clarity doesn't need as much a tube upgrade as doge 8, but do you think (or know) that there tube upgrade (Optional Psvane 12AT7-TII grade A) is worthy?
Finally: can the transaction (for a purchase) with Doge be considered reliable?
Second, questions for the amp to go with the doge 8
I was planning to mate the doge 8 with the Dynamo MK III Amplifier from coincident speaker technology, considering my budget limitation, and considering that my speaker are to be change. They are not powerful amp, but it is in my budget range, I am rarely listening at a high volume (I can't be precise with sound pressure measure, it's an impression).

Thank you.
Even simple and short answers would be appreciated.
Pierre - E-mail: pierre.baillargeon (at) csdessommets.qc.ca

RMcC
Dear Pierre,
I am very happy to read of the revival of your passion for listening to music. Welcome back. You mention that your first priority would be to replace your turntable with a Jean Nantais product. A rebuilt Lenco idler drive unit (à la Nantais) is in my opinion a very good choice. Whether it be a Jean Nantais unit or another well done rebuild you will get very high performance for your investment. I have been a strong proponent of Lenco idler rebuild turntables for many years. I personally believe that no $1500. belt drive turntable can touch the performance of a well rebuilt Lenco of the same value.

I definitely consider the Doge 8 preamp good value for your money. The Model 8 in no longer available unless you go to the used market. The present version is the Doge 8 Clarity. As you have already read my review, you already know that I am a fan of this unit. The MM phono stage in both the Model 8 and the Clarity are very good. The MC stage is not quite up to the level of performance of the MM stage but still good nonetheless. My experience dealing with Doge has been all good and I have no problems recommending then to you as a reliable company. I have had no listening time with any Psvane tubes so I can't comment on them.

Regarding MC step up transformers, you are correct, the Coincident Statement is no longer available. An audiophile friend of mine told me recently that he believes that it was retired from the Coincident line because it was too expensive to build. I am lucky enough to own one and it's not going anywhere! A possible Canadian alternative to the Coincident Statement would be the Bryston TF-2. It is a bit less expensive than what the Coincident sold for and is available from Solen in St. Hubert, Qc. There may be a Bryston dealer closer to you, I didn'd check. I have only listened to TF-2 for a few minutes at the Toronto audio show 2 years ago so I can't give you a definitive opinion on it. I can say that if it is as good or better than the TF-1 unit that Bryston produced many years ago it is definitely worth serious consideration. I owned a TF-1 for several years and sold it only after the arrival of my Coincident Statement step up.

Regarding your second question, I have not had the opportunity to listen to the Coincident Dynamo amp. In fact, I was scheduled to receive one last year for review but that review had to be canceled when we moved to a new house. I presently own a pair of Coincident Total Victory II speakers as well as the Statement transformer so it is obvious that I like Coincident products. I have also had several hours of listening time with their excellent Frankenstein amps. I would be surprised if the Dynamo amp didn't live up to the high standards of construction and sound that Coincident has put in to its other products.
Enjoy your journey to new audio experiences.
Best regards,
Roger McCuaig

Pure Class A amplifiers
Dear Lucio,

  1. after more than 100 hours...here is one BIG difference between the Trends TA10.2 and the Dayton Audio DTA-1. HUGE AMOUNT LOSS of BASS. DTA1, sloppier, but HUGE amount of bass...but in Trends, more than HALF is gone...below 300 Hz, adios...
    This is why people want subwoofers. In all other points, the Trends is the best amp. Of course. Even quality of anemic bass, with the Trends is better...
  2. I ask you if you know of a not too expensive integrated or separates, amp... NO vacuum tubes, in CLASS A mode. The cheapest I find is the Lux, Japan ...about usd 4000...
    Have you seen anything around usd 1000 or less than usd 2000 ??
    Class A... need only few watts...
Kindly, please suggest..
Thanks,
Kisho - E-mail: mukashifriends (at) yahoo.com

LC
Dear Kisho,
I disagree on your comments with respect to the bass range of the Trends Audio TA10.2. Saying there's nothing below 300Hz is such a wrong statement! Of course, it all depends on the speakers. If their sensitivity isn't sufficently high than the power output of the TA10.2 isn't enough to “drive” the woofers properly. Are you sure you have connected the speakers correctly, and not out of phase, for example?
As for your quest for a solid state pure class A integrated amp, these are normally expensive, so your best chance is to search for something in the second hand market. Musical Fidelity A1 or A100, Kelvin Labs The Integrated might be not impossible to find.
Hope this helped somehow,
Lucio Cadeddu

Cambridge Audio CD players comparison?
Hi Nick. I am a TNT-Audio reader and once owned a Cambridge Audio CD6 CD player. I read you used to run a CD5 for a while. After my Oppo 980 was broken, I tried to find an old Cambridge - I missed the CD6. I bought a D300se but was badly packed and now I have probably a bent motor spindle and the CDP does not read the discs. I am thinking of getting a D500se someone is selling defective: almost imprecettible analog out but the digital outs are fine.
I wanted to ask you an opinion about how the old CD5 compare to the newer D300/500 Special Editions - if you ever had the chance to. Is it worth that I keep on trying to get the newer ones? Are they much better than an older CD5, which I could get at the same price used (version 1)?
Thanks,
Pasquale - E-mail: p.robustini (at) gmail.com

NW
Hi Pasquale,
I have hardly used a CDP for many years now. Output from a computer (plus external DAC) is vastly superior in my experience. So I am sorry that I am unable to offer you help in this instance. If you wish to get a CDP, it may be best to ask for recommendations on one of the hi-fi forums (or read some of the recent reviews here on TNT-Audio).
Regards,
Nick Whetstone

TNT Aircoil signal cables
Dear Roger,
I just came across your article on TNT about the Aircoil DIY cable and I did want to share with you some of my experiences: I am living in Italy, north east area in Padova which is very close to Venice. In our small community of audiophiles we are using since some time an architecture for our interconnect cables very similar to the one you describe. I have in my system at least 10 cables based on the same principle and my results are the following:

Et voilà, testing these cables against interconnects well above 1000€ for 1m was a draw which, for a cable worth in the most expensive version (silver enamelled + Silver bullet plugs) 170€ seems to me an excellent compromise.
I hope the above will fit with your further testings.
Best Regards,
Piero - E-mail: piero.canova (at) eyebeam.it
[The TNT AirCoil]

RMcC
Dear Piero,
Thank you for taking the time to share your experience. We will certainly pass it on to our readers. I had thought about making a set of Aircoils using naked or varnish coated conductors with Teflon tape to keep them apart as you have done but have not got around to doing it yet. This might make the overall diameter of the finished cable smaller. In my case I had to drill out my connectors in order to get the cable to pass.
With respect to your comment regarding eliminating the skin effect by using smaller conductors, I have calculated that at 20 kHz the skin effect only becomes relevant for conductors larger than #19 AWG. For example with #24 AWG the skin effect starts to have an effect at 68 kHz. The number is nearly the same for both copper and silver.
Best regards,
Roger McCuaig

Ciunas ISO PS
Hi Nick,
I can get this for $60 shipped (used of course) from someone. Is it really worth it? The unit I will use it with has no DC inlet, USB powered.
Thanks.
Celal - E-mail: gurcuoglu (at) hotmail.com

NW
Hi Celal,
If the battery is still good it should be OK. To use it you will need to make up (or buy) a lead to split the power supply and signal to your DAC. Here is a link to the TNT-Audio DIY version of such a cable. You will also need a charger. Regards,
Nick Whetstone

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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