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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March 2005

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Re: Feedback on tweaks
Dear Lucio,
I read the feedback by Manuel from this Readers' Corner section and checked the filter. While I am trying to understand how to install it I wondered why amplifier designers do not put this simple circuits and components inside the amp if it makes such an improvement?
I can understand cheap cabling or bad feet but why not filters? By the way shall I try it on the plug of my equipment or on the cable? In the article it says "The Plug-In nature of these filters allows for quick A/B comparisons, trying different locations in the Electric Circuit and they can be plugged into the Mains near to a noise-generating appliance to quite it down." Do I connect it barely to the socket or shall the electricity that goes to the equipment pass through this filter? I think it is the second one...
Thanks,
Koray - E-mail: kpars (at) dostelmakina.com

LC
Dear Koray,
many HiFi Companies use Shaffner-like filters inside their components...certainly NOT on the entry-level stuff but on high-end gear these IEC filtered inlets are quite common.
You have many different options:

  1. IEC-filtered mains inlets, that can be installed directly on the rear panel of any HiFi component.
  2. Filtered wall inlets, that you can put anywhere in your house
  3. Outboard mains filters that you can install "before" your mains distribution block
Hope this helped,
Lucio Cadeddu

Garrard Zero 100
Dear Lucio...
Thank you for your articles concerning the Zero 100. I am thinking of purchasing one on eBay. I have found one that is clean and in very good condition... a one owner turntable. The owner says that the platter barely spins. What could the problem be? How much should I offer for it?
Yours,
Larry - E-mail: dumpster (at) compulsoryarts.com

LC
Dear Larry,
if the platter doesn't spin I wouldn't buy it unless it comes very, very cheap. It could be a worn belt (easily replaceable) or...a broken motor or, even worse, a bent spindle. In any case, as written in the Zero 100 article, I wouldn't pay more than 100$ for a working Garrard Zero 100. It is a good turntable, with a fascinating arm...but for 200$ you can buy a new turntable, such as the ProJect Debut, for example, or a second-hand Rega Planar.
Hope this helped,
Lucio Cadeddu

Questions on 6 Ohm speakers
Dear Lucio,
I saw your TNT-Audio website. I must say it is an interesting site and your profile is really impressive. I am sure you are the right person I should seek advice from. I would be grateful if you could kindly spare your precious time on my case.
I am using the Sonus Faber Guarneri (6 ohms) and wish to connect them to McIntosh MC150 power amp. However, I realise the amp only have "8ohm" and "4ohm" output, so 6 ohm is in the twillight zone. Obviously connecting it to the 8 ohm output will not get an optimum result but at the same time I am not sure if the sound quality will be better if I hook them up to the 4 ohm output.
I also read on Sterophile that my speakers need an amp with good bass and they are suggesting expensive stuff like Conrad Johnson, Jadis - which is not something I want to spend money on. Would you kindly suggest me some power amp recommendations? I listen to almost only classical (from small scale to large scale) music as I am a performing violinist and pianist.
Thank a lot for your time in advance.
Cheers,
Edward - E-mail: edwardyee838 (at) hotmail.com

LC
Dear Edward,
this impedance-matching thing is a very frequently asked question. Generally, when a loudspeaker is claimed to have X ohms nominal impedance you should read "X ohm average". Impedance varies wildly with frequency so manufacturers try to make a gross estimate of the average. That said, I'm pretty sure your McIntosh will be able to drive your Guarneri even via the 8 ohm power output. In any case, try both! And then judge by yourself. Nothing's gonna break, trust me.
You're a musician, let your ears decide.
Hope this helped,
Lucio Cadeddu

Still Garrard Zero questions
Good Afternoon Sir,
Reading your very clarifying article on the Garrard ZERO-100 turntable I could make up nearly everything I needed to know, bar one: When I measure the level of the turntable in its plinth I am getting different readings, i.e. the turntable is not horizontally balanced.
I think that mainly the rear suspension coils have become to weak. Did you experience the same problem, if yes what has been your solution to this issue?
I already tried to fix the coils (to no avail) and to find them "new old stock" on the Internet, to no avail either. Would you be so kin to share your ideas, experience with me?
With Kind Regards,
P-J. - E-mail: peterjohn.arendse (at) shape.nato.int

LC
Dear P-J,
the most important thing is that the platter is balanced in the horizontal plane. To achieve this, adjust the springs height to get a perfectly balanced platter, with an LP on it: the weight of the LP itself may alter the balance. Once you have achieved this (don't get too paranoic, though) the cartridge will follow the grooves with better precision.
Hope this helped,
Lucio Cadeddu

Feedback on tweaks
Dear Lucio,
I have made some experiences with mains cables and an IEC filter after reading TNT-audio's posts on the subject, and I'd like to report the amazing results I obtained. First I bought a filter (8) and connected it to a quality 5-socket mains block with short extensions of Kimber 4TC (here's the audiophile touch...). In order not to leave the filter and wires exposed, I enveloped everything in a MDF box, and later I brushed an aluminium plate that provided an attractive fascia to it, turning an otherwise ugly black box into an "Isotek-grade" mains block!
But never mind aesthetics: the results, after connecting the electronics (a Rega Planar 3, a Rega Planet, a Primare A20 MkII and the wall-wart PSU of a Musical Fidelity X-LP), were simply outstanding: there was so much more transparency, and the wealth of low-level detail was really beguiling, allowing me to hear subtleties in the music that were previously hidden. Soundstage became wider and much deeper, imaging more focused and precise, and bass became tighter and more tuneful. And all this for little more than 8!
Later on I began fiddling with cables. Firstly I bought some Supra LoRad, but this cable killed fine detail, bass became fat and sluggish, and the overall sound dull and imprecise. I had some common 2,5mm2 cable on hand, which I had bought at 1,50/m in a DIY store, and decided to give it a try. I stripped the white outer jacket, braided the three wires together and fitted them with an IEC female plug on one end, a Schuko plug on the other and black heat-shrink in the middle (my house has no ground connections, so there's no real need for shielded cable). Simple, but tremendously effective: I'm currently using two lengths of the cable I prepared between integrated amplifier and (filtered) mains block, and between block and mains outlet and again, the results are impressive in terms of resolution, dynamics and imaging. I recovered all the speed and detail that were missing since I had bought the Supras.
Finally, one word about the aforementioned electronics: they sit on a TNT FleXy Table (except the turntable, which is wall-hung), and it must be the bargain of the century in what concerns supports!
So, the point of all this is: thank you so much for all your precious advice! And excuse me for not using your beautiful language to express myself.
Manuel - E-mail: m_macedo (at) hotmail.com

LC
Dear Manuel,
thanks for the precious feedback on the tweaks you have performed on your system.
If I may suggest something else, try installing an IEC filtered socket (Shaffner-like) on every component instead of using your filtered distribution block. One never knows, things can get even better. And please remember these filters work well only if there's a real "grounding" system in the mains supply. Eventually plan to rewire the house and add a ground. Before than for audiophile reasons, this is a "must have" in the safety department ;-)
All the best,
Lucio Cadeddu

Ferrite rings
Hi!
How important are the ferrite rings for the cable and what size should they be? Regards,
Sladan - E-mail: Sladan (at) onemail.at

LC
Dear Sladan,
ferrite rings are not strictly necessary. Once the shield is connected to the negative pole (amp-side for speaker cables) or to the ground (wall-side for mains cables) the effect of the ferrite rings should be minimal. Anyway, you can try and experiment on your own. It is part of the entertainment. Do not take our words as gospel, just as mere suggestions...then don't be afraid to experiment by yourself! This is the way we designed our DIY projects (trials and errors, tested by ear)!
As for sizing...well, it all depends on the size of the cable itself. The ferrite rings should be clamped on the cable, so....
Hope this helped,
Lucio Cadeddu

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