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 2006

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Reading your interesting review on the NAD 3020 amp, which has tempted me to get one of e-bay, I just wondered which speakers would you recommend for it? I was thinking along the lines of the KEF Crestas, or Coda 7's?
Thanks for any info,
Tim - E-mail: thiscocks (at)

Hi Tim,
Grab it, if the price is right. It works well with small KEFs, e.g. Cresta 1, but it even drives my big KEF 104s with ease! We've just published a review of an upgrade for this amp that I am delighted with, so watch our reviews page for more on this.
Best wishes,
David Holgate

Oracle vs Garrard?
Somebody who lives close by offered me his "flawless" Garrard Zero 100 for about US$210 negotiable. Is that a good price? Can I use MC cartridges with the Zero 100?
At the moment my turntable is an Oracle Alexandria Mk II/Alphason HR-100S arm with Van den Hul silver wire. Cartridges are the low ouput Yamaha MC-9 and Audio-technica AT-OC3. I use a Coral T-1000 MC step-up transformer plugged direct into the phono input of my Nikko TRM-1200 integrated amp. It sounds better than the NAD PP-2 phono stage, which I also have.
Sound is great, and speed accuracy is spot on. I only adjusted the pitch control once and never had to use it again. The suspension has also not drifted since I last set it. Construction is the usual Oracle high standard. I listen to 70s progressive rock, 50s jazz vocals, baroque classical and some lieder. So, should I sell my Oracle and get the Zero 100?
I've not come across a review where an MC cartridge was mounted on the Zero 100.
Many thanks for your opinions.
Raz - E-mail: razzwill (at)

Dear Raz,
I hope you're kidding, as April's Fool Day is ...TODAY! First of all, 210$ for a Garrard Zero is a ridiculously high amount of money, secondly there's no hope for the Zero 100 to come close to your Oracle Alexandria. This is a GREAT turntable while the Zero 100, though still an interesting component, is something closer to the entry-level area of the market, provided it has been accurately and professionally restored.
The only Garrards that can compare to your Alexandria are the famous 301's and 401's. And these don't come cheap.
Hope this helped somehow,
Lucio Cadeddu

Tube preamp + solid state power amp
Hello from Croatia!
I have in mind a tube preamp for my fet power amp (Aleph5, 60W class A, by Pass Labs)! I want to make a tube preamp for my Aleph5 but many friends say me that's impossible! Can I use your MW Pre 01 - Tube Line preamplifier with MM Phono stage for my Aleph5 amp? Is this a real thing or should I use a solid state preamp?
Best regards,
PS. Sorry for my English :-)
Nenad - E-mail: njembrih (at)

Dear Nenad,
you can use anything you like. I see no reason for not building our MW Preamp (or any other DIY tube preamp) and partnering it to your Aleph5 power amp. Many audiophiles use tube preamps with solid state power amps, trying to get the best of both Worlds. Just to be 100% sure contact our resident tube guru Giorgio Pozzoli (giorgio (at) and ask him about impedance input/output compatibility between his MW Preamp design and your Aleph 5 power amp. Impedance mismatch (or input sensitivity/output mismatch) are the only things to avoid when partnering ANY preamp to ANY power amp.
Hope this helped somehow,
Lucio Cadeddu

Super T
Lucio ...great article on the original T-Amp. Hope you have Super T article coming. They sound great. I will get the Super T's now that I know they are for real. 10 gauge wire doesn't go to well with the Lilliputian connectors. I have two bi-amped to my coax mids. I have four total and will try one unit per speaker, but I need your help first.
Do you feel a good (not the 220volt you mentioned), but equivalent 110vac version power supply is actually better than a few of the smallest lead acid batteries connected in parallel or one for each amp (safely vented outside)? The advantage of going to 13.8 volts in a power supply is intriguing. Lead/acid batteries should be better/faster than SLA or Deep cycle battery.
I'm looking for a way to decrease the size of coupling capacitor. And cleaner sound.
I would even consider banks of rechargeable N-MH batteries. Then cap would be very small. But not sure of actual draw. I do loud also, and 4-5+ hrs when I can (not all loud). I will have 3 Super T's max to drive.
Thanks in advance for any help you can give me.
Zene - E-mail: zene (at)

Dear Zene,
yes, the new Super T-Amp has made it to the palatial TNT-Audio headquarters, so expect a review anytime soon. So far, it seems to sound good.
Don't count the newly supplied Sonic Impact PSU out too easily, though. It gets its dirty job done. In any case, feel free to experiment with batteries. Some audiophiles have tried motorbike batteries with great results, for example.
Keep us updated!
Lucio Cadeddu

Cheap loudspeakers - 2 queries
I'm planning on becoming an audiophile. based on the reviews and my budget I thought I'd start with a t-amp, but my budget doesn't go much further than that. I was wondering: are there any comparable speakers that sound great with a low price?
Nick - E-mail: mr.splice (at)

I just bought a Super T-Amp, and I would like to request advice on the approriate, moderately-priced speakers for it. There are very limited hi-fi speakers available here in Manila, Philippines.
The shops that I have canvassed so far recommended the following:

  1. Mordant Short MS902i
  2. Klipsch RB25
  3. PSP Image 2B
May I have your suggestions on which of the three would best match the T-Amp?
Vic - E-mail: kawika18b (at)

Dear Nick & Vic,
it seems this is a very frequently asked queston! You need high sensitivity loudspeakers and these - normally - don't come cheap. There's only one manufacturer who makes high sensitivity loudspeakers even at moderate price and this is Klipsch. So, Vic, I think the Klipsch RB 25's could be your best bet. Of course, Nick, you can browse the Internet (and particularly Ebay) for deals on second-hand or discontiued models from this manufacturer.
Other solutions might be: the DIY route or some commercial fullrange design (not cheap and harder to find)
Hope this helped somehow,
Lucio Cadeddu

Memory and Judgement of Audio Quality
Hi Mark,
Thanks for your interesting article on "Memory and Judgement of Audio Quality". It reminded me of the work done by Dennis Boyle of Chimera Labs. His work can be found at Chimera Labs website.
Anton - E-mail: anton.dorrestijn (at)

Hi Anton,
Thanks for the interest. I have read the Top Secret Ear Tool and regard it highly. It does have the drawback of many scales in that it does not leave anywhere new to go once a piece of equipment reaches 9 points in any parameter!
The scheme I propose is a comparative exercise whose scores only apply on the day of the test with the pair or trio of samples under test.
Dennis's system is very good at applying equal value to each parameter (hence the circular graph format), whereas I do ascribe more value to certain qualities than others at each part of the audio chain from source to loudspeaker.
Happy listening,
Mark Wheeler

Tube amp question
I have two (2) Mesa-Boogie stereo power amps, 20/20 and 50/50. Is there any reason I can't use them as a power amp for my new stereo system even though they were built for a guitar amplifier system. I know I would need a pre-amp, but I can use a receiver-pre-amp, no?
Phil- E-mail: FILLIC (at)

Hi Phil,
go ahead and use the smaller one for the treble of both speakers (easy if they bi-wire); use the bigger one for the bass-mid connection. Better still buy an active crossover like you'd use in a pa rig. Look out for my upcoming TNT article on active x-overs. That'll sound miles better than passive.
Hope this helps
Mark Wheeler

DIY Interconnects, XLO geometry
Hello Lucio,
I want to build new interconnects and have planned to give the XLO-design a try. But I'm not really sure how this will be terminated. Thorsten writes: "Get 12 Length of the wire-wrap wire, each about 1.3-1.6 times the length your interconnect is intended to end up with. To illustrate; for each 1m (3') length of interconnect, you will need 12 pieces of 1.3 to 1.6 meter (4 to 5 ft) of wire-wrap wire. I use three pieces each in black and in red (for hot) and another six pieces in white (later cold).". Please can you tell me, which wires will be put together where. Normally I do have 2 runs. If I have a RCA (or Chinch, as this are called here) connector, I do have 2 runs of wire. The "plus" (in the centre) and the "ground" (the outer contact). So where to solder the red, black and white ones?
I was infected by the DIY-virus several years ago, starting with a phono+line preamp presented in the Klang&Ton Magazine by Holgar Stein. Now this has developed to a stand alone phone amp a la Allen Wrights FVP. Next was a Scheu turntable. We were about 10 guys from Denmark, Germany, Austria who built it together. One of the Germans had the possibility to machine the parts.
Now I'm building a new tube amp kit from puredynamics ( It's a 2A3 PP (integrated) amp. Next will be good quality cables. I like your homepage and it is really interesting for me.
Best regards
Thomas - E-mail: thomas.ft.fischer (at)

Dear Thomas,
the best thing to do is ask Thorsten directly. He now runs two mailing lists on Yahoo Groups, named Thunderstone Audio. He can be reached there easily. Anyway, in order to complete your DIY cable design you should solder the black and red together to the central pin (hot) while the white ones should go to the outer pin (cold). That should suffice.
Another good place where to ask for advices on our DIY designs is the TNT-Audio Addicts mailing list, still hosted by Yahoo Groups.
Lucio Cadeddu

Amps around 1000$
Hi Arvind,
I have read your reviews on so many audio products on different sites. I feel that you audition products that are now insanely expensive for the regular people like us to buy. Can you please give me your suggestion? Will sincerely appreciate your inputs.
My problem is I have a NAD C352, which suddenly started giving me problems. The "DISC" input is bleeding in the right channel of other inputs and the "CD" input is having the right channel sounding very low. I am thinking of having this repaired under warranty and then selling off the amp.
Which integrated amp (SS/tube) between $1000-$1500 will make a substantial difference in the sound quality over the existing NAD? I can certainly look at the S/H market. My current system consists of Quad 21L speakers, Marantz SA8260 SACD player, Nordost 4Flat Bi-wires, Signal Cable Silver Resolution interconnects and Signal Cable power cables. I have the moniker "milpai" at, where you can see my system.
Thanks and Regards
Milind - E-mail: milindpai (at)

Hello Milind,
Nice setup, maybe pull the speakers out further if you can. Glad you have been reading my reviews, but I was a bit puzzled on the price point comment.
Nonetheless. I have had a NAD 317 integrated for about 8 years, that has given me no problems whatsoever. Generally NAD gear is fairly trouble free, and if it is under warranty you should get it fixed. I would be surprised if you have troubles after that. I will also say with some confidence that you will be hard pressed to find much improvement over a NAD, unless you spend a lot more money.
If you have an itch for change, that is a different beast. There is very nice chinese gear, that gives great value for money. I reviewed and still have as my reference the Cayin 265Ai. I feel that the strength of that amp is that it operates in class-a mode. I suspect most class-a amps will give you a similar performance, the chinese will do it for less money, but most of those brands are not well established and the support may not be as strong as with a NAD.
The used market also has great value. Musical Fidelity used to make some nice class-a integrated that you can find used for very little money. I also found the Sim i5 to be very nice, but was a bit pricey.
Hope that helps.
Arvind Kohli

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