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Readers' Corner - November 2000

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Re: Norh 4.0
Dear Lucio,
Thanks so much Lucio for your post/reply on Reader's corner. I just read it. I really like the nOrh's. They are so unique and actually they are a piece of art (I think) which would go well with the decor.
The only thing that makes me hesitant is the fact they have only been in business for 2 years. I guess I'm a little old fashioned. If I did get the speakers and for some reason down the road they broke and the company no longer exists .... what are my options then?
Or .... in this audio/visual world we love so much ... does that matter? Should that be a consideration when purchasing nOrh or any speaker for that matter?

One other question Lucio, I was also thinking about the B&W 601 s2's instead of the nOrh's. I'm running a Denon AVR-3801 (as you can tell I'm building my hi-fi and I'm new to all this). I wouldn't say I'm a hi-fi nut wanting the best of everything but I do want what's best for me at a price I can live with.
I listen to movies and music about the same so I'm looking for speakers that could perform both media's with quality sound and performance. Also any ideas that you may have to set up my speakers would be much appreciated.
Boyd Newlin - E-mail: boyd.newlin@richmond.ppdi.com

Dear Boyd,
if you have the possibility to test listen both the speakers (Norh and B&W), just do it! In my opinion, the Norh 4.0 are better. Better sounding, better finish etc. As for the reliability issue...please remember that speakers aren't complicated electronic devices. Just two drivers and a crossover. The drivers are commonly available (just ask Norh for model and brand) and a crossover is nothing else than a coil with caps and resistors, something you can easily find anywhere.
Even if you damage a driver (most likely, a tweeter) you can easily find it at any HiFi components store. More precisely, the tweeters you find into the Norh 4.0 are - more or less - hi-quality car stereo tweeters.
Hope this helps,
Lucio Cadeddu

Norh 4.0
So for the money you liked the nOrh 4.0's. I'm thinking about 2 pairs of 4.0's to go with my old DCM 712 powered sub. What do you think? These are the specs of my sub: it is a DCM 712 (bought in 1993 for $699, I only payed $170 or $270 ... it was a floor model) built by B&K. Specs are:

I guess the only thing that I would change is the crossover ... this one is fixed at 75 Hz. It still sound good though.
Boyd M. Newlin - E-mail: boyd.newlin@richmond.ppdi.com

Dear Boyd,
not only I liked the Norh 4.0 so much but I still consider them an absolute bargain at that price. They can easily rival with speakers costing two times as much.
Adding a sub with a 75 Hz low pass could improve the deeper bass and, considering the sub sensivity is adjustable, you'll have no problem to perfectly match your subwoofer with the "musical Thai drums".
If you decide to buy 'em, let me know your findings and impressions.
Lucio Cadeddu

Which amp?
my name is Udi and I've read your review about the Krell kav150a and the 300 integrated. I'm looking for a warm, detailed, smooth sound and less harsh. I want you choice which one will bring me better results and does better than Bryston 4bst and Nad s200 (I've got the TAG McLaren pre amp and Dynaudio Contour 1.8 speakers).
Thank you in advance.
Ehud Muallem - E-mail: mehud@hotmail.com

Dear Udi,
if you want a warm and smooth sound probably Krell isn't the best choice. You may want to consider Classe' Audio, ElectroCompaniet or Naim, even better if matched to a Naim preamp.
Try listening to these amps AT HOME with your 'speakers.
Lucio Cadeddu

Hi there,
First of all let me say a big THANK YOU for your great site! Always a pleasure to read, and a refreshing down-to-earth, humorous style that makes a break from all the posey waffle that is normally present in hifi magazines.

Your DIY cables section has prompted me to try out some of your ideas, and one was particularly successful, so I thought you might be interested to know about it, and maybe share with other readers on your letters page.
I built some FFRC cables from some CAT5 network cable that was being chucked out at work, but without much success. I guess the quality of the cable counts. The result was better than buying a cheap "whatever" cable, but not as good as my original QED Qudos biwire (5/meter in the UK).
I had lots of cable from different manufacturers available, and what I did find was that some Sun Microsystems branded cable (which was stranded!) actually sounded a lot better than some no-name solid core CAT5 cable.
I didn't buy the cable that Thorsten suggests, of course, and that was probably my downfall, so I'm sure his was much better.
I figured out 2 things: the quality of the cable still matters, and there's always that old bug-bear: *system matching*.

What I really found amazingly succesful, and a completely free tweak, was prompted by your article Twisting cables - a curious listening experience" by Stefano Monteferri.
I thought I might try twisting together some of the cables on my system to see if it would make a difference. I twisted together the standard (one day I'll build a TTS or two!) power cords for my integrated amp and power amp.
Excuse the cliche, but: Holy macaroni! Suddenly the sound of my system *smoooothed* out, it was a total revelation! I liken the experience to the difference between talcum powder and beach sand. The sound suddenly gained a delicious fluid quality.
I was planning to do a test listen, but I ended up glued to sofa right to the end of the CD (Leftism by Leftfield).
I then tried twisting the CD power cable in also, but that was worse. Twisting the interconnects (van den hul Storm II 30) was no good either - collapsed the soundstage. But those two power cables - unbelievable (and you'd have to be deaf not to appreciate it!).

So the moral of the story: "try twisting those cables, it's free, easy some things work, some don't, just try it all, because it might just make a big difference to the enjoyment of the music from your system".

My system:

Thanks again,
Ian Overliese - E-mail: Ian.Overliese@netinsight.se

Dear Ian,
just two words to confirm that...YES, the quality of the cable matters when building a DIY design. And YES, twisting works. Sometimes for better, sometimes for worse (as ANY other tweak).
Keep reading & tweaking,
Lucio Cadeddu

Dear TNT,
I have just discovered your wonderful site and wanted to say thank you for all the common sense it contains and for your stance of impartiality. I hope you always remain true to that ideal.
Best wishes,
Julian Thomas - E-mail: jjwt@clara.co.uk

Dear Julian,
TNT-Audio was put online 5 years ago already and NOTHING has been changed in our "Mission" since then...our scope, our truly independent approach, our NO-ADS policy, our strong will to write things as they are. Competitors, despite being commercial - and hence making profits from writing - have come and go, appeared and evaporated...while TNT-Audio is here to stay.
Trust us, we don't care about money, we just want to have fun.
And, trust me twice, we ARE having some SERIOUS FUN here :-)
Stay tuned,
Lucio Cadeddu

Why do you think that Rotel is a Japanese manufacturer. Please correct me if I'm wrong but the company originally hails from England. I know they may outsource some of their manufacturing but I do not think it is to Japan.
Rotel is an English family dedicated to Providing hi-fi equipment at a reasonable price.
Please do some more research!
Brad Scarlett - E-mail: scarlett@dowco.com

The phrase is clearly taken by the user manual, but NOTHING in the user manual allows you to believe it is a British company, apart the fact that you probably cannot believe something originated out of England can sound any good....
As the company current address is The Rotel Co.,Ltd, Bunzan-Shinsen Building, 4F 10-10Shinsen-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 105, Japan, I don't think I can say it is a UK company at all, even though, as far as I know, they moved the R&D department to UK a few years ago.
And with really a little more reserch, just by looking at the last page of the manual, you would have found out yourself, without troubling me with such a stupid question and arrogant attitude.
Just to end with, the About Rotel paragraph in the user guide is present only in the English version: in all the other is completely missing; I let you explain this by yourself.
P.S. I do not think the tone of this answer is very british either, isn't it?
Giorgio Pozzoli

Mains cables...again
Hi Lucio,
I am just reading your page about the Merlino (your DIY pages are very interesting) and I would have some questions.
I am living in Germany (though I am Belgian) and our house is cabled with tri-phase current (3x230v + neutral). Everything is going from the counter (input from the provider) to a differential circuit (Residual Current Device) and from there to 13 individual switches (13 individual rings in the house).
I then decided to add one more ring dedicated to my Hifi system (before my system was sharing the same ring as all the lights and power plugs in the basement). I did that with the same kind of cable as the other ring in the house (3x2.5 mm2) and put the cable in plastic tubes (15m of cable was enough). But this cable is not shielded.

First question: should I also use a shielded cable for this application or is it enough as I did it and only use shielded cable from the wall plug (the new one I installed) to the hifi equipment?

Second question: I have been told by several people (including a guy from Russ Andrews Accessories) that RCD's on a hifi ring are to be avoided. In fact that's what I did for this new hifi ring, I by-passed the RCD but now I am a bit worried about security (I am not even sure this is allowed).
I indeed have the feeling that the sound improved (especially in high freq: less fatigue) but I am not sure whether it is related to the RCD-bypass or simply to the new dedicated ring. Can I have your opinion on that?
Thanks in advance,
Michel Fombellida - E-mail: mfombellida@t-online.de

Dear Michel,
using shielded cable throughout your house isn't really necessary. It is the last meters that count. By-passing the RCD may be a clever idea for HiFi nuts, but it is extremely dangerous, so I suggest to connect everything to the RCD. Plus, at least here in Italy, disconnecting the RCD is forbidden by law.
For additional shielding, may I suggest you to build our reference TNT TTS. Recently it has been very positively reviewed by a famous Italian HiFi magazine (Suono) during a comparative test of 3 HiFi mains clabes. Results will be online soon.
Lucio Cadeddu

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