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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November 2007

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PC-cards & serious HiFi
I have stumbled into really serious audiophiles that are dumping their multi€ CD-players for going with EAC, disk-space & a serious sound card like E-MU 1616M.
Have You also stumbled into that and have you looked into or planning to look into that world that really turn things around?
I have seriously started to look into modifying Creative X-Fi Elite Pro (that has the same DAC as 1616M & also will handle multichannel, which E-MU:s don't) with another clock (from NewclassD) etc to see if it will play good enough.
Best regards,
Hakan - E-mail: hakan (at)

Dear Hakan,
using a PC as digital source is becoming more and more popular and "accepted" among audiophiles. Personally I haven't investigated much into this field but Nick Whetstone is our resident guru when it comes to PC-oriented HiFi sources (see his latest reviews, for example). If it is true that good quality can be achieved via PC I'm still convinced using a physical medium (as LPs and CDs) is more attractive. Audio quality aside (that can be discussed) there's a ritual in playing an LP that clicking on your mouse can't substitute :-)
Moreover, handling and reading a good LP cover is much more fascinating than scrolling down a playlist on a PC screen.
Finally, I work on a PC screen for many hours a day. When I really wish to relax I prefer to keep this damn thing turned off ;-)
Lucio Cadeddu

TNT FleXy table
Hello Mark,
I've been following tnt-audio since the first time I play with some Hi fi toys about a year already. Currently I interested in building the flexy table and have couple questions about the design.

I also want to try your stone block but I'm having difficulties to find such graphite cube here in jakarta. The drug stores, either modern and traditional one, don't sell such things. The only stone for scrubbing foot available here is like these freebies but will not work as a spike.
Much appreciate for your time.
Warm regards,
Taufik - E-mail: taufik (at)

Hello Taufik
I have not made myself a Flexytable, but I can tell you that 3 legs are inherently more stable than 4. That is why photographers use tripods, not quadropods. There is always a danger of slight movement of whichever of the 4 legs has least pressure on it, causing extra vibration. In hifi this causes noise.

My understanding of the construction of the Flexy table is that it uses threaded rod (also known as threaded bar) inside tubes. Engineering supplies stores usually have all these materials for sale.

FAQs about Flexy table can be found here.
The stone blocks I tested were made from similar volcanic material shown in your pictures, which is not free here. This soft porous material will cut easily into a triangle shape. It does not need to be cut to a point because it is so soft that a point would collapse.
Do try whatever materials you have available, your own ears are the ultimate arbiters. All these materials are much cheaper than any audiophile products, so your experiments will save you money, build your knowledge and be fun to try.
Happy Listening,
Mark Wheeler

Re: TNT FleXy table
Hello Mark (and Lucio too :-) ),
I appreciate your reply. I managed to finish my flexy table last week. I use granite instead of wood since it's more solid and look cooler than any kind of top grade wood finishing. certainly it cost me more but consider the result, I satisfy both in term of sound quality enhancement and the build quality itself.
I use different materials than what TnT suggested and also throwed in few other things. First, I chose to use only 65 cm long and 3/4 inches threaded rod and honed the surface of the rod (I picked steel coated with galvanis since the stainless steel one can cost 9 times more than galvanis :( ) 'till it were perfectly flat. In this way the contact area with the floor is just perfect. And looks good too :-)
To reduce the ringing effect, I covered the rod especially in area which bolt, ring, washer, and granite itself contact with the rod with thin rubber seal (usually used for plumbing). No need to tighten the bolt. In this way all parts are in contact with each other via elastic medium. It will reduce the vibration.
For the washer itself, I chose to custom made from bulk rubber sheet which usually used for heavy machinery at very low price (IDR 1000 per piece, only 1 cent :).my guess it was only for service payment. the material itself is extremely cheap). Hard enough but also elastic.
So, my flexy table cost me about IDR 930.000 (less than US$100), quite pricey cos of granite. Maybe if i use MDF, it will only cost me about US$50 or less. But it make me happier than ought to buy some low end audiophile's rack made of wood about US$ 200.
Anyway, may I know currently how many people actually built flexy table according to TnT data? definitely I add one number to the data :-)
Oh yeah, about the stone block, the stone I showed previously is simply cannot be formed into square (it's not soft material) . and it has a lot of pores so will not robust enough. later on I will try to create it from granite too. but have to find the left over material first (freebies principal) :)
Warm regards,
Taufik - E-mail: taufik (at)

Dear Taufik,
we're glad the TNT FleXy worked so well for you. We are no longer counting how many FleXy tables are out there but considering the number of times it gets cited on forums and webpages I assume there are literally thousands of FleXy's worldwide. Perhaps it is the most popular DIY HiFi design ever.
Happy listening,
Lucio Cadeddu

Speaker cables for Opera Terza's
I own and love my Opera Terza speakers and wondered if you would be kind enough and recommend the type of cables best suitable for these great sounding speakers. I use them with Quad pre and amp 99 and 909.
Thank you,
Ruti - E-mail: rutiruti (at)

Dear Ruti,
the choice depends mainly on your personal taste and on the equilibrium you wish to achieve. For example, if you prefer to preserve the natural warm sound of the Terza's you'd probably feel at home with Monster Cable wires. If you prefer a "fresher" sound perhaps Nordost is the way to go. If you wish to stay in the middle, perhaps you should look for Supra or JPS. Ask your dealer! Evaluating cables at home is the best way to avoid mistakes.
Hope this helped a bit,
Lucio Cadeddu

Infinity speakers
Dear Lucio,
You reviewed the Infinity Reference 1 mkII - loudspeakers in 2000 and now there is a new model Infinity Primus P162 (US$298 a pair of speakers). I wonder would this be a good partner with the Trends Audio TA 10.1 - integrated amplifier or would the Hawthorne Audio Silver Iris drivers (US$290 a pair of drivers) be a better choice.
Your opinion is much appreciated.
John - E-mail: johnchoy (at)

Dear John,
a 90 dB loudspeaker like the Infinity Primus P162 is not sensitive enough for a low powered amplifier like the Trends Audio TA 10.1 UNLESS your room is very small and/or you are used to moderate listening levels.
The Silver Iris coaxial drivers can't be compared to the Infinity's, since you need to build a cabinet (or a baffle) around them and this will make price go higher. Furthermore, these speakers are HUGE, compared with the small Infinity bookshelf loudspeakers. If you wish something sensitive enough (and not too big) for the TA 10.1 you'd be better look at Klipsch loudspeakers.
Hope this helped,
Lucio Cadeddu

Speakers DIY refoaming made easy
Hello Hartmut,
I thank you for your article on DIY foam repair. Following your instructions, togheter with other information found in the web, I was able to repair a pair of Altec Lansing that were left as rubbish. Most of the time was spent to:

The placement of the new foam was instead quite easy, thank to the "Lab method" that a fellow, Lab is his nickname in the newsgroup it.hobby.hi-fi, suggested me:
  1. instead of using paper sheets in order to center the cone, connect a power supply with adjustable voltage to the speaker (I used the one from the Lego train of my sons)
  2. set the power supply to negative voltage, in order to move away the cone from the basket, then attach the foam to the basket
  3. put the glue on the internal part of the foam and on the cone, set the power supply to positive voltage in order to get the foam close to the cone and attach them.
As the magnetic field is uniform, the spider keeps the cone centered and there is no need to remove the central cover; in this way I was able to replace 2 mid and 2 woofer in less than one hour.
Using paper sheets is probably more accurate, but in my case I took the risk as the expended time was much less.
I hope that this could be useful also for others that will try to repair foam.
Thank you again,
Mimmo - E-mail: mimmomisino (at)

Speaker Cables re-work opinion
Hello Lucio Cadeddu,
I read the DIY section on FFRC and UBYTE-2 speaker cables and would like your opinion on the following twist to the DIY speaker cable design. My surround sound system consists of 7.1 speakers. My Rear speakers are 4-6 ohms, side speakers are 4 ohms, and my front speakers are 4-8 ohms. The subwoofer and centre speakers already have cables that I will not change at this time, and therefore are excluded from the speaker cables I will be making. All this is being pushed with my Onkyo TX-SR705 with 100 watts per channel.
In the write-up of UBYTE-2 speaker cables combined UTP and Coaxial to make a better cable. However, the design for UBYTE-2 was too complex for me, and is not necessary at this time. The use of UTP alone is an option, but I wanted the benefit of "...excellent Balance between Midrange Detail and Naturalness on one hand and good extension on the Frequency extremes."
So, my twist from your FFRC and UBYTE-2 is combining the two with this simple approach. First, the coaxial cable type I am getting is of the following quality:

and the Network cable is CaT6 UTP.
By soldering the ends of the coaxial with the ends of the Cat6 (using 3 by 4 pairs) to make up my speaker cables. The Cat6 will be used at each end of the coaxial. Aside from your opinion on this I wanted to know what is a good length for both cables. The distance I have from the stereo stand to rear speaker is about 14 feet or 4.3 meters.
Mike - E-mail: mlawry (at)

Dear Mike,
if you combine a cable with good bass with a cable with good treble you won't necessarily get a cable with good bass and treble. Cable parameters and geometries does not combine this way. It is not that simple! It follows from the basic rules of caps and resistors connected in series or in parallel. My advice is to stick with one of our designs (FFRC or TTT) and put your faith in it :-)
All the best,
Lucio Cadeddu

Foam evaporates
(Please read in the mindset of good natured light humor.)
I bought a pair of new Infinity Reference 2 bookcase loudspeaker 16 years ago. It's finally time to sell them. I was looking for information on them to help create the ad when I came across an old review you did on the Infinity Reference 1 speakers.
You said:

"The suspension of the woofer is made out of foam, the kind of stuff that evaporates after 15 years or so. OK, who's going to keep a pair of 200$ speakers for 15 years? Next year a new, improved and probably cheaper model will be available..."
To answer your rhetorical question, I am the guy who kept those speakers for 15 years or so. And, while I can appreciate your prediction was a best guess from you based on the information you had, you were wrong. The foam is in absolutely perfect shape today. I didn't particularly take care of these speakers very well, overdriving them with loud rock, etc. Tossing them in the back of my car, move after move. Regardless, they held up absolutely perfectly. Other than minor cosmetic scratches due to the occasional small physical mishap, they're in perfect condition. Pretty amazing for a pair of 16 year old $200 bookshelf speakers.
BTW, they were my primary loudspeakers for my Sony STR-AV1070, which I am sadly selling today as well. It's hard to part with old friends.
Just thought you'd appreciate the story.
Eric - E-mail: eric_koegler (at)

Dear Eric,
now you know why your friends call you "Lucky Guy" :-)
Foam does evaporate after 15 years and if it doesn't, it trasforms into something else. More seriously, mechanical parameters do change so original performance doesn't last that long. It happens the same even with rubber surrounds.
That said, don't trust me...since I use a 26 years old car as daily-driver ;-)
All the best,
Lucio Cadeddu

Just thanks
Dear Lucio,
I have been reading your site for ages and just want to say how much I enjoy it. Keep up the good work.
James - E-mail: j.hamilton (at)

Dear James,
e-mails like this keep us going on :-)
Stay tuned for more fun!
Lucio Cadeddu

New turntable & headphones cables
Hi Lucio,
I'd like to ask your opinion on a subject. I was not sure I should contact you guys via e-mail, but I failed to subscribe to the forum.
I'm planning on buying a Pro-Ject Expression III turntable (new at about US$ 500, since I live in Brazil it's tough to get good used hi-fi equipment, so I'm concentrating on new t-tables). I have found no reviews of this particular table on the internet. If you care to answer this e-mail could you please tell me your impressions on this table (if any)? Also, could I do better with another table at this price range?
I also plan on getting a Sumiko Blue Point Special Evo III high-output MC to go with it in the future. To start I'll use an Ortofon 2M Red.
My other question is about replacing headphone cables. I have read about improvements on headphone cables and about the Cardas headphone cable upgrade for Sennheiser HD 600 and HD 650. I couldn't find upgrades for my Sennheiser or any other headphone other than the 2 mentioned above. And the Cardas are way above the price limit I would be willing to pay.
Have you ever considered a DIY project to replace headphone cables? Not only to improve the sound but also to get a bigger cord than the 3m provided as standard with most hi-fi headphones.
I'm new to this hobby but right now I'm working on the TNT Janus turntable mat. I will probably try the TNT speaker cable, and sometime in the future the TNT Flexy. The headphone cable would be a great project too, if I can find one.
Thanks for your time and any help in advance.
Marcello - E-mail: mpego (at)

Dear Marcello,
the ProJect Expression is a good turntable, though a bit pricey at 500$, in my opinion. You should be able to find it for less. In the same price range you could consider a Goldring GR 1.2 (a kind of Rega P2) or locate a second-hand Rega P2/P3 overseas (in UK, where they cost less). In any case I wouldn't install a Sumiko BPS Evo III on entry-level turntables like these. Buy a lesser cartridge and a better turntable, instead. As for DIY headphones cable I confess I'm clueless. You might ask Graham Slee about his custom-made CuSat50 cable that Geoff Husband tested here on TNT-Audio.
All the best,
Lucio Cadeddu

Cables of any lenght
This is an easy one I hope. I need to replace the 2 pairs of phono leads between my Rotel pre and 2 Rotel power amps, this could be quite expensive using 2 pairs (1m) of reasonable cable.
I notice that the manufacturers of the cables between my cd and tuner to the pre-amp, Atlas and Chord also make 5m sub woofer cables in the same cable (?).
It seems it would be cheaper to buy one of these, cut it into 4 and re terminate them.
Am I thinking along the right lines or are these cables, specifically for sub-woofer speakers?
Alan - E-mail: Ag250449 (at)

Dear Alan,
before shelling out big bucks on commercial cables, have a look at our inexpensive DIY recipes. Otherwise, you can buy almost any signal cable "unterminated". Many cable Companies sell their expensive stuff per feet (or meter) so that you can build as many cables as you desire, provided you can hold a soldering iron in hand safely :-)
Van den Hul, Supra, Monster Cable are just the first names that come to my mind...these sell cables of any lenght, without connectors. Add your favourite RCA's and you're done. Money saving can be huge.
Hope this helped somehow,
Lucio Cadeddu

Exclusive: Transcriptors are back in business
Hi Mark,
Yesterday I liberated a Transcriptor Saturn from a musky old shed...
I have managed to resurrect the arm, however I am missing the headshell.
I was wondering with all your experience whether you know where I might locate such a thing?
Bit like having a boat without a paddle.....

Any leads, tips, hints much appreciated...
Best Wishes,
Eli - E-mail: clubstars (at)

Hi Eli,
I had a Transcriptor Saturn from about 1977 to 1981. It had no arm and the motor was described as dead (it just needed a new 20mm fuse) so I bought it for just £15. I took the prototype Hadcock Unipoise off my Connoisseur BD1 (bought together for £30) and fitted it to the Saturn, which was a tight squeeze. I had an acrylic over-platter made by a local plastics company (£4), and the Saturn made great music for 4 years until I bought a Thorens TD125 & SME. I sold it to a fellow student along with a pair of Quad II&22 pre-amp (do you still have it Mike Tzirki?). It did not suffer any of the noise or rumble problems described on various web forums, because I made sure the motor was properly mounted and had a new capacitor.

The missing headshell is a very interesting question. The heir & successor to David Gammon, the Transcriptor originator, has a website with a spares page and lives just down the road from me at:
69 Broadfields
Nottinghamshire NG14-6JQ
United Kingdom
+44 (0)7005 963 664 (Phone)
+44 (0)7005 963 668 (Fax)
Email: michaelgammon (at)
but the spares page has no spares listed on it!

Michael will be at the Heathrow Show at the Park Inn in London demonstrating the new version of the Reference turntable and the new Spider turntable (loosely based on the Skeleton).

I rang Michael (David's son) and had a splendid chat on the phone and plan a proper interview for the Autumn. He will have a look and see if he's got one among some of the as yet uncatalogued quantity of items and papers he is trying to get through. He sounds a really helpful guy, so do ring him to find out if he's been successful on your behalf.

The following two companies also offer Transcriptor spares:
But again, they only list things like belts.
Good luck with the Saturn resurrection,
Happy listening,
Mark Wheeler

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