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 2013

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Hi Mark
For some months I've been trying to get an answer from Michael Gammon from Transcriptors Ltd. Unfortunately, mails come back as undeliverable or there is no response from Michael. Since you conducted an interview with him in 2009, maybe you can give me a hint to make contact with him.
I thank you very much.
Kind regards,
Daniel - E-mail: info (at)

Hi Daniel
Other readers have had difficulty contacting Michael by email. I will contact you privately with his phone number.
I have looked at your website and I am concerned that your colleague, Enzo, does not list audio or listening to music among his hobbles of walking, sniffing, playing, swimming and eating.
Happy walking,
Mark, The Old Scribe

HDCD and FLAC conversion
Good morning Lucio.
I have a question on the gold editions of HDCDs reviewed by TNT-Audio (i.e. The Smoker You Drink The Player You Get).
Since I convert my CDs in flac in order to listen using my network player (pro-ject box ds), my question is: is it possible to have the same quality of a hdcd compatible player playing the HDCD, simply ripping the hdcd with Eac like a normal compact disc and converting the tracks in flac, or do I need to perform a different procedure (using other softwares?)?
Thank you in advance for your help.
Luca - E-mail: luca.muro (at)

Dear Luca,
EAC extracts all the content of a CD in a bit-perfect way. You can also use dBPoweramp and its HDCD plugin. That will work just fine and preserve the HDCD information.
Hope that helps,
Lucio Cadeddu

Air volume acceleration
Dear Mark,
It's only recently that I discovered the tnt-audio web site.

I was particularly interested in your article about air volume acceleration, aka the Gamma*a product (let me now call it Ga). I just wanted to discuss your statement about the raltionship between Ga and relative efficiency.
Quote: "...there are numerous other considerations to efficiency..." Unquote.
This is not quite accurate. In fact:
Eta0 = k*Ga2/Re
So, apart from k, which aggregates various constants, efficiency only depends on Ga and Re.
Are you OK?
Best regards,
Jean-Jacques - E-mail: jean.millepied (at)

Hi Jean-Jacques,
Welcome to the TNT-audio family: I hope that you are enjoying researching (in the sense of Proust), or rediscovering, our archive. Your English is better than my (mostly food and drink related) French, so I will proceed in English.
Audio writers have to consider an audience, especially on the web, who encompass the newcomer who we wish to welcome, the widely read amateur who has absorbed the prejudice of the advertising driven journals, and the knowledgeable professional or experimentally experienced experimenter. Hence, when using a term like 'efficiency' the writer has to consider its correct use and its more widely disseminated misuse.

The term 'efficiency, in the audio press, is almost always used before actually quoting a figure that should more accurately be prefixed 'sensitivity', rather than efficiency.

Correctly expressed, efficiency would be a percentage, fraction or ratio. However, it can only be expressed, in terms of loudspeakers, at one specific frequency, at one specific ambient temperature, which is why it is of little value to an audio enthusiast trying to decide whether amplifier 'A' and loudspeaker 'B' will work for enthusiast 'C' in room 'D'. Sensitivity at a range of frequencies, expressed with a plus or minus range like frequency response, is what the domestic listener really needs to know.

This is also why the failure to describe correctly the actual impedance of loudspeakers, enabling the apparent sensitivity differences of 4ohm vs 8ohm vs 16ohm drivers makes such figures useless. Hence the actual impedance of a drive unit has either to be rendered irrelevant by an amplifier of zero output impedance and infinite current capability, which would equally effect efficiency and Gamma.area or we accept that there are more variables to consider. Any expression of a single science or engineering parameter is built on a pretence of 'control', because we must limit the range of our description in order to have any at all. Hence, we pretend there is one set of controlled conditions in order to describe the general more usefully.

k may appear to aggregate various constants, but the real world is full of variables that sometimes masquerade as constants.
At we would like to hear more of your audio odyssey as you clearly have considerable knowledge.
Happy Listening,
Mark, The Old Scribe

Vibration isolation
Hello Mark,
How are you? I hope you are well.
Having read your Vibration Isolation articles on TNT-Audio, I wanted to drop a quick "Thank You" email for the very enlightening sharing. You see, I was trying to iron out some "problems" with my rig. I made some isolation bases for my equipment, with a combination of adjustable cones, Vibrapod Isolators and Vibrapod Cones. The problem came when I was constantly having:

  1. Unexplained increase in fatigue - things somehow always sounded more pronounced in the 3-5 kHz region
  2. Unexplained loss in bass response - the bass doesn't sound as deep as before
  3. Unexplained loss in midrange weight/body - even clinical
  4. Very artificial soundstage - it was wider than usual but not necessarily in a good way. It just didn't sound right
  5. An overall, very uninvolving and un-musical system

Nothing I did resolved these issues and I was at a complete loss. Until I came across your article. Would you believe the problem was down to me using one too many cones or isolators on the isolation base and equipment? I had been using four of everything - four cones, four isolators. Be it on the isolation base or my equipment. Per your advice, I took out one of each and was left with 3 isolators and 3 cones on the base/equipment.

And you know what? That did the trick! Everything fell into place. All the five issues I stated above went away and the music now just flows. The balance / timbre is just right. Soundstage is realistic. Bass impact and depth were spot on and the midrange weight was now fuller than ever. No more 3-5 kHz fatigue and that was the single biggest, most remarkable improvement. I cannot believe how much difference going to 3 from 4 of everything fixed up all my problems and honestly, I wouldn't have known had I not come across your wonderful article.

So thank you very much Mark! Your effort in putting together such as astounding, well-explained piece of article saved my system! Saved my ears! Saved my passion for music too :) You rock!
Best regards,
E.T. - E-mail: etteoh (et)

Hi E.T.
Many thanks for the praise! It is always encouraging to hear from readers who have benefited from our efforts, especially when they're from another galaxy (your old scribe can't resist a cheap pun).
It is especially useful for us here at to hear from readers experiences. No matter how carefully we review products with as wide a range of equipment as possible, these are just our anecdotal experiences, but many anecdotes equals data. As yet, every listener who has tried 3 points of support, where non compliant supports are concerned, finds that 3 points good, 4 points bad (with apologies to George Orwell)
Happy Listening,
Mark, The Old Scribe

Ground force zero
This is a great article!
Ed - E-mail: james.cox (at)

Hi James 'Ed',
Thanks for this, it is especially appreciated praise from people working for a company who seem to know quite a lot about electricity. If you go to the Campaign for Real Stereo page, you can support the campaign for Real Stereo.
Happy listening
Mark, The Old Scribe

Linux audio software
Hello Nick,
I've read your interesting article on the tnt website about Audiophile Linux. I use another Linux solution for music streaming and that is mpdPup, its based on Puppy Linux, its amazingly small...about 60mb. You can use it from a usb stick, it's very very easy to install, hardware requirements are low.
More info about the current version:
and on the website of the previous version
I am using a simple embedded little pc: the Alix 3d3 board.
as you can see its very simple and uses little power, so one can keep it on 24/7.
I've bought mine on ebay.
As you see, it's quitte cheap, it plays everything: high res 96,192khz you name it, and without any hickups or what so ever. I'm very pleased with it, before I have used the logitech touch and Linn Sneaky. With the Linn and the Logitech i had problems with the network, or the software, but mpdPup controlled by MPad (super fast because it makes an index on the ipad) on the ipad / iphone or GMPC on my pc, is the best I came across.
I am not a salesman, or connected to Alix, pc engines or what so ever, simply an audiophile who is over enthousiastic about the music server solution from mpdPup. My hifi equipment consists of: tubeamp Edgar TP101 (heavily mod. and Siemens nos tubes), M2Tech Young dac, Magnepan 1,6 speakers, cables from psaudio and vd Hul.
Well i don't know if you've ever heard of mpdPup, if not i hope you'll find the info interesting. Keep up the good work on TNT and all the best, greetings from Holland.
Toine - E-mail: toine-ine (at)

Hi Toine,
Thank you for your suggestion of mpdPup as an alternative to Audiophile Linux.
I did try mpdPup about a year ago but found it to be a bit 'hit and miss' although it has probably been improved since I used it. But looking at the links that you sent me, and based on my own experience, it is a lot more complex to set up than Audiophile Linux, and I fear that if I had suggested mpdPup to our readers, I may have been inundated with emails asking for help.
That said, I will try the newer version some time, and if I have the same experience as you, I may write an article about it for TNT. Meanwhile, those who are familiar with Linux operating systems may like to try mpdPup based on your recommendation.
The Alix boards do look like an ideal solution for a low cost, cheap to run, audio server, and I will take a further look at those.
Nick Whetstone

The Revox man
I think you would like to know about this. The Revox Man. A short story of the last Brazilian Revox specialist.
Watch the video and tell me what do think about:

Getulio Cinquetti (1943) deserves recognition for its passion and dedication to the Revox. I really appreciate.
Best regards,
Alfredo - E-mail: abaucia (at)

Dear Alfredo, thanks for sharing this truly amazing and inspiring video. Very well done!
Lucio Cadeddu

Adding a subwoofer
Hi Lucio, thank you very much for your answer in the previous mail. I will improve my speaker system. And I wanted to ask that if you can recommend subwoofers between 2000 and 3000 dollars. I have a pair of Focal 807 and an A28 Arcam integrated amp. The living room is 40 m2.
Thank you!
Eduardo - E-mail: cammisa19 (at)

Dear Eduardo,
I wouldn't spend 2000 nor 3000$ on a subwoofer, considering you own a pair of Focal 807 bookshelf speakers. I'd rather sell the Focals and add 3000$ to purchase a better pair of floorstanding speakers! Adding a subwoofer is not an easy task: finding the best place for it, choosing the right output level, phase and crossover can easily become a nightmare. In your situation, considering your rather large listening room, a pair of big floorstanders IS the way to go. If you like that Focal sound, choose a pair of Focal speakers or have a listen to some Triangle speakers as well.
Hope that helps!
Lucio Cadeddu

New listening room
[Listening room]
Hi Lucio!
I've been an enthusiast follower of TNT Audio for years and I've already wrote an (at) mail to you, once. Now I'm back here, asking for your help: as you can see from the pics, my HiFi is actually located in the living room of my house, about 8m x 4m. There are compromises I'm forced to, so that the living room could be live-able, and the "price" of these are some reflections all over the spectrum.
I've recently worked through the bass reflection with the traps you can see in photos (inspired by the Tnt Stylus, in the same way I've been inspired by other Tnt projects), but that was not a victory, considering the terrifying reaction of my wife.
So I'm now considering to move my HiFi on an other room, that should be dedicated exclusively to music playback. The room is the one in the diagram, and is actually empty. I think I could position the loudspeakers and the listening spot as shown in the diagram, with the equipment behind my shoulders, but I can rotate all the set up 90° clockwise (in that case, I could even position the electronics in an other room, pulling the Tnt Star cables trough the wall but that would position the electronics and the turntable near to the fireplace, even if not directly exposed to the heat).
And here it comes my question: could that room host worthily the Hi Fi? The main pro is that the room set up would be realized with the only purpose of playback, the cons are the low ceiling, less space and the absence of any piece of furniture, apart from the couch in which I'm going to seat.
Any advice?
Thank you very much!
Riccardo - E-mail: r.martini (at)

[Listening room]

Dear Riccardo,
a smaller but dedicated room is the optimal solution for any HiFi system! Low ceiling isn't a probem, the lack of furniture is!!! Before installing your HiFi system try adding something that can adjust and control room acoustics: shelves with books, some carpet, curtains, pillows etc. The location for the speakers you've choosen seems good but things can change after you add some furniture. Feel free to experiment! Try to keep the space between and behind the speakers as free as possible and place the HiFi racks as far as possible from the speakers.
Hope that helped!
Lucio Cadeddu

Audiophile recordings
Hi Mark
I wish to point out two CDs that I think are very valid as recording quality but also very beautiful musically, which of course, depends on your taste. They are Natalie Merchant: Leave your sleep, and Ali Farka Toure with Ry Cooder: Talking Timbuktu.
Alberto - E-mail: alberto.grassigli4164 (at)

Hi Alberto,
many thanks, I will write to ask them if they would like reviews on TNT-audio. Ry Cooder's work with other musicians from all around the world is usually excellent musically and well recorded. I was lucky enough to hear the Buena Vista Socila Club Band in Havanna earlier this year, which would only happenned because Ry Cooder showed them to the world.
Happy listening,
Mark Wheeler

My Acoustic Solid TT
Thought you'd like to see my Acoustic Solid turntable. I had contact with Geoff, your fellow TNT reviewer a year or back cause he reviewed the Acoustic Solid Machine and also the SME V12. He was very helpful.
I got a Machine first then upgraded to the Royal. It's not chrome but polished aluminum. The black arm is an SME V12 as Geoff reviewed in TNT, the pickup is a Benz LPS. In the front is the 12 inch Ortofon with an Ortofon SPU royal and the arm on the left is 12 inch Acoustic Solid with a Denon 103R for my second hand old LP's.
Best regards,
Philip - E-mail: philipgrills (at)

[Acoustic Solid turntable]

Dear Philip,
thanks for the nice pic of a gorgeous turntable! Sometimes I wonder why, in order to play a primitive thing like a vinyl album, we need such heavy and complex monsters :-)
Happy listening!
Lucio Cadeddu

Budget bargains
TNT took me out of the dark ages of solid-state to the world of T-AMP's and tubes. Please consider these product below for future reviews. I own them. With some minor mods, they are worth the effort. I no longer live in Italy, but still yearn to return someday. I migliori auguri di successo.
Products: The Fiio A1, by Filo may be worth your looking into this (T-amp). Nice sound, about $80 US
Micca MB42, with a few mods like capacitor change, stabilizing the woofer and filling the enclosure with some acoustic filler, not bad! (speaker) About $60 US
Frank - E-mail: frank.dinatale (at)

Dear Frank,
thanks for your suggestions! I'm already trying to get test samples for reviewing purposes!
We have already reviewed the FiiO E5 headphone amp though.
Stay tuned!
Lucio Cadeddu

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