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Readers' Corner - October 2001

Please take a moment to review the How to use the Readers' Corner manual

My $0.02 on the minimalist IC
I am writing to offer my experience on the minimalist IC as in this week's letter from Lorne Spry. But first I would like to express my appreciation of your web site on offering an escape for a common music listener.

I have used the recipe of tape wire from Soundstage for my IC. This IC consists of four pieces of 30 gauge magnet wire (from RS at $1.99 for 100ft?) sandwiched between two pieces of ~2" wide 3M packing tapes. The wires are soldered to the connector with careful placement of shrinking tubing (spaghetti).
The packing tapes keep the wire separated and fixed for good reason that I do not need to go into detail. The main reason I chose this IC is the QUAD 303. This old champ is driving my old and faithful Maggie SMG A and still has the four pin DIN input. The generic IC is absolutely disgraceful. To use any other DIY IC to go into a DIN connector is a handful to manage.
I have used the tape IC between the Rotel CD 955 and Rotel 980 pre and the Quad. The details are incredible. The imaging is so spooky that I have to shake my head to make sure its only the music. Finally, your Triple T connect the QUAD and Maggie admirably...
At this moment the only missing link is a TT. I can listen to the music for hours without any fatigue. No more glare or rough edges.
Again thanks for a wonderful website and you can count on me to tune in every week.
Steve Chang - E-mail: schang1@emsclad.com

Dear Steve,
thanks for the feedback. As for a TT, consider second-hand stuff. It is not so rare to find excellent TTs (Sondek's, Gyro's, etc.) at very low prices.
Lucio Cadeddu

New tube amp
Hello, I've read your article about this amplifier and I really do gree with you. I've one with Infinity loudspeakers. I would like to buy an another amp and also other loudspeakers. It was a good way with the Nimis to get into the tube universe but now I really want a good one. What's your advise for an amplifier as musical as the Nimis but with more details and spaciousness? (around 2500$)
Thanks for your answer.
Lionel Charrier - E-mail: lionel.charrier@club-internet.fr

Dear Lionel,
it mainly depends on the sensitivity of your speakers. If high, you can choose a low powered Single Ended Triode (SET) otherwise you may need more watts and muscles. In the first scenario, you may want to have a look at some of the low powered tube amps we have reviewd here on TNT-Audio. In the second case, you have plenty of amps to choose, ranging from Jolida, Synthesis (again) and Jadis, just to name a few. You're located in france, I'm pretty sure you can find good deals on Jadis amplifiers.
Hope this helps,
Lucio Cadeddu

Pre-amp and power amp matching
Hello Giorgio,
I'm a hi-fi enthusiast who enjoy listening to any type of music. Currently, I'm trying to find and match a tube pre-amp for my solid state power amplifier (Arcam Alpha 10 - 100 watts per RMS channel) I like the warm and seductive ambience of tubes but would like to retain the dynamism/power of solid state gears.
You mentioned about careful matching of passive pre-amp and power amplifier, i.e. power amp with low input impedance will have problems with passive pre-amp. I suppose it will have similar problems with tube pre-amp as well. Please explain to me how these equation relates in lay-man terms so that I'm more aware of the matching problems when choosing the ideal combination.
The Arcam Alpha 10 input impedance is only 7.5K ohms. I look forward to your reply. Thanks very much. Please keep up the good work at TNT. The best hi-fi corner over the Internet!!
Kah - E-mail: K.Y.Ho@apronet.com.hk

yes, you are perfectly right, even tube pre-amps can have the same problem as passive pre-amps. Note anyway that this is not always true. For example there are passive (and also tube) pre-amps with an output transformer designed to offer a higher impedance to the pre-amp stage and a lower impedence to the output, so that they can get rid of these problems.
With active pre-amps the problem can anyway be solved in a lot of other ways too. There are many solutions to let a tube unit to drive lowish loads: for example using several tubes in parallel in the gain stage, like CJ ART preamp and all the derived ones and many others, or using special high current and low output impedence gain stages, like the SRPP configuration, or also adding a unit-gain low impedence output stage after the gain stage.

As a matter of fact, there is scarcely any rule. As a rule of thumb, it is normally said that the output impedance should be at least 10 times lower than the load impedence, but this does not say too much about the capability of the output stage of handling high currents.
So the only real way of choosing is to stick to minimum allowed loads reported by pre-amp manufacturers, when they give the information, and test the interface in practice in the other cases.
Giorgio Pozzoli

A lot of questions from a new addict (but I promise I will not send more than one email per week ;-))
Hello Lucio and of course all other members of the TNT audio-site,
Let me introduce myself very shortly.
My name is Hendrik and I live in Brussels (Belgium). Being a technical student (aeronautics) I have always liked man-built technical little marvels. And if this is combined with what is for a lot of people a very important aspect in life, music of course, one can only expect to find a very intresting field. But my resources being very limited, I have never invested into hifi, that is, until...some months ago I received (to my great joy) a pair of Quad II amp's with matching 22 pre-amp from my grandfather, who upgraded his own hifi-installation (actually downgraded according to my ears but I do not tell him that of course ;-)).
I since then have become an audio-addict and am trying to "upgrade" my knowledge and system a little. My system has been completed with a vintage Pioneer tuner (to stay in the "style" and also from my grandfather), CD writer from Harman/K. and a pair of JBL Ti-600's.
A few weeks ago I discovered your site and I would first and for all compliment the whole TNT crew for it's excellent and very understandable content.
Wanting to DIY all tweaks of your site at the same time, I finally decided to first of all upgrade my speaker cables and later my interconnects (upgrade has to be interpreted in the largest sense of the word here, since I now use the most standard stuff you could possibly imagine ;-))
Since I am of course a total nitwit in the hifi-world and my questions are rather basic, I decided to use the forum in place of bothering you with these first-step questions. Altough I have been helped greatly by a lot of people, I must admit that every answer has however confused me more, which is why I have now decided to write my questions directly to you.

  1. I was planning on building the Triple T speaker cables because my speakers are bi-wireable but some people said this cable has a too high capacitance for my speakers (I need 2*5 meter). Recommendations where the Star and the UBYTE-2. Since I like challenges I decided not to build the Star and to go for the UBYTE-2. Do you have a recommendation for me about which cable would suit my system best?
  2. My second questions all are about the building of the UBYTE-2. If this is not a good cable for my system according to you, please do not use your time to answer them.

    "...take each End of the cable and a sharp Stanley knife and to cut through and remove both the PVC Jacket and the copper Braid..." Do you mean remove the PVC Jacket and the copper Braid from the ends of the cables only, or remove them along the full length of the cables (starting at the ends)?
    Since all answers regarding my first post warned me of the high capacitance of the Triple T cables regarding my amplifiers (Quad II's) I was wondering wether I should modify the cables for low capacitance requiring amplifiers.
    This modification consists of making "three turns around a 6mm Core (say a piece of a cheap plastic Biro) in each of two leadout wires at the Amplifier side, and connect a 10 Ohm, 0.1uF Zobel across the cable at either side of the small Inductors (making a symmetric PI Filter in essence)".
    If this would be recommended, could you explain me what Biro means (or is this just a funny word for cheap) and what is and how I should connect that Zobel-thing to my cables (components, where to connect to, series, parallel)? Maybe there is an example of such a Zobel modification on the site, or somewhere else on the net?
    I have no idea whether my speakers have HF Impedance Correction or not (JBL TI-600's) and if not, how I should connect the 6.2 Ohm Carbon Composite Resistor (2Watt - non inductive) and a 0.47-1uF Siemens stacked Film Capacitor (or equivalent) across the cables at the Speaker-end. Do they mean in parallel or in series?

  3. My last question is more out of curiousity and is about the X-1.5 cables. I read in the article that the most difficult part of making these cables is to make sure the wire-wrap is under strong tension around the core, this more for aesthetical than for performance reasons. I saw however that transparant heatshrink is available and was wondering if the covering of the X-cables with this heatshrink would not solve this proble while retaining the "aesthetical advantages". Would this change /deteriorate the quality of the cable?
A lot of questions I know, thank you a thousand times in advance,
Hendrik Verbeelen - E-mail: h.verbeelen@student.tudelft.nl

Dear Hendrik, for such a long letter, a very short reply ;-)
Build the TNT Star and forget the rest. When you will have enough experience in DIY electronics you can try more complicated designs.
The TNT Star is an excellent starter cable, it causes NO problems to weak amps :-) and is so lovely easy to build.
Stick with it, you won't be disappointed!
Lucio Cadeddu

KAB EV-1 on TNT-Audio
In your article about the KAB EV-1 in TNT-Audio you write "The EV-1 is not recommended for use with a shop vac". And later on you attach the vacuum hose to the side of the EV-1. What kind of vacuum are you using ? Do you have to buy a special one with adjustable vacuum?
Peter Karl Dombeck - E-mail: PKD@statoil.com

Hi Peter,
The vacuum to use is the regular vacuum for your home, assuming that your home vacuum has a provision for using attachemnts to dust furniture, for example. Any canister type vacuum cleaner will work.
You do not want to use the large, heavy duty wet/dry type vacuum that you may have in your garage or workshop.
Thank you for your interest.
Nels Ferré

Thank you
thank you for proving your excellent on line magazine.....I hope you continue to produce this superb mag...I for one will be trying out some of the tweaks in your mag,
Thanx once more................
My system.........

Phil Armitage - E-mail: billu777@hotmail.com

Dear Phil,
keep us updated on your DIY designs.
Lucio Cadeddu

Amplifier's choice
Hi Lucio
I've just read your article in tnt-audio about the Puccini amplifier. I'm intersted in buying an amplifier. My salesman got the Puccini and the Rega Brio. He told me that he prefers the Rega, but Puccini is good, too, but inferior.
What is your opinion? Do you think that the Puccini is superior to the Rotel 971 MKII, NAD c 350 or Rega Brio? I mean in quality. I understand in your article some times that brands have a concept of electronics rather than musical amplifier! I'm going to buy an amplifier and I'm very interested in the Puccini, because I've got a Rotel 931 MKII and in the beginning is everything all right but after a time...You know! So, do you think that I've to choose the Puccini instead the Rega Brio? I'd like to have your opinion, please!
Nuno Baptista - E-mail: nbaptista007@hotmail.com

Dear Nuno,
my opinion is that you should let your own ears decide what they like most and, since your fav store has the two amps in stock....what about a listening test "Puccini vs Brio"?
It is very difficult (and almost always one is dead wrong) to tell which hiFi component is BETTER. Simply put, those amplifiers are all very different one from the other. For example, the Puccini is softer and warmer than the Rotel and the NAD...does this means it is better? It mainly depends on your personal taste and your system/room. Since you have the possibility to audition the two amps, JUST DO IT :-)
And let us know your findings.
Lucio Cadeddu

DIY interconnects from Japan
Dear Lucio,
For some time I've been a fan of TNT for its dedication to balance, integrity and willingness to serve the needs of more modest objectives without sacrificing elegance when it possible to achieve. Thanks.
Moreover, you have helped me to rationalize and put together my system and it's tweaks [Melos GK 1+1 premain Trio/Kenwood L05 mono amps, Marantz 6000 OSE CD, Micro Seiki DQ-5 TT (stock), ancient Tannoy 10 inch Monitor Golds].

Recently I needed a simple cable which I could build quickly and cheaply. I have admired the DIY versions on your pages, but I elected to build something that reflected some perhaps controversial theory and practice expounded by more learned minds than mine. I am not a technician, so I was really just following my nose. The result was a shock, and I'd like to share it with TNT and readers.

A trip to my friendly hole-in-the-wall radio shop supplied me with some enameled 30 gauge transformer wire at 45 yen a meter, and a bag of the cheap, cheesy plastic barrel RCA plugs available at 65 yen each. These ubiquitous plugs are so minimal that even the center pin is hollow. Not much in the signal path compared to the 6 oz. gold plated jewels in the glass display case in other places. Well, once home I changed my plans about the length of the run I needed, and I found that I did not have enough transformer wire. So, for the negative wire I used multi-stranded CAT 5 LAN cable I had on hand. Thus this cable turns out to have one single 30 gauge solid strand of transformer wire for the hot, and one single 24 gauge multi strand CAT 5 wire (separated from its twisted sister) for the negative.
The latter does serve to give this otherwise fragile cable a bit more robustness. There are no big RF problems around my house, so I did not include shielding. And while extending minimalism to the limit, I applied no cover. The wires are merely running loosely in tandem. The only insulation rests in the enamel coating of the hot, and possibly Teflon sheathing of the negative.

I was almost afraid to try it. I imagined violent grain, rolled off mid range, lack of detail, screaming treble, tubby bass and so on. I put my head down to the 6000 OSE and pulled off a cable I had made from Tara Labs Prism 55 stock and some more respectable plugs. I plugged in the fragile looking newbie and I went through a range of my favorite test disks including Tanita Tikaram "Lovers in the City" [Reprise] and Suzanne Vega, "Solitude Standing" [AM] and the Mercury Living Presence CD reproduction of Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet.
Right from the first notes I was stunned. Virtually every sonic feature was improved and extended over and above various commercial cable materials I had used, all admittedly modest, mid-fi fare in comparison with hi-end examples, but a far cry from the cable I had just made for about $2.00!
Moreover, the overall effect was much closer to the more desirable characteristics of my analog source. It's now more liquid and smooth and a sharp toothyness in the treble has been filed down nice and round.

Later I connected a similar cable to my Dynaco FM-3 and heard it perform in a tantalizing new way. Next I wired up my Sony TC-D5M (a pro portable cassette deck) and got another positive result of the same order. An attempt to use this cable from the premain to mono mains resulted in dismal failure however. The right channel amp put a horrendous signal into the speaker, perhaps picking up something from the step up transformer which the Melos requires for Japanese household current.

I don't think that the results were accidental, although my discovery and execution most certainly was. I think that in lieu of some expensive and exotic materials, the minimalist approach to this little project succeeded.
By subtracting conductive mass, using a single strand wire and eliminating as much material as possible, such as shielding and covers that can have an effect on the signal, a better sound was achieved. Various people gave me ideas to follow, but I have to credit the spirit of TNT for encouraging me to try.
Lorne Spry, Sendai, Japan - E-mail: marilorn@abeam.ocn.ne.jp

Dear reader,
thanks for the precious (and fancy) tip! It is not the first time I read of good results using different wires for the positive and the negative (example, Eichmann cables, soon on TNT-Audio).
For sure, your DIY interconnects will be elected to be published into the soon-to-be-released DIY TNT Readers' Site.
Stay tuned!
Lucio Cadeddu

Aliante Moda
hi, I have a kit88 with upgrade kit valve amp from World Audio Design, Tweaked Arcam alpha 7se cd player, B&W 602s2 speakers on Partington stands and your excellent DIY cables. I would like to upgrade my speakers, I was very impressed with your review on the Aliante Moda's (yours is the only one I could find in english), would these sound a lot better than the B&W's and would they be ok with my valve amp?
My room is 14x16ft. Thank you for your time and keep up the good work on the best mag on the net, many thanks.
P.S. Don't suppose you have any good internal tweaks for my cd player.
Leo Kirkbride - E-mail: leo.valve.net@ntlworld.co.uk

Dear Leo,
unfortunately I do not know your amp so I can't comment on good or bad partnership with the Aliante Moda loudspeakers. Anyway, being a KT88-equipped amp I guess it has sufficient power and delivers reasonable amount of current. Assuming this, the Aliante Moda, being quite an easy load, could be easily driven by your amp, and they would CERTAINLY be a huge step forward with respect to your B&W 602 S2. Anyway, though I'm sure they will be a SERIOUS upgrade, don't take my words as gospel and try to test listen to them, possibly into your room with your system.
As for the tweaks on your Arcam CD player, I'm afraid I have nothing specific...only, usual tweaks apply (damping the cabinet, changing the feet and the mains cable etc.).
Keep me updated!
Lucio Cadeddu

Naim's attitude
Dear TNT Audio,
I've just bought a second-hand Naim pre+power+power supply and was amazed and impressed by the courtesy and solid back-up of this company.
I wrote Naim's an e-mail timidly asking about the availability of owner's manuals, and they immediately sent me a set, free of charge. I decided to install phono boards, they first told me what model to use. When I had bought them (also second hand!) I rang up Naim's and a technician told me exactly what to do inside the pre-amp before installing them.
All this assistance, to someone who has bought their products second hand, seems exceptional. The obvious conclusion is that Naims are a good second-hand buy, and therefore a good new buy, since they will be easy to re-sell. Best regards and thank you for the excellent magazine.
Paul Bompard - E-mail: paul.bompard@mclink.it

Dear Paul,
thanks for the precious feedback. It is always relieving to know there are serious and customer-friendly HiFi Companies out there. Of course we'd be mostly glad to review Naim gear on our mag.
Lucio Cadeddu

Cleaning problems
By God, I'm going barmy over this!!
Sorry, particularly as your comments concerning the Moth rcm are over two years old now, but even the importer of the VPI machines here in the UK admits that after using such, ones stylus will finish a side with a significant lump of goo attached: I first encountered this with the cheap and not particulary cheerful "Disco-Antistat"(!) cleaner, and imagined that RCM with their vacuum drying would transcend this problem.
As I state above, this apparently is not the case (the point being that I'm still trying to decide whether to buy one or not...) and yet, not one review I've come across mentions this fact. You see, despite assurances otherwise, I'm not convinced that said goo is easily cleaned from the stylus, quite apart from the danger of damaging it from such frequent "heavy" cleaning...
If you have any comments on this and can spare the time, I'd surely appreciate them....
Thanks for a great and informative site,
Marc - E-mail: blisteringbarnacles@talk21.com

Hi Marc,
I know the importer of the VPI, he's a nice guy :-)
I have very dirty records, (smokey fires, the usual student abuse 20 years ago...), and I also buy a lot of second hand vinyl. Generally each play resulted in a carpet on the needle rather than just goo :-)
The Moth stopped this and instead of having to clean the stylus every play I know do it very rarely, often after playing a disc I haven't cleaned. Personally I prefer the original (one way) Moth as though it takes a little longer to clean, the slot is narrower and the suck therefore harder - the record surface comes in dry (just a trace at the edge of the record...).

There will always be a tiny amount of deposit on a needle because as the stylus tracks it actually melts the vinyl momentarily and a small amount can end up on the needle, otherwise your records wouldn't wear out... This is best removed with a small piece of very fine emery paper, the side of a safety match box is ideal, just brush gently back to front.

That said the result of the Moth is very clean and this alone will be enough to reduce stylus wear and of course to improve the sound quality, if used properly cleaning shouldn't damage discs. I know for the cost of a good RCM you could buy a shiny new bit for the hi-fi but in the end the RCM will make more difference. Buying such a machine is essential for a serious record collector - no question.

As an adjunct to an RCM you can buy in Photographic shops, the spray used to clean negatives. This is a volatile solvent that smells "alcoholic" and I use it for "those extra stubborn stains"... I spray only a felt pad type cleaner then wipe clockwise then anticlockwise round the disc. It takes seconds and can even shift chewing gum. My thinking in using it is that a photographic negative is as fragile as a record - it's a hell of a lot cheaper than the "hi-fi" potions too. I've used this for four years now, as have friends and as of now I can't say any of us have noticed any damage.
In my experience Disco Antistatic cleaners, fancy brushes, wonder chemicals and the like simply move the muck around, often sweeping surface grit down into the groove where it does more damage - ever tried to clean a carpet with a broom?
Please keep me posted
Geoff Husband

NorthStar Model 192, again
Hello Lucio,
Just wanted to inquire about the midbass problem with the NorthStar Model 192 dac.

  1. Could this area be improved with the use of a power cord or digital cable that has slightly more midbass!
  2. For the Model 192 to upsample to 192, must the consumer modify his transport to get the benefits or not!
  3. To obtain 192 upsampling, must the consumer use the XLR or I2S connections or can normal coxial connections do the job!
Thanks & rgds,
Ramesh Sanjay Jamal - E-mail: ramesh23@singnet.com.sg

Dear Ramesh,
I normally test HiFi gear as it comes right out of the box. Of course changing cables/feet etc will upgrade the sound of any HiFi component!
The second question isn't clear. Upgrading from Model 3 + 4 to Model 192 is impossible, these are different machines. To get 192 kHz upsampling you just need a CD transport with any digital output (coaxial etc.). The I2S input (which is a far better digital interface) can be used with a I2S digital output (sounds logical :-)).
This means you need a CD transport with such an interface. Soon on TNT-Audio you'll read the review of one of the few transports available with that output. Not surprisingly, it's from NorthStar!!!
Hope this clarifies things a bit (pun intended :-))
Lucio Cadeddu

My latest tweeks
Dear Lucio,
I just wanted to share my experience with the tweeks I have done so far! Being a complete newbie in the Hi Fi world I have found your site very informative and very down to earth unlike hype mags like What HiFi etc. (I started by buying an old Rotel RB 930 Mk II and a second hand Rega Planar 3. Later I added the Marantz DR 6000, and latest the B&W DM 303 on Nexus 6 stands. This all together cost me under $900, so we are talking budget system).
My first tweek was the TNT Flexy that I could build for free since my dad is in the wood industry! After this I especially wanted to get the TNT Akropolis stands but unfortunately they are impossible to get here in Dublin. Then I discovered a Maplin shop over here and that of course called for speaker cable as the next project.
Until then I used four old Gale cables just twisted together and I had a feeling that was the reason for the very harsh sound from my new B&W's, and I was right after having built the TNT FFRC the sound has improved beyond belief. I connected all coloured to (+) and all white to (-) on each cable. I don't know if this is optimal for the nonbiwireble 303's but it sounds good! My next project will probably be interconnects.
Thanks for the tweeks they are really well worth doing!!
Claus Jensen - E-mail: claus_ez@hotmail.com Dublin

Dear Claus,
I suggest you trying our TNT Triple T loudspeaker cable, still based on CAT 5 wires.
As for interconnects, try the Piano 6/1...and don't forget mains cables!!!
Thanks for the precious feedback!
Lucio Cadeddu

Still new digital audio (hype)
Dear Lucio,
I agree to your answer to the letter by Mads Vinding. But we should see some change in hifi world. We are going to more bits and higher frequencies. Even with CDs. So I would like to get some reports for new CD-Player developments, e.g. Meridian 588. With all that stuff of upsampling, dithering, jitter-reduction and so on. Which CDP is worth to be recognized by TNT readers (96 kHz, 24 bit with digital or analog output), has no high end price and sounds as sweet and realistic as your child?
Best regards
Uli Bruggemann - E-mail: uli.brüggemann@owl-online.de

Dear Uli,
we DO review new digital stuff, indeed. Zero-oversampling AND UPsampled DACs...so we can't say we're retro-grouches who can't see the new advances in digital audio. Simply put, we DO NOT SUPPORT the new digital media, as these are JUST hype, created to sell new machines and, most of all, new costly software.
CDs (and LPs) are (were) good ENOUGH for audio at home. The REAL problems with HiFi are NOT caused by the sources...our loudspeakers still use 50 years old technology with THD figures near 5% in the bass range and frequency responses so far from ideal that I'm always guessing what this "high resolution" audio is all about. Can't we simply see this? It's HYPE, guys, JUST HYPE!!!!!!!!! Do not let the "big guys" from record labels and majors steal the money from your pockets! As Public Enemy said...don't believe the hype!
Lucio Cadeddu

DVD players
Dear Lucio,
Since the hifi world moves towards the digital stage and since more and more of you dedicated audiophiles more and more can accept it. Shouldn't you start testing the the new DVD players with 96/192kHz 24bit DACs?
I for example want to buy a new player for my cds, but I think it would be stupid today to buy a regular CDP when the new DVDPs can play CDs and far more (not to forget DVDs). Also DVD-A and SACD discs should be very impressive!
I have not listened to any but I know from a guy that if you play first a DVD-A and then a CD (on a DVD-A player), you think that something is missing.
So TNT-Audio, is it too soon or too non-hifi-minded to start reviewing these players? They seem to be the future, for at least a while.
P.S. If you already have listened to some, I would really like to read about it.
Mads Vinding - E-mail: MadVin@e-mail.dk

Dear Mads,
our opinion on new digital formats has been stated clearly more than once. Simply put, we think this is just plain HYPE. No software to speak of and what is available costs way too much. CDs are already too expen$ive, we don't need another - more expen$ive - medium.
DVD-A players are rare and regular DVD players can't play the new formats. So, what's the deal? Do you want to buy a DVD player to see your favourite films? Buy it! Only, don't ask us to support your choice. This is TNT-Audio, HiFi - nothing else.
Anyway, we reviewed a DVD player several months ago, the Marantz DVD 4000.
Finally, one comment re: your friend's listening experience with the DVD-A. He swears something is missing when comparing it to regular CDs. Oh yes, that's for granted! Money's missing, stolen from his pockets. Get real.
Lucio Cadeddu

Good vibrations
Dear Sir(s),
Although I am from a Latin country -- Portugal -- I cannot speak Italian, so I must write in English. I'm a frequent reader of your website, which is immensely useful and informative.
Thanks to your reviews, I discovered the musical possibilities of little wonders like the Black Cube and Dynavector cartridges, which I am gladly using now.
I also read all the reviews on TNT about isolation platforms, pods, etc. I think I understand the principles behind the construction of such devices, and it's not hard for me to admit to their sonic advantages.
And here comes the point of this message, which remains a serious doubt in my mind. However good as isolating devices may be in preventing components from table or rack vibrations, and sinking internal vibrations, there's still a huge cause of trouble: air vibrations of sound waves emanating from speakers and room reflections.
These waves vibrate loudly on walls, floor, ceiling, furniture, etc. They certainly hit audio components as well. Since is not practical to put an audio system away from the listening room, or lock it in a bank vault while playing, how can all of us music lovers (with fragile machines like turntables) deal with these heavy external vibrations?
To your knowledge, are isolation platforms (or similar solutions) the way to go?
Thanks for listening. I'm looking forward to read some advice you may care to send me.
Yours truly,
Nuno Vidal - E-mail: nuvid@ip.pt

Dear Nuno,
we should try to minimize the effects of ANY kind of vibration but this means that we can't avoid them all. Isolation platforms (and even isolation feet etc.) together with well-damped cabinets can make wonders, though, even against airborne vibrations. As for turntables, you may have noticed these often make use of a suspended subchassis that vibrates at prescribed frequencies.
Lucio Cadeddu

TNT SandBlaster
Great segment on the TNT Sandblaster. I love it. That is the next DIY I'm going to do. I have already made a version of the TNT Flexy. I think I've sent you guys a picture of my rack a few months ago.
Boyd Newlin - E-mail: bnewlin@insmed.com

Der Boyd,
thanks for your interest on the TNT SandBlaster! Though it is a pretty old and well-known tweak, I think it was worth sharing it with the audiophile community. Once done, I'd be glad to read your findings and, eventualy, upload a cool pic on the site.
Keep me updated!
Lucio Cadeddu

An anti-RFI filter for the mains
Hallo, addictive site!!
I would like to try this filter on my CD player. It is a simple consumer player with unbalanced outs. My question is: is it allright to let the case of the filter touch the CDs case, and in this way connect to electrical ground? Will there not be a ground loop?
As You can see I don't understand a lot about electronics.
Thank You for Your time,
André Pires - E-mail: mafa@mail.telepac.pt>

Dear André,
you can use the filtered IEC socket and let it touch the metallic case of your CD player...I see no ground loop problems. Also, do not forget a good DIY mains cable like our TNT Merlino or TNT TTS. Of course, when performing these tweaks, always disconnect the unit from the mains!
Keep us updated!
Lucio Cadeddu

I just noted your review on the AKSA amp which I have also considered building myself. Just curious it appears that you did not tweak any of the parts as mentioned in his FAQ page such as C8, and there were a few other though I do not remember which ones.
At any rate I am assuming that your review was from the stock based kit only, correct?
If so then this must surely be an amp of great quality. Any idea how it would compare to one of the Class amps ie Krell etc?
Rob Outlaw - E-mail: routlaw@imt.net

Hi Rob,
Thanks for your inquiry. The AKSA amp that I reviewed was bone stock, except for the high speed rectifiers in the power supply. As I mentioned in my review, I do appreciate that the amp can be tweaked to the builder's taste.

I did not have the opportunity to compare the AKSA to a Krell amp, but I did compare it to my new McIntosh, and as I noted in my review, it is not as good of an amp as the Mac, although its bass performance surpasses that of the Mac in my opinion.
I do tend to prefer the McIntosh amps that I have heard to date to the Krells that I have heard, your taste may vary from mine.
Keep in mind, at approximately $350 built with dual power supplies, the AKSA is one of the least expensive high quality amps on the market. It is an excellent performer, and a truly stunning value.
I hope I have been of assistance.
Nels Ferré

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