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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October 2002

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Vintage Quad gear
Thanks for a great infomative and unbiased site.
Like many other web surfers who stumble onto your site after being bewildered by the hifi press, I am very grateful for your non-commercial opinions. Now for the advice part?

Currently I am running Quad 33/303/fm3 - with Tannoy Mercury m2.5s and Cambridge Audio D500. I have had the preamp and power reconditioned, and they sound smooth and detailed with classical - bass in the Solti ring cycle for example is very good.

However, for techno - in particular the chill out type of music e.g gotan project, massive attack etc, I find I have to turn up the volume so that conversation can't be heard to get any bass at all (and this is meant to be background music) and the whole thing appears to be very laid back even when louder - indeed the timing of the system seems a bit slow even with beethoven 9th for example.

In your opinion does this lack of punch and lack of bass with modern music in my system lie with the speakers?
They're small bookshelf ones on sand filled stands - not particularly room filling - I'm keen on building some IPL acoustics MTL3 transmission line speakers or hoping to get some PMC FB1s that have fallen off a lorry?
But does the problem lie elsewhere e.g - the "laid back" CD player ? or the vintage pre - is a Quad 34 any faster? - or power amp - quad 303 is it just too slow?
Any help, or comments from anyone would be most gratefully accepted
Kind regards
Mal McDonald - E-mail:

Dear Mal,
have you read my review of your CD player? If yes, you should already know how SLOW your CD player is :-)
This problem seems solved with the SE edition (see review by Nels Ferré).
Anyway, I happen to know pretty well even your amplification combo, the 33 + 303. The 33 is a bit slow (certainly the 34 is more accurate) but the 303 is pretty fast, instead. I have listened to Massive Attack with that pair and they handled pace and "grunt" pretty well, considering how old those designs are.
So my advice is: buy a new CD player (NAD or Rotel, for example), keep the Quad gear and start saving for a pair of IPL's or Klipsch's.
Lucio Cadeddu

Amp matching
Hi folks,
Love the site. What I wanted to ask was I have been confronted with quite a dilemma. I own a NAD c320BEE and am looking for some speakers to match up with. Currently I am looking at the Wharfedale 8.1's, Mission m71's, B&W 602 s2 (2nd Hand) and the KEF Cresta 2's. I am extremely attracted to the Wharfedale's, as they are very cheap and just amazing but the only thing stopping me is their 86db sensitivity at 6ohms. Will these ratings hurt my amp or is the apparently "underated" 50w per channel enough to power the speakers efficiently.
Coupled with the NAD C320BEE, should this be a problem at all? Should this be stopping me? Can you recommend any other speakers I have listed that would be better suited to the NAD amp. Some helpful advice would be greatly appreciated, thank you very much.
Blair Nolan - E-mail:

Dear Blair,
your NAD can drive the 8.1's without troubles of any kind, provided your room isn't too large. 86 dB of sensitivity and 6 ohm of nominal impedance aren't a real treat for any modern audiophile amp like your NAD C320.
Another good choice could be the Mission M71, as well. Just one obvious suggestion: can't you simply ask the dealer to test the speakers with YOUR amp?
Let me know!
Lucio Cadeddu

Re: Dual turntables and "Anonymous" reviews
Dear Lucio,
Thank you for publishing my mail last week but either I was not clear in expressing what I meant by ANONYMOUS REVIEWS or something got lost in the language interpretation. I did not mean that the reviewers should be anonymous - far from it, I welcome the personal approach and it makes what you write more individual.
One becomes familiar with the style of the reviewer and its nice to know his personal tastes in music and other things!
No, I meant that how you OBTAIN YOUR EQUIPMENT for review should be ANONYMOUS as far as possible. I have often read in a review something like this: "The xxx was faulty/missing/broken but a quick call to xxx the agent (often named as a personal aquintance) or manufacturer produced a new one in a few days, so the review schedule was saved." I hope to see some reaction from some manufacturers also about "loaning" equipment to reviewers.

Thanks a million for your tips for finding service manuals or discontinued components. I will certainly follow them up. And lastly, welcome on-board Julian! Your article on system tweaking this week bodes well for some good common-sense advice. Personally, I have my loudspeakers standing on a fairly thick carpet. I am not using spikes as I am still moving the speakers around to find the optimum position, and I could never understand the advice to "make sure those spikes go right through the carpet" that I have read in more than one review.
I have floor boards that ring nicely when a pair of high heels trounces over them. I don't know what the resonances from my speakers would do!
Michael Shanahan - E-mail:

Dear Michael,
sorry for misunderstanding you. BUT! Getting test samples anonymously is almost impossible. The only thing we can do is to NOT let the manufacturer choose the reviewer. Quite often, our staff decides who is going to test a piece of equipment and we try to avoid close relationships with manufacturers.
Anyway, it is 100% natural that, considering the niche market we're in, manufacturer and reviewer discuss about products problems, faults and possible remedies. As long as this is kept PUBLIC and transparent, we can't see which kind of problems may arise.
As we don't accept advertising, we will NEVER be forced to modify our opinions. That should suffice.
Thanks for the precious feedback!
Lucio Cadeddu

Speakers upgrade
Dear Mr. Ferré,
I am looking to upgrade my speaker set up and don't have much to spend, I would really not want to spend more than $1500, and that does not seem like much after looking as speaker prices these days. Do you have any suggestions. Thank you for your help and time.
Tom Taraba - E-mail:

Hi Thomas,
Thanks for your letter.
There are many excellent speakers in your price range. The first thing I can recommend is checking the archives at TNT Audio for suggestions. Speakers are, in my opinion, the most personal choice one can make in a system, and the hardest to recommend to someone. It really comes down to personal taste as well as the type of music you listen to. Your new speakers must also mate well to the rest of your system.

I recommend that you buy a speaker from a speaker manufacturer, a specialist. Anyone can make a speaker, but it takes an excellent understanding of science, physics, workmanship, and a good ear to design a GOOD speaker. What I am talking about is a company that makes only speakers. Additionally, I recommend that you do your shopping at specialty audio stores. Hint...if the store sells microwaves, washers and dryers, or computers, you are in the wrong store.

A good salesperson can be your ally. He or she will be concerned with helping you find the speakers that are right for you, within your budget. A good salesperson will ask you many questions about your system, tastes in music, your expectations, your listening space, and your lifestyle. Do not worry, they aren't being nosy, they are doing their job.
This information is vital, and the salesperson cannot properly help you without it. A bad salesperson will not as these questions, they will just ask a budget and start a demo. Beware of this situation.

I have found the following brands to offer excellent candidates in your price range. This is not, by any means, a complete list. B&W, Polk, Infinity, Mirage, Paradigm, Cliffhanger Audio, Magnepan, KEF, Meadowlark, Vandersteen and, well, you get the idea. I'm sure I left out dozens of worthwhile contenders.

I suggest you arm yourself with music you know well, get in the car and get shopping. Some of the best times to shop, by the way, are a weekday morning or afternoon, when the shops tend to be a bit slower, and can devote more time to your needs without interruption.

Remember to listen, and find the speakers that make you happy. It's your system, and your money. Whatever you buy, buy with a "money back" guarantee. The listening room makes a big difference, and your choice will surely sound different, in your room, with your gear, once you get them home.
I hope this is helpful.
By the way, I see you are in Arizona. While you are shopping, stop by a Jack in the Box and have a Super Taco for me! Sadly, we don't have Jack in the Box on the east coast.
Keep in touch and let me know how the shopping goes.
Nels Ferré

Cambridge audio D500 SE
Dear Nels,
I bought d500se this month and what to say, I am very dissatisfied how that sounded. Bass is to soft, without any punch and definition, no dynamics, no attaks, no drums ... I changed power cord and sounds became better, but when I compared my old records on my deck, I saw clearly how big is differnce betwen my old cd player (Pionner 705 and Harman Kardon 730) and this gear.

Do you have any recommendations what amp and loudspeakers should be on the rest of my system (to be balanced)?
Stanko - E-mail: stanko67@ptt.yu

Hi Stanko,
Thanks for your letter.
I am sorry that you are disappointed with the performance of the CD-500SE. Hopefully, you have a "money back" guarantee. Before changing the amp and speakers, I would suggest returning the CD player.  I ended up buying a JoLida JD-100A, and couldn't be happier.

As far as comparisons to the Pioneer, it was a more expensive machine years ago when it was current.  That's not a fair comparison.  Regarding the HD-730, that is an excellent machine, I am not sure what you are looking for in the way of improvements over that machine, but I assure you, you will have to spend more than the current $399 street price on the Cambridge Audio machine to get it.
I hope this is of some assistance.
Nels Ferré

Jolida 302 mods
Hi Nels,
I know you did the Jolida review almost 3 years ago, but I wanted to share a little about the 302 with you.
I bought a used 302 A 6 ago and haven't looked back. After enjoying it for years I started upgrading my entire system. You know how it goes; first you get new speakers, then speaker wire, then a CD player (I got the JD-100) Then I changed the speaker wire, then finally I started doing all the Mods listed on Audio Asylum for the Jolida. I have changed all the power caps and capacitors in the amp with Auricaps. Changed the diodes, a few resistors, all the signal wire, put on a new volume pot and selector switch. Total cost $350.00. My audiophile friends estimate the improvement to be between 4 and 8 times over the original amp.
The sound is absolutely amazing. This is not information that you can print, but if you got your hands on a Jolida and did the Mods then all the negatives would go away and it might just be the best amp you have ever heard.
BTW - I love your reviews!!
Larry Vito - E-mail:

Hi Larry,
Thanks for your letter.  This isn't information I can print?  Hah!  Just you watch!
I too have heard good things about modifying the JoLida amps.  However, the JD-302 that I reviewed was loaned from the manufacturer, and modifications to loaned units are a big "no no".
While I still own my 502, I loathe modifying it as I use it from time to time for my reviews.  I prefer to have a piece of gear that a reader can go out and buy from a dealer, instead of a "hot rodded" amp that a reader may have difficulty duplicating.
I am glad that you enjoy your amp.  An improvement of "4 to 8 times" with an investment of some time and $350 is a bargain indeed.
Best Regards,
Nels Ferré

Jolida JD-100A
Hi Nels,
I have auditioned home the Jolida JD-100A cd player swaping the factory tubes for the Sovtek's 12AX7 LPS.
It is even better than the Lua Cantilena I listened to from a friend of mine few years ago. It is virtually impossible to not like this unit. I cannot remember having listened to such an enjoyable cd player at any price. Your thoughtful review of this player help me a lot in my findings.
I am living in Montréal, Québec, Canada. I am a proud "french-canadian". So, if I can help you in your search of Acadian music, let me know. We are well stocked here in this kind of music ! It will be a pleasure to share with you the info I have on "Cajun" music or to send you music you like.
Many thanks!
Jean Phénix - E-mail:

Hi Jean,
  Thanks for your letter.
I am glad you are enjoying your JD-100A. (I assume from your excitement that you bought it).
While I haven't tried the Sovtek 12AX7 LPS with the JD-100A, I had used that tube in a couple of preamps I have owned, and was quite impressed.  They are very inexpensive, to boot.
Thanks for your kind offer regarding the music.  I'll keep your e-mail address, and when I am ready to buy more Acadian music, I'll let you know. (I've been in "classic rock" mode lately).
Nels Ferré

in part owing to your review I got the KVP 10 to audition (yes, listening is important, although I must admit much of my stuff was bought blind (deaf) but, then I was in the industry for a few years and so had an idea of what I would be getting).
I switched on the CD and my first impression was that here was an example of political correctness gone mad! TNT are using a deaf reviewer! It was harsh and annoying, not at all what I was expecting and a terrible disappointment.
Defenestration was just avoided and I let it run for a few minutes. Then I put on Cream's Crossroads. What a difference. The harshness was gone to be replaced by sharpness and attack. Ginger Baker's drums exploding and a buzz to Clapton's guitar that I hadn't heard before. Then on to Carly Simon's No Secrets on vinyl. As it was before but moreso with much more clarity, and it was good to find that the gain from the phono was fairly close to the line stages. Then on to the tests I always try.
Best of Sting (CD).
An Englishman in New York: Now I know why he put that drum break in the middle. Great piano (or keyboard - there's no doubt that it's not real). More soul in the voice. And more percussion than even Evelyn Glennie could dream of.

Every Move You Make: I always listen for the snares on the drum. There in spades. Sound radiating out and a real piano. Great dynamics so that even at a sound level of Neurofen squared you can still hear the high hats and cymbals as clear as bells.

Fields of Gold: I can hear the harmonics on the pipes and the reverb from the block - which also sounds like it is being hit!! and the individual notes from the bass and the beginning and end of them. The quick guitar in the back ground is more evident than before.

No Roses - Shirley Collins (vinyl):
I play the Murder of Maria Martin to hear how far the tumbril goes at the end. Lat I heard it was just passing Swansea and still going.

Victoria's Requiem (vinyl):
A great recording (that needs a good clean on the Moth machine). Wonderful space and a real sense of a church. Treble voices arising from nowhere with that buttock clenching clarity and timbre and bass voices that have the sustain and depth of a gorilla belching in a dust bin.
I tend to judge new equipment on the surprise factor. How often does it make me move my head to a speaker in surprise. The KVP 10 certainly has a high Ralgex factor.
Great on dynamics and speed. Wonderful for all percussion and piano.

The switches. Noisy and unattractive (mind you if you go to hi-fi shows and look at some of the visitors, then cosmetic appeal has never been that highly important in the trade).
I spent a lot of time taking the earth leads out of my Leaks to get rid of a hum only to find I've got to go searching again.
The packaging is a bit basic.
These are my early impressions. Listening to even more Sting it's improving all the time. I'll let it run for a couple of days then try Miles Davies and the still sealed 1957 recording of Coleman Hawkins and Ben Webster I've just found.
Jeff Flatters - E-mail:

Hi Jeff
Thanks for the mail and the great description. And after the first worrying paragraph I was happy to see that you heard exactly what I did when testing the Korato pre. The only thing is that as my review says, "The pair sounds dreadful straight from the box. 48 hours burn in being necessary". You'll find it just gets better beyond this though. As for complaints - yes, couldn't agree more...
Thanks for the valuable feedback and please keep me posted re progress, this kind of feedback is vital.
All the best,
Geoff Husband

NAD 3120 that buzzes on startup
Hi Lucio:
Since I know you are fond of the NAD 3120 amp I thought you wouldn't mind some quick questions personally.... My NAD 3120 sends a "buzz/hum" through my speakers when I turn it on but after that seems to work wonderfully (as only this little amp can!). If I disconnect the pre-amp / amp jumpers the sound goes away so I suspect the problem lies in the pre amp.

  1. Can this be repaired ?
  2. Does the power surge harm my speakers?
  3. Can I just leave the amp on forever and not eventually burn it up (and thus skip making a repair)?
Thanks for your time... Your website has been my first resource for information as I have set up my "used" system... Thanks in advance...
Craig Clark - E-mail:

Dear Craig,
as this seems to be a frequent question, I hope this public answers helps other audiophiles with the same troubles. A "bump" or "crack" on the speakers when turning on (and off) an amplifier is 100% normal. This only means the amps has no delayed power-on relais.
In other words, the speakers are directly connected to the power stage as soon as the amp is turned on.
Any modern amplifier has a relais that connects the speakers (with a "click-like" noise) few seconds after it has been turned on, exactly to avoid the "bump" you describe.
Sooo...don't worry!
Lucio Cadeddu

Dual turntables and the quality of your articles
Dear Lucio
I enjoy your site immensely and always wonder how you and your "team" have time to produce so much material, and have jobs too! I hope you or one of your reviewers, or one of the thousands of readers can help me?
I have and old Dual 1209 turntable that I want to restore to good running order. I have found a few useful Dual sites on the Web but they are all in the USA. The Dual manufacturer's site in Germany is very lacking in detailed information, and what's more its in German only which is beyond my language skills.
What I need is an instruction/ service manual (in English) and source of spare parts here in Europe. Somebody in London gave me the name Yello as being the Dual agent for England, but I could not trace them (no tel. no. from directory enquiries). The main distributer here in Sweden could not help me either with manuals/spares. I took my turntable to a local Dual agent and he shrugged his shoulders about service or repair - after all he wants to sell me a new one doesn't he.
Your tips and tweeks interest me most and I am anxious to start trying a few. My first priority is to build an equipment stand. When it's done I'll send you a description (if its' successful!) and maybe it will be interesting enough for other readers.

A few things worry me about equipment reviews. I pay far more regard to fully independent reviews, such as TNT, than those in the "popular" magazines, but even your reviews would be even better if they were anonymous.
Your reviewers seem very buddy-buddy with the manufacturers or agents from whom you get equipment. I realise a small dedicated gang of enthusiasts can't just go out and buy all the equipment you want to review - as consumer associations do for example - but if you only review one or even a couple of samples on loan from the manufacturer how do you know they are not specially prepared? OK you can say, even if all the equipment you review is specially prepared you are on a level playing field to compare different equipment, but we the consumer only get what is in the shops.
Every reviewer always says "try it and test it yourself" but that is much easier said than done. In a country such as Sweden I don't have many sources to choose between and I don't think any agent in USA, Italy or elsewhere is going to ship me equipment "on trial" and pay for its freight in both directions.
Anyhow, keep the reviews coming and let's have as many hard facts as possible. Never descend to the jargon of the mass-press with such comments as "this cable really sounds smooth" for example.
Yours with best wishes
Michael Shanahan - E-mail:

Dear Michael,
even yours seems a frequent question so here is an answer that may be helpful: when searching for service manuals of discontinued HiFi components, try these sites: and Spare parts are harder to find though (keep an eye on EBay's).

With respect to our reviews: many items we review don't come from manufacturers or distributors, but directly from friends or stores. Buying all the components we review is IMPOSSIBLE, especially if you consider the outrageously high amount of money involved. Don't forget we are a fully no-profit enterprise (that is to say, we don't have the money to do that).
Secondly, we always suggest to try to evaluate the gear we review on your own: there's no easy way out: trust your ears only! We can only give you our sincere and honest opinions (which may be very DIFFERENT from yours).
Finally, I'm AGAINST anonymous reviews. Since we write EXACTLY what we think, there's NO reason to hide our real names. A reader should always be able to contact the reviewer, ask him details and further infos...or even to flame him :-)
Anonymous reviews may leave room to dangerous suspects, let me tell ya.
Lucio Cadeddu

Better CD Player and cables for my system?
Dear Sir,
Currently I would build my system, but I am a new comer and still need advice from the expert. My system (Entry level) is consist of

I will replace my old Technics w/ the new one, I have some choices but I am confused which one is the best. They are NAD C541, Cambridge Audio D500SE, Marantz CD6000OSE, AMC CD6b.
Here are my questions: Thank you for support.
Rio - E-mail:

Dear Rio,
the CD players you mentioned are equally good sounding and performing. Choosing one or the other is a matter of personal taste, mainly. There's NO such a thing as "the best one" you ask for. My personal preference (if that matters) would go to the NAD.
As for cables...why don't you consider DIYing? Our site is plenty of DIY designs which are EASY to build and GOOD sounding. Otherwise, read some review of cables here on TNT-Audio...
Lucio Cadeddu

Romance TT W/Romeo Arm
I just read your review of the Romance/Romeo TT. It appears this is quite a good system. I have been looking at a Clearaudio Champion with Graham Robin arm and would like to know if you have any opinions about this combo vs. the Romance combo.

The other issue is that I am considering a Decca Jubilee cartridge. I know this requires a damped tonearm and would like to know if you think the damping on the Romeo would be adequate.

I realize these questions are not absolute, but any info you could give would be helpful. In the US these products are not broadly distributed.
Thank You
Louis Berkman - E-mail:

Hi Louis
Thanks for the mail. I'm loath to offer an opinion on something I've not heard so I won't :-)
The Clearaudio hasn't passed through my hands, or the Graham (they refuse to answer emails...). All I can say is that the Audiomeca is a beautiful piece of kit that performs well beyond it's price range. It's a pleasure to use and will give ANY CD player a hard time. As for the Decca - here you have a cartridge that "lives on the edge". At times it will be wonderful, but it can let go at a momants notice - personally I'd go for a Music Maker to give the excitement without the tears (one brush the wrong way and it's dead...).
As for damping, the Romeo can be damped to taste by filling the bearing trough with silicone or even synthetic motor oil, but the MM prefers none.
Geoff Husband

I would very much appreciate your comments
I found out today about your website and I thank you for the excellent job you are doing. I looked up in your reviews for some of the components I have, and did not find them. I know that you do this as a hobby, but I wonder if you have a comment on them.
I am also a music lover. About 10 yrs ago, maybe a bit less, I realized that if I did not buy a fine hifi system then, when I was about to get married it would be impossible to think about it.
There would be far too many other things to buy first, specially from my wife-to-be perspective, that is what I thought. I had some money saved, our currency was overvalued vs. the dollar and my birthday was coming, so I decided to go shopping.
To make the story short, after listening to many brands of equipment, and being realistic with my budget, and at the same time aiming high, I decided to buy a pair of Electa Amator from Sonus Faber, an amplifier DM-10 from Densen, a digital to analog converter DAC 2 from Audio Note, a transport AXIOM from SUMO.
I wonder whether you could tell me how good a system I bought (I integrated it with some support, but basically to my liking), or if you have recommendations. I do not know how balanced this is.
No hard feelings, the investment was made many years ago, so I accept any comments. If you think this system is good, how can I take the most out of it.
I live in Mexico, and it is very difficult to find truly knowledgeable people. I could try to find the guy I bought it to (think he closed the business), but in any case, I would love to get an opinion other than the sales man's, even if he seemed to me very serious.
Thanks for taking your time to read and comment on my email.
Best regards,
Fernando Milanés Garcia-Moreno - E-mail:

Dear Fernando,
your system consists of very good components.. the DM 10 and the Electa's are among my favourites (and they match well together). Fine tuning is all you need to get the best out of your system. I'm referring to cables, for example, and not only to interconnects and speaker cables. No, please take into consideration good mains cables and a decent digital cable (keep an eye on my soon-to-come digital cables shootout test). If you just want to try the effects, build some of our DIY designs. No money involved, much fun and good results.
Also, consider the Sonus Faber Electa's work best with their own SF stands.
Finally, try a set of VibraPods (or similar stuff) under CD transport, DAC and amp. You'll be surprised by the results.
If not already included, a good HiFi rack may improve the sound of your system as well. Consider our World renowned TNT FleXy (easy) DIY design.
Stay tuned and let me know,
Lucio Cadeddu

Dynavector 10x4
Dear Nels!
I bought an old (80's) Rega Planar 3, that I have so far been very happy with. But since I bought an old Audio Innovations 300mkII SET amp I have found the Planar a bit noisy. This is partly due to inefficient speakers I guess, which means I have to crank it up a great bit relatively to the CD player. I have decided based on your review and on advise from a few HIFI shops in London to try the 10x4.
Mainly because I get an MC but wont need a step-up amp and also the low noise you found in your review. I have two questions: Did you try it with your Planar table? And if you did: How easy was it to install? My problem is that I live in a country (Ireland) where the only shop that even have turntables for sale don't do Dynavector!
I have heard Rega say that they only recommend using their own cartridges in their systems (which I personally think is Horse S**T) they are concerned about the height of the cartridge and it's effect on the angle of the arm. I have seen their cartridges mounted on Planars in shops in London and guess that Rega only says this to make you buy their own cartridges?
They even contradicted themselves when I mailed them to advise me on the thickness of the RingMate. They now told me that the difference in thickness and thereby the angle of the arm shouldn't make a significant difference to the sound!! So what do you make of all this?

Your comment is greatly appreciated (especially when the manufacturers and shops don't seem completely unbiased... or even able to agree...) Thanks
Claus E. Jensen - E-mail:

Hi Claus, thanks for your letter.
Yes, I did try the Dynavector on my Planar 2, and enjoyed it very much.
Without some type of VTA adjustment device, the VTA will be off a bit, due to the different heights of the cartridges (Dynavector vs. Rega). However, I found the Dynavector to be unfussy as far as VTA when used with the Rega. An inexpensive way to rectify this would be to remove the arm, place a thick metal washer between the arm and the plinth (around the arm shaft) and remount the arm. This will raise the arm at the rear, and, if you have a washer of the correct thickness, have the VTA set correctly.
  I'm sorry; I cannot remember the correct thickness.  Alternatively, you could, as you have indicated, set the VTA at the platter, by using the Ring Mat. While I doubt it will make a noticeable difference with the Dynavector, I personally like for my rig to be set up properly.

As far as Rega only recommending their cartridges, this is understandable.  That's how they make money.  The Dynavector is superior, in my opinion, to the top of the line Rega Exact.  There are many cartridges out there, the Dynavector included, that will mate well to the Rega arms.

You may still, however, have to crank up the gain, relative to the CD player, depending on the gain offered by your phono section.  The Rega cartridges have an output of 6.5 mV; the DV-10x4 MKII has an output of 2.5 mV.  While this caused no troubles in my system, your mileage may vary.
I hope this is of assistance.
Nels Ferré

Jolida JD 100 cd player
Hi Mr Ferré,
I have read your June 2002 review of the Jolida JD 100 cd player. Is it still your favorite? I am willing to buy one while I am not having the opportunity to listen to it before. The dealer is many miles from my home.
Thanks in advance!
Jean Phénix - E-mail:

Hi Jean, thanks for your letter.
While I am happy that you found my review helpful, I do not recommend buying the player before an audition.  I would also recommend a "home audition period", where you can listen to the player in your system for a period of time.

I still love the player, but keep in mind, we all have different tastes.  For example, I drive a BMW.  I would not want (another) Volkswagen.  Both are German cars, but completely different. Just because I love the JoLida JD-100 doesn't mean you will; your priorities may be different from mine.
I hope this is helpful.
Nels Ferré

Musical Fidelity Dr. Thomas & The Preamp
First I would like to congratulate you on your fantastic site which gave me lots of information regarding this new exciting (and expensive :-))) hobby I found for myself.
I am trying to build a system around the Vienna Acoustics Hayden speakers I recently bought, and was offered an old "Musical Fidelity Dr. Thomas" amp and the matching "The Preamp".
I took them home for the weekend and was very impressed by the rich sound they produced. The set of the two plus a tuner was priced at approx US$1000.
My question is do you think the 20 year old amp and pre amp worth the price or, I can get newer equipment which will be a better match for the same price?
And another question which of the current new electronics will be the best match for the Haydens?
I have heared (not with the speakers) the Roksan Caspian integrated and Kandy, Marantz PM17 and the Creek 4330mk2 & 5350.
All the best
Sharon Barkan - E-mail:

Dear Sharon,
the Dr. Thomas and The Preamp combo are good components even under today's standards. If you consider the price - 1000$ including a tuner, hopefully another MF component! - it is not easy to find another preamp + power amp combo that can beat these old British glories. In any case, since you seem to have been impressed by their can buy them! If you can, try listening to the Roksan stuff you mentioned, too (better to have another chance).
The only problem I can see with that old combo is power supply caps lifespan. Perhaps, after 20 years of use, they may need to be replaced with new ones. This isn't strictly necessary as long as the units perform fine...but sooner or later you'll have to do it. Any radio/TV/HiFi technician should be able to install new caps at a reasonable cost.
Keep me updated!
Lucio Cadeddu

Reusing rca plugs, and Teac cdp-1120
Hi, I am writing to ask your opinion about rca plugs in two different capacities. First, I am currently experimenting with building my own interconnects (based largely on TNT X-Cables), and wish to experiment with several different rca plugs (specifically I am going to try the Neutrik profi plugs, Canare f-10, and also the Eichmann bullet plugs).
However, as I am on a very limited budget I want to avoid making seperate cables for each plug I try.
So my question is this: is it alright to solder one type onto my cables, and then later desolder it and try different plugs, and then to reuse the plugs I have removed?
Is it in any way detrimental to reuse the plugs after they have been soldered and then desoldered?

Second, if you have any specific opinions on the three plugs I mentioned I am going to try, I would be interested to know what you think.
Also, do you know when Stage two for tweaks on the Teac cdp-1120 is going to be translated? I wish to do some more work to mine such as replace the power cord (a variation of your own UBYTE-M, and the Chris Venhaus design), and replace the rca jacks (with Canare). I also was thinking of replacing the op-amp in the output stage, adding some internal bracing to the chassis and spraying with a dynamat product similar to the Rockford Fosgate Noise Killer you higly praised on this site (couldn't find the NoiseKiller anywhere), and perhaps replacing some of the other electronics inside with uprgraded versions.
I would be very interested to know your opinion on how these tweaks would improve the performance of the Teac cdp1120, and with regards to the op-amp and electronics replacements inside (capacitors especially) what, if any, op-amp you would suggest, and also what other components inside would merit the most positive change if replaced?
I very much appreciate your time, not only with answering this, but with maintaining TNT-Audio.
your site has been a great help to me in so many ways and i not only applaud you for having such a wonderful site, but also thank you for taking the time to keep it up and running. Thanks.

P.S. Oh, and I also meant to tell you that i have built a TNT FleXy (and am very much pleased with it). I know you said to let you know so you'd have an idea of how many are out there.
Jesse Parker - E-mail:

Dear Jesse,
you can solder/desolder the plugs how many times you want, though I'd recommend using the Eichmann stuff, really outstanding. With respect to the Teac 1120 mods, our Stage 2 session is terribly close to what you're going to perform on your go on! Since I don't have that player handy I can't suggest anything specific with respect to opamps and caps. Perhaps you could use something equivalent from the vast Analog Devices catalogue (re opamps) and good quality caps.
Pay attention not to overkill that player. It is a budget CD player, spending too much money to tweak it could be a non-sense. Better to buy another basic CD player (with digital out, see Philips CD 723) and a second-hand DAC.
Finally, you're not the first one to complain about the availability of the praised Noise Killer. Perhaps the product is discountinued, don't know exactly. Plaese visit any car stereo dealer and ask for a similar product (there many of these!).
Lucio Cadeddu

Tweak: three marbles under a cd player
Hi Lucio,
I visit regularly your web site and I love particularly the tweak and diy section. With a friend we tried much of them especially those concerning cd player (digitalcork, stoneblocks and cdp). And at last we found another being inspired by commercial design: two good sized mdf boards, six "head" of (big) spoons and three marbles; the three spoons are glued on each board forming a triangle of the same size for the two board, then you can put your player on the set with the three marbles sandwidched between the two boards. The ultimate dampening system is: the first board on three spike and a pillow between the player and the second board (spikes were previously alone and add less than the marbles only). With an YBA cd3 delta and even a NAD 514 this system can break the walls of the room (big soundstage) and has an averall very positive effect and the waf can be tolerable if made with care.
Try it if you can and if you confirm the big effect, it could take place in your tweak/diy section.
Nicolas - E-mail:

Dear Nicolas,
thanks for the tip! As other similar suggestions sent by our faithful readers even this one is good to be published on our soon_to_come DIY site. A good pic (not too big) can be helpful.
Lucio Cadeddu

EMT Turntable
Hi Lucio:
I am shopping for a good turntable and have been looking at the usual suspects of the Gyro, the Goldmund Studio, Versa, etc and came across the the EMT. This looks like an interesting option.
Do you know which is the best EMT to consider, for example, a 950 model is available from Taiwan? How do they compare to the consumer turntables I have listed above. How do they sound?
Are they worth $US 2000? What has to be done to adapt them to a home stereo system?
Any information you can give me will be appreciated.
Larry Sowa - E-mail:

Dear Larry,
first of all I strongly suggest you to read the Bible on EMT turntables I have reviewed for TNT-Audio on our Music & Books section. Secondly, please visit the Author's website, full packed with precious infos on EMT's.
Thirdly, the choice of a vintage "pro" turntable can't be considered as an alternative to commercial products. You should be ready to struggle to find spare parts for your vintage TT, a good technician able to service it and so on. It is a neverending search....and it's like comparing apples and oranges! Too different.
Provided the vintage turntable is in excellent working conditions, with all original parts etc. I'm pretty sure its sound can rival with that of the best modern turntables around. Still, this means nothing. Even a vintage Ferrari can outperform some modern sportscar...but nobody dares to compare.
Lucio Cadeddu

Vibrations uber alles
Dear Sir,
I have buit the TNT SandBlaster for vibration dampening test and got incredibly positive results. After this positive result I had to remove the SandBlaster since the WAF was very, very low.
I tried to get the confirmation for the StoneBlocks but I realised that the WAF factor of the blocks was even lower. The effects of the vibration dampening elements are really impressive so I do not want to discard them and I decided to try graphite discs. Does the type of the graphite effects the dampening factor?
What type do you suggest? I think there are many around for erasion machines. Also I know the dampening ability of the sand, does graphite dampens as good as sand? It is really hard to believe.
Thank you for your help.
Koray PARS - E-mail:

Dear Koray,
graphite blocks can work fine but in the vibration absorbtion department few things beat the performance of a sand-filled tray. Graphite blocks should be able to dissipate vibration energy in terms of heat...but don't expect miracles. As for size and form, try mimicking the commercial ART Q-Dampers (also reviewed by us).
You may want to try even elastic compounds such as Vibrapods and Sonic Design pods (see reviews on this site).
Lucio Cadeddu

Long DIY cables
Some time ago, I made my first set of TNT Triple T cables. Actually, I made two pairs, since I bi-amp my speakers. I was really pleased with the results, the whole system sounded more open and mid-range in particular was much much better. Thanks !! It brought much more fun to my listening.

Now I have moved house, and here is my question. (I have to make some new cables as I need longer runs, so it's back to the wire-stripping!)

Instead of using 2 cables of 6 x CAT 5 wires for each speaker, (one from each channel of one amplifier, repeated for the other amp), would it make more sense to make one cable of 6 braids for the bass, and one with only 3 braided wires for the treble? I am wondering if using so much of the cable is overkill for the treble, since the signal is much smaller than for the bass.
Alternatively, should I go with the previous method of 6 for both treble and bass since the run has to be longer (around 6 metres in total).

Looking forward to your thoughts on this, as I am keen to make the new cables and get my speakers further apart, where they should be.

Thanks for an excellent website, I keep coming back to it for new ideas as and when the tweaking virus strikes...
Best wishes
Andrew Buglass - E-mail:

Dear Andrew,
I strongly suggest you to have a look at the several editions of our Triple T DIY cable. There you'll find new ideas on how to configure those braids.
In other words, you can opt to make a "variation on a theme" and then report your findings. This is what tweaking is all about: experiment (even weird things) and evaluate the results. I'm pretty sure you won't be disappointed.
Stay tuned and keep us updated,
Lucio Cadeddu

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