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 2012

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Speakers upgrade
Dear Arvind,
I am evaluating an upgrade of my speakers. I have read your review of the Tonian Labs TL-D1 issued on july 2009 on TNT-Audio. They sound very promising as far as your review says.
Currently I have the following set up: DAC Magic Cambridge Audio bonded to a pc, Dual turn table, Kingrex Preamp tied to two Temple Audio Bantam Monoblocks (25 w (at) 8 Ohm) and Klipsch RB 81 as speakers on stands. The livingroom where they are is 5 m x 7 m, height 2,80 m, parquet on the floor, no carpet, but yes full bookcase covering the whole rear wall from the bottom to the top, big sofa very absorbing in front of the speakers at 3 m distance.
I appreciate very much the klipsch sound, but for safety purpose (speakers on stand can easily be pushed down by guests or the house maid coming now and then to help us with housework) I am orientating myself to a floorstanding model.
Of course I am considering also Klipsch RF 62 and Klipsch RF 82, but on the second hand market, following Lucio's suggestion, is possible to find some good opportunity for the same money to reach an even higher quality level. So I found a pair of Tonian Lab TL-D1 MkII at a good price (950$ + shipping) on a second hand market site, furthermore, there are also a pair of brand new TL-D1 Mk III quoted by Tony Minasian after my request by email, at a special price of 2.600 $, shipment to Italy included.
I would like to know how far they are from the very well known sound of my Klipsch big bookshelf and if I would ever miss their bass and their treble with such a change.
It could be an improvement, but since it is impossible to me have a listening session in Italy (they have no distributors in Italy) to have a try, I am here to ask you an advice about it.
It should, theoretically, be a good choice for the power capability of my ampli, but, of course, you can not buy something without a careful listening session.
Thanks in advance,
Paolo - E-mail: paolo.bottiglione (at)

Hello Paolo,
a stand mounted speaker does not have to be prone to toppling over, if these two requirements can be met. One, if the base is sufficiently mass-loaded - for example a stand I had built a long time ago, had over 20kg of concrete in the base. Two, the speaker must be fastened to the base - I have used a nylon strap to essentially tie the speaker to the base.
At 95db efficiency, I would be very surprised if your amps were not plenty for the Tonian speakers. But as I am not familiar with any of the Klipsch speakers, the only way to know the comparative sound is to compare them directly.
If you do consider the Tonian, then you do want to space them wide and have no toe-in. And you will want to that they are not too close to side walls either.
Arvind Kohli

John Kenny SPDIF Mk 3USB
Hi Nick,
Thanks, I enjoyed your review of the JK SPDIF MK3. I was also completely unaware of the VertexAQ and the Human Audio Tabla (awful name!).
What was the source of your rigid USB adapter? I have an old gold plated one from about 10 years ago and would like to find another. It seems to work better than the $2 Chinese eBay adapters.
THE FOLLOWING IS A BIT BORING, APOLOGIES!! [I also found that using a swivel adapter in conjunction with a rigid adapter resulted in a degradation of sound quality. At the moment I am using a right-angle BNC connector to allow the Mk3 to sit closely to my laptop. Ironic because while it removes an adapter at the USB end it adds an adapter at the BNC end. But it still sounds better. There is also a right angle connecter from Audioquest which will eliminate this problem.]
That's an interesting theory about vibrations through the USB connector. Thanks, I will check this out!
Just one thing. You mention the Wolfson output stage of the Mk3 and then state "JK doesn't give many more technical details". However, two paragraphs down you state that "The Mk3 is a modified M-Tech Hi-Face". I found that contradictory and a bit confusing when I first read the review.
Andrew - E-mail: andmik (at)

Hi Andrew,
I'm pleased that you enjoyed the review. And hopefully part of any review informs the reader of some alternatives they may not have heard of. I honestly can't remember where my rigid USB connector came from as I have had it for ages but it was probably from Ebay.
Your experience with the two USB connectors is interesting. I understand that keeping the correct impedance is important when passing signals though a USB connection, and I wonder if using two in line degrades the signal. I'm sure we'll have lots of discussions about such issues in the future (and not a little heated debate too).
The BNC connector shouldn't make any difference to the sound, so when you connected the Mk3 directly to your laptop and felt it sounded better, I am wondering why? If you can, try using a very short cable between laptop and Mk3, with the Mk3 sat on a slab of granite, and another, smaller piece of granite on top of it.
BTW, I got a big improvement when I sat my laptop on a slab of granite atop of a set of my DD tripods (instead of it just sitting on a carpeted floor).
I only deduced that the JK converter uses the HiFace from the fact that it uses HiFace drivers. JK doesn't try to hide that but as I said, doesn't want to divulge other secrets about his products.
Nick Whetstone

Garrard Zero 100 and TNT LiQuid
Dear Lucio,
Many years ago I enjoyed one of these turn-tables and I seem to remember that the plastic protractor enabled you to set up a cartridge in the removable headshell as, obviously, you can't install one once installed due to the swivel of the tracking arm etc.
I never tried to set it up any other way but passed it on to a friend who still uses it to this day and eventually I replaced it with a Technics SL-7, so maybe tangental tracking was a solution I always wanted!
By the way, when is part 2 of the Hifi PC coming?
Dave - E-mail: mrssharonwillis (at)

Thanks Dave for the info on the use of the plastic protractor in the Garrard Zero 100! As for the following of our TNT LiQuid project we have to be a little bit more patient as Giorgio is extremely busy. He promised me new articles in a couple of months, let's see. In the meanwhile I'm about to publish a review of a very interesting book that explains everything about building and using a kind of DIY music server based on Mac. Stay tuned!
Lucio Cadeddu

Revox B226
Dear Lucio,
Can I please ask for your help and understanding before I buy a new CD Player? I have the best Grundig Pre Amp which they ever made, the XV7500 and Active speakers 40. Then I have a Grundig CD303 - and here I think that I have a weakness because this was the time when Grundig tried to survive and turned commercial.
I think that the Revox B226 you reviewed should be a big improvement - I am after clarity - I do not just listen to Dire Straits - I want to hear all the details of all the instruments - quietly in my room and at 10Pm when outside noise is negligible.
So I was thinking of spending Euros 600 or 700 on a good second hand Revox rather than buy, for example, a New Cambridge Audio with Wolfson Dacs.
But am I right? Or am I wrong?
Please tell me how I can donate something to your web site - I feel obliged to help you to finance your time.
Thank you and best regards,
Joseph - E-mail: jmbh2006 (at)

Dear Joseph,
the Revox B226 is a pretty good old CD player but you should be prepared to face with maintenance/service problems. It is true that fully restored B226's are available never knows! These are pretty old components! Also consider sometimes they come without a remote control (as it was optional those days!). Consider all the prros & cons and if you are ready to take the risk, then go for it!
Otherwise, switch to something new, which can be more reliable, and offers you a full 2 years warranty. Since you're after a clean, open and detailed sound, I might suggest, considering your budget, one of the following players: Rotel RCD06, Yamaha CD-S700, Marantz CD6004, Harman Kardon HD990 or a recent, second-hand Rotel RCD-1520.
As for donation to the TNT-Audio cause :-) I can just say a big thank you but we don't accept money, sorry. The only thing we might need is help, for example we definitely need someone (must be English native) who can carefully proofread our articles before publishing. A proofreader should be able to edit an HTML file (without altering the code!), fix typos and/or suggest text revisions.
Lucio Cadeddu

NuForce DDA-100 review - I
"When you listen to a live band, the speed and intensity of the snare and bass drum have a physical impact that it is difficult to reproduce with a hi-fi." This sentence jumped off the page at me. It is one of the more, to me anyway, obvious deficiencies of hi-fi systems. I wonder why reviewers don't address it more often and in as succinct a manner as you did. Thank you and in future reviews please clearly mention the degree to which gear possesses this attribute. I own an old pair of Altec 19 precisely for this presentation.
Garrit - E-mail: garysohn (at)

Thanks for the kind words Gary. The importance has grown on me as I realised my tastes in the past have been towards accuracy but sometimes at the cost of impact. I'll try and remember to pick it up as a central question on future reviews.
Best wishes,
Andy Norman

NuForce DDA-100 review - II
Just caught your review, thanks for taking the time to listen and write about it. I too am disappointed that it doesn't quite reach 88.2/192 sampling rates (wonder why not?). So how large of a space and how loud do you listen in? Asking because am a bit surprised with 250 wpc peak available that it'd have any problem with much of any "reasonable" speaker load. (I'm a strong believer that amps should be hefty enough to have a "commanding" grip on the speakers, but 50 wpc plus 7 dB of headroom is quite a bit.)
Any comparison to other amps that struggled with macro dynamics? I'm an "old fart" and so will gladly trade ultimate headroom for resolution. BTW how do you judge it's imaging/soundstage to be?
Thanks again,
Jeff - E-mail: audiojlm (at)

Thanks for the feedback Jeffrey. The lack of 88.2 is a limitation imposed by the USB interface, the lack of 192 is a limitation of the DAC. From talking to the nuforce CEO it was a case of getting the best sounding components to meet the price point and there had to be some compromises to do that. I'm not sure my speaker load is reasonable. In my main system (in a room of about 12x5m) I use Usher standmounts that seem to be quite insensitive - probably below 85db.
They never really came to life until I connected two 150 watt Mosfet amps to them. The nuforce was able to drive the speakers - it's just it sounded a little thin and lacking impact in that set up and so not something I'd recommend. Qualitatively it was a bit similar to the T-Amps I've had in that system, albeit it did a better job when turned up (the T-Amps just gave up and distorted). I think of the Ushers as a torture test for amplifiers. By comparison, with my Acoustic Energy floorstanders (91db efficient in a room maybe 5x3m) it sounds great - plenty powerful enough - even though the room's a bit small for the speakers.
It would sound even better in a bigger space - plenty of power with the more sensitive speakers. I'd actually love to hear it with horns - I can imagine it would be a great match. Imaging is very good indeed. Deep and precise.
Andy Norman

TNT Shoestrings!
Just to know you i've made the TNT Shoestring with a very little variant but just in the way to made it. In fact it was for me impossible to find a tv cable where insert a couple of cat5 wires. So I have enlarge the hole with a little screwdriver and i have made the holes with another one. These make all the works very easier to me and i have made 4 cables in less then one hour.
This made the cable possible to made also here in italy where probably the tv cable are not so big inside. The shoestrings (I know they are little .. striking ? XD ) are made by clarks to respect the english sound that I love!
Thank you for this tweak.
All the best,
Luca - E-mail: pixel65 (at)

[TNT Shoestrings]
[TNT Shoestrings]

Hi Luca,
It's good that you have been able to overcome the problem of not finding the same TV coaxial cable that I used for the Shoestrings. And yes, the Clark's shoe strings will add a little bit of English sound! You see how useful TNT-Audio is in tuning your system! ;-)
Nick Whetstone

Elna Capacitor recommendation
Hi Nick, I'm not sure if I'm contacting the right person, I was reading about modification for various CD players and other hi-Fi gear and was wondering if someone could give me recommendation.
I have Bang & Olufsen Beogram CD 5500 (CD Player). It was manufactured in 1987 (has all European parts) I was told that this player capacitors are too old and need to be changed for better sound and I hope this is the case. I have searched the Internet for the right capacitors and feel I'm not sure as to which one is the right for this model as there are different voltages used in different Elna capacitors.
Looks as Silmic II (RFS Series) Electrolytic Capacitors or Silmic ARS series with Silk fiber are the BEST I could think of. Now, the problem I have is in selection with the correct voltage and other necessary parameter if they matter. Here is the link to Beogram CD 5500 Service Manual pdf ( Also the link to its original Elna capacitors picture:
These are the CD player Elna capacitor details from what it's written on it:

P.S. Should I bother or consider this part as well? (I took a picture of it as well) DIN ROE 4700 - W9 Thanks for helping,
Mykhailo - E-mail: immworld (at)

Hi Mykhailo,
There are a couple of things to think about here. Is the CDP worth repairing? Well, if you can do the work yourself, it probably is but I wouldn't spend any more than is absolutely necessary, as you could find due to it's age, it simply stops working in the near future anyway.
So the choice of capacitor would be simple for me - straight swap; size, capacitance, and voltage rating. I wouldn't even worry about Silmic, Oscons etc, etc.
Whatever you try must fit in the physical space, and Silmics are on the larger side of average. As regards voltage rating, the capacitor should be rated at around 1.25 times the voltage that passes through it. So if the voltage is say 15 volts, then the capacitor should be rated at 18.75 volts but you select the next standard voltage above that which would be 25v. You may get away with one rated at 16 volts but it would be marginal, and is safer to keep to the x1.25 rule.
I hope this helps but if you need further assistance with your overhaul, a good place to go is the digital section of diyAudio.
Nick Whetstone

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