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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September 2004

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Naim Naits
Hi Lucio,
I've seen your article about the Naim Nait 1 in TNT-Audio.
Have you ever tested a Nait 5? And what can you tell me about this amplifier?
Nuno - E-mail:

Dear Nuno,
the Nait 5 is a completely different beast. It delivers a more modern "hifi" sound, more refined and powerful than its ancestor. The Nait 1, on the contrary, possesses a kind of magic that has been unsurpassed, in my opinion. You have to love it for this magic touch, because it also has some undeniable faults (low power, sometimes harsh etc.).
The new Nait 5i is more powerful than the Nait 5 and costs a lot less, perhaps you can also consider this one.
Hope this helped somehow,
Lucio Cadeddu

Stubby & Flexy
Thanks for a great site. I recently had really ugly furniture used for my HIFI system (old NAD Monitor Series equipment, Mission loudspeakers) moved into the living room to which my wife is appalled by the look of the furniture in the predominantly wood room.
Your site has given me the inspiration to build both the Stubby and the Flexy. I will be doing some modifications to the Stubby (a bit more work) to make them more aesthetically appealing to my wife...that way I can keep the stereo in the living room. She was so appalled with the ugly furniture, she asked if we could limit it to only one speaker in the room.
...I almost cried...
Your Stubby and Flexy will hopefully be the solution. I will send pictures when I build them.
Steve - E-mail:

Dear Steve,
thanks for the feedback! Our Stubby and FleXy are really appreciated by "relevant second others" for their highish WAF. For example, look at this beautifully crafted pair of Stubby stands and FFRC cables [FleXy rack coming soon] (courtesy Bart - E-mail:
Lucio Cadeddu

[Stubby stands + FFRC]

Sophia feedback
I continue to enjoy your reviews. I arranged to have Richard from Sophia visit our Richmond Audio Club meeting awhile back. I have purchased over time, the 300B 2.5'w, the Mesh 2A3's, and the globe Mesh 45's. I use them all in my Fi Super X. I like them all for different reasons. I think my favorite is the Globe 45's, but on any given day the 2A3's give them a run. I used to use the Sophia 274 rectifier in my Sun Audio amp. The MINUTE I first heard it, I was amazed by the expansion of the stage and the apparent additional information available without any negative "hi-fi" stuff. Just plain more enjoyable music!
Thanks again,
Chris - Richmond Audio Club

Hi Chris,
Thanks for the kind words about my reviews.
Glad to see you are hearing the same things that I did. The combination of the 300b and 274 in my system is stunning. Warm and lush yet extremely fine detail. It's a great musical combination.
Best regards,
Scott Faller

New speakers
I'm at a loss... replacing speakers and I think I'm down to 2. I'm looking at the Paradigm Reference 60 and the Reference 3A MM de Capo i. Both are around 1,500-2,000 canadian $ range. What do you all think? I need to make a decision by weeks end. Also if you have any other suggestions I'm all ears. Oh my amp is a Classé CAP 100 and a Linn Karik cd player. I listen to EVERYTHING with my system. Hope that helps. Look foward to your reply.
Best regards,
Mike - E-mail: Hobbitsnot (at)

Dear Mike,
unfortunately I'm not familiar with the speakers you mention so I'm afraid I can't be fo much help here. I suggest you to carefully compare the speakers and let your ears decide. Personally, the Reference 3A appears more convincing and very easy to drive, though your Classé amp possesses very good driving capabilities.
While I'm here, let me also suggest you to hunt for a Linn Numerik DAC for your Karik. The upgrade is very worthwhile as Numeriks can be found easily for few hundred dollars nowadays.
Hope this helped somehow,
Lucio Cadeddu

System matching and HiFi jobs
Hello! ... or should I say "hola". I have read you understand spanish... Anyway, I will continue in english, because my italian doesn't go much beyond "ciao"...
I am a spanish PhD in Germany, and I share your interest in HiFi... although I don't share your cash :-) Don't worry, better times will come... Maybe once I finish with my PhD (I work in Theoretical Nuclear Physics, btw :-) ).
I am a proud owner of a Cambridge Audio Azur 640, both cd player and amp, and I was looking for some reviews, just to read how good it is, once I bought it (to my ears, it sounded fine in the shop, and to my eyes, it looked gorgeous)...
I had already read some good opinions about it, and the recommendation of my dealer, a serious Hi-End dealer, was enough to go and buy it. Now I am waiting for the right speakers to connect it.
Actually, for that part I have read some of your reviews on bookshelf speakers, and I listened to the Dynaudio Audience 42... which were almost exactly what I wanted... The stage was simply too close to me, and I would like it deeper, for a more relaxed sound I could listen for hours. I compared this to some Castle Richmond, and the Dyns won because of a more defined bass, but I liked the relaxed sound of the Castle... So my dealer adviced me to wait for the Richmond 3i, which are soon shipping to Germany (I just can't wait!). These should be like the previous ones, but with a better bass, faster and deeper. So I did my bet, and trusted my dealer.
Ok, too much of myself (I felt in debt, since I read about you in your web site...). Now, I wonder if you would like to do a review about this Cambridge Azur 640, because I would really be interested in your opinion (for the reasons you wrote in your web site: no sponsors, no biased opinion :-) ). I think they deserve it...
But I find kind of stupid to write for such a question... In fact, what I would really like to know is which way could I get more involved in the world of Hi-fi and Hi-end, apart from spending lots of cash to get a nice stereo at home. Maybe I need some piece of advice to get started, to know which way to go...
I am actually thinking what to do after my PhD, which should be done by February next year (if I stop writing emails and get my program running :-) ), and apart from research, which I love, I think that I could go to industry if I don't succeed as a scientist (competition is tough), and what better in industry, than R&D in speakers, or electronic devices for audio?(the second would be more difficult, since I am not that big fan of electronics...). So you can see that everything tangles together...

I hope you find a minute, at least to read all this... In short, this is mostly to tell you that I like very much your web site, and reviews.
I have to go back to my linux shell!
Alberto - E-mail:

Dear Alberto,
I do not know when we'll be able to put our hands on the newer Cambridge Audio line of products, our schedules are already busy and the queque is growing longer and longer. Hence, I can't promise we'll review the Azur series soon.
As for Castle's, provided your dealer is kind enough to supply samples and spend his time in listening tests...wait and decide with your ears only. Personally I've always found Castle loudspeakers very pleasant to listen to, with very good bass. I'm pretty sure you won't be disappointed.
As for being involved in audio as a pro I'd suggest you to steer away from this market. First of all it is a niche, a very small niche which is becoming smaller and smaller thanks to multimedia, compressed digital formats and home theater.
Secondly, you need skills in electronics design, nothing you will learn with Theoretical Physics I'm afraid. Thirdly, HiFi is fun as long as it remains a hobby. Making it the reason of your life, depending completely on it to make a living would transfom it quickly into a nightmare: this is one of the reasons why we decided NOT to become a "commercial" magazine, for example.
Focus your attention on your PhD and research, try to get the best out of it. I know the competition is tough, you need to be tougher :-) In any case you can always send your CV to some HiFi Company, one never knows.
Hasta luego,
Lucio Cadeddu

Garrard Zero arm
Hi Lucio,
I saw your article about the modded Zero 100. Do you think the Zero 100's arm would work well on an Oracle mk-v, or would I be better off w/an Origin-live modded RB250?
PS - I miss you on the alfa digest! ;~)
Doug - E-mail:

Dear Doug,
the Oracle deserves a much better arm than the Zero! The OL-modded Rega would be a much wiser choice. The Zero arm design wasn't bad per se, the troubles came out from implementation. Too many "bearings" of questionable quality ruined arm performance in terms of lateral rigidity. Noise was also a big problem.
Oracle turntables are pieces of art, just install the best arm you can afford!
Sorry for alfa-digest (a large forum for Alfa Romeo lovers worldwide) but I sold my Alfa 4 years ago and replaced it with another red Italian beast you can see on my bio page here on TNT-Audio.
I'd like to buy an old Alfa (for example, a GT Junior). When this happens, I'll be glad to join the Alfa digest again :-)
Happy motoring,
Lucio Cadeddu

Looking for a musical amp under 2,000 $
Hi Lucio
Thanks for all the reviews you and your fellow audio lovers have done in TNT audio.
It is very helpful for someone like me in pursuit of a high end system for a reasonable amount of money. Just want to ask if you can help or guide me into the right direction in finding a musical amp. Not sure whether to go amp/preamp or get an integrated amp instead. I currently have a Denon 3802 for HT for my family and I would like to get a musical sounding amp for US $2,000. Any suggestions? I listen to all sorts of music.
Thanks in advance,
Armand - E-mail:

Dear Armand,
for 2,000 US $ I'd choose an integrated amp, not a pre-power combo. Since you don't mention the rest of your system, I'll try to suggest solid-state amps that can drive almost anything. Here are some hints: Classé CAP 101 (we reviewed its bigger brother, the 151), Pathos New Classic One (reviewed recently), YBA Integré, Bryston B-60. Though quite different one from the other, these integrateds will represent a giant step forward wrt to you Denon 3802. As usual, try to evaluate these amps into your system before purchasing.
Hope this helped,
Lucio Cadeddu

Chario loudspeakers
Dear Sir,
Have you been able to audition Chario loudspeakers? I understand they are an Italian brand... What is generally their position among other Italian brands, how well are they regarded? I am considering a pair of Chario Constellation Delphinus loudspeakers. Thank you for your answers.
Otherwise, thank you for the site: any time I need to buy something audio I first check with reviews on your site - very thoughtful and very useful :-))
With best regards,
Andrei - E-mail: andrei (at)

Dear Andrei,
Chario has a very good reputation in Italy, for making high quality/price ratio loudspeakers with excellent wood finishes. I hope you have had the possibility to audition them, possibly into your system. Generally, they tend to sound warm and smooth, with good bass. If you're searching for hyper-detailed and dry loudspeakers perhaps it is better to look elsewhere (in my opinion).
Consider their list price is 1000 € here in Italy, while a pair of Sonus Faber Concerto's is around 1300 €. Needless to say, the Sonus Faber's are far easier to sell second/hand in case you'll wish to upgrade your system (something one should always keep in mind ;-)).
Hope this helped,
Lucio Cadeddu

Audio Tekne
Dear all,
I am in the market for a new tube pre/amp. Until now I have heard Shindo's, WAVAC´s and all the other brands that are quite common in Germany/Europe. The reason I am writing this are the amps from Audio Tekne, especially the cheapest models IT-1 and IT-2 (which are not really cheap). In your country you have a distributor for this brand. So, to make a long story short, do you or some of the other writers have experience with these tube-amps, are they really that much better than the other brands in the similar price range?
Many thanks in advance,
Best regards from Germany,
Markus - E-mail: markus.weinert (at)

Dear Markus,
Audio Tekne is a small Japanese Company that has become quite well known here in Italy (less abroad, I'm afraid). I have no direct experience with the IT-1 and IT-2 models, I only know a couple of friends who are very happy with those. I've always listened to those amps under non-repeatable conditions. Anyway, if Audio Tekne isn't available in your Country I'd strongly suggest to think at something else. In case of need, a local distributor may help you with spare parts, servicing etc.
Shipping heavy tube amps to Italy back and forth is a no-no, in my opinion. Better to be safe than sorry.
Of course, if you don't have the possibility to audition them into your HiFi system, my advice is to FORGET them. Tube amps are - generally - highly system-dependent.
Finally, my general opinion on HiFi components is that NOBODY knows the Secret Recipe to make his products better sounding than others in the same price range (every designer claims to have found his own, go figure!). Otherwise, his competitors would cease to exist, sooner or later. No, all you can hope to get is a DIFFERENT sonic presentation. Searching the one that suits your needs is the way to go.
Hope this helped a little bit,
Lucio Cadeddu

Naim Nait
Hi Lucio,
I just read your raving review of the NAIT 1 integrated amplifier. I am currently considering in purchasing one and I live in the USA. However, I have a few questions before jumping unto the band wagon. My other option is buyin the vintage NAD 3020.

  1. which input connection should I use for my cd player?
  2. Could I just use normal copper speaker cables like the ones from Monster for the NAIT 1?
  3. What is the "Mains" selection used for indicated on the front panel of the unit?
  4. Do you think it will be easy to find used interconnect cables with DIN-RCA configuration?
Dick - E-mail: dtzou (at)

Dear Dick,
the comparison Nait - 3020 is unfair, to say the least. The Nait 1 beats the 3020 hands down, period! You can connect the CD to any line level input: tuner, for example, would be just fine. As for power cables, it should be better to use Naim NACA 4 or 5 cables, for maximum stability and performance. They are easy to find second/hand. The mains switch is the on/off button, what else? :-)
DIN/RCA cables aren't impossible to find second/hand. You can even use DIN/RCA adapters in the meanwhile.
Keep me updated,
Lucio Cadeddu

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