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 2008

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Audio test records?
Good afternoon,
It's all very well having super high quality audio equipment. The question is what can you use for music source?
Generally to demonstrate the system one is obliged to use sound tracks from epic films etc. But they are not real, not authentic.
I would like to propose a unique technique of recording that has resulted in: These are recordings of live orchestral concerts with a difference. Firstly *no* 16 channel console, only two specially selected microphones - the conductor controlled the dynamics and cued the instruments in accordance with the written directions of the composer, the recording engineer could, if he so wished, sleep through the performance.
Secondly the position of the microphones has been the criteria. Task? To emulate the sound heard when sitting in the optimum position in the auditorium. Finally the concert hall, the only ambiance designed specifically for the authentic enjoyment of music, constitutes the place of recording. It only functions efficiently when there is an audience, that's why it was designed that way.
At the moment there are only two CDs available, the project is to release something of the order of 30 recordings of leading East European Orchestras recorded, mainly, in the Royal Festival Hall London.
Please do have a look and listen to our web page and bear in mind that the sound samples are only one one-hundredth of their original size.
Happy listening.
Geoffrey Terry - E-mail: terrygeoffrey (at)

Dear Geoffrey,
thanks for your kind letter and invite. We will certainly have a listen to the sound samples and eventually evaluate your recordings on CD. You might know TNT-Audio carries on a campaign called We Support Real Stereo that does exactly what you are doing: preserve the aim of simple stereophonic two channel recordings! Eventually, feel free to support our campaign by adding a We Support Real Stereo logo (and link) on your website. We'll link back on our list of supporters.
By the way, we don't use movie soundtracks to evaluate stereo gear: just pure and simple two channel discs, better if of the "real stereo" variety. Better if pressed on good 'ol vinyl :-)
Thanks for the feedback,
Lucio Cadeddu

Brilliant after-sale service
Greetings from Adelaide, South Australia.
I am very impressed with the after sales service of a U.S. company that produces valve amps and is great source of info for DIY. I had lost my password and contacted Customer Service with my details. They checked their records from June 2006 (!) and I was emailed back within 24 hrs.
Bravo! The company is DECWARE. Thank you for your time and Good Luck for the future,
Tony - E-mail: cmhabich (at)

Dear Tony,
we do know DECWARE quite well as we reviewed some of their products in the past: the SE84B Zen Triode power amp and SE34-I integrated amp. Glad to hear they are such a friendly Company.
Thanks for the feedback!
Lucio Cadeddu

KEF 104 Speakers
Hi Mr Holgate,
I have a pair KEF Reference 104 without the A/B crossover which I bought new in 1973. I live in British Columbia Canada but am going to return to the UK. Is it worthwhile shipping my speakers back. As they are quite old, could they fail. I have been told it would be expensive to get a new speaker with the same sound. I have read a lot of reviews and new speakers with low sensitivity require powerful amplifiers. My present receiver has 37 Watts per channel output.
Any advice you have would be welcome, to help me make a decision.
William - E-mail: woods.willie (at)

Hi William,
The KEF 104 was made with quality drivers, which were built to last ('a lifetime,' I once heard). If yours have been well cared for, and you like the sound, they are worth keeping and unlikely to fail. The only problem I had with mine was a T27 tweeter was damaged at a teenage party--when I was not home!
On the other hand, these speakers do not have 'cult' status in the UK, and do come up via dealers or eBay from time to time. My recollection is that they go for around 150 UKP. This may help you to know whether to ship, or sell in BC and replace in the UK. If you sell them, another Canadian audiophile will probably be thankful. I believe that only the KEF 104/2 was sold in North America and Canada. I have both models and I think the original 104s are a bit special.
There are many classic UK speakers (and amps/receivers) that you could buy on the used market here. I myself would like to try the Spendor BC1 sometime as I hear they sound similar. Older Mordaunt Shorts are nice and affordable and there are others around, including B&W, Celestion, Goodmans, Leak, Monitor Audio, Tannoy, etc, etc. Your present 37W receiver would be fine for many medium to low sensitivity speakers. So, if you would like to explore the used market here, you will be able to find something nice.
But nothing will sound quite the same, so consider shipping them. When you get settled in the UK, replace the capacitors in the crossover with similar new ones for 35 more years of musical enjoyment.
Hope this helped,
David Holgate

Phono preamps
Dear Arvind,
I enjoyed your article investigating the merits of analogue. I'm looking at upgrading my amplifier to the KARAN KA-i180 which does not have a phono stage - I can buy their external one but at E3300 it's a bit rich for me on top of the amp so was wondering if you settled on a phono pre-amp. I was quite keen on the small Bellari VP129 you had in the system as it had a headphone out too - limiting factor being if I wanted to upgrade to an MC cartridge along with an upgrade to my turntable at a later date I'd not have MC capability.
Current system - pretty much a jumble of bits and pieces:

Must say that with my system - vinyl definitely sounds better - even through the fairly basic gear I have. I'm a little concerned that the KARAN will start me down the slippery slope but at least I'll have a benchmark by which to judge further upgrades. Hence the query on the final phono stage you selected.
Thank you,
Darryl - E-mail: Darryl.D.Harris (at)

Thanks for the kind words. I compared a few phono stages and settled with the Cambridge Audio, see link.
Arvind Kohli

CDM transports
Hope you can help with a simple question. I use a Meridian 206ds cd player which is as new and working perfectly. I have been given a similar condition Philips cd624 player.
Both machines I have found use a Philips cdm4/19 transport/ laser assembly. I am not using the Philips machine, which cost me nothing. Am I correct in thinking that if I remove the transport/laser assembly from the Philips machine I will have a perfect replacement spare part for the Meridian 206ds, should the need arise?
Or, is there a difference between one cdm4/19 and another or are they all the same.
I am assuming that any electronic differences are within the respective machines electronics and nothing to do with the drive/laser mechanisms. I think the answer is yes, a component is a component and it would be a suitable spare part for the Meridian but your opinion would be welcome before I take the Philips apart and retain a spare part should the need arise.
Alan - E-mail: Ag250449 (at)

Dear Alan,
all CDM's were created equal, that's a fact. Then manufacturers might have changed something, both mechanically (some damping, for example) or electronically (different controlling logic, maybe). That depends on the manufacturer. Many manufacturers also claim to have installed "custom" transports which are 100% identical to the standard units (call it marketing hype). So the answer to your question is YES. To be 100% sure just contact the Meridian support service, they are the guys who should know what they did to the CDM transport installed inside your 206.
Hope this helped,
Lucio Cadeddu

Going active
I've been reading through a lot of your articles at TNT-Audio, and first I'd like to say they're about the most entertaining, informative, original, and provocative reading I've found on affordable hifi for music lovers. Largely on the basis of Lucio Cadeddu's review of the Klipsch RF3, I took the plunge and grabbed a pair that were sitting neglected on ebay, and just yesterday got a second-hand TA-10.1 amp, which I am now listening to, and I'm very happy.
My source is my computer, through which FLACs are fed into a USB DAC and then straight to the amp. I intend to make some of your diy cables soon, which raises a question: should I bi-amp these speakers with an active crossover? I've read Mark Wheeler's articles on the merits of putting the crossover before the amps, and I'm sold on the idea. But how do I do it with these Klipsches? It sounds complicated to get the match, and I don't have any recommendations about how to start. I read that Trends Audio are bringing out a crossover some time this year. But are off the shelf systems going to work with my existing speakers?
I was thinking of adding another TA-10.1 to power the highs and lows independently. Is this a good idea? My speakers have two sets of binding posts, but do I nonetheless need to take out the crossovers from inside them?
As you can see I'm floundering a bit here, and if you could point me in the right direction I'd appreciate any advice. Thanks for the great articles and please keep putting it out there.
Thank you,
Russell - E-mail: russell.downham (at)

Dear Russell,
you can't go active without bypassing the internal passive crossover of your Klipsch's. Secondly, you need to know the exact crossover frequencies and their slopes and whether the level of tweeters has been decreased by means of resistors or not. In other words, you need a complete scheme of the original crossover. Of course you can proceed by trials and errors, but it could easily become a never-ending story.
It would certainly be easier to bi-amp your speakers with two TA 10.1, connecting one of these to the highs binding posts and the other to the bass ones. Of course the connecting rods between high and low binding posts need to be removed!
You can alternatively bi-amp your speakers using one TA 10.1 per speaker. Of course each TA 10.1 should be fed by a single channel only! (one TA 10.1 connected to the right channel, the other to the left one). In any case, you need a signal splitter, some kind of Y or T adapter (2 pairs of RCA's outputs) to double the signal that feeds the TA 10.1's (few $).
Hope this helped,
Lucio Cadeddu

My Sonic Impact T amp is now about a year old and boy does it still sound good! All I have done to it is bypass the volume control, put in better input capacitors, put 4.7 k resistors in series with the input (to lower its gain so it's more in tune with the Tripath recommended circuit) and increased the value of the reservoir cap to a 1600 microfarad. This amp ROCKS! It blows away just about anything you can throw at it and with reasonably efficency speakers can play LOUD!
I have another T amp board (made by Surelectronics and bought on ebay for 15 dollars) on my TV for its audio. It has been modified similar to the Sonic Impact and it's actually still in its original box (a cardboard cabinet!).
It runs 24/7 and sounds great as well.
I love these amps.
Dana - E-mail: dana (at)

Dear Dana,
glad to hear you're enjoying the T-Amps so much. Indeed, this amplifier is a gem.
Thanks for the feedback,
Lucio Cadeddu

Good to have you back
Hi Mark
It's good to have you back on the TNT site, I have missed your articles over the summer.
Hi-fi has taken a bit of a back seat in my household since started making my own 'music' on a PC in the spare room, and recording my wife's songs for her on same - if you like contemporary folk type of stuff). As a result I bought my first pair of active speakers for 'monitoring' of recordings. I was intereseted in your thoughts a while back on active set-ups, and although mine were essentially 'cheap', they are quite impressive compared to my various passive 'hi-fi' speakers. I still like my Spendor SP1s though for relaxing with!
Have you come across a show called Blowin' on BCB radio in Bradford, UK? It's hosted by Rob Walsh, who has some of the same tastes in music as yours, I think.
Alex - E-mail: alexandergjohns (at)

Hi Alex
Thank you for the kind words. While you say hifi has taken a back seat since you started making your own music on your PC, the fact that you are making music like that probably has a lot to do with your hifi interests. It is one of those philosophical questions, like , "Which came first, the chicken or the egg?"

Many experts believe that healthy minds are driven to experience the arts, whether as consumers or creators. One generally derives great satisfaction and stimulation from music as a driver to create music of one's own.

I haven't had the chance to listen to Rob Walsh's Sunday night show yet, but will get around to it as soon as I've a free Sunday night; I refuse to start downloading as podcasts because then I'll have hundreds of hours of listening to catch up on, like I have a pile of unheard cds & lps and several piles of books yet to read.

I agree that for mellow chillin Spendor SP1s can't be beaten, as a free space passive speaker they epitomise the BBC balance. They used to get criticised for slow bass but the right positioning, stands and driving amplifier sort that out. But for critically hearing throught to the mix a pair of true active crossover speakers cannot be beaten. I do keep inviting to pro-sector manufacturers to submit items for review in a domestic context but none have yet obliged. Apart from Bill Dyer at DAS their lack of response suggests that they all seem to be frightened of the hifi fraternity.
Happy listening,
Mark Wheeler

Tube-rolling and room treatments
Dear Mark,
I am stunned to know so many details about my system I would have never known in my life time, particularly about the valve amp. I went through your reply again and again, so interesting. I will save the mail for my reference. Actually I use to own solid state amp AMC 3100a (100 watts) for last couple of years, slowly I lost interest to listen from the solid state system because I felt the music is too harsh no softness (bass was deep). From there I started to search for new amp, to my understanding the CDP 3300 and Kef were okay problem was with only driving unit.
I had audition with Krell 400AXi, Moon i-3, Prologue one, Rotel 1070, Nad M-3, Unison unico, Arcam 90 some were out of my budget others were similar to solid state hype. So I decided to go for valve amp (suits my budget and sound?). Frankly I thought push pull and single end sounds similar even I asked the dealer they confirmed the difference is not much, if you can provide me more tips on that will help. I read few reviews through net & decided to go for Melody & now end up with some other issue (bass).

Can you help me to short list for me to have audition with some of mentioned speaker depending upon compatibility with Melody amp to get good tonal balance and high not harsh and bass deep (not booming) and my rooms is 4*7 mtrs without acoustically treatment. Usually I go for soft POP: Craig David, Diana krell, MLTR, Corrs when I hear this ablums in my present system I get good high and vocal is not soft and to support this bass quite low I get some good bass when the volume is at 12 and then I loose the sweetness (and neighbors frown at me when ever I meet them next).
Thanks again for your support.
Murgesh - E-mail: murgeshj (at)

Dear Murghesh,
Our editor Lucio answered this for you before the Summer break as I was away, but I thought I would add a couple more points. I have edited your original letter for clairity, I hope you do not mind. No wonder you listen to soft MOR if you have a 4mx7m room with reflective surfaces! Get the room right and we'll have you listening to scandinavian metal and experimental modern classical!

28 square metres is a big room, if the ceiling height is proportional you have a very big space to fill with a very little amplifier, which will be working VERY hard to fill it. No wonder your neighbour finds it objectionable when you turn it up.

When you say your room has no acoustic treatment, do you mean it is a totally empty space with no furniture, no curtains, no pictures, tapestries or drapes, no bookshelves or cupboards, and no sofas or chairs? We would call this an echo-chamber. I suspect you mean that you have no additional acoustic treatments other than typical domestic furniture.

Domestic furniture objects often work very well as acoustic treatment devices. The danger is than one gets an absorbant lower half of the room and a reflective upper half. Over absorption and lack of absorption are both bad for your enjoyment.

Too little absorption causes boom, flutter echo, uneven frequency response and overhang. Boomy bass (nodes & antinodes) and fierce tingy treble (comb-filtered by reflections) are typical.

Too much absorption causes a dead sound, no bass and treble that dies as it leaves the tweeters. In overdamped rooms vocals are lifeless as though reproduced by ouija-board not speaker diaphragm.

The best way to treat flutter echoes is locally to the souce of the echo (with absorbers or diffusers) and nodes and antinodes are often most economically treated by rearranging the furniture and repositioning the speakers.

After your big room is behaving, then we can consider what speakers would best suit your amplifier. With that amplifier you need a benign load and at least 94dB/W in a room that size, preferably 100dB/W (6dB doubles the output). Even the latter could only manage about 102dB in a reasonably lively room with your amplifier seated at a reasonable distance before audible distortion. The best answer to these sensitivities on a budget is DIY. I am writing a series on DIY high sensitivity speakers for valve amps that will appear in the autumn.
Happy Listening,
Mark Wheeler

New turntable
I do appreciate your site and try to read it carefully. I need your help about a very simple question: I listen mainly to classical music (and opera) I have nearly 1 thousand vinyls. My old Thorens surrendered and I am wondering to buy either the new Rega p3-24 or the Technics sl 1200 (for which you issued a very good review), which one would you recommend and for what reasons? (all Linn stuff: Ninka speakers active, Linn preamp and amp) and which cartridge do you recommend ? (mm)
Thank you in advance for your help
Felix - E-mail: fmazal (at)

Dear Felix,
considering you already own a full-Linn system why don't you consider buying a second-hand Sondek LP12 instead? Even a second-hand Linn Axis would be a good choice. Both would help you preserving that "Linn" sound of your system. Between Rega P3 and Technics SL 1200 I'd choose the former but other reviewers here on TNT-Audio (Werner, Arvind) would probably suggest you the latter :-)
For a good cart have a look at the Grado catalogue, they have nice products in any price range.
Hope this helped,
Lucio Cadeddu

DIY resources
as a frequent visitor of your TNT site I would not like to miss it! Now to my point: I would like to draw your attention to some companies who sell great products for the DIY community and which I happily use myself. These are:

In case you want further info pls let me know,
Ed - E-mail: Ed.Birkner (at)

Dear ED,
thanks for the suggestions.
Lucio Cadeddu

Naim IBL
I read your article about the IBL's carefully and several times. I never had opportunity to listen them but they seem to be the exact match with what I seek. I'm trying to get an all Naim active system. CDX / NAC 102 / NAP 180 X 2 / Credo Intro 2 or IBL???? / and an IXO. My question is: do you think an IXO can be used instead of Snaxo??? The Snaxo is too expensive and needs an Hicap. For me an IXO would be just fine !!! Thanks again for your article and I hope you will be able to send me an answer!
Eric - E-mail: e.capitaine (at)

Dear Eric,
you can use the IXO with the IBL's, no doubt about this. Before purchasing the IBL's try to listen to them carefully. As stated on my review, these are NOT speakers for everyone. The Naim Credo's or Intro's are much more "universal", if you know what I mean. Even a Naim SBL would be an easier speaker.
Keep me updated,
Lucio Cadeddu

Hi Nick - just read your review of Trends Audio UD-10 Dac on TNT. As some time has passed since you covered this product I wondered if you had tried a computer running with Vista rather than XP and if so how you found it? I am getting a USB dac from Collin of Chevin/Chevron Audio and thought I may buy a laptop to store CD's but of course it will be fitted with Vista.
Many thanks.
Mike - E-mail: mikebooth (at)

Hi Mike,
I was only talking with somebody who uses a USB DAC with Vista this evening. He confirms that Vista (using something called WASAPI) is a big improvement over XP.
For myself, I find running Ubuntu, and using Banshee to play the music is better than XP, even when bypassing kmixer and using the ASIO drivers.
Hope this helps,
Nick Whetstone

Re: Best speaker stand
I built custom stands made of 18mm birch plywood, truncated pyramid shape (single vertical support), narrow tapered frontal area, 12" depth (speakers 11.5"), sand-filled for 50 lbs each. Base plate 18" wide, speaker platform 7" wide (speakers 9.5" wide). This custom stand equals or exceeds the rigidity, stability & resonance-damping of any stand I've seen. I love it. Performance seems unimpeachable w/ state of the art equipment.
Jim - E-mail: ro9397 (at)

Dear Jim,
glad to hear you're satisfied with your new stand! From your description it seems massive!
Happy listening,
Lucio Cadeddu

High frequency sizzle
Trying to isolate the cause of a slight sizzle I getduring peak passages during playback of Loreen McKennit's Dante's Prayer, I googled to see if this was bugging anyone else. I found your Sonic Impact T-amp review and initially thought I might have stumbled onto a relevant passage.
You wrote: "Take for example "Dante's prayer" (Loreena McKennitt, from "The book of secrets" - WEA 0630-19404-2 - 1997). When Loreena sings "Please remember me" the P and the B are preceded by the sound of her lips, when opening to sing. The T-Amp reproduces this "sound" with a sense of presence that is simply stunning. You feel as the singer is there, right in front of you."
Right on. I hear what you are talking about. But between 2:30 and 2:40, when McKennitt's sings the line "when your dawn seemed forever lost," I get a slight but annoying sizzle when the passage peaks and again on the next peak. I've been driving myself nuts trying to isolate the cause.
Thinking my Citypulse DAC might be the culprit, I ran my player -- a not so hot Pioneer universal DVD player -- directly into my Little Dot MK IV headphone amp. I've also tried connect my 'phones to the Citypulse headphone jack and doing all the above with different pairs of headphones (Beyer DT-880s and Grado SR-60).
Same results. Finally, I hauled my Denon DVD-2910 player upstairs thinking it might have a better DAC than my Pioneer or Citypulse and ran it direct into the Little Dot. Loved the sound, but still that same annoying sizzle at the top.
I want to make clear I'm not talking about a crackle or sizzle that breaks through the sound scape. Its more like the singers voice is ascending to the rafters only to hit an electrical forcefield that administers a gentle but annoying shock as if to say 'you've gone high enough'.
This is crazy, I know. But do you have any guesses what might be causing this annoying little crackle or sizzle? My hypothesis is something in the chain is having a hard time with the higher frequency peak and is cutting it off, or causing distortion. Or perhaps its in the recording, but I doubt it since this album is so widely praised by audiophiles.
Brian - E-mail: bjberger1 (at)

Dear Brian,
Dante's prayer is playing right now on my system. First of all, let me thank you for having forced me to put it again on my CD player after a couple of years...what a wonderful disc! And what a wonderful recording. And no, I can't hear the sizzle you hear between 2:40 and 2:50. Everything flows without distortion or edginess. Having said that let me tell you this is a recording which is very hard to reproduce effortlessly. On lesser systems peaks of the very closely miked Loreena's voice get distorted. Trust me, it not an easy task to get everything perfect. Before searching for culprits, three preliminary remarks:

  1. My own copy of "The book of secrets" is not a remaster and it is printed in Germany. Other prints or later remasters might be different and sound worse.
  2. My copy has been treated with Auric Illuminator and that makes a slight difference.
  3. Loreena's voice is very closely miked hence sounds like ssssh and tcccch are slightly sibilant, as they are in real life, though.
The culprit might be your own copy of this recording or perhaps you should use a better way to drive your headphones. The direct headphones output of the DAC (or of any CD/DVD player) is normally a sonic disaster. I do not know your headphone amp...perhaps its tubes can't cope with the highly demanding recording, who knows? I'd try another amp, for example the MK V version of yours, which is solid state (uh oh).
Anyway, before shelling out money on new components try your CD on a friend's or dealer's system and, if you want to experiment, try applying few dots of Auric Illuminator to the disc surface (both sides). Please keep me updated!
Lucio Cadeddu

Gallo speakers
I read your Gallo Nucleus review. I can only agree with your expression. I thought recently that I would buy them, and first impression was astounding. But more careful auditioning gave an impression of the treble being to forward for my tast (and livingroom), and the mid being a bit grainy. I also found the bass a bit detached from the rest of the spectrum. Soundstage was good though, albeit a bit "in your face", again for my taste.
I tried a pair of Vienna Acoustics Beethoven Baby Grand afterwords. They are quite opposite the Gallos. A bit laid back, never agressive, but oh! the detail and coherence. Also the soundstage is very natural. In my living room, they give a performance extremely close to live performance. A litle caveit: they are power hungry with the impedance dipping below 2 ohms around 100 Hz.
I use them with a pair of Vincent hybrid monoblocks with no problems, but my former Roksan Caspian integrated had a hard time controlling the bass. The combination Vincent/Vienna is in my opinion quite magical. And the Viennas are cheaper than the Gallos.
Jesper - E-mail: jebe (at)

I am so glad that someone else has had the same experience. From all the raves and awards the other magazines awarded the Gallos, I was certainly out in left field...all by my lonesome self. Not that they are bad speakers, they are quite good...just not as good as others for less money, what is worse though is the thorough lack of responsiveness I experienced with the folks at Gallo.
I have never heard the VA Beethovens, but did once hear the Bachs in a store and was extremely impressed. I did try to get a review pair but the US distributor [Sumiko] had a "policy" of not dealing with online publications. I also had the displeasure of speaking with some snot there, who insisted on teaching me the correct way to pronounce Haydn. Somewhere between those two joyful experiences I've been turned off VA forever.
However, if you are kicking around for speakers I'll give you a suggestion, try the Tonian Labs DL1. Although they may not be available in your part of the world. Take care.
Arvind Kohli

Previous weeks letters

What's wrong?
Excellent reply (Re: HP interview) by Lucio to Kyrill's (correct spelling?) letter to TNT last month. So many products, from food to banking services and also of course websites are constantly repackaged and revamped these days. And as far as I am concerned it's just to tempt us gullible consumers that something new = something better.
I don't see anything wrong with the current TNT website. It's easy to navigate clear and easy to read and if someone does not like the background colour, so what! Do they want the colour, i.e. flavour of the month. For me its the content that matters, and Lucio and his team keep us all thoroughly entertained and educated with a whole range of new products, views, reviews, editorial and interviews. Keep it coming guys!
Mike - E-mail: michael.shanahan (at)

Dear Mike,
we'll keep it coming! :-) Thanks for the feedback!!!
Lucio Cadeddu

AA Paganini
I recently bought an Audio Analogue Paganini CD player on Audiogon. The seller said he had upgraded to the Maestro CDP (a good deal he said) but he was not sure why...the Paganini was that good. The AA CD player was a recent version and like new.
I am amazed at the quality of that AA player. I know it got good reviews. But I feel its as good as my MF A5 and maybe better than my Rega Jupiter 2000. (BTW, I play jazz, classical, opera, and voice.)
I also tried the Paganini's coax out thru my Benchmark DAC-1, also my North Star 192 DAC, and could not detect any improvement over the AA's DAC.
Wondered, do you agree that the AA Paginini is possibly an outstanding CD player, up there with the best?
I knew about the TNT review of an earlier Paganini CDP, and the comments on its internal DAC (not great). I have been using a Benchmark DAC-1 with my more current model AA CDP. I believe the outboard DAC-1 is marginally better.
Glenn - E-mail: gsherwood53 (at)

Dear Glenn,
first of all, detecting differences between two CD players or two DACs isn't an easy task. Secondly, we have to find an agreement on what we mean by "better sound". Perhaps you like the AA family sound so much that anything else seems worse. To me, "better" generally stands for "more transparent", for example. More information = better sound (that's what HiFi should be all about!). From this point of view the AA HiFi components aren't up there with the best, considering their warm and rather tubey sound. They might be extremely pleasant to the ear but control of the bass range and mid-high frequency transparency isn't up there with the best. Moreover, if you connect an outboard DAC you must be 100% sure the digital cable you are using is of sufficient quality. Otherwise all the benefits of the outboard DAC vanish!
Finally, don't forget that it's also (mainly?) a matter of personal taste, after all.
Hope this helped,
Lucio Cadeddu

Best speaker stand?
Many thanks for Scott Faller's two DIY speaker stand articles; kudos! Best I've seen & I've trolled for hours.
My French ASA Pro Monitors provide blissfull sonics & beauty; preferred over the $7k Esoteric magnesium, $6500 Dynaudio & $5500 KEF Reference (all monitors, pairs estimated MSRP-USD). Reference ancillaries are TRL-Sony CDP, Bongiorno Ambrosia preamp, Plinius SA-50 Mk III class-A amp, custom wire/cable, Earl Geddes' recommended three subs & two LP XO spaced throughout the room, one above ear level (the best bass advice; mandatory audition.)
Obviously I need the best "non"-sounding stands. Closest possible Acropolis-type is 1.3 hours away (even then unsure) unless a local monument headstone place can help next week.
Would be indebted for your comparison of the concrete/marble vs. TNT-Stubby (very sorry about your wittle finger injury). I could over-build the Stubby w/ two to three 3" uprights.

Jim - E-mail: ro9397 (at)

Dear Jim,
if you are looking for the most non-sounding speaker stand nothing can beat the marble-like columns I called TNT Akropolis. They can be ugly as hell, I understand, but they DO work! Have a look at garden furniture stores, they must have these!
Hope this helped,
Lucio Cadeddu

Question about Paul Hynes SR1-5 power supply review
Hi Nick,
On your website I've read the article about the Paul Hynes SR1-5 power supply. In this article you are describing the sound of the stock SB3 via analog output using the Paul Hynes supply.
But what about the use of power supply on a stock SB3 using the same external dac you use on your modified SB3? I seem to miss this part in your review.
Personally I'm using an Altmann Attraction dac on a stock SB3, so I'm very interested in your findings.
Best regards,
Johan - E-mail: jp.visser (at)

Hi Johan,
I didn't actually run the stock SB3 with the SR1-5 via an external DAC for the review (mainly due to the stock SB3 having a phono out and me using all BNC connections). But I have since been playing with the stock SB3 connected to a friend's DAC and the results are a clear and worthwhile improvement, just not quite as good as with my modified SB3.
I know this isn't an option for a lot of folks without DIY skills/resources but modifying the digital output of the stock SB3 will realise the full potential of the SR1-5. I have not heard the Altmann DAC but I know of its reputation. I would say that you should at least try the SR1-5 to get the best from your DAC.
I hope this answers your question but if not please ask away.
Nick Whetstone

I'm looking for a cdplayer that particularly is good in bringing emotion to music. I have a NAD 355bee amp and Audiodata Filou speakers (kinda warm, and friendly). I mainly play rock, blues, americana, but also britpop and metal. Right now I miss EMOTION.........I think I know what I mean.
What cdplayer can you recommend for a price up to 600 euros.
Thank you very much for your reply!
Arno - E-mail: a.heijgele (at)

Dear Arno,
considering you already have two warm-sounding components (the NAD and the Audiodata) you might need a CD player with some verve, just to liven things up a bit. Avoid NAD, Audio Analogue and Arcam CD players and concentrate yourself on Rotel (RCD 06 or higher), Audiolab (8000 CDE or higher) or something second hand from Naim (your best bet), Cyrus or Rega.
Hope this helped,
Lucio Cadeddu

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