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 2009

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Domestic acoustics
Hi Mark,
First of all thanks for your contribution to the TNT-Audio project. I've found very interesting your article on Domestic Acoustics: I'm waiting for the 2nd part, please write it soon!!!
Corrado - E-mail: c.manenti (at)

Hi Corrado
Thank you for your kind words.
Part 2 is part completed but I have some equipment reviews in the pipeline first. There are more coming in the speaker series too, culminating in step-by-step design and build YOUR own project. I am currently enjoying the delights of home made diffusers made from the thick cardboard centre cores that carpets are delivered round; they work as well as any similar commercial product I've ever heard demonstrated.
Happy Listening
Mark Wheeler

Miniwatt or Gainclone?
Hi Nick,
My speaker is an old bw601 with 88db, although I'm still scouting for possible higher sensitive speakers. My smallish aparment listening room is just 10ft x 15ft, will this be a problem for the Miniwatt in the meantime?
I'm more concernd on the quality of the watts rather than the quantity, although seeing the Gainclone in monoblock gave me the impression that it was built like a tank and would last a long time.
Btw, i'll be using a Promitheus TVC as pre-amp for either amp.
Thanks and congratulations to TNT for sharing with us high end products at affordable prices.
Kind regards,
Tony - E-mail: ramon.madame (at)

Hi Tony,
I'm not sure that you would get the best out of the GC or the Miniwatt with your B&W 601's. They would work but it wouldn't be a combination that I would try. If you want confirmation as regards the GC, your best bet would be to ask on the diyAudio forum.
Nick Whetstone

Technics or not to Technics
I read your review on the Technics.
I am gonna take on this route in the very near future. I needed to hear the mods that you felt actually made a difference I can see the External Power supply giving you the quiet backgrounds during playback.
The fluid dampener ..... How was this mod for you?
I listen to Rock Pop and Jazz....
I am looking for a good cartridge that does this with good Precise and accurate presentation.
Any suggestion on this and a good phonostage as well...
I have a TacT 2.0S and a Acoustic Reality eAR1001 Ref monoblocks....
There is also another question here to go for the 1200 Mk2 or the M5G...
The only other turntable I heard was the ClearAudio and it was beautifully rocking...
Let me know what you think...
Alwyn - E-mail: alwynpinto (at)

I did not test the external power supply. The fluid damper in my opinion is well worth the money. The differences between the models are mostly cosmetic, but speak with Kevin from KAB - I have found him to be a pretty straightforward chap.
As far as cartridges re concerned, I do not have experience with very many units but you may find my article helpful.
Arvind Kohli

Help on DAC
Dear Nick,
I hope you can help me. I couldn't make up my mind on Havana (Mhdt), A3 (24) by Musical Fidelity, and MSB Link III (full Nelson). Any idea which one is best, for my Oppo 83 (very weak CD transport), on a MFA Magus tubed preamp, Sun Audio 2A3 power amp, and Lowther speakers.
As my MFA is a bit dark but warm, so I am looking for a DAC that is still fluid but analytical, as well as strong in midrange and tight bass. Used A3 and Link III each cost about USD500, and Havana costs about $800. Thanks!
KK - E-mail: khiokyeo (at)

Hi KK,
Of the three DACs that you mention, I have only heard the Havana so I can't really suggest which is your best option.
Also, the Havana has a tubed output stage and I would feel that to perhaps duplicate part of what your pre amp is doing. There are quite a few good DACs out there but I am unable to recommend a particular one for your system.
Nick Whetstone

Thorens TD 125MK2
Dear David I see on the TNT-Audio web site that you can fit a metal motor pulley on a Thorens TD 125 turntable, I have been on Phonosophie web site to purchase one but I can not find one would it possible to let me know how to order one from phonosophie. I will be grateful for any help given.
Thank you,
Peter - E-mail: peter.hawthorne1 (at)

Hi Peter,
I have one of these decks myself, but have not done this upgrade. I am surprised that they are not replying to your emails. Have you tried these contacts:

If you live in the UK, please contact our UK Distributor, Uberphon Limited at or email info (at)  Other contact details are: (  +44 (0)1730 261924 
      2    +44 (0)870 9154409 
      +  überphon 
         PO Box 134
       GU32 2XZ 
If you get no reply, you could email Hartmut, our German contributor to contact them directly.
David Holgate

MiniWatt Valve amp interest
Hi Nick,
reading your review on the Mini, I was getting a little deeper into the confusion of Valve amps.
I've nearly made up my mind to go for a Sapero valve amp...only because I like the reviews, the style and the price.
As I am a new comer to this wonderful world of... valve amps, it's taken me a long time to get to this stage, ready for a purchase.
Now I read your review, what do I do next? I have a pair of TDL 3TL3s, and Bi amping into Cambridge A5s....(inexpensive but a really good sound).
Question? the amp that matches my speakers...are?
Dave - E-mail: daveneale (at)

Hi Dave,
I can't really help you with a 'best match' for your speakers as I have no experience of them. The Miniwatt has a very low power output, and that would be one thing to remember before paying out for one, good as they sound. But that would apply to many of the valve amps that typically have a lower power output than their solid state counterparts.
The good thing about buying hi-fi these days is that it is comparatively much cheaper than when we had to go to a hi-fi dealer. The down side of course is that it is harder to actually hear something before buying it. I can only suggest in this instance that you ask around on as many forums as possible to see if anybody with similar speakers has tried any of the amps that you are interested in.
Sorry that I can't be of more help.
Nick Whetstone

Phono preamps
Hi, I enjoyed reading your comparison of the 3 phono stages. In fact I have a Cambridge Audio 640 P phono stage and I wanted to upgrade to the GS fanfare to say the least you have certainly saved me some money. I think I will now stick to my 640p.
Thank You,
Damian - E-mail: cmhayd (at)

Thanks for your kind words Damian, glad I could provide a useful perspective.
I would however caution you from relying on my review with too much certainty. While I can assure you that all my reviews are written about products that I really have a curiosity about, my investigations are done to a degree that would satisfy my own purchasing decision and I am completely candid about what I find.
It is important to realize that they are only the perspective of one person, who has only performed a limited set of tests, using a limited set of ancillary gear and with a limited set of understanding. So by no means are my findings all encompassing, but I think they should give you a pretty good guide.
Good luck,
Arvind Kohli

Long interconnecting cable
Hello Nick,
I've found your email on this page: TNT Shoestrings and I have a few questions, if you would be kind to answer them.
I have a specific situation, have decided to go with high quality studio monitors as a amplifier/speaker solution, and a high quality PC card as an analog signal output. Now, the arrangement in my room isn't so good, so I need quite long RCA interconnecting cables - 5-6 meters in total. Can you tell me if this system of yours would work for such a long distance?
And how can one measure quality of the cable with a digital multimeter?
Thank you very much,
Borislav - E-mail: borislav.dopudja (at)

Hi Borislav,
The Shoestrings could be made to the length that you require. One factor to keep in mind is that they are not a shielded cable and longer lengths will be more prone to pick up interference if it exists in your home environment. You could also consider using a slighter thicker wire for the conductors, perhaps something like an enamelled winding wire. The CAT5 is around 0.4-0.5mm diameter (from memory) so you could try 0.6mm or even something a size larger. This would keep resistance down.
The bottom line is that the Shoestrings are so cheap to construct, you may as well try them. If they don't work out, you can re-cycle the plugs and it will have cost you almost nothing to try.
As regards measuring the quality, I assume that you mean how can you test them, rather than measure how they sound. In that case, you need a multimeter that you set to measure resistance (ohms) on the lowest scale. You place one probe on the tip of one plug, and the other probe on the tip of the plug at the other end of the cable. With the meter turned on, you should measure a resistance of something like 0.1 ohms )and hear a beeping noise from the meter). Depending on the accuracy of your meter, anything under 0.5 ohms will be OK. Then do the same for the barrels of each plug on the same IC.
Nick Whetstone

T-Amp Capacitors
Hi David
I've been using your article on the T-Amp as reference for a good 2 years now. I'm a beginner when it comes to audio modifications and electronics but I really enjoy the making aspect.
This is my second project with the T-Amp, Im making another enclosure for it. I have a question regarding the capacitors bridging the output terminals. I threw mine away a long time ago.

Sorry if this seems a bit basic!
Look forward to hearing from you.
Justin - E-mail: never_justin_time (at)

Hi Justin,
Glad you have been having fun with your T-amps. My aim in doing a simple re-boxed version was to make the amp easier to use with standard connectors and a beefy power supply. There are of course loads of other sites which take things further, e.g. this blog, which looks fun and has lots of detail:
To connect your speaker connections just solder a red or black cable to the round pin end. The small capacitor then goes between each black and red pair. I just used the caps provided, but I have since learned from other sites that the value of these small ceramic caps is between 0.15uF (on the SI amps) and 0.01uF (on the Tripath data sheet).
To be honest, I don't have a technical background, so can't tell you what purpose they serve in the circuit. I believe that it is okay to leave them out, but I've not tried this. (I disassembled my original to use the parts for other projects and have not got round to doing a rebuild myself).
Hope this helps.
David Holgate

Autocostruire Class-T MC4x100 amplifier module
Hi Nick,
I was very interested to read your article on regarding the above amplifier module, and wondered if I might pick your brains...?
I currently have a pair of PSB Image T65 (6 ohm) floorstanders which I reckon would benefit from a better amplifier and I think the 8 channel version of the MC4x100 you tested might be ideal.
My plan would be to run three channels into each speaker: One channel for the high frequencies and two channels paralleled for the low frequencies. The remaining two channels could run a pair of surround speakers I'm planning on getting come payday...
Can you please comment on whether it would be feasible to wire things up this way, or if there would be a more beneficial method I should look into?
All help appreciated!
Many thanks,
Doug - E-mail: slotmonkey (at)

Hi Doug,
I think that your plan would work for the MC8x100! But I didn't find the MC4x100 quite as nice sounding as the smaller class-T amp from Audiodigit, and much prefer the Charlize and Trends TA-10 amps. However, they do have much less power so how about the very good Virtue Audio V1/V2 (class-T)?
I don't know your speakers at all but if the MC8x100 will work with them, then so will the V1/V2. You could always start of with one V1 and buy a second later on if you want to drive each channel separately.
Nick Whetstone

SME 3009
I have my own SME 3009 S2 non-improved early tonearm. I need to replace the rubber coupling from the extension arm.
Do I have henceforth to dismantle the complete arm to just only replacing the rubber coupling?
Thank you.
Patricio - E-mail: pavaldes (at)

Hi Patricio,
If you buy the rubber coupling from SME they will send you a sheet explaining how to replace it. It's quite easy and you don't have to dismantle the whole arm.
David Holgate

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