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Maarten van Casteren

[Maarten van Casteren]

I was born in the Netherlands but I have been living in Cambridge, UK, since 1999. I trained as a cognitive scientist, but spend several years in industry as a C++ programmer. At the moment I work at a research institute in Cambridge, mostly using my programming skills to contribute to the ongoing research there, but also trying to do some research of my own, from time to time.

I have always been an audiophile, although there have been periods when you couldn't tell by looking at my system. But since I discovered eBay I have been able to make quite a lot of progress. I have been reviewing for TNT Audio since September 2005, and I'm still enjoyingit.

What I am looking for in a system is a relaxed sound that presents all details to you in a non aggressive way. I don't like excessively forward sounding systems, but I also don't like 'dead' or boring sounding systems. For me, the art of a good system is finding the balance between not adding things and not leaving things out. If a system adds to the music it will cause fatigue or irritation and you will not be able to listen to it for more that a few hours a week, but if a system leaves out too much it will not grab your attention and ultimately not communicate the music and the atmosphere. A good system lets enough through to make the music happen, but covers up the flaws that the system (and perhaps the recording) add.

My musical preference is mostly jazz from the fifties and sixties. I like the energy and rhythm, and also the fact that jazz is a performance that is necessarily live and cannot be constructed in a sound studio with over-dubs and other tricks. For me this directness is what makes this music so addictive. It is the feeling of being present at a real session, with real people playing. If my system can re-create that, I am happy!

My current system consists of:

I used to be a bit of a tweaker, and I still like to try to modify components, but I don't do that as much as I used to. And when I so, I try to limited it to modifications that are relatively easy and effective. My system is changing continuously, obviously, and currently I'm moving from a normal hifi setup to a system with active speakers. I used to play vinyl too, and had a bit of a rediscovery of analogue for a while, but I have now decided that digital is good enough nowadays, and a lot more practical. Vinyl is increasingly an expensive hobby and largely incompatible with the presence of small children and pets.

My reviews, to date:

The Anatek A50 integrated amplifier
StillPoints ERS cloth
Cambridge Audio 640c V2 CD player
Arcam factory visit
Bristol 2006 hifi show report
Arcam FMJ CD36 CD player
Arcam Solo all-in-one system
The Eichmann Bullet plug v. the WBT Nextgen plugs
Django transformer linestage
ClarityCap SA Capacitors
Audio Analogue Enigma all-in-one system
NET Audio Sonance DAC
2006 Heathrow Hifi News show
Meridian factory visit
ESound CD-E5 SE CD player
East West Audio CD player
Anatek CM 0.5 Preamp & MB50 Monoblocks
Naim CD5x CD player
Aurousal A1 speaker
Cambridge Audio Azur 740c CD player
Naim Flatcap 2x power supply
Shanling CD3000 CD player
Audio Note CD1.1x CD player
Astin Trew At3500 CD player
Chord Chorus 2 ICs and the Odyssey 2 speakers cable
Vincent SP-331MK power amp
North Star Sapphire CD player
EAT ECC88 valve
Anti Cables speaker cables and interlinks
Abacus Rieder 60-120B power amp & Rieder 6-2RC preamp
Aussie Amplifiers HPA-LSP400-SE 200 watt modules
Creek Destiny power amp
XTZ 99.36 loudspeakers
Yamamoto YDA-01 DAC
Aurousal VS loudspeaker
Electrocompaniet ECC-1 CD player
Astin Trew AT2000+ integrated amplifier
NAS 2009 Show report
Definitive Audio factory visit
Three power amps: Astin Trew, Bells & Usher
Music First preamp
Leema Elements phono stage
Trimodal amplifier
DIYHifiSupply Cleo USB DAC
Ortofon Vivo Red MC cartridge
Disco Antistat two bath method
Yamaha NP-S2000 network player
Factory visit PMC
SEAS Exotic full range drivers
Icon Audio Stereo40 MKIII integrated valve amplifier
Tentlabs b-DAC
Dynamat Extreme damping
Metrum Acoustics Octave DAC
Hypex AS2.100 active loudspeaker module
Elipson Planet L loudspeaker
sE Munro Egg 150 active monitors
DynaudioDBM50 active monitors
Unity Audio 'The Rock hifi' active monitors
Townshend Allegri preamp
Well Rounded Sound WP2 full-range loudspeaker
Belleson Superpower voltage regulator

© Copyright 2013 Maarten van Casteren - www.tnt-audio.com

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