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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December 2004

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Speakers-amp matching
Hi Lucio,
I have been into this stuff for over 35 yrs. now. There is so much misinformation out there, it is nice to know that somebody does not have an agenda going on, other than the love for the hobby. It is all about synergy, having all the correct components properly matched to one another. The room size and low frequency output from ones speakers must follow this rule also.
It is very difficult for the average person to put a system together, and puts most of at the mercy of the audio dealer. I am not surprised at all the bad advise and ignorance of many such dealers. If more sources such as yours was available, I believe many more people would be in this hobby.
If I may, explain my present dilemma. Medium size room 13ft x 22ft x 8ft (high). Audio Research amp, VT 100 mk III (tube/ 100 Watts per channel). I like the sound of B&W loudspeakers, specifically their N802's but I gather my amp is not a good match for these power hungry speakers. I wonder about their N803's or the new ones coming out, the N803S's, and the ability of my amp driving them to their full glory, (concerned about that 3 ohm drop at low frequencies that all B&W speakers seem to have and my tube amp).
Any other suggestions would be appreciated also.
Fred - E-mail: fbrown (at)

Dear Fred,
first of all thanks for your kind words on our humble "mission".
Secondly, I believe your Audio Research VT100 will drive the N802 quite easily. In any case, if you LOVE those speakers you should be prepared to buy an amplifier that suits their needs. I mean: first come speakers, then amplification. The amplification should be choosen to match the speakers, not viceversa.
Hope this helped somehow and please keep me updated!
Lucio Cadeddu

PC as Audio Base - Part I
Good evening,
I have read about TNT with interest, and quite like your down-to-earth approach. I'm contacting you because I am in a bit of a quandary! I am in the process of re-establishing my vinyl collection. I have quite an excellent vinyl front end, 12" SME and Garrard 401 in a very substantial dense plinth.
At present I don't have loudspeakers or an amplifier (I sold my Quad hardware including a pair of FRED'S some time ago). The idea I have is to use my PC, install a good quality sound card to feed a top end power amplifier and quality loudspeakers. Please don't be too shocked at this, for I suppose it's not the done thing as far as purists are concerned!
If possible, can you suggest a quality Sound card with RIAA input, a suitable power amplifier and good sounding loudspeakers, preferably shelf mounted, although this is not essential.
With Kind regards,
Howell - E-mail: (at)

Dear Howell,
a good sound card would be just a part of the process. A PC is one of the worst places were to install something related to audio, considering noise, interferences and all the bad things coming out from the poor built-in power supplies.
I can't see a reason why you should use your PC as source/preamp. Trust me, it will lead you nowhere. Buy a decent preamp with phono input and a decent CD player. Look at the second-hand market, it's plenty of things to buy at bargain prices.
Hope this helped somehow,
Lucio Cadeddu

PC as Audio Base - Part II
Dear Mr. Cadeddu,
First off, I would like to thank you for an excellent excellent site. I stumbled on it by accident, and soon found myself reading ALL of your amplifier reviews. Why, I have no idea. But they were all quite informative. But I have a question that I thought perhaps you could help me with.
I have never understood how some CD players could be so expensive. I say this in light of the fact that I can now spend $150 on a small breakout box soundcard for my computer, and just play cd's from my computer, through some third party soundcard like m-audio.
Even running a CD through two channels of full blown 16 channel 24bit 96k overpriced Digidesign hardware is cheaper than some of these cd players on the market.
Many of these soundcards are very well thought out and designed for recording professionals. What could be the downside to this approach? Is it all in "jitter"?. I imagine the DAC's and op amps on these soundcards are carefully selected.
Any thoughts?
P.S. I enjoyed your review of the Klipsch RF-3 speakers which I have.
Andrew - E-mail: Andrew.Tomasulo (at) Alum.Dartmouth.ORG

Dear Andrew,
it all depends on sound quality. Just listen and compare, everything will become clearer. Also, see the letter above for problems related to PCs and HiFi.
I can agree on the fact that many CD players are way overpriced but so are amplifiers, cables and loudspeakers! Even CD discs are too expensive, at least here in Europe ;-)
As for the "designed for recording professionals" part let me tell you that, considering the distorted and compressed garbage recorded on the majority of commercial CDs, I wouldn't take that claim too seriously. Quite the opposite, I'd prefer something "NOT designed for recording professionals" ;-)
Lucio Cadeddu

Musical Fidelity A1 dilemma
Dear TNT team,
Thanks to you and your brilliant page I have enhanced my knowledge of HI-FI, knowing that all reviews are written honestly and objectively. Thank you for you effort.
One problem bugging me; as I am not a totally beginner in audiophile waters, I never had a chance to go deeper into it because of limited budget. A year ago I sold my system that was based on Nad 304, Celestion Impact 10 loudspeakers and Technics CD player. For almost a year I was without decent music but I survived.
Now I started to save for a new system. Recently I got the chance to buy a Musical Fidelity A1 amplifier for 260euro but before that I would like to ask for your opinion and advice.
My plan is to match it with a pair of Sonus Faber Concertino and NAD 541 CD player.
My concern is if MF A1 would have enough power to drive Concertinos, as A1 has 20watts only. My living room is about 20m square meters. I listen to all types of music and prefer smooth and sweet sound, with nice midrange (a sort of valve amp sound).
I can buy also for almost same price a NAD 320; which one of those two amplifiers has better sound or which amplifier or system would you suggest as I am in process of exploring before final decision? I would appreciate your opinion on that dilemma.
Thanks in advance and regards,
Alen - E-mail: altaivka (at)

Dear Alen,
the A1 is a sweet, nice and warm sounding (and running :-)) amplifier. It will be a good match for the Concertino's. 20 watts should be enough for your needs, considering your preferences and the size of your listening room.
My only concern is reliability, depending on how old the model is. Also, let me suggest you to include into your wish list another evergreen classic, the Naim Nait (1 or 2).
Finally, the NAD C541 Cd player is a good and wise choice.
Hope this helped somehow,
Lucio Cadeddu

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