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 2008

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Weiss DACs
Dear Lucio,
I have greatly enjoyed TNT-Audio's detailed review of Weiss Medea. However, Medea is a too expensive product for me. Weiss has recently introduced a smaller and cheaper DAC called Minerva. Is there any chance that you will do a detailed review of that unit any time soon?
Thank you for help.
Best regards,
Karol - E-mail: karol.ostrovsky (at)

Dear Karol,
as far as I know we don't have any new Weiss review upcoming anytime soon. We receive so many review proposals that we can't find the time to investigate about other products. Quite often, we are forced to say "No, thanks" to many Companies. That said, we can see whether Weiss is still interested in a review on TNT-Audio or not.
Anyway, there are soooo many DACS out there that you don't need to limit yourself to one brand only.
Hope this helped,
Lucio Cadeddu

Black Cube Statement
Thank you for your recent review of the Lehmann Black Cube Statement phono stage. As I use one myself, and have compared it (within the limits of my system) with a couple of other lower-cost alternatives, your review interested me, and seemed fair and lucid. However, I did think that you swung from the (over-)cheap (a Goldring Epic) to the (over-)expensive (Dynavector 507) in your cartridge alternatives - surely for a phono stage of about 300 Euros, the logical/rational choice would be MM cartridges of 100-200 Euros or cheaper MCs such as the Ortofon Samba or Salsa, not to mention even the (high-output) Sumiko Blue Point No. 2?
These would have given a more relevant idea of the Lehmann's performance within a suitable price-range, and so have been more informative for the potential user, I feel. And the buyer of a Lehmann BCS would not be using an amplifier of only 300 Euros (did you have the NAD C315 BEE in mind? - or what?) as you imply - on that budget, one would be realistically going for a cheap NAD or the cheaper of the two Cambridge Azur phono pre-amps. More likely it would be the owner of a NAD C355 BEE or even a Cambridge Azur 740A who might be going for the Lehmann, I should have thought, not that I am the owner of either!
I myself find the cost (and hassle) of MC stylus replacement a deterrent, and use a Grado Prestige Gold or Ortofon OM 20, which both work perfectly well with the Lehmann. And I do find the Lehmann BCS superior and worth the extra cost in my set-up to the Cambridge Azur 640P, whose treble seems over-sweet to me with speakers that aren't sweet-sounding. Hence your assumption about the Lehmann BCS fitting a 300 Euro amp plus 300 Euro speaker set-up seems to under-value it somewhat!
But thanks for the review,
Robin - E-mail: lleavis (at)

Dear Robin,
Thanks for the mail - and yes you are right, the natural partner for the Statement would have been something around the 300 Euro mark, though the danger of this philosophy is that you never find the true value components - how would our T-amp reviews have gone if we'd partnered it with computer speakers and the output of a laptop?
In my defence all I can say is that placing a component into a system well beyond its price point is a way of seeing what its ultimate capabilities are, that the Statement did so well is of course all to its credit. As for other matches such as amplifiers, we could argue all day over exactly what sort of system would be appropriate, but there are 300 Euro amps out there (mostly Tripath and Gainclones) that are quite capable of showing the differences between stages, and in my experience replacing a very cheap phono stage with something like the Statement makes more difference than spending the money on an amplifier.
All I can do is offer the vaguest of guides and then see what the stage will do in a cost-no-object system. The 507 is the perfect foil in such a review because it's the work of a few seconds to swap cartridges without risk, that's why I bought one and why it got used.
Lastly, though I do have other cartridges to hand, and I did try a couple, it didn't really effect the overall result and the danger of swapping various components ad-infinitum is that you tend to lose the plot as what is responsible for what - or at least I do :-)
Geoff Husband

Inexpensive CD player choice
Good morning mr. Cadeddu, I read your fantastic review about the Sonic T-Amp. I was wondering if there is also a not expensive cd player that performs so good. I am looking for a CD Player with a good dynamic and 3D image. I forgot to say I can also buy a second hand player.
Thank you very much in advance for your help.
Kind regards,
Brian - E-mail: brianconley851 (at)

Dear Brian,
as far as I know there's nothing that can compare, in terms of quality/price ratio, to the Sonic Impact T-Amp. Anyway, a very good a quite inexpensive player is the Oppo DV-980 (and the newer model DV981) multi-format player we reviewed back in 2006. It should be around 200$ or so, possibly less if bought second-hand. Another option could be represented by your personal computer equipped with a good USB DAC (we've reviewed quite a few of these).
Hope this helped,
Lucio Cadeddu

Abacus review feedback
Dear sir,
I would like to congratulate you for showing the answer of the ABACUS manufacturer. It speaks volumes about you and TNT.
But I would have to pay my respect to Mr Karl - Heinz Sonder for saying clear and loud "why still products of other manufactures are bought?".
What is the "High End"? A myth or reality? No one can give the answer ALSO.
Best regards,
B.L. - E-mail: petridou (at)

Dear B.L.
we always invite manufacturers to comment our reviews, especially if these aren't 100% kind and positive. Some take the opportunity to clarify some aspect of their work, some others don't. You can rest assured that we publish everything with NO editing at this end.
To answer to your question what is high-end? I'd say it SHOULD represent the state of the art in audio reproduction. A myth? Perhaps, for this reason I write "It SHOULD" and not "It IS". High-end should be something with high performance sold at a very high price. Unfortunately, sometimes only the latter hypothesis is verified.
Thanks for the feedback!
Lucio Cadeddu

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