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 2014

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Naim preamp nac 12 & Naim power amp nap 120
Dear Lucio,
I believe you have had the above amps in the past. In my case, I recently purchased these very old vintage amps circa 1976 and I would be delighted to hear your reviews and comments. I am thinking of modifying or upgrading these amps within reasonable budget and, perhaps, you may be able to shed some light over this matter.
I am looking forward to hearing from you soon.
With best regards,
Kamali - E-mail: krazali (at)

Dear Kamali,
congrats on your recent purchase! These pre/power amp combos are definitely rare birds and, for sure, their value will increase sooner or later as they were the first components ever made by Julian Vereker. For this reason I'd suggest to recap them and avoid heavy mods. That said, I still have that pair and it has been modified/tweaked by Avondale Audio. I MUST find the time to review this pair! After Avondale mods the 12/120 combo sound has become more modern, consistent and fast. Contact them to see what they have to offer, though I'd suggest just light mods, not irreversible ones (like mine, actually).
Hope this helped somehow,
Lucio Cadeddu

CV181Z Shuageng Treasure
Hey Mark,
It happens to be that I play with the same tubes over two years now. I compared them with the Melz 5-hole plates 6N8S and found the Treasures a little bit better!
Maybe that the Melz where not perfectly matched; I have no tube-tester.

Now I remember that I bought these Treasures because of the heater-current issue. I did not want to blow my amp, so I never tried a regular CV181. The Treasure CV181 however draws 600mA in stead of the 900mA, and that is in contradiction with your article. Never mind though, keep smiling.

Kees - E-mail: k.pont (at)

Hi Kees, Your email did make me smile. In my original article I relied on the manufacturer's nomenclature and used data from my old valve data sheets. There was no reason to imagine that a valve bearing the lable "CV181" would be anything other than a CV181 as per the established custom and practice of describing engineering components correctly.

On learning more about this valve and what is really in there, your old scribe wrote what our esteemed editor described as an "angry follow up", in which I state that, "I was contacted by Rachel of Grant Fidelity to note that the Shuguang Treasures CV181Z is really a 6SN7 and not a CV181" to which I responded:
"Well Shuguang, you have only yourselves to blame if your choice of inaccurate nomenclature prevents audiophiles from trying the finest 6SN7 I have heard to date.

It is called a CV181Z
It looks like a classic milspec CV181
So it must be a...
wait for it....
wait for it...
Shuguang Treasure series 6SN7 disguised as a CV181.
I am glad to read that you have compared Shuguang 6SN7 valves, disguised as a CV181, with The Melz 5 hole plate 6N8S (another confusingly named nearly 6SN&). The Melz have quite a reputation with hot debates about whether the black plates sound better than the grey plates and whether the holes allow "more air" around the instruments (I kid you not) than the grey plates without holes. I am reassured that the Shuguang sounded better than these too, although if you still can pick the Melz at around 50 Euros, they are much better value if they're close, but all the recent adverts I can see are around $150US (no one in Europe seems to be advertising them even though they were made in Moscow). I still maintain that the black glass Brimar 6SN7 is the best NOS 6SN7 I have heard to date and hear them as better than the grey Brimars, which have recently become a popular flavour.
Because the Netherlands is in Europe, the Shuguangs are "valves" not "tubes" because they are not tubular shaped but shouldered, but the Melz 6N8S can be called tubes. I hope my reply makes you smile too.
Happy valve and tube rolling,
Mark, The Old Scribe

Sinfonia Fantastica Question
On your test records page you recommend Sinfonia Fantastica (Reference Recordings). Can you point me to exactly which album you are referring to?
Bryan - E-mail: bmfailing (at)

[Reference Recordings Berlioz's Sinfonia Fantastica] Dear Bryan,
it's a classical (in every sense) album which is well known among audiophiles, as it is one of the best sounding recordings of the famous Berlioz's work "Sinfonia Fantastica" (or Symphonie fantastique). It seems still available (see directly here at the Reference Recordings website, code RR11) and it should cost around 17$.
You won't be disappointed, provided your system is capable to deal with such highly demanding recording!
Hope this helped somehow,
Lucio Cadeddu

Chloroform and cracked perspex turntable lid
Thank you for your article on repairing cracked perspex turntable lids using chloroform. I have the opportunity to buy a super high end turntable at a super discount (otherwise I woundn't be able to afford it) due to it having a cracked lid - so I thought I'd google the subject on how best to fix it and found your article. I'm just wanting to clarify, if possible, whether your article is suggesting that such cracks will no longer be visible after the correct application of chloroform or not? I'd be blown away if this is possible using this or any other known method !!!
Thanks again,
Chris - E-mail: chris.sterling (at)

Dear Chris,
it all depends on where the cracks are located and whether there are missing pieces or not. If the lid is cracked along one of the egdes, chances are the repair will be totally invisible!!! Generally, the final result should be very good. In any case, you can also consider the possibility to purchase an aftermarket turntable lid. Just put "turntable lid" or "turntable cover" on Ebay and browse through the results, new lids can be found for as low as 50$. Eventually, even a good condition second-hand lid might pop up from time to time.
Hope this helped somehow,
Lucio Cadeddu

[is there anybody out there?] width= Protonic Audio-visual AER Acoustic Energiser review - I
Hi Mark,
I am a huge fan of TNT-Audio. I am Italian but I read both the Italian and the English version and I really like your reviews, which I often read just for the fun of it.
I have just finished the one about the Protonic Audio-visual AER Acoustic Energiser. The way you wipe out one century of quantum physics in four lines is ..... rejoicing.
Don't get me wrong, I believe in quantum physics, but your straight forward opinions are refreshing in these, yeah, post-modern times.

Kind regards,
Antonio - E-mail: ataranti (at)

Hi Antonio,
Mille grazie per il vostro entusiasmo!
I suspect that the best way to deal with postmodern relativism is to adopt the Sherlock Homes approach:
"When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, is the truth", The Sign of The Four, 1890, p111.

The postmodern version would be that if we eliminate the most unlikely whatever is left is more likely. This obviously means nothing. At school I was taught to believe nothing until there is evidence offered for it and that evidence might be an experiment or it might be the feelings evoked in me by a piece of music. We are very lucky to have the opportunity to be playful like this.
Buon ascolto!
Mark Wheeler

Protonic Audio-visual AER Acoustic Energiser review - II
Greetings to Mark from Adelaide, Australia,
Your Protonic for the Troops article and summary were of an excellent standard, keep up the good work!
Tony - E-mail: mhabich (at)

Hi Tony,
Many thanks for your kind appreciation.
Because TNT-audio is a labour of love and we are not driven by advertising, we can be clear and explicit with our findings. After reading other reviewers' eulogies I was really disappointed that I didn't get the same transformative experience, but I can only describe what the listeners in my room can hear. We are reviewers, not novelists, and should adhere to rigorous qualitative research practice.
Happy Listening,
Mark Wheeler

Protonic Audio-visual AER Acoustic Energiser review - III
Hello Mark,
I'm absolutely euphoric at TNT-audio's latest review and I'm sure there are some angry audio reviewers out there now, you've spoilt their little game.
Every so often a review like this appears, but it is as rare as hen's teeth.
I just read the description of Euphoria Technology TM on their web site. It is so idiotic, that they compare Nanotechnology to their so-called 'Picotechnology' really makes no sense whatsoever since they aren't comparing like things. Still, at 10-12 they are nowhere near homeopathic levels. The only way I know of aligning protons is by Nuclear Magnetic Resonance- ever been for an MRI scan? Same principle. Huge magnets with a very defined field. Switch one on near a speaker chassis it will be toast. But we don't know everything, maybe usual reviewers have their cranial protons aligned, showing all who get paid to review hifi have a special gift (or receive special gifts, but we aren't going there).

BTW I once asked why all technical review articles in a particular German aquarium magazine were always glowing. Theirs was a simple answer, the manufacturers have more money for lawyers than a small magazine. If the review is too scathing, they put you out of business. We aren't talking Which magazine or Top Gear!
Just for interest, my hifi is:

No special blue stones! Schröder 2 dimensional diffusers home made to improve room acoustics, cause a sort of diffraction effect in the sound waves, size tuned to lower room resonances. Needle speakers with Tang Band chassis and various Sony stuff on my second system. And 2 other turntables needing parts and repair. And I live in Berlin. Originally from up North, but too old for Northern Soul, though soul was a big thing when I was a teeny. Here's a link: though it doesn't show the large TNT FleXy in my living room.
Thanks for all your hard work at TNT!
Robert - E-mail: robert (at)

Hi Robert,
Thank you for the enthusiasm for what we do at Our independence is our strength.
I do try to be as open minded as possible when reviewing. When I see pseudoscience used to justify a product, I accept that there are discoveries people make that they can't understand so they conflate what they do know and come up with something that fills the gaps like CD player interpolation. People often cannot tolerate a state of uncertainty so they invent their own explanations for phenomena; science and philosophy have been doing this for years. This is why objectivists won't believe what they have actually experienced and subjectivists cannot believe a placebo is merely a placebo. To be comfortable with a state of uncertainty has been pursued by many schools of thought (from Taoists to post-structuralists) and it allows us to see the emperor has no clothes as much as it allows us to cry when we hear Arvo Pärt. As a participant in the Institute of Mental Health Neurobiology of Psychotherapy Group I am familiar with fMRI scans, PET scans and CT scans. They do give us new clues about human relationships that add usefully to our previous speculation, but hopefully we will never be tempted to say, "They've got an attachment of 0.625, but he has has 0.113 ambivalence and her 1.10 raised cortisol means that they'll divorce in 6 years, 7 weeks, 2 days and an hour".

Sadly we don't get paid to review hifi (nor to investigate relational neuroscience) and TNT carries no advertising which is why we can write what we find and have contradicted the hegemony on VTA and Linns and things. One of my systems is fronted by a Thorens TD160/SME and it sounds great; it's all in the set up. I am a big fan of tuning rooms by diffusion rather than by absorption. I would like to get hold of Tang band drivers to review (I can't afford to keep buying drivers, there's no room in my house). You should have access to some interesting gear in Berlin. Last time I was in eastern Europe proper, I found all sorts of strange old microphones and things for sale. Too old for northern soul? Not possible, it is only dangerous if you try the moves.

Happy listening,
Mark Wheeler

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