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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July 2002

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Re: TNT Triple T
Thanks for the reply. I guess it's not what I wanted to hear, but maybe what I needed to hear. I was planning on sending the Rotel Preamp in to a shop for a refurbish, but between the cost of the refurbish ($200) and the cost of a new Rotel amp, it sounds like too much of an investment for an experiment.
Would it be better to spend the money on a new Decware Zen tube amp?
I am currently getting very good soundstaging and mid to high end from the NAD setup. I like the musicality of the NAD.
As for the Rotel, I like the "darkness" and "weight" of the bass. For me, the only shortcoming is in the Rotel's seeming inability to create a realistic soundstage.
I guess my criteria for listening are:

  1. Soundstage (being able to locate various vocals and instruments)
  2. Tame mid to high end
  3. Clear bass
Again, please feel free to point me at what I really need, not what I think will get me there.
George Furtado - E-mail:

Dear George,
as already said, I think a good preamp + power amp combo by Rotel can give you what you are searching for.
Tube amps like the Decware Zen could be a good choice if you're ready to sacrify sound pressure in favour of other parameters. 2.4 watts per channel aren't exactly everyone's cup of tea. You need highly sensitive loudspeakers (into the 100 db/w/m range).
Speaking of tube amps, I'd suggest you to test listen to a JoLida integrated amp (also see letters below). We have reviewed various models with pretty high power output. This way you can get the lush sound of tubes without missing high sound pressure levels and macrodynamics.
Keep me updated,
Lucio Cadeddu

JoLida JD502B
Hi, Mr.Ferré: I have been looking for a preamp (preferably tube) to replace the preamp section of my NAD C370 amp which I found it a bid harsh at a sub-medium sound level.
As I look it over and over again on the web site, it seemed to me that Foreplay (bottlehead) might be a GOOD match (smooth and softer top, weightier bass perhaps and warmer sounding-these features are what I would like to have).
However, I have no any experiences with soldering, so it is out of my list. Just a moment ago, I read your review on Jolida 302 and 502B. Since I am a bass-lover, I would rather pick the 502B, however, I would be most gratful if you would give me your expertise opinion and suggestion whether 502B would really match well with my system?
(1) Quadral Ascent850 spkr (2) Ah Tjoeb 4000 CDP (the stock tube Jan Philips6922 is to be replaced with Amperex7308 soon) (3) TruthLink (Harmonic Tech) IC., (4) Analysis plus Oval 9 spkr cable.
I am most anxious to hear from you and thanks a lot
Simon - E-mail:

Thanks for your letter.
I have reviewed the specs that you attached to your file.  Electrically, the JD-502B will mate very well to your speakers.  However the specs really mean nothing.  There is no tolerance given on the frequency response spec, and even if there were, this is no substitute for listening with your ears.  I suggest that you arrange for a home audition with your dealer, or a "money back guarantee" period, so that you can determine if the JD-502 (or any other amp, for that matter) will be the right amp for you.

The big problem that I see with your idea is that you must attach a speaker load to the output of the JoLida (or any other tube amp).  Otherwise, you run a risk of destroying the output transformers.  The JoLida JD-502 will not make a suitable preamp. 

You mentioned the Bottlehead Foreplay, and while I have no personal experience with it, it does seem to be a simple project.  Soldering is not difficult. Kits and pre owned gear are both excellent ways of getting great gear on a budget.
I hope this is helpful.
Best Regards,
Nels Ferré

Jolida hybrid
Dear Sir
I have read (Feb 2002) that you are not so fond of the Jolida integrated amps. I am interested in this as I am seriously considering their 1501rc. Could you comment further? For the presence I am looking for, should I consider a solid state integrated with one of the more approachable tube cd players? Any suggestions?
If it is not appropriate to contact you in this manner, please forgive me.
Chris Garrison - E-mail:

Hi Chris,
Thanks for your letter.  Letters from readers are very appropriate, and always appreciated.

I never meant to convey that I do not like the JoLida hybrid amps; at their price, they are an excellent value.  I do however, prefer the full tube amps.  Unfortunately, they also cost more.

In their price range, I find the JoLida Hybrid amps to be good performers, and I have heard that their performance can be bettered by changing the two input tubes, which is an inexpensive and easy tweak.
I hope this is helpful.
Best Regards,
Nels Ferré

Expressimo review
Thank you for the very good review of the heavy weight you did over I year ago. I have just started to research the difference between the Origin and Expressimo structural modifications.
My question to you is: I own a RB 300 that I am going to mount the Heavy weight on. Origin suggested that it was not the weight but the stub being torqued into the arm that makes the larger difference suggesting that with their mod on the 300, the stub would be more important than the weight.
Would the Expressimo stub that is used in the 250 also work in the 300 with benifit? Or is the stainless steel stub on the 300, although not torqed in, fine?
Drew - E-mail:

Hi Drew,
Thanks for your letter.
I am currently in the middle of a comparison test between the Origin Live RB-250 and the Expressimo Audio Heavyweight. While both of these are being tested on RB-250 arms, I feel the same outcome will apply to the RB-300.  To my ears, the OL arm does sound considerably better than the RB-250 fitted with the Expressimo counter weight.  The end stub of the OL arm is torqued to the rear of the arm and is immovable.  I think OL is right:  the structural rigidity afforded by the end stub does make a major difference.  The same results can be expected with your RB-300 as well.
I hope this helps.
Best Regards,
Nels Ferré

DIY turntable rack
[DIY turntable rack]

Dear Lucio,
Once again, congratulations for a great magazine that looks in many directions and is not mainly concerned in promoting commercial products.
I've decided to use a dedicated stand for my turntable in order to separate it from the main rack. A metalworker will build it according to the sketch I've made (attached file, measures in cm).
The frame is to be made of stainless steel and the pillars have a 4cm hollow tubular section. The stand has adjustable feet. For the platform I'm thinking of using a 3cm thick granite slab, or maybe two 2cm thick slabs glued together.
I wonder what kind of material would be best suited for a turntable platform: granite, limestone, marble, slate, or solid wood? I would very much appreciate any kind of suggestions for this project.
Thank you for your time and keep up the good work.
Nuno Vidal - E-mail:

Dear Nuno,
I think solid wood could be a better choice. Even MDF will work fine. Use golden ratio proportions (see our TNT SandBlaster platform and our Inter.view with Mr. Cardas for details). Considering width is 30 cm your table should be 48.5 cm wide.
Depending on the turtable used I'd plan to drill holes in the shelf to easily reach the adjusting screws of the floating subchassis. Non-symmetric holes in the structure help killing resonances of the shelf.
Very heavy and stiff shelves are not always welcomed, indeed. Don't forget to fill the hollow pillars with sand or talcum powder (talc).
When finished, send us a pic, we're are almost ready to set up the promised TNT Readers' DIY website devoted to YOUR DIY designs.
Keep me updated,
Lucio Cadeddu

TNT Sonus Flatter
Hello Lucio,
I'm Iouri from Australia, Sydney. Your site is really informative and usefull. It was interesting to read about TNT Sonus Flatter cable design. It is very attractive idea to use a ribbon cable as a speaker cable.

As I understand, the main problem with this design is a high-capacitance of the cable. The capacitance could be reduced if the first half of the ribbon cable is used for one pole and the second for the other pole.
I mean here that there is no need to do "alternative pairing" and assign an odd conductors to one pole and even conductors to the second pole.
May be I'm missing something and "alternative pairing" is required for some other reasons.
Iouri Malov - E-mail:

Dear Iouri,
yes, you can reduce the capacitance of the cable but you won't get the same sonic result. Earlier ribbon designs such as the Straight Wire Music Ribbon used the pairing technique.
Anyway, you can try and find out the main differences by yourself. High capacitance isn't a problem with stable amps.
Let me know,
Lucio Cadeddu

Amp for Avantgarde Uno
Hi again Lucio
One silly question - how do you get a stereo signal out of vinyl anyway? Can't get my head around how the turntable separates the L and R signal.

Also, what power amp / monoblocs would be the ideal partner (in your opinion) to each of the two following preamps (going to be for eventual separate systems):

Finally, can you please please please review the Clearaudio Master Reference turntable (or at least the Reference anyway)? I know it's a bit out of most people's league moneywise, but it looks fantastic and I'd be really interested in knowing what you guys make of the sound.

Oh, and re. your June 15th editorial: there's no such thing as centrifugal force, so you needn't worry - hifi is the only force that exists. ;-)
Nick - E-mail:

Dear Nick,
stereo signal from LPs comes from the L and R sides of the groove. Easy.
Re: amps to choose. The question, put in this way, is pure nonsense. I'd strongly suggest to think at the preamp-power amp choice as "a whole". The "mix and match" technique, when dealing with preamp and power amps, is dangerous. Better to stick with components from the same manufacturer.
Also, you don't specify your budget and the rest of the system. I can't help any further, without precise data. I'm not good at weather forecast.
Finally, considering the Thor TA-1000 is quite expensive ( > 7,000 $ in the US, perhaps much more here in Europe) I wonder how can you even think to buy it without a personal listening test :-0
Re: Clearaudio. I don't know whether Geoff has contacted them or not, ask him for details.
Best regards,
Lucio Cadeddu

Cambridge A 500
I was considering buying one of these to replace my (gulp) NAD 705 receiver. Your review makes me wonder though. I am pairing listening through a pair of Spica TC-50 speakers, which I am told are very nice with a Creek Integrated, but I can't really go there in price right now.
The A-500 is about my limit (and I need a phono stage.) Do you have suggestions?

Nice to hear someone appreciate Dylan's voice. Too few of us out here. Even on songs not his: e.g. great pleasure of his broken down voice on "Tomorrow Night" on the "Good As I've Been To You" CD.
Clifford Stanley - E-mail:

Dear Clifford,
I'm afraid the A 500 wouldn't be a big upgrade over you NAD receiver. Moreover, your Spica T-50 loudspeakers deserve something better. If you can, search the second hand market for Rotel integrated amps. If S/H stuff scares you to death :-), even the small Rotel RA 931 (with phono MM input) could be a good choice.
Ditto on Dylan.
Lucio Cadeddu

TNT Triple T and new amp
Hope all is well with you.
I thought I'd share some changes that I have made with my cabling and ask your opinion. I have been very successfully using the Triple T with a NAD 3150 and NAD 2400 amp + NAD 1300 preamp (using Axiom 40 speakers and Cambridge Audio D500SE CD player).
I actually like using the 3150 as a preamp better than the 1300 (something about the sound....).

I recently changed the interconnect to a Monster 400kII. The soundstage has dramatically improved and I cannot believe the synergy between the two cables. Also, I thank you for the Cambridge Audio review (another perfect choice for this system). Thank you.

However, I am having a problem with my 50watt Rotel receiver (Rotel 951 CD, Axiom 40's, a takeoff on the Kimber PBJ interconnect cable). The Triple T highlighted both the high and low end to such a degree that I have had to go back to the old Radio Shack speaker cable. Do you have another recommendation for bringing out the soundstage and not accentuating the highs and lows too much? The Rotel is very capable of providing good highs and bass, but I've seen better soundstage with different cable configurations. (I will be changing the receiver to a Rotel 972 preamp and I'm not sure about which amp to select).

I guess I need a recommendation for both the interconnect and speaker cable. I've noticed that there is definitely a synergy between these two cables.
One can be used to conteract the other's faults.
Thank you again for your devotion to this website.
George Furtado - E-mail:

Dear George,
before changing cables I'd recommend to upgrade the amplifier. The Rotel RC 972 preamp matched to a RB 1070 (or 1080) power amp will dramatically change the sound of your system so that you will need to experiment again with different cables. In other words, new cables could be useless, if you're planning to upgrade the amplifier.
Let me know,
Lucio Cadeddu

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