TNT-Audio Readers' Corner
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July 2007

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TNT Janus turntable mat
Buon Giorno Lucio,
Thank you for sharing your DIY idea. I built the TNT Janus mat, and I'm reporting back my results. I bought a package of four 12" (30.48cm) square cork tiles for $10.99 USD from a hobby store, and got the tar paper for free from a neighborhood roofing company. I have a Thorens TD-125 turntable with an SME tonearm, and an Audio Technica AT440ML cartridge playing through a Hafler DH-110 preamp and Adcom power amp. My speakers are the Dahlquist DQ-10.
The only modification to the speakers is that the capacitors are bypassed with low value film/foil poly caps, and I attached Black Hole pad to the midrange support boards. The turntable is mounted on a shelf in a closet with the audio gear, isolated from bass waves and floor vibration. I've been using a composite rubber pad for years called The Platter Pad from Waterloo Audio Systems.
Using the turntable platter for a template, and using very light repeated cuts, the cork cut perfectly and the same for the tar paper. I decided to try the cork by itself first. The sound was very good, but not quite the crisp attack of the Platter Pad. I glued the tar paper to the cork and let it cure overnight. When I listened again, the sound was very overdamped; the transients weren't crisp and there wasn't the depth of image with even the cork alone, an extreme softening of the sound.
I reinstalled the Platter Pad, and it was like a window was opened on the sound. I understand that different combinations of equipment will yield different results, but I thought that you'd be interested in my experiment. I also operate an audio website: Please visit.

Well, what a difference a day makes. I couldn't leave those previous results alone. I installed the TNT pad on an AR turntable with an Audio Technica AT95E cartridge playing through the same electronics and speakers, and now there's the clarity, crisp dynamics and solid imaging. I'm actually relieved to say that I was able to get positive results from your design.
Riguardi Pił Gentili,
Clyde - E-mail: clyde47 (at)

Dear Clyde,
thanks for taking the time to test our humble DIY design and report your results. As we always say: "Your mileage may vary!" in the sense that many tweaks work differently depending on the HiFi component where these are installed/tested. Perhaps the Thorens TD 125 doesn't like the combination of cork/tar sheet while the AR turntable does. For this reason we are always very skeptic when someone refers of "unbeatable and aboslute" results when applying a tweak. Chances are he is trying to sell you something :-)
Thanks for the precious feedback!
Lucio Cadeddu

Re: Garrard Zero 100
Thanks for your reply. I thought it was working, but there is a problem in that the bottom of the stylus (not the needle itself, but the part of the stylus that attaches to the cartridge) hangs really close to the record, and it starts bumping against the record once it gets a few inches in. I've made every adjustment I can think of, but it keeps having this problem.
I see that needle that was on there is a Shure M55E, but I can't find a replacement for that anywhere (although I do see replacement needles for it on ebay -- I just don't know how to tell whether it's the needle that needs replacing, or the whole cartridge).
Thanks for your help and for answering the email,
Will - E-mail: william_york (at)

Daer Will,
perhaps the arm is too low (pillar side) for that cartridge. If the Shure didn't exhibit this kind of problem, try installing a new stylus on it. Or, since the 90% of any cartridge cost is represented by the stylus, try buying a whole new cart instead. You can choose a classic M44, a M78 or the M97XE we've just reviewed here on TNT-Audio. For carts and stylii do not miss a visit to NeedleDoctor or Mr. Stylus.
Hope this helped somehow,
Lucio Cadeddu

DIY cables
I have read the paper on the FFRC Speaker cable and at the moment use DNM speaker cable and are wondering if making the design would be of benefit. I have a Sugden A21 Amp and have just built a pair of speakers with a modified pair of fostex full range drivers in Decware HDT speaker cabinets. These speakers a not bi wired as their is just the one speaker, so are wondering how the design would go with this set up, or would you recommend a different design.
If I did us the FFRC design would I still us 3 lengths of cat 5 cable per side or in other words how many twisted pairs would I need for each cable. The length of the cable is 3.5 metres each side. Both the amp and speakers have 8 ohm impedance. Hope you can help.
Stephen - E-mail: sbmarr62 (at)

Hi Stephen,
I have not tried the FFRC speaker cables myself. I am familiar with the old type DNM cable and I wonder what it is about the DNM that dissatisfies you?
The DNM is designed by Dennis Morecroft in the specific context of his philosophy to minimise eddy currents and other stray fields and electro-magnetic stresses around the hifi system. 20 years ago I heard his pre-amps and cables one system (with a Logic DM101 turntable, Alphason arm, a pair of speakers I built for someone, I can't recall the rest of the system) and it all worked very well. Spectacularly so in fact.
I also heard DNM speaker cable in another system where it did not suit the amplifier (Naim) and speaker (Radford T90) combination. The Sugden is a very sweet amplifier, which if my aural memory is reliable, majors on microdynamics and subtleties, which are also strengths of the DNM cable.
I am not familiar with the Fostex, but I am assuming that they share many characteristics with Lowthers. Big magnet high sensitivity speakers generally have rising responses and impedence curves dominated by inductance. I might expect the sound to be very fast, good timing, excellent pace but perhaps rather shouty and in-yer-face.
Cable tuning for system inbalance can be rather clumsy and unpredictable, so I would need to know what sources you use and what sound change you desire.
It may be more appropriate to retune your cabinets better to suit your modified Fostex. How are they modified? Changes in cone mass (such as Damar or C37 or pva doping) will affect bass tuning and frequecy response.
Did you follow the links from the FFRC to The Naked Truth about Speaker Cables written by Thorsten nearly a decade ago, and still as true today? It might be a useful pointer to understanding what you are trying to achieve.
The FFRC are remarkably similar in philosophy to the DNM, so you are really unlikely to hear a dramatic change. Perhaps the UBYTE-2 cables, also described by Thorsten Loesch in these pages in 1998, might be a better bet.
Thorsten and Dennis would completely disagree with me, but if you are hoping to achieve a fuller sound (more oomph to pizicato cellos, for example) you might consider any of the fat multi-strand cables on the market at various price points. For my taste, with all but two of my power amplifiers, thick multistrand has given me the best compromise between rhythm and flow and rich timbre (multistrand strengths) and clarity, timing and treble purity (single strand strengths). All my solid state amps have been favoured by multistrand, while my Assemblage SET300B and my Quad II have been favoured by single strand cables. Curiously, the Concordant Exultant (ultralinear push-pull 6550A built on a Quad II chassis with Quad II transformers) was favoured by multistrand in my system.
Happy listening,
Mark Wheeler

Sticky records
These days I used Audioquest sorbogelmat on my Linn lp 12, my platter and 5 lp's are damaged and I can not wash them up, any solvent you could advise for this situation?
Murat - E-mail: muratakbay2005 (at)

Dear Murat,
first of all I'd contact Audioquest to see what's going on. The mat shouldn't leave traces on platter and records surfaces!!! Secondly I'd try some vinyl cleaning solution (commercial or DIY, see recipes on our website). When all else fails, ask Audioquest for a refund (considering the damage that has been done).
Hope this helped somehow,
Lucio Cadeddu

Speaker placement
I've just read your article on the internet, regarding speaker placement - very valid and interesting. Could you please advise me as to what is the recommended/minimum distance from the rear wall to place the new Sonus Faber Guarneri?
They are on their approved stands. The manual says 75cm though I have found they work best about 52cm from the rear wall - but have I altered the overall stereophonic image? Please advise.
Kind regards,
Andrew - E-mail: andyszlach (at)

Dear Andrew,
if you've found they perform at their best at 52 cm from the rear be it! Rear wall distance is always a compromise between power of the bass range and depth of the 3D image. Each and any room is different so personal experiments like yours are strongly recommended. Forget what the manual says, your room and your personal taste rule here. Do not be afraid to experiment even something wild, as extreme toe-in, for example. You might discover new, interesting positions (pun not intended :-)).
Hope this helped somehow,
Lucio Cadeddu

Improving Canbridge 500 stuff
Dear Lucio Cadeddu, I'm looking for some advice since I bought a set of second hi-fi from a friend, which include a Cambridge Audio D500 CD Player, Cambridge Audio A500 Amplifier and a set of KEF Q15 Speaker. Then I found your review and those are exactly what I feel. SLOW, soft, bass is not punchy ... ... etc. Although you have gave some advice and tweak in your review, I'm a newbie in hi-fi and can't understand. Hope you can explain in detail. You have mention to use a good Main Cable on both review. Is that mean the power source is the most important things on A500 & D500? And could you give me some suggestion? Which brand & which model? You also suggest to use a speaker cable and interconnect cable which is fast and dry in the bass. Could you give some example? Since there are too many choices on the market.
Lastly, about the damping feet, it should replace the stock feet or just place it under the stock feet. Really hope you can give me some light. Best Regards,
Coma - E-mail: ruin666 (at)

Dear Coma (???),
you can try with entry-level mains cables first, but don't expect miracles. Supra and Van den Hul make some nice basic mains cables you might want to try. These Companies also make interesting interconnect cables you may evaluate. Please consider that the overall cost of two mains cables plus a decent interconnect can easily exceed the cost of one of the components we're talking about. This _should_ be matter for thought. If you don't like the way they sound, they won't become high-end with new cables, that's for sure.
For extremely low-cost experiments, you can try our DIY recipes for any kind of cable you might need. As for feet, they should replace the stock ones. Try BrightStar Isonodes, for example.
Hope this helped somehow,
Lucio Cadeddu

Turntable clamps
Good morning,
I have read a great deal of information on turntable weights, and I am about to turn one up out of a solid piece of brass, but there is one issue I have not yet seen discussed.
How does the weight of the clamp/weight affect the bearing? And what is considered a realistic maximum weight?
Any input would be appreciated.
Daniel - E-mail: shane.daniel (at)

Dear Daniel,
first of all the weight of a clamp heavily depends on the kind of turntable chassis. If it is "suspended" (on springs or air, for example) I'd avoid using heavy clamps. The Michell clamp is strongly recommened here: lightweight enough so it doesn't affect springs load much, it can be easily "locked" onto the spindle for maximum pressure on the record surface only. Generally, I tend to prefer this "locking-type" clamps even for rigid non-suspended turntables. Anyway, heavy clamps can still be used on massive rigid turntables, provided they also use a strong hi-torque motor. Indeed, any massive extra-weight can heavily stress the motor especially at start up.
Hope this helped somehow,
Lucio Cadeddu

Compatible cartridges
I read your article about this turntable (Garrard Zero 100), and I appreciate all you have written about it. I know it is not your job to answer questions like this, but if you have a minute, I would really appreciate it. My question has to do with replacing the cartridge, which was not working. I searched the web over and over trying to find a guide for compatible cartridges for this TT -- the old one was a Shure 55E. I had an extra Audio Technica EP301EP cartridge and I installed it on the turntable, and it works ... in the sense that sound now comes out of the device clearly. But I am not sure if this is going to damage the player and/or the records.
Do you know of any resources or references that list compatible cartridges for this player (or for record players in general)?
Thank you in advance for any help you can give,
Will - E-mail: william_york (at)

Dear Will,
this is a very frequently asked question. Standard cartridges and arms are ALWAYS compatible, in the sense that if the arm has a two-bolts pattern any standard cart may be installed on it. Only P-mount (without bolts) cartridges require P-mount compatible arms and/or adapters. Now, it seems you have installed a P-mount cartridge on your Zero 100 arm. Without bolts or adapters it is very strange you have done that. Actually, that Audiotechnica cart seems to include a standard-mount adapter, if you have used that one then it's OK. From an electrical point of view - roughly speaking - the cart has to be compatible with the phono input, not with the record player in itself.
Hope this helped somehow,
Lucio Cadeddu

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