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 2010

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TNT Janus
I was wondering what kind of glue I should use in making my TNT Janus mat...
George - E-mail: bubbaluna (at)

Dear George,
normally I suggest to use self-adhesive tar and cork sheets, this way you don't need to apply any kind of glue. If glue becomes necessary, try using a spray glue. This can be easily found at any bricolage/DIY store. For example, 3M makes a very good multi-purpose spray glue. Try to apply it uniformly, otherwise your TT mat could result slightly unbalanced (not good for something to put on a turntable!)
Hope this helped,
Lucio Cadeddu

Question RE N3 integrated amp
Hi Nick: I read with much interest you earlier review of the original Miniwatt S1 amp and more recently the new Miniwatt N3. I have decided to order the N3 and specifically use it in tandem with a really wonderful sounding preamp, the Little Dot MKIII.
I wonder in your set up, when you have placed a pre-amp in line with the N3, which amp (the pre- or N3) do you control overall volume with, the pre-amp of the N3? and what is the volume setting on the remaining amp. I am curious as to what are ideal volume settings for such tandem pre-amp and amps combs when both have volume controls in order to derive the best sonic benefit and minimize distortion.
Tom - E-mail: thomas.chiles (at)

Hi Thomas,
It is preferable to have only a single pot in the system. That's why I took the pot out of the TubePre and replaced it with a simple voltage divider.
But given that won't be an option for you, I suggest that you have the pot in the pre amp set higher rather than lower and adjust the pot in the N3 accordingly.
In practice, you will probably find that you need the N3 set at near full volume anyway, and you will leave it alone and adjust over-all volume levels with the pre amp pot.
Much depends on the gain in your pre amp, and I see that it can be configured for different gain - 3,4,5 or 10. I would suggest starting off at the 5 setting and see if the system goes loud enough with the N3. If it isn't loud enough, go to a gain of 10 in the Little Dot.
I find it better to send a higher signal from a pre amp or buffer than a lower one.
As ever though, experimentation will be the key to getting the best performance.
Nick Whetstone

Interconnect cables
Hi Lucio, I noticed in your selected letters that a music listener was asking about cables for his NAD 3020 and B&W speakers. I have always used Mapleshade cables they are truly excellent sounding but because of their nonshielding they can be problematic.
Recently I discovered a new interconnect on the web site made by These cables seem to let all fregencies through with great high's but without harshness they are $200.00 a pair rca one meter and I use them with the Mapleshade speakers cables.
They seem to convey the music as well as the Mapleshade interconnects. As far as speakewrs cables go I made my own using wire from Mouser Electronics which consist of Belden-CDT part number 83009 002 red and 83009 010 black. This wire is quality copper with silver plating and teflon insulation, pricing is unknown because it changes constantly. It can be ordered in 100 ft or 1000ft rolls a 100ft roll should be sufficent. I twisted the red and black together making a 12ft pair of speaker cables that sound phenomenal especially bass which is fast and hard hitting. This wire should do extreeeeeeemly better than Monster Cable.
Best regards
Richard - E-mail: babydock (at)

Dear Richard,
thanks for your kind advices! Speaking of good and inexpensive DIY can even try our own recipes! :-)
Happy listening,
Lucio Cadeddu

NAD 3020
Good afternoon,
Greetings from a distance. Searching the net, and the immensity of the seas is sometimes really difficult to find the good and true treasures, I found your wonderful and inspiring article(1) about the NAD 3020. In advance thank you for your words. The reason for my post is to ask a few questions that maybe you respond in the article. ut if you do not mind I am going to do it again.

Thanks for your attention and muchas gracias for your amability.
Adrian - E-mail: adocumo (at)

Dear Adrian,
thanks for your kind words. You can use any cable you prefer with your NAD 3020, with banana connectors, if you wish a quick and safe way to plug/unplug speakers cables. Normally, I prefer to use cables of the same brand both for signal and speakers. Have a look at Supra or Monster Cable, these Companies make good cables in any price range. Choose Supra if you wish a more brillant and sparky presentation, use Monster if you're after a warmer tonal balance. Do not spend silly money on them, though.
Your second question is a more difficult one. Normally, if the amp works and doesn't produce noise or distortion (or smell!), there's nothing to worry about. You can have it inspected by some technician just in case it develops strange behaviours :-)
The 3020 is a very reliable amp but is pretty old, so you might need to replace the power supply caps sooner or later.
Happy listening,
Lucio Cadeddu

Harmony Design DA9
Dear Nick,
I recently purchased Harmony Design's DA9, strongly encouraged and inspired by your review of the product as well as the earlier review of your colleague Lucio. My Swedish friend helped me in the ordering process and I finally received it yesterday. I am very excited to join proud owners of DA9. Thank you for your detailed and humorous review. I appreciate it.
When I opened the package and looked at the product, however, I was dismayed. The hole for the USB connector made to DA9's case is not cut straight. The hole is bigger than the connector, thereby leaving some space between the connector and the hole. Please see attached photos (especially DA9-2 and 3.jpg) to understand what is described here. The hole in the case for USB connector is not cut straight. The hole is clearly bigger than the USB connector and so dust may go into the unit through the space.
Considering how solid the overall built is and how solidly other parts are equipped, I find this space quite disturbing. I therefore wrote to Mattias of Harmony Design. While he replied promptly, his reply was too technical and I did not understand what to do.
===(His reply)===
The hole cut size do not come into conflict to the standard SSEN600-65, that in this case is the same as CE standard, in the section about space between for exampel connectors and panels.
===(End of quote)===
I wrote him again with more specific questions, but he has not replied. Having become hopeless, I read your review again and found that the test unit might have had the similar issue. I saw one of the photos attached to the review and noticed that there was a photo of the back panel of DA9 in the review. According to that photo, the test unit also appeared to have some space between the hole and the USB connector.
Therefore, I would appreciate if you could advise me on the following points.

  1. Do you think that the space between the hole made to the case and the USB connector is a defect?
  2. What can I do to prevent dust from going into the case through this space?
Thank you very much for your kind attention and advice.
Kind Regards,
Shingo - E-mail: balirawon (at)

Hi Shingo,
I believe that the metal part of the USB socket must be isolated from the metal case so the aperture has to be a bit larger. Of course, a piece of plastic or rubber could be used for the gap but perhaps that adds to the expense and is not therefore considered necessary.
I also had a look at the rear of another USB DAC and that also has a similar sized gap between the USB socket and the casing. As regards dust, I would worry too much about that but if you want to, you could use something like insulating tape to cover the gap.
I hope that this helps, and puts your mind at rest.
Nick Whetstone

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