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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March 2007

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Hol Ikea table
Hi Mark
I happened upon your article on the Ikea Hol table. I have made a few home brew bass traps but alas they turned out too homely for the living room. I may just go out and buy a couple of these Hol tables...the concept makes perfect sense to me as the bass traps do the same thing, let sound in yet not let sound out. Well, you know what I mean.
One of these will fit nicely behind my left speaker that is shoved in the corner and generates too much mid bass energy..And my wife knits and sews alot and leaves the yarn and stuff laying around...this will be her present to make the house more tidy and to store her material. Wow, I am so nice to her. Thanks for the heads up!!
Matt - E-mail: m.shugart (at)

Hi Matt,
This seems like a perfect application of the Hol, BUT WHY IS YOUR LEFT SPEAKER IN THE CORNER? AAAARGH!
Unless you happen to have a pair of corner horns I can think of no reason to put a speaker anywhere near a corner. There are plenty of speakers that shelve the bass response so that they can be used against a wall, and many of them are superb (I've been impressed by models from Naim and Allison, years ago) but corners are very bad places for speakers. The corner is the speaker equivalent of the doghouse.
It is not just the bass-mid reinforcement problem, but also early reflections destroying the soundstage and timing. If you really are stuck with corner placement you could build your own DIY designs to minimise the effects of the position, by controlling directivity and bass response. This would be a very interesting project. I am preparing a series of speaker building articles designed to lead readers slowly through their own design & construction project.
Until then, I hope the Hol tables work well for you. I didn't know Ikea had penetrated California. Ikea have achieved a Scandinavian global domination their Viking forbears would have envied!
Happy listening,
Mark Wheeler

Turntable tweaks that work
Hi Lucio,
many thanks for your tweaking article about the Garrard Zero sb100. It helped me a lot tweaking mine. A neighbour gave one to me in decent conditions - just for free, he needed some space for more B&O stuff - lucky me... :-) . Mine by the way has not a wooden cabinet but one made of a black kind of fibre-plastic with aluminum facing around. Looks better and more stable than the usual wood stuff I know from this time, and has even some kind of plastic spikes instead of the usual feet - which didn't keep me from mounting decent spikes, of course placed on some tnt-audio-stone-blocks, maybe the coolest tweak ever... ;-)
Initially I had to repair the turntable since the motor got stuck - so mine was not THAT reliable as it's supposed to be? Not a big problem, only the grease had dried. The motor is easy to repair, there's nothing you can do wrong. What I didn't know was that synchronous motors get really hot during operation. So first I chose a grease that was not heat resistant enough - the first record I played after the repair slowed suddenly down after 20 minutes... luckily the bearings seem to be of good quality, this didn't do any harm to them. So I took better grease - heat resistant up to 130°c.
All the other things I did according to your instructions, except the mains cable - had a better idea, following your notes how important free flow for the subchassis is more consequently: I took the old mains cable (having installed the rfi-filter I had no use for it any longer anyway), pulled off the outer insulation and used the remaining 3 wires to connect the player to the mains.
Besides that, having a mains cable so close to a signal cable makes me feel uncomfortable. I really don't want the fields from a mains cable to interfere in any way with an audio signal. Maybe I am a bit irrational about that. So I pulled off the shield of an antenna cable, thread the mains wires through, soldered one end of the shield to the ground connector of the rfi-filter - voila!
Shielded, but still more flexible than any usual mains cable. I don't know if that helps that much and if the shielding of an antenna cable is sufficient for a mains connection, if not at least it makes me happy having done that and even 30% less influence from the mains is better than nothing, isn't it... ;-) ??
I don't know if that makes that much difference and much sense considering the electric field of the motor, but well, one can't care about anything and maybe some day I have an idea how to deal with that, in spite of good ground connection i still hear some 50-hz-hum at full volume....!??
At last I replaced the belt and replaced the old Empire pickup with its worn needle by an Audio Technica at110e - I didn't fancy for looking for a new needle for the old Empire...
The cool thing is: I don't have high-quality hifi-gear. The Garrard is maybe the best piece I have. My amplifier is a vintage saba 9120 receiver, which I like in spite of the awful design, but my loudspeakers are Philips stack stuff from the 1980's, the light'n plastic kind of. BUT: even with this equipment it makes such a difference! Amazing! first tweak ever and such a success!
Well, now I'm really looking forward to getting a T-amp, maybe using the saba as phono-preamp and tuner (why not, since the t-amp is that small...), and buying a good quality loudspeaker construction set, saving money by building the housing by myself to get some decent loudspeakers for little money.
Cool website you have, if there hadn't been the Garrard tweak, over which I stepped by googling for some informations about my turntable, I never would have found you. And happy I am that i did.
Thanks for all the efforts you put into this, it's really cool that guys like you are around who are crazy enough for such things, you do a lot for a lot of people!
Blessings, Helmut - E-mail: helmut.resch (at)

Dear Helmut,
thanks for the precious feedaback. Get a T-Amp and build a pair of T-Speakers...and then let us know :-)
You'll be amazed.
Lucio Cadeddu

TNT StoneBlocks
Greetings: This is from an 86 &11/12st year old music lover. I too have no musical talent, so the closest I came was to open a music shop....selling LP's and Hi-Fi was,and is my life.Go back a long, long way..over a thousand 78's (all jazz) and well over a thousand LP's that are mostly jazz, but a lot of classical too.
Now for the reason of this letter.....TNT mentioned STONE BLOCKS to stabilize turntables, CD players.....and DrSholl is a good source. Well, have been unable to find any (chiropractor think I'm nuts, pharmacies look at me askance! I have found PUMICE that the same as STONE BLOCKS?
Any help would be appreciated
Max - E-mail: mbortnic (at)

Dear Max,
you can use pumice stone as well. The material should be quite stiff, light and have a cristalline structure. Try 'em and let us now.
Hope this helped,
Lucio Cadeddu

Cleaning vinyl recipe
Dear Lucio and TNT readers,
The TNT forum has recently asked questions on LP cleaning. I have added my input there and I would like TNT to express some comments. There are two main schools of opinion on cleaning fluids - the alcoholics and the non-alcoholics. No I don't means this personally!
On environmental grounds and also on the advice of a professional chemist friend I don't want to play around with alcohol or solvents. I don't claim any magic results with my DIY mixture but I will tell you that it is EFFECTIVE and CHEAP and the ingredients are EASY TO OBTAIN.
I also don't claim to have done years of research with hundreds of different formula to find the best cleaner. I started with some Googling and arrived at the American Library of Congress information on preservation and cleaning of records; vinyl and shellac, cassettes, tapes etc. and their recommendation is also to keep things alcohol-free. So I thought if its good enough for the ALC its good enough for me.
So here's my mixture with thanks and acknowledgment to the ALC: for a total quantity of a little less than half a liter - you'll need more than this of course to clean a lot of records, but just multiply the quantity of each ingredient accordingly.

  1. Regular supermarket concentrated washing-up liquid: 2,5 ml
  2. Ammonia liquor industrial grade, 37% concentration: 5 ml. (Can be bought at drug stores or just use a cleaner with high ammonia content, as long as it doesn't contain a lot of other "nasties")
  3. Alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride. The name sounds terrifying but it has a synonym which is Bensalkonklorid and this available from paint suppliers as a mould remover. Its called "Grönfri" here in Sweden but check out the website to see if they sell it in other countries or maybe you'll find an equivilent where you live. You'll only need 0,5 ml if pure, or about 50 ml if you buy the mould remover which is diluted 90% with water.
  4. De-natured water, that's distilled water and you don't need laboratory grade as ordinary car battery water is OK at 99% pure 400 ml
I won't explain what all the ingredients do, most readers I am sure will already know. I have had excellent results in cleaning hundreds of vinyl records in my Knosti record cleaning machine which Geoff Husband reviewed in 2004 - a great little, and CHEAP, machine.
Good luck all LP fans!
Michael - E-mail: michael.shanahan (at)

Dear Michael,
thanks for the recipe! We published several of these many years ago on this article but almost all made use of alcohol. Yours sounds fresh and safe. I'll let TNT-Audio readers test it and eventually report their findings directly to you or to us, on this Corner.
Thanks for the feedback!
Lucio Cadeddu

Garrard Zero 100
I have search this site and throughout the internet for the dimensions, relative to the removable mounting plate (carrier?), for stylus alignment. I understand that the Zero 100 was originally supplied with a clear plastic alignment jig, but I have not been able to find one, even on eBay. I could build one myself, if I had the actual dimention from the inside of the tabs to the stylus.
Rick - E-mail: whitakerrick (at)

Dear Rick,
if I understand well your request, the "mounting plate" measures 4 cm x 2 cm but also has a slightly larger "nose" and a narrower tail, where the cart wires are connected to.
As for cartridge alignment, since the Zero 100 has a zero tracking error arm :-), you just need to install the cart parallel to the mounting plate sides and that's all. In any case, you can use any two-null points alignment tool you can find on the Internet, just to verify your arm is really a "zero tracking error" one :-)
Hope this helped,
Lucio Cadeddu

Decca/Focal horror story
Hi there, I came across your webpages while searching for data and availability of Focal 10N501s. I have a pair of speakers with Decca ribbon tweeters & Focal 10N501 bass/mid, they sound superficially similar to yours; drive unit wise anyway. I have, unfortunatly, got a problem with mine.
They were being stored at a friends house while I moved, the 'friend' rigged them up to a crappy 30WPC amp and managed to pop one of the Focals. Also blew one of the ribbons but they are easier to replace. The Focal unit it now whisper quiet and scratches slightly when its pushed in.
Seems to me that the coil overheated and melted the resin. Focal deny they sell the 10N501 any longer and no Focal dealer I've spoken to (quite a number...) can help.
I wonder if you know either a way or company who will rewind the coils or whether you guys might have a spare for sale? I know its a long shot but you can imagine what its like to have a pair of speakers like that and be relegated to a pair of Mordaunt-Short bookshelf speakers.
They sound nice but its like the difference between chalk and cheese.
Thanks for your time,
JH - E-mail: kingmammoth (at)

Hello JH (sounds almost like a line from the Fall & Rise of Reginald Perrin),
Where did you get these speakers? To my knowledge (and that of a couple of people in the speaker component supply business) the only time that particular coupling was made, was by me! But others may have heard them at a show and done similar I suppose.
I, very reluctantly, sold mine during a period of financial crisis in 1993 or 94, after the birth of my first child. I sold them with some splendid outboard passive crossovers in abs boxes, to a chap in Long Eaton, who I've tried to contact since as I still have the active crossovers, which he had hoped to upgrade to later. He began by driving them with a Sonic Link amp (probably 30W too) and it was a fine combination. Rubbing voice-coils are usually caused by physical damage, when a coil burns out it usually does it completely.
Focal stopped supplying the DIY market, and the OEM market (except Wilson & one or two existing customers) a couple of years ago. The Focal 10N511 is a direct drop-in replacement. Malcolm Jones at Falcon Electroacoustics might be able to help. He supplied the original bass units and he also helped me design the passive crossovers. I vaguely recall that I've been asked a similar question before!
Blowing Ribbons are an occupational hazard. I do not know who supplies them now. Do your cabinets have radiused baffle-edges, Australian walnut veneers, a port that may have started life as an asbestos cement steam-pipe and a matrix of hardwood moulding braces?
Kind regards,
Mark Wheeler

Best headphones
Hi, I am planning to buy some headphones. Could tell me what are the best headphones under £100. I like a lot of different types of music from nice ballads to hip hop to rock.
Matthew - E-mail: matthalliday2001 (at)

Dear Matthew,
first of all, there doesn't exist such a thing you can call "the best headphone". Think about it: with such a product on the market, all the competitors would cease to exist.
That said, try to audition: Grado SR-80 (or SR-60), Sennheiser HD 595, Koss PRO4AAT (prices may vary in your Country).
Also, in case you don't already have one, plan to buy a good headphone amp. That would make a big difference.
Hope this helped,
Lucio Cadeddu

NAD 3020
Dear Mr. Cadeddu,
I have just read your comments about her Majesty the NAD 3020 !!!. Amazing, really amazing. I didn't know your page in the web, and I enjoyed it as much as listening my own 3020.
Yes, I'm a lucky music lover because I could get one of them here in Argentina on 1994, put away in the original box for a friend of mine. I remember that I couldn't believe what he was selling me for a few dollars. Only the user manual was missing. Nowadays, we listen to it as pre amp stage and the power unit is an excellent Hafler 9270. Also discontinued.
So I always tell my son, who appreciates good music well listened to, "this equipment is not on sale, it must be yours for life".
Thanks a lot for having written what you wrote.
Marcelo - E-mail: marceloguerrero (at)

Dear Marcelo,
I'm glad you've found my review useful and entertaining. The NAD 3020 truly deserves its place in the HiFi Hall of Fame! That said, one shouldn't forget that better integrated amplifiers have been designed and released, after the 3020. Low power aside, for example, the T-Amp is a much more refined and classy performer.
Happy listening!
Lucio Cadeddu

Jolida JD100A
Are there any current reviews of the above mentioned player? I am just about to pull the trigger on one of these units. I have a Plinnius 9100, a pair of Totem Hawks, a Rega P-5 w/ a Shelter 501 Mk II cartridge, Musical Surrondings Phonomena phono stage. The JD 100 A will provide a CD source for my system. Your early reviews were great, but is the player still highly regarded?
Thanks for your help.
Ted - E-mail: EWallover (at)

Dear Ted,
our review of the Jolida JD-100A was published 5 years ago. Things don't change so quickly, despite what HiFi Companies might say. They do need to release a new product every year or so, it's a marketing strategy that - most of the times - has nothing to do with quality upgrade. Sometimes Companies are forced to release a new product simply because certain components (chips, for example) are no longer available or because they find something equivalent that costs less ;-)
That said, buy the Jolida with confidence, it's still a great player. Of course, if you can, try to audition it inside your system.
Hope this helped,
Lucio Cadeddu

Mapleshade Records
Dear Arvind,
thanks a lot for your article: Interview with Pierre Sprey, Mapleshade Records.
I appreciate it!
Best regards,
Domenico - E-mail: il-dome (at)

Dear Domenico,
thanks for your kind words. If you liked that article you may also like the review of his Tao Ruspoli Flamenco album (posted last week), and I am planning several more album reviews from Mapleshade and WaterLily.
BTW, you would be proud to know, Tao is also of Italian origin.
Arvind Kohli

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