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Readers' Corner - November 2001

Please take a moment to review the How to use the Readers' Corner manual

Denon DCM-370 cheap upgrade tweak
To improve the sound of a Denon DCM-370, just unplug the three conductor cable running from the main circuit card to the little circuit card by the headphone jack. Some sort of ESD or overvoltage protection components for the headphone jack cause distortion even at the rear panel output of this CD player. Of course this mod disables the headphone jack, but this is easily reversible.

Of course, it seems possible to change or remove the headphone protection components, but this would be more difficult and perhaps would cause reliablilty problems. I'm not sure what their purpose is. If you want to get a quick idea of the sonic effect, use the Denon remote and set the output level down to -6. Then turn up the gain in the amplifier to get the same loudness. Removing the cable as described above is even more effective.
I don't know if this fix is valid for any other Denon CD players, but judging from criticisms of some of them, it would be worth a look in the case of recent models.
Charles Miller - E-mail: chasmill@postoffice.swbell.net

Dear Charles,
as usual, thanks for the tip! I'd like to remind that this kind of mods makes the warranty VOID. Do not forget to "tweak" your HiFi components only AFTER the warranty period has expired.
Lucio Cadeddu

Favourite Online Magazine :-)
Dear Lucio,
Warmest regards,
Vance Chiang - E-mail: vancechiang@yahoo.com

Dear Vance,
a warm heartfelt THANKS from the TNT-Audio staff!
Lucio Cadeddu

CD player on a Mission :-)
First of all, thanks for a great magazine. I very much appreciate the focus on older equipment of good quality. For many of us who want good sound reproduction, but do not have the financial ability to afford new "high end" equipment, TNT is a breath of fresh air.
Often, I find, people who do not have a great deal of money are not that welcome in high end audio shops. That is not the case at TNT. Here is my question.

I came across a used Mission CD player and DAC 5 for a reasonable price at a local shop. The equipment is in excellent condition. I auditioned it with a few CDs and I was very impressed with the musicality of the sound. I was told that it was very expensive when new (about $1,500 Canadian) for both units.
The problem is I cannot find any information on it. I know Mission and Cyrus companies, but the web does not seem to support the Mission CD player. The CD player itself has a massive Philips transport mechanism and the DAC is a Bitstream system, but that is all I know.
Have you ever heard of the Mission or know anything about it?
To help with further information, the CD player is a DAD 5 and the D/A converter is a DAC 5.
Thanks for your help!
Shaun Browne - E-mail: shbrowne@digitalmentorgroup.com

Dear Shaun,
thanks for the appreciation! Though not disregarding the luxurious field of hi-end audio our focus will always be on good quality/price ratio stuff. This also means older stuff...for example, though I'm not sure WHEN, I'd love to publish some review of good masterpieces of the past: the NAD 3120 amp, the Naim Nait (1st edition) and so on. This kind of equipment is damn cheap nowadays and still damn good sounding, even when compared with today's standards. So stay tuned!
With respect to the Mission DAD 5 and the DAC 5 I can't agree more: it is a very good sounding digital source, though it is 10 years old already. The DAD 5 was into the same league of the Rotel RCD 965 BX, for example, a very good budget performer those days. The DAC 5 was more or less in the same price range and sported a good Philips SAA 7350 DAC chipset. The combo, at least here in italy, was around 1,000 US $ (don't know how this translates into CAN $, anyway it wasn't very expensive) so DO NOT pay more than 500$ for the combo (500 only if in mint conditions, boxed, with manuals etc. otherwise ask to pay LESS).
Let me know,
Lucio Cadeddu

Advice on integrated amplifier (Marantz PM-30SE)
Dear editor,
Hi Lucio. I am a hifi beginner and I just have a very tight budget. I am thinking of to get the new old stock amplifier to cut down the budget. I wish to buy new Marantz PM-30se intergreted amplfier manufactured in 1991/1992 because I can get the cheap price for it. It is a 50+50 watt into 8 ohm amp and has no tone control.
Is the technology of amplifier in 1991 improved a lot compare to 2001 now? Do you encourage me to buy it if I can get a cheap price for it or should I pay more to get a new Rotel RA-931 mkII?
Thanks for your advice
Chan - E-mail: hcchan@aims.com.my

Dear Chan,
it depends on HOW cheap is it. I wouldn't pay more than 50-70 US $/Euro for that amp. Consider that good audiophile amps (3-4 years old) can be found at 100$, maybe less, have a look at USA or UK online stores to have an idea.
The Rotel 931 you cited is WAY BETTER than the old Marantz, you can't really compare them.
Hope this helps,
Lucio Cadeddu

Amp upgrading
Dear Mr. Geoff,
I've right now read your very interesting text in regard of hi-fi second-hand equipment and I wish to thank you about these informations you made available for all of us.
I bought quite recently a couple of second-hand Spendor sp1 which overwhelmed the previous Wharfedale 708, 2 ways, bookshelf, 15 years old.....; these 2 loudspeakers have been served by a Cyrus 2 + psx (15 years old.....), plus a Thorens td160 mk2 featuring a modest Shure m75: I'm in the process to be interested to buy a second-hand Musical Fidelity A1 (rated 600 u.s. $) which is availale over here in a shop close to me: would you be so kind to tell me if this amplifier will be suitable for the Spendor sp1, being you so informed in the past U.K. hi-fi items...?
Thanks in advance and kind regards,
Danilo Fabbroni - E-mail: danilof@harken.it

Hi Danilo,
Thanks for the mail. The A1 will drive the Spendors with no problems as long as the room isn't very large, however when new the A1 cost about 1/2 what the Cyrus/PSX would have done. Unless you find you don't like the slightly forward nature of the Cyrus then the A1 is at best a sideways move.
Personally a much better use of the money would be to upgrade the front end, either by using a V15 or replacing the whole turntable with something better - an LP12/ITTOK for example.
Hope that helps,
Geoff Husband

Tweaking Teac CD-P1820
Dear Lucio,
First, congratulations with this fantastic hifi happening that keeps going on year after year, remaining an independent and high level throughout.
I am the owner of the modest Teac CD-P1820, which seems similar to the CD-P1100 and CD-P1120 reviewed on TNT (the only differences in specifications I could find is that it has a 1- bit DAC and a 16-bit 8-times oversampling digital filter whereas the Teac CD-P1120 has 2 x 1-bit DAC and a 16-bit 2-times oversampling digital filter; I have no idea what this implies...).

All your and other TNT-authors' interesting stories about tweaking cd-players in general and especially the CD-P1100 have inspired me to invest some money (EUR 5...) and try out some of the easy tweaks you described. Adding some rubber (door stop) feet to the player was quite an improvement: more and better controlled bass and somewhat less harsh highs.

You're perhaps surprised by this last remark as you stated that "The high range of this player is a little bit on the tame side, cymbals and high-frequency percussions are less lively than one could expect from a budget player". My system tends to be overly bright (probably not the fault of the player) so I liked the improvement (My system further consists of Royd Squire loudspeakers, a Sonneteer Campion amplifier -- recommended for a review, an incredible amp, see http://www.sonneteer.com --, a home-brewed interlink by a professional, and Cat 5 speaker cable).

Lately I red your article on the TNT CDP Press, in essence a heavy weight on a mouse mat. I had already placed an old turntable on the cd-player so I decided to put a mouse mat in between. The differences were clear: a better and deeper stereo image, for instance choir music now better revealed choir members and soloists.
However the sound became somewhat overly bright and after a while my ears forced me to remove it again....
Nevertheless I am now very curious to possible improvements that I can make, especially to the top cover. Obviously, I like to improve the stereo image, but don't want to create an overly bright sound. I have found all sorts of possible products to use on TNT: self-adhesive cork, Noise Killer (ProDamping compound), blu-tac or tar sheets. Could you give me advice on what would best fit my needs?
Best regards,
Jurjen Iedema - E-mail: j.iedema@scp.nl

Dear Jurjen,
I'd try with something you can easily remove, just in case you don't like what you hear...so, forget the NoiseKiller and the tar sheets :-)
Cork and blue-tac are far easier to apply and remove, so go for 'em. Also, don't forget to change the mains cable and add a mains noise filter too (IEC socket with built-in filter), perhaps the most effective tweak for budget CD players.
Keep us updated!
Lucio Cadeddu

Turntable Reviews
I have read the first turntable review in your series with interest and overall applaud your approach. Last week I also read the first review (to my knowledge) of the new Orb (Hi-fi World).
As yet I have not heard this latest version but the improvements commented upon suggest a different result in terms of ranking with the Clearlight is possible. The improvements reported on are in the areas of base control and midrange spaciousness, clarity and detail. I suggest as part of your review process you should include this update which consists of DC motor and VC power supply.
Perhaps John Mitchell would be obliging with a loan. I feel from a readers point of view comparisons will not be valid in terms of relative value for money / sound quality for current Orb production.

I would tend to agree with your original perceptions regarding the RB900. It doesn't say much for this relatively expensive arm with upgraded cable that Clearlight upgrade it with Incognito wire. For better value for money how about the Origin Live moded RB250 (possibly with Incognito cable). O L claim this outperforms the RB900. Most reviewers who have compared rate it better than SME IV. Unfortunately it is not possible for the average enthusiast to compare in the UK without purchasing a number of arms to try on their prefered deck due to dealer/manufacturer politics.
Dealers that have supplied me with products, and the more competent ones at that, tend to criticise products they can't sell or do not work synergistically with their limited product range. You won't get a Rega dealer recommending Origin Live. They will try to sell you an RB600/RB900.

The Music Maker has garnered some great reviews recently. However it is not typical of the type of cartridge used on most high end turntable systems. I guess it is suited to low/med mass arms. The Cartridge Man sells the Hadcock arm so perhaps this would be the best match. I can see its advantages for those with valve preamps or where the cost of an expensive mc stepup can be saved. Having sung the praises of OL arms in terms of potential value I have ordered the arm upgrade for my RB300 (mounted on GyroDec) which is now avalilable as self fitting kit. If this is a big improvement I intend to "downgrade" to RB 250 and transfer the mod to this arm.
P D Clifford - E-mail: paulclf@freenetname.co.uk

Dear Mr Clifford,
Thanks for the mail and I'm glad that you enjoyed the first review.
I'm going to take your points one-by-one...

First I've been hassling Michell for 6 months about the VC and one arrived today. Despite promises it never made it in time for the first test and to be honest I can't blame Michell, after all they are selling everything they can make and serving journalists comes second to customers.
I'm not going to make snap judgements but suffice to say I shall be doing a short review of the VC and because my marking scheme is relative I will be able to adjust the Recovery rankings as necessary - I have the Recovery so the adjustments will be definitive. This is the joy of an Internet publication, it is infinitely superior to "tablets of stone"...

The Origin Live mods are highly applauded but Rega are very anti and remember the 900 was Clearlight's choice not mine. As the mods are pretty basic and available in various incarnations from at least two manufacturers it seems odd the Rega didn't do it themselves.
One reason might be that the Rega 250/300 are budget arms and though good do not have the quality of bearings of an SME. Adding weight will worsen this position particularly in relationship with high compliance cartridges which are the norm for budget arms.
However many people use the modded RB's with moving coils, where the benefits outweigh the disadvantages. For precisely this reason Len Gregory (who makes the Music Maker) has told me that the RB300 is unsuitable for his cartridges, the modded arms worse. As for rating it better than the SME IV I'm not sure, I'd like to see how they did back-to-back tests... However the RB900 certainly seemed special with the Music Maker and gave nothing away with the MC's.
I'm not so sure there is a "typical" cartridge in quality systems. Certainly lower compliance MC's seem to rule the high-end roost as far as reviewers are concerned, but there's a hell of a lot of top Grado's, V15's, Music Makers et al out there waving the high compliance flag - perhaps more than MC's in total?
It's particularly useful in an arm comparison because of it's need for low friction bearings (Lucio's Artemiz was perfect though designed for the Shiraz) and more people are turning to valve pre's. I could have used a couple of MC's but they would have skewed the results the other way, besides I had the Dynavectors to cover that base.
Len Gregory has organised a Hadcock (bless him) for use in future tests (alongside the SME - as if life wasn't complicated enough already...) as he said that the Music Maker adores unipivots, but then many audiophiles consider unipivots best for MC's too. It's this sort of question that the tests are designed ultimately to answer -
Good luck with the Gyro/300, it should sound wonderful - keep me posted
Geoff Husband

Speakers for Cyrus I
Dear friends,
I have one, (maybe an outdated question), but it is very important to me: could you please suggest me speakers for my Cyrus One amplifier?
My music interest is preferably blues, jazz and world music.
Room dimensions are 5.5 x 4.5 x 2.3 m. What minimum sensitivity will be required (if so?)?
Mirko Filipovic - E-mail: msf@eol.ca

Dear Mirko,
though it was originally intended for our Forum, since you have typed the wrong address :-), I'll reply to your request here.
Firstly, it mainly depends on how much money you can spend. Secondly, do you want a bookshelf speaker or a floorstanding one? That makes a huge difference. As for sensitivity, I'd not go for anything lower than 87 db/w/m.
Try to search something second-hand, browse our Buying Guide and let us know.
Lucio Cadeddu

Music Maker cartridge
As a longtime user of this cartridge and in a very revealing system I also find that this cartridge has sound that's world class and on many recordings can hear the master tape stop and start (not in its self a required quality but proof of detail ) also squeaking drum kit pedals on 1970s rock !
The best way to sum up is that with well regarded mc cartridges it appears that the "picture" is illuminated by many spotlights rather than the Music Makers "picture" being illuminated by the most beautifuly even natural light.
However I find your comment regarding the packaging a bit surplus since it serves to transport the cartidge to its owner and once fitted it will not be required also unless you were expecting the Koetsu hand made wood box to try to impress your friends with, you will realise that this product is about music reproduction and not flash packaging!
Andy Davison - E-mail: AndrewDavison5@aol.com

Dear Andy,
it is the first time a reader complains about a very positive review :-) You're never satisfied, uh?
I agree the Music Maker is an excellent performer (that's exactly how I rated it!), still the package can be improved. For example, the Italian import version is housed into a cool box for the same price. It adds a lot to the coolness factor without destroying the stellar quality/price ratio.
Lucio Cadeddu

Massive attack
Lucio: thanks for your review of the Klipsch RF-3. I am trying to part with my Wharfedale em-97s to make room for them. I am sure I will notice quite a difference. You recommended some music in that review and I took the bait.
I bought Massive Attack's "Mezzanine" cd and it is now one of my favorite cds. There is not a lot in the trip-hop genre that is as good. I am still looking for a copy of the Morcheeba's "Who can you trust". I bought their other cds and they were immediately borrowed by friends.

Prodigy was too much of an adult cd - kind of a no no to have the 7 years olds listening to "smack my bitch around.....etc."

You may enjoy the quality of the cd, Solace by Mandalay. The lead singer has a voice that challenges the Klipsch horns and I recommend it to you, in turn.
Thanks for your review and recommendations.
All the best,
Bill Taylor - E-mail: pmtcsac@qwest.net

Dear Bill,
if you enjoyed Mezzanine, you're going to fall in love with "Protection", another lovely album from Massive Attack (and another KILLER recording, let me tell ya). I'm glad you've found my Music recommendations so useful, good Music is what we're all searching for :-)
While you're there, add "Audio" by Blue Man Group to your wish-list. This is another not-to-miss gem.
Lucio Cadeddu

...having difficult time
I just discovered your website, and I just wanted to say hello.
I am having a difficult time accepting the notion that your e-magazine has no agenda other than sharing in the passion of audio and music.
Jerry Slavata - E-mail: Jerry.Slavata@exactacorp.com

Dear Jerry,
you're not alone. I've been trying to explain this to my wife for, say, 6 years :-)
TNT-Audio is a HUGE income eater :-) though I try to justify all the money (and time) spent on it as a saving on paper mag subscriptions. So far, it worked :-))))
Keep reading!
Lucio Cadeddu

Turntable Shootout 1
When my interest in HiFi started about 15 years ago, the decision was clear: CD! Practically all CD players received raving reviews at the time, with a narrow ranking whilst those for turntables were, as one would expect, more or less in proportion to list price. Music magazines compared recordings published on vinyl and CD, and typically the CD version was said to have better sound quality. Same with CD re-issues of old recordings.
The old CD versus vinyl debate is still going on. More interesting, current reviews of CD players appear very sophisitcated, resulting in a wider spaced ranking which, "big surprise", is more or less in proportion to list price.

Regarding the Linn CD versus vinyl shootout I wonder which software was used: "audiophile" LPs from 1950/60s recordings, current "audiophile" LPs or "commercial", 2nd hand LPs from the 1970/80s against "audiophile" CD re-issues, DDD CDs or cheap and dirty "commercial" CD re-iusses? What I am saying is that there is a great deal of variation in quality. And what about LPs made from "low resolution" digital recordings?

I remember a CD versus vinyl comparison carried out be the German "Stereoplay" at least ten years ago. The analog signal from a "high-end" turntable (Linn LP12 I presume) was fed through a PCM A/D processor and then back through a D/A box. Basically the audience was unable to differentiate between direct listening to the turntable and the digital bypass.

I can't say whether the result was correct, but at least the idea behind this set-up was good: No one was able to identify the analog source from the casual "clicks" and then make a biased evaluation. And the question to be answered was whether the digital bypass would be noticeable in terms of distortion or limited resolution.
Hans-Peter - E-mail: Hans-Peter.Lammerich@t-online.de

Hi Hans-Peter,
Thanks for the mail, it's a thorny topic I know. The reason the Linn comparison was so interesting was that it was done by a company selling what they claim to be the best CD player in the world. In the past week I've had conversations with two companies designers/founders who produce high-end turntables and high-end CD players, both independently told me they made CD players for the money and LP spinners for love.
Just off to unpack the 45kgs of acrylic that is this months test turntable...
Geoff Husband

Turntable shootout 2
Believe it or not, I picked up a used LP 12 circa 1976, no mods even the plinth board (now warped and off level)and all the wiring is original, it has a Klyne MC pickup system, and old Japanese tonearm!!!!

No one over here to do any tuning to it, so I set her up on a jig and just eyeballed and squared up everything to the best of my mechanical abilities AND YOU KNOW WHAT!!!!

THEY ALL LOVE IT - everyone listening, cannot understand how such a thing (looks like any other turning table!!!) can be better sounding, nicer to listen to than my Arcam 7 CD player!@@##$%$
65% has got to represent the truth, in these times????
Hewley Ching - E-mail: hewy@aei.ca

Hi Hewly,
The tragedy is that these sort of second hand turntables are now so cheap and will last forever and yet people insist on upgrading their CD player rather than giving the old LP a chance, still their loss is our gain :-)
Geoff Husband

Turntable shootout 3
Hello Geoff,
I'm looking forward to your turntable reviews. I wonder if you have time to answer a couple of questions. I have an twenty year old Connoisseur kit deck with an equally old Hadcock unipivot arm. The pivot can be damped (with silicone I think) and I don't believe I've ever tried to do it. What is the effect of such damping and do you recommend it? And second, would it improve things to mount the arm which I think is still well thought of on a modern table?
Brian Rabinowicz - E-mail: rabinowicz@sympatico.ca

Hi Brian,
The turntable is OK, the arm excellent on a modern table, especially for high compliance cartridges such as Grado's and V15's. Damping is easy, just take off the arm top and put a few (the amount will alter the amount of damping) of pure synthetic motor oil into the bearing cup - simple. Let me know what you think...
Geoff Husband

DIY resources
I hope you can help me. I wish to make up some interconnects and mains leads but I am having difficulty finding materials. Can you reccomend a USA source for materials. I live in Jensen Beach, Florida. Any help you can give is greatly appreciated.
Alan - E-mail: w.a.lake@worldnet.att.net

Hiya Alan,
I sure can. When it comes to interconnects go for the DIY silver with teflon insulation. Surplus Sales of Nebraska has a really good choice of different styles and gauge thickness. It's cheap too, less than $.25 per foot for a single strand. I'm not sure if they have a minimum order. Here's the link Surplus Sales

Then all you need are some decent male RCA's. There are several schools of thought when it comes to RCA's. The first school is "less is best". In other words, use an RCA that doesn't contain much metal but is still of quality construction. Radio Shack (believe it or not) sells a decent (not great) RCA at their online website. Log on to Radio Shack.com then search for part number 910-0866 (black matte housing) or part number 910-0865 (pewter housing). These sell for about $3.99 each. Parts Express also sells a decent locking RCA connector, part number 091-1270, for $10.90 for a set of 4 (2 red, 2 black). Speaking of Parts Express, send them an email and ask them to send you one of their cataloges. It has TON's of stuff in there for the DIY audiophile. It's my favorite book :-)

Now if you want to spend some serious money (getting to the other school of thought), buy some WBT's. Here we are talking $99 (+/-) for a set of four. They are gorgeous, machined from Free Range (think chickens :-), Oxygen Free Copper. No doubt they sound different but I can't attest to the price / performance ratio. If you are curious, here's the link. WBT

My suggestion, try the less expensive RCA's first. Then if you like what you hear and you can swing it, go for the WBT's.

When it comes to the mains leads, Home Depot carries industrial grade male plugs for about $9.00 each. Parts Express carries them also (part number 110-402, $12.95 each for hospital grade). The IEC males can be purchased at Radio Shack online, maybe even at their stores (part number 910-3429).

Cable, thats could be a tough one. If you are thinking about a mains cable like the Merlino, you need a shielded tri. The tri is easy, shielding is tough. The tri can be found at Parts Express (part number 100-577) for 25 feet of 12/3 for $11.60. Or you can also get his at Home Depot. For the shielded wire you will have to go to an electrical contractors supply house and order one of the Beldon (or equal) shielded tri's.

Ferrite Cores, Radio Shack online again (part number 900-7042 for the 1/4 ID, $3.25 per pair or part number 900-7043 for the 1/2" ID at $6.04 per pair).

Hope that helps. Happy Tweaking!!

Best Regards,
Scott Faller

Jolida 302 B OR 502B?
Hi, Mr. Ferré: I have read your review on Jolida 302B and 502B. Although you have made a clear-cut analysis of them along with your expertise suggestions, yet since I am ENTIRELY a perfect-stranger with any tubes amplifier and just thought consulting you hoping that I can be sure as which ONE I should get?
My system is: (1) CDplayer - Ah,Tjoeb 4000 (2 tubes in it) (2) spkr (please see the attached specs), (3) IC- TruthLink-HarmonicTech,(4) spkr cable - Ultraconductor (JPS Labs), single run, since spkr is nonbiwirable, spkr cable is to be up grade in few weeks with Analysis Plus Oval 9.
The type of music that I enjoy is claSSICAL-Jazz-easy listening-original soundtracts from the movies. My sonic taste is for warm, full-bodied, well extended bass, meaty-vocal, while bright and lean sounding is very much distasteful to me.
I would be most grateful if you would give me your expertised opinion and suggestion as to whether J302B or 502B is a better match for my system? I am most anxious to hear from you and Thanks a lot
Simon - E-mail: hpd60819@m2.is.net.tw

Hello Simon,
Thank you for your inquiry. After reviewing the information that you provided, I would recommend two completely different scenarios.

  1. Buy a 502B, but substitute the 6550 tubes (standard issue) with the optional KT-88 tubes. You will then have the midrange purity and sweetness of the EL-34 tubes which are used with the 302B, but with much better bottom end.
    The downside of this scenario, as I mentioned in my review, is the fact that KT-88's are much more fragile than the industrial grade 6550. Therefore, you may find yourself swapping out bad tubes from time to time. I would say that if a KT-88 makes it 45 days, you have a good tube and the amp should work flawlessly for years.
  2. If this doesn't appeal to you and you would like "plug and play" (after setup of course), then get the 302B. My thinking here is that you mentioned that you like warm, extended bass, and while the 302B is not quite as good as the 502B, the 302B does have a superior midrange and high end, which in my opinion is more important overall.
    Also, the fact that the music you enjoy does not include Disco or Rock, I feel you would be quite happy with a 302B. Please do upgrade the EL-34's to the Svetlana (Russian) tubes over the standard issue Chinese tubes normally supplied. You can always keep the Chinese tubes as backups.
You may want to ask you delaer for a home audition period, so that you may try the amp in you system and in your listening room.

Please keep in touch, and let me know not only which one you bought, but how you are enjoying your music once it arrives.
Nels Ferré

New amps
Hi! I own a pair of Tannoy 613 dated 1992 and have no intention of changing them. I like the dynamics and the imaging of these units and I am sure going to live with them for the next couple of years to come.
I am very very satisfied with its performance. I am in the process of upgrading my amp and CD player and was wondering if you could help me by recommending some that would be a perfect match.
My budget is around UK 1000 pounds for the amp and UK500 pounds for the CD. Cabling I am not so concerned as like you guys I DIY them based on my own logics.
Sree - E-mail: sbalasu@misd0s2.mbf.com.my

Dear Sree,
I assume you mean an integrated amplifier. If so, try to listen to the new Naim Nait 5 or to the Densen (Beat 100 or DM 10). ElectroCompaniet could be another choice. This is for solid state. As for tubes, you can give a try to Jolida and Antique Sound Labs (see reviews here on TNT-Audio). The choice of a new CD player is far easier: try listening to models from Arcam, Rotel, NAD, Marantz...
Do not forget to have a look at the second-hand market...
Lucio Cadeddu

Greetings from the USA
Dear Lucio,
I was searching the Internet for any information on the Garrard Zero 100 turntable and I came upon your web site with the wonderful words about the Zero 100.

I bought my Zero 100 new in 1973, when you weren't even listening to music yet, and have loved it ever since. My biggest problem with it is it's lack of contact with the styli that has happened over the years. I've cleaned the contacts, replaced wires, bought a new styli, and everything else you can imagine to fix my problem but I seem to have a terrible 60 Hz hum. It is very annoying. I collect LP's and 45 RPM's from most any era and want to listen to them using my Zero 100 but can't seem to find my problem. Any help would be appreciated!

I also hope this translates into Italian so you can read it.

I look forward to hearing from a fellow Garrard lover and record collector.
Tom Groff - E-mail: GroffTC@aol.com

Dear Tom,
there's no need to translate into Italian, I can read (and eventually write ;-) ) English.
The hum you hear is caused - for sure - by a poor ground contact. You need to check the arm cables once again, then follow them INTO the turntable chassis, where they connect to the internal RCA plugs. Eventually, add a ground wire: run a thin wire from the arm pillar to the ground screw of your amplifier. If this doesn't cure the problem, try to connect a metallic part of the chassis instead. Of course, disconnect the mains BEFORE any attempt.
You also wrote you changed the stylus, this does nothing to hum. Try replacing the whole cartridge, instead.
Hope this helps,
Lucio Cadeddu

TNT FFRC improvement suggested
Hello all,
just wanted to drop a note on one of the possible improvements to FFRC.
Initially I made bi-wire FFRC following TNT instructions. I used Alcatel 24AWG CAT 5e cable. The result was very satisfying, especially so in treble department. Bass did not get extended in the way treble was but it became quick and clean. More into listening, I however noticed the instruments drifting across the sound stage, not much but enough to get you distracted from music and pay more than usual attention to the stage.

Reading more stuff on the Internet, I concluded that it may have been due to the high inductance of the LF conductors. As per Original FFRC design, 2 runs of CAT 5 are used for LF, one to positive post and one to negative.
I would assume, having both wires in twisted pair carrying the same signal eliminate the inductance reduction effect of a twisted pair.
So, lets call it FFRC Mk II - the same 3 runs of CAT 5, braided in TNT-TTS fashion. 1 run for HF- 4 white wires twisted together as negative conductor, 4 colored ones for positive. 2 remaining runs are still used for LF but now you twist 8 white wires together for negative and 8 colored ones for positive. Here you are!

The result is as expected - the bass has more weight and solidity, remaining quick and clean. Sound stage is stable as it should be. I really recommend this improvement to everyone attempting FFRC - you get the both the simplicity of FFRC and quality of TNT TripleT.

PS. Setup used: Marantz CD6000, Audioquest Topaz 2 (the weak link), Pioneer A-502R and Tannoy MX 3.

Dmitry Kovalev - E-mail: dmitry_kovalev@hp.com

Dear Dmitry,
as usual, thanks for the tip! As soon as you can, buy a new audiophile amplifier as it will make a hell of a difference, compared to cables.
Lucio Cadeddu

Dear Lucio,
Sorry to bother you again. I want your guidance on an issue regarding the Stereo pre amps. I could get hold of a Rotel pre amp (RC-972) which has tone control and I like the piece.
I understand that the stereo preamps do not have any coaxial or optical input. When we play CDs through analogue RCA output, we may have some distortion. How do audiophiles cope with this situation?
When we use AV preamps, even though there are digital outputs, the sound may not be as clean as that of a dedicated stereo preamp. Am I right? Please excuse me if the question is very silly!
Thanks and Regards
Gireesh - E-mail: Gireesh@irckenya.org

Dear Gireesh,
coaxial (digital) inputs are needed only if you intend to use the internal DAC of your preamp. This is NOT recommended, though, as the DAC inside your CD player is "normally" better than the internal DAC of an A/V preamp/receiver.
So, connect your source (CD/DVD) using the analogue outputs to the analogue RCA inputs of your preamp/receiver (there will be NO distortion, trust me :-)).
Also, consider to buy the Rotel 972, it is a damn good preamp for the money.
Lucio Cadeddu

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