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Readers' Corner - October 2000

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About Manticore Mantra T/T
Let me introduce myself first. I'm Stavros, from Greece, and I study in the U.K., doing the "Precision Engineering" course in Cranfield University (my ambition is to work for a turntable company or better still, to build my own turntables).
Right, the message I sent you was asking if you have any information about the Manticore company (anyone I could get in touch with, now that the company is closed) and especially for the Mantra/RB250 turnatable/arm.
I bought one last March, when I was studying in Manchester, but it didn't come with any papers at all.
The thing is that I am now at Cranfield University, only a few kilometers away from where Manticore used to be, and I was hoping I could get in touch with Mr.Hewett, the "Manticore guy" you interviewed a couple of years ago. I even looked in the phone book of the area for him, but I couldn't find anything!
I'm afraid that if I don't find anything about the turntable before I go back to Greece, I will never find anything ever, so I'm desperate.

I would like to thank you in advance and congratulate you for the TNT site and the effort you guys put to it (I especially liked the DIY section).

PS: Did you know my University had built a turntable, the "Cranfield Rock"? I only found out a couple of days ago, accidentally, so I'll try to send you any information I get.
Stavros Kleidarias - E-mail: S.Kleidarias.2000@Cranfield.ac.uk

Dear Stavros,
Somehow I've lost contact with Doug Hewett. I've heard rumors about Doug working for another HiFi Company...but that's all I know. So hope is that someone in contact with him could lend you a hand.
Otherwise any other owner of your turntable could be useful...
Thanks for the appreciation!
Lucio Cadeddu

Auric Illuminator galore :-)
I've tried it and it is simply marvellous. It is the equivalent of a significant component upgrade. The effect is most profound when used with a heaphone and headphone amplifier.
Phil - E-mail: Philkavi@aol.com

Dear Phil,
thanks for the precious feedback. I'm using it on my CDs (it takes a long time to treat them all :-) and suggesting it to friends. I invite all the skeptic guys to give it a try. If it doesn't work, it still can be considered an excellent CD cleaner.
Lucio Cadeddu

IPL loudspeakers
Dear Sir,
After reading your article on another IPL speaker and seeing you have built 7 others I wondered if you had any words of wisdom concerning the M3tl as I am at present building one, I have slightly modified mine similar to the mod in the article mounting the crossovers on a small stand having the same dimensions as the cabinets but being 5 inches high these will be spiked and the cabinets slightly raised from the stands with blue tack.
Also I was wondering if you could give me any advice on improving the sound of my systemdek which has an O/live mod RB300 arm and Rega Elyse cartridge (the amps Audiolab 8000a by the way).
I wondered if you knew where i might get an acrylic platter from as yet I have drawn a blank I am also thinking of getting a ol dc motor kit is this a good move lastly speaker cable wopt should I BE LOOKING AT I'm thinking of the DNM biwire at 6.95 per meter also I would like to upgrade my cartridge to something like a goldring 1030 or the equivalent dmn reson.
Many thanx
Paul Absalom

Hi Paul,
Well I built a pair of M3TL's a while back (though with the Morel Tweeter) and they are now residing with Steve Davey (steve@tnt-audio.com) being driven by a heavily modified Naim active system and sound awesome.
My comments re the S3MTL's will generally apply though they are about 3dbl more efficient and have a little more base at the very bottom, however on sound quality alone I'd find it hard to say which I prefer, they are very similar.
Both happily take on speakers in the 1500 pound region. Your smaller stand will reduce the amount of floor re-enforcement for the bass. The Audiolabs should handle them perfectly.
The DC kit will improve things and I thought Origin did a platter? Cable? build FFRC, the IPL's love it, mine is plaited, this'll save you a few quid to put to your cartridge. Buy the best you can afford.
At present the AToc9 is very cheap and the 8000a has a decent MC stage. The smooth delivery of the IPL's should balance the rest of the system all of which is inclined to be a bit bright and hard. Then save up for a record cleaner (or buy that before anything else...).
Keep us posted as to how you get on.
Geoff Husband

Loudspeakers for rock Music
I become an owner of Marantz PM-68 and cd-marantz 67 MkII. What kind of loudspeaker would you recommend for me? I mean of course a model of which firm. Mainly, I listen to hard rock music.
Piotr Syrewicz - E-mail: ps@pgnig.com.pl

Hi Piotr,
I listen to a lot of "heavy" rock too. To really work well you want something very dynamic with a real punch in the bass, things like tonal purity being less important :-) The best I've ever heard are the IPL kits (see review on TNT). The S3mtl's cost about 300 pounds in kit form. They are fast and very deep, make drums explode! Trouble is you need someone to put them together or DIY, but at the moment they are as good as anything up to 1500 pounds that I have heard.
Cerwin-Vega speakers are also very dynamic and punchy though a little unsubtle for other music - easy to drive too.

Otherwise it may be worth investigation a pair of good punchy stand mounts (original AE1 second-hand) plus a good active subwoofer such as a Rel (not one of those for home cinema), this will be tuneable to your room...
Hope this helps, does rather depend on your room and budget. Regards
Geoff Husband

High sensivity loudspeakers
Dear Geoff,
first of all please forgive me if I write in English but I have studied French fifteen years ago and neither at those years my skill was good enough, only when I visited he north of Africa seems that my language skill was appreciated enough and even not completely.
I write to you to have more information about the cabasse loudspeakers, I have read your review of the model sloop 500 that sound to me a very positive one, unfortunately here in Italy there will be an importer of these products only in December so I have to wait a bit to listen them.
I would to know if you have ever tested or even listened the iroise 500, as far as the declared sensibility end either from your review I think that my 35watts tube amplifier (klimo kent) should be enough to drive the loudspeakers in the correct ways, I mainly listen classical and acoustic rock and sometimes jazz and electronic music, what is your opinion about.
I'm even asking you as an expert of English hi-fi product an opinion about the tannoy prestige series (the smaller ones stirling and turnberry) are the tannoy coaxial system close as musical results to the cabasse or they are really different, and obviously which is your opinion about.
At last I'm asking your opinion about the audio-note loudspeakers, this company have a really strange commercial philosophy apparently the same speakers that cost ten times more that the entry level, have you ever tested one? How they sound? I arranged an appointment to listen these speakers next month I will be glad to receive an opinion from you.
Best regards
Gianbattista Paroletti

I've not heard the Tannoys or Audio Note, sorry. The Cabasses are beautifully built, very hi-tech and 35 watts will raise the roof! But they have a "character" which is mid-forward. Lots of people like this and with a smooth valve amp it can be spectacular, but if you like more "laid back" sound look elsewhere. Speakers more than any other item have character and you need to listen!
Have you thought about second-hand? You're in Klipsh corner horn, Tannoy Westminster, Kef 107 territory if you want?
Hope that helps a little...
Geoff Husband

Merlino DIY mains cable
Hello Lucio,
With interest I have read your article about the Merlino-cable. What I don't understand is why you use ferrite clamps while the cable is shielded. The cable cannot absorb electromagnetic interference because it is shielded.
So why do you use the ferrite clamps, that absorb electromagnetic interference, for this cable?
I am looking forward to your answer and I already want to thank you for that!
Best regards,
Ferry Bakker - E-mail: farbak@wanadoo.nl

Dear Ferry,
the reason is that shielding is never enough :-)
Actually, shielding isn't a perfect barrier against EMI and RFI so you need to put something more. You may have noticed that there are several industrial cables (not HiFi!!!) that use even up to 3 shielding barriers. Ferrite clamps can help, then.
Also, be warned that trying to prevent interferences may easily become an overkill, in the sense that, epecially with interconnects, too much anti-RFI/EMI stuff can kill the sound.
Hope this helps,
Lucio Cadeddu

Harman Kardon & JBL
Dear Lucio,
I happened to visit your site recently and became your fan. Thanks a million for helping out people like me who are relatively new to HI Fi.
I do not know whether you have time to respond to my mail.
I was a Sony fan all through the years and have an LBT seperate Hi fi system for a long time. All went well till I listened to Harman Kardon Amplifiers and JBL speakers and they made quite a lot of difference!! My present set up is:

I have also one NUMARK EX 1500 Graphic equaliser (I know audiophiles hate equalisers) and I find that there is an inprovement in the sound stage when I connect through EX 1500.
Is the above set up capable of giving a real Hi fi experience?
Can you offer any tips as to how to get the most out of this set up? I am in Nairobi and do not have really good Hi Fi dealers. I could not find any review for any of these products in your site.
Please advise me,
Best Regards,
Gireesh K - E-mail: Gireesh@irckenya.org

Dear Gireesh,
thanks for your sincere appreciation! You set-up may benefit from small inexpensive tweaks as those we offer here on TNT-Audio: DIY cables, damping devices etc. Then, in my opinion, it will GREATLY benefit from getting rid of that equalizer :-) I don't know what happens when you connect it to your system, but for sure it can't be for good :-)
Harman Kardon stuff does offer great value for human prices, as you may read in our recent review of the Harman Kardon HK 680 amplifier.
If that JBL sound suits your musical taste, I see no problem to keep those speakers into your system.
Hope this helps,
Lucio Cadeddu

Tweakings for an Audio Analogue Maestro CD player
I just read your review of the Maestro CD player. A very good and careful job of reporting.
I have been using the Maestro here in California for about five months now. I have been MOST pleased with the results. We did make two simple changes which were beneficial. First we made a special power cord with reversed polarity to correct for US use. Second, we replaced the diodes in the three full wave bridge rectifiers with fast/soft recovery diodes. Total cost, about $15.
There is one more to mention. This one pertains to burn in. For any CD player, it helps to burn it in with a greater load than is normally presented to it by your preamp.
In the case of the Maestro, we used two 2000 ohm resister, one each across the RCA output for each channel. Then ran it on repeat for three days straight.

On the two CD players where I have done this, the bass is noticeably better. There are several subtler aspects which improve as well.
For the first CD player, I used a 5k resister. I am not an engineer, and so it may be prudent to check the maximum load tolerable by your own CD player.
We don't want to burn out the unit by stressing it too much. Where safe, the improvements are well worth the effort. The first CD player had thousands of hours on it already. When I then did the 5k ohm trick on it, the improvements were very evident.

Our system includes a very unusual and exceptionally detailed single ended tube amp by AUDIOPAX. It has full extension on both ends and measures, in many respects, like a very high quality push pull amp. Both the amp and matching speakers are make by AUDIOPAX (http://audiopax.com). We have paid a great deal of attention to details, aimed at attaining VERY high quality music.
The Maestro, with the slight modifications, has proven to be up to the challenge.
Thank you for your good work. Sincerely
Gordon Burkhart-Schultz - E-mail: burkhartschultz2@llnl.gov

Dear Gordon,
thanks for appreciating the Audio Analogue Maestro CD player review. And thanks a lot for the useful tweaks!!!
As for Audiopax stuff, we'd be glad to test these SET amps and speakers, now it's even easier since we have our Richard George who's located in California, not far from L.A. Contact him anytime.
Stay in touch!
Lucio Cadeddu

SF Concertino or Diapason Micra?
Hi there!
I just read both of your reviews about Sonus Faber Concertino and Diapason Micra II CE (what's this "CE" anyway?) and was wondering, in general, WHICH ONE IS BETTER?
I own a pair of Concertinos at the moment (with a Musical Fidelity A2 amp and Marantz cd67se cd player) and am very happy, but, could I do better with Micras?
My room is 3.60 x 3.60 m.
Thank you
Dalibor Bauernfrajnd - E-mail: mmx181@email.hinet.hr

Dear Dalibor,
the Micra and the Concertino are two very different animals. The Micra is something designed to be a reference minimonitor, though the Concertino was designed to offer SF quality to the masses, an easy speaker, after all. My personal preference goes to the Micra's (actually they cost much more than the SF Concertino's) but, as I wrote in the review, they are NOT an easy load for weak amplifiers. The A2 doesn't seem to me the best partner for these babies. They need watts and CURRENT. Lots of. The Micra's are terribly demanding.
So I'd suggest you to stay with the Concertino's.
As for CE, it stands for European Certification on security. The Micra CE have Speakon connectors (since no live wire is allowed, under CE) and a rigid front grid to prevent touching the speakers. As you may know, banana connectors/posts are illegal for CE.
Lucio Cadeddu

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