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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November 2015

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Voltage conversion and turntable restoring
Hi Lucio,
I have a Marantz PM66 ki sig that I brought to the US when I moved over 3 years ago from the UK. I have tried to work out a way of converting the voltage, but a local hifi repair guy couldn't do it. I have used a transformer, but it was from Amazon and affected the sound badly. I'm wondering if you have any suggestions on transformers that would not negatively affect the sound?
I also have a Philips GA407 turntable that I picked up locally. It sounded great and didn't cost much, however I have never set up a vintage turntable and need some guidance on how best to do it.
By the way, my main system uses fidelizer and roon for streaming Tidal. Sounds amazing.
Thanks,
Bevan - E-mail: court.bevan (at) gmail.com

LC
Dear Bevan,
I'm pretty sure any good technician should be able to modify the outputs of the power transformer of your Marantz in order to let it work well with the different voltage. Normally, power transformers are the same for 110 and 220 Volt versions, only the secondary outputs differ. There should be a way to detect the right connections. Otherwise you can look for a serious step-up transformer of appropriate power. For example, this one seen on Ebay looks promising. It is both a step-up and a step-down transformer. Even this one seems nice.
As for the Philips GA407 (nice pick!) I'm afraid I'm not too familiar with it, but basically all turntables work the same way, so general restoring rules apply. Have a look at my articles on restoring a Garrard Zero 100, for example. They could help a little bit. Sometimes even YouTube helps a little, see for example this video on restoring a Philips GA427, that should be very similar to yours.

Hope this helped a little bit!
Lucio Cadeddu

Jplay set-up
Hello and thanks for your review of JPlay: I'd like to use it, but I have issues with connecting to the "server" with Win7. Is there a page where I can find the best settings of the Windows OS / WLAN, etc (maybe also the settings of win8 might work for win7) for playing Music with Jplay? What is the better interfaxce for paying music with Jplay integration:; Foobar, JRiver or Windows Media Player?? Thanks for your help and greetings from Italy!
Arthur - E-mail: acit (at) kultura.it

LC
Hi Arthur,
Setting up something like JPlay is quite dependant on the computer that you are using. For me it works well with Foobar. As regards your settings, the best place to ask is on the JPlay forums.
I hope that you can find your answers there, but generally you only have to install JPlay/Foobar, and then run Foobar to play music (after choosing JPlay as your output option in preferences).
Regards,
Nick Whetstone

Triangle Titus
Dear Lucio,
I'm interested in the Triangle Titus and read your review about the Titus 202. Do you have any idea how the Titus 202 compares to the earlier (Titus E) and the most recent models (Titus Ex/Titus EZ)?
Best regards,
Stefan - E-mail: stefan_klose (at) gmx.de

LC
Dear Stefan,
the previous models were different one from the other mainly because of the tweeters. There weren't fundamental changes in sound bwteen the XS and the 202, for example. I'm not familiar with the new version of the Titus but I'm pretty sure the original character of the small French bookshelf has been preserved through all the revisions. Either way, you can't go wrong. These are truly outstanding loudspeakers, once you fall in love with their tonal balance.
Hope this helped,
Lucio Cadeddu

Rega RS1
[John's vintage system]
My system comprises of a vintage NAD 3020 amp along with a vintage JVC XL-Z1050 CD player. Would this speaker be a good match or could you suggest any monitor speaker in this price range or less? My listening tastes are SOUL, R&B, JAZZ with CLAPTON and EAGLES mixed in.
Thank you for any suggestions.
John - E-mail: jtsowers62 (at) gmail.com

LC
Dear John,
considering your system and your musical taste I'd rate the Rega RS1 as one of the best choices you can make. If your budget is lower, try finding a second-hand pair, it should be easy.
Otherwise, try finding some compact bookshelf from Tannoy or KEF, while browsing the second-hand market. The NAD 3020 would be most than happy to drive these speakers.
Keep us updated!
Lucio Cadeddu

Are Transcriptors are back in business?
Hi Mark,
I wanted to contact you about the article you wrote in 2009, Exclusive: Transcriptors are back in business, regarding the resurgence of Transcriptors under Michael Gammon. I think you may need to revise or remove this article as Mr Gammon appears to be taking money from people and not delivering the goods.

Four weeks ago I ordered some spares for my Hydraulic Reference and paid by bank transfer. I have still not received these goods despite being told they would be sent. I have now asked for my money back but Mr Gammon chooses to ignore my request.

Searching the audio forums I have found this behaviour is, unfortunately, not an isolated incident. Others have also had severe problems getting satisfactory customer service from him with posts dating back as far as 2011 on the Vinyl Engine online forum. See thread “Transcriptors Limited Problems”.

Many people have posted that they either lost their money or had to wait excessive times and make complaints to the police before getting the items they ordered. Some are still waiting like me. It was through reading your article that I made contact with Transcriptors via the website and ordered some spare parts. I think you need to remove the article or post a caution that the Transcriptors company has issues supplying goods.
Sincerely yours,
Paul - E-mail: paul (at) paulradford.com

MW
Hi Paul,
Thank you for bringing this to my attention. Unfortunately you are correct in your observation that this is not an isolated incident. I agree that we must decide what action to take regarding my article, and it is probably worth adding a note to the top of the article, rather than remove it altogether. Previously I have forwarded such correspondence to Michael Gammon with a covering note.

I have tried to access the Transcriptors website, but I believe it is currently off line. Michael Gammon's email address is michael.gammon (at) yahoo.co.uk and his address was provided in my original article.

I would suggest readers do not use bank transfer to pay for goods and services (although I too did just that buying a used Naim server recently). Using an intermediary like a credit card (directly or via PayPal or WorldPay) is supposed to add a layer of protection to the purchaser. If you are a UK resident a personal visit to a trader's address (many small audio companies work from home) is often a good way to conduct business personally.

Whenever you believe that you have had an inadequate response from a trader, if you live in England or Wales, the small claims court (actually a misnomer) is the procedure to follow. It can be done with a Money Claim Online. If you live in Scotland the tribunal procedure is simpler. final letter before action had the desired effect.

Incidentally, with the surname Radford, have you ever considered building valve (tube) amplifiers?

Good luck getting the parts you want, which would be a better outcome than a refund. There are few parts on Transcriptors turntables that are beyond the capabilities of a light engineering workshop.
Mark, The Old Scribe

Re: Behringer DEQ2496
Hi Nick,
thanks a lot for your quick reply. I have tried to read the manual, but it sounds a bit complicated for me. I'm interested only in improving the quality of sound in my room, because I think that this is the real problem I have with my hi-fi chain. So, even if many people don't like equalizers, I'd like to try an automatic device which is able to measure frequency by frequency the response of the room and fix the acoustic problem I have modifying the signal from the source.
The problem is that I have a vacuum tube integrated amplifier, so I can't connect anything between the preamp and the power amp. Can you explain brefly if in this case I can still use this interesting device? I know I need an additional microphone also, but it is not clear for me where to connect the DEQ2496 :-)
You can think to my hi-fi in a very simple way: cd player (or turnable) -> integrated vacuum tube amplifier -> speakers
Thanks a lot,
Andrea - E-mail: toroandrea (at) hotmail.com

NW
Hi Andrea,
The DEQ 2496 would go between your source, eg CDP, turntable, and your amplifier. So an integrated amplifier is not a problem. Unfortunately, the DEQ 2496 does require quite a bit of learning for it to produce its benefits in a hi-fi system. I have written a guide to using one on my own web site: www.decdun.me.uk/deq2496.html.
You can see that it is not quite as simple as plugging in a microphone, and arriving at 'great' sound with no further effort.
Again, I hope that this is useful.
Regards,
Nick Whetstone

DIY swinging shelves
Hi Lucio,
in the last years my hifi system has been a continuous work in progress: electronics and speakers coming and going, cable replacements, new furniture, with speakers and sofa changing position every week...
Finally this year I have reached quite a stable set up, so I decided to improve the organisational aspect. I needed a new hifi rack. I made a list of the requirements: ability to support all the electronics (6), compact dimensions (the room is small), a place below it where I could "hide" the active subwoofer, shelf well isolated from environmental vibrations, and an acceptable WAF.

I immediately realised that six electronics + one subwoofer are a lot of things to fit together, so I thought that DIY was almost mandatory. Unfortunately my skills and tools are limited and the only material I could work with was wood. But I still wanted something original, different from the usual schemes (thick shelves, 3/4 huge legs, cone feet, etc.).
I eventually found myself exploring shelf isolation possibilities and an old idea came to my mind: steel wires used to suspend the rack shelves. I wanted to apply the same idea used in U-vola speakers on my rack. I tried to find similar ideas on the internet, but I couldn't find anything close to it among the DIY projects. Finally I found a company (Stillpoints) which produces massive and beautiful racks, where shelves are attached to thick steel wires; the only problem is the cost... Well, in the end this means a lot of new territories to explore.

In order to speed up the realisation (and since I don't have a dedicated woodwork space in my apartment) I started looking for solid wood tables, with a thick top, where I could hang a number of shelves. A good solution came from the IKEA catalogue where I noticed the Rekarne table. The positive characteristics are: solid pine wood structure (even if the thickness of the top that you see in the picture is in part due to a peripheral reinforcement frame), 112x61cm. is a good dimensional ratio (if you want to stack the electronics along two columns), removable bottom shelf, finish (basically it is raw and you can varnish it according to your personal taste), moderate price.

So I bought it and, once delivered to my home, I started to play with ruler, pencil and paper in order to find how to properly modify it. Finally I decided to remove the bottom shelf (it is simply resting on the frame running around the 4 legs), so I would have enough space below the top for the subwoofer (sitting on the floor and surrounded by the frame) and for 3 shelves, one above the sub and two by its side. Then I bought the three pine wood shelves (44x40cm. enough for most commercial electronics) in a wood market and all the material to suspend them in a hardware shop: steel wire (1mm section is enough to support several tens of Kgs as they told me), wire locking system (used to create loops at each end of the wires, there exist different kinds of them depending where you buy them), hook screws and a wire cutter (ask the employee which one is best).

At this point I checked at what level the three shelves had to be hung (depending on electronicís height and ventilation need) and then I calculated the length of all the wires (4 for each shelf). Here precision is mandatory: there is not a single protocol, I just found one that provided consistent results and I applied it always in the same manner. Also when cutting the wires I had to take into account an extra length for the loops at both ends of the suspending cable. Also never be too shy when tightening the locking system: I initially missed this point and on a pair of cables I noted the wire slipping through the locking system. So I ran through all of them for a second time with more certainty and now I feel my electronics are safer.

Then I prepared the holes for the hooks with a pillar drill and I screwed the hooks on the 4 corners of the shelves and on the bottom side of the table top: 4 on the left side and 4 on the right one. The position of these last hooks mirrors the one of the shelves, but in my opinion itís even better if their rectangular pattern is slightly larger than the one of the shelves. Since the shelves are not very large I decided to screw the hooks on their bottom side, so that the entire top side can be used for the electronics. Some of the pictures will help you in understanding what I mean.

Finally I could hang the shelves (this can sometimes be tricky and a friend or a comprehensive wife can be helpful ;-) ) and lay the electronics on them. In the pictures you can see the completed table with and without the electronics. My personal impression is that it is a little crowded assembly, but it is mainly due to the presence of the subwoofer; without it the aesthetic result would be better. In my opinion the use of steel wires is both an elegant and effective solution for the isolation of hifi electronics. Moreover, since it is hard to find rack projects using this principle, DIYers have huge opportunities to create something original.
Best regards,
Massimiliano - E-mail: garre1968 (at) gmail.com

[Rack HiFi e mensole sospese]
[Rack HiFi sospeso]
[Rack HiFi sospeso]

LC
Dear Massimiliano, once again thanks a lot for sharing your ideas and beautiful designs with us! I'd have preferred a lighter structure but the suspended shelves are just great!
Please keep us updated on your new projects and happy listening and DIYing.
Lucio Cadeddu

Behringer DEQ2496
Hi Nick,
sorry to bother you. I have read your review about the Prophecy Audio Speakers, many thanks for sharing that. I'm interested in using the Behringer DEQ2496 in my hi-fi chain, but I don't understand how it works. Does it work only with audio coming from a DAC, or you can use it also with a normal cd player or a turnable?
Thanks a lot. Regards,
Andrea - E-mail: toroandrea (at) hotmail.com

NW
Hi Andrea,
The DEQ2496 can work with either digital or analogue inputs, so you can use it with almost anything that you wish, provided that you have the right connectors. Here is a link to the manual (in English). It appears to be available in French and Spanish, but not in Italian.
I hope that this helps,
Regards,
Nick Whetstone

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