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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October 2015

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Rega gear
Lucio,
I have always found Rega to be one of those companies which never produces a bad product. I have a Planet 2000 CD player and after I purchased it I quit looking for anything better. I have heard may of the products they have produced over the years and liked all of them. But to this day I only have the Planet 2000. I purchased most of the equipment for my "Big Rig" system from high-fi stores going out of business sales. A demo Jeff Rowland preamp for less than a third list, Proceed HBA2 at a discount and a pair of Sonus Faber Grand Piano Homes at a very good price. Needless to say, I don't have any upgrade bug with these pieces.
The system just plays music. I do dread the day the drive fails on the Planet. But I suppose I will go out and buy whatever CD player Rega is selling on that day. I really enjoy the site.
Thanks!
David - E-mail: dcavazos (at) austin.rr.com

LC
Dear David,
I completely agree with you! I've been using a 1st series Rega Planet in my secondary system for years, and enjoyed every moment spent with it. It was musical, reliable and user-friendly. A very nice piece of gear, indeed. And your Planet 2000 must be in the same league. Both players share the very same musical character with the Rega RS1 speakers I've just reviewed.
Thanks for the appreciation on our website.
Happy listening!
Lucio Cadeddu

The Coolboard (a TNT Sandblaster variant)
Simple and effective HIFI accessories have always fascinated me. Simple often means that you can build them with your own hands; effective means that you will probably hear a difference once you insert them in your HIFI system. A practical example is the TNT-Audio Sandblaster platform: it is made of sand and wood (readily available), it does not require professional skills for the assembly, and I am pretty sure it will do a good isolation job.
Anyway, I am not so keen on the use of sand indoors, particularly around my electronics (even if enclosed in plastic bags). So I started to think about a different dampening material, and an insane idea come out one day reading an old article about a Moss turntable (Eldorado). In this model the tonearm was not mounted on a plinth, but it was somehow floating on a blue viscous solution; an antifreeze liquid for car engines! If such a solution is effective between a tonearm and a turntable then it must be effective also between a music source and its shelf. While I was thinking about how to safely substitute the sand with the engine gel, one day the solution introduced itself along a supermarket aisle: please welcome the ice-pack!
They are sealed bags filled with a quite viscous blue gel. I bought 4 of them (they are very cheap), cleaned the writing off with ethanol, and I layed them on the table in a 2x2 manner: that was the dimension of the box I needed to perfectly contain the 4 bags.
Construction plans for the box depend on personal taste and on the area where you want to place the Coolboard; so I decided to buy a cheap pine wood board (in my case 50 x 40 cm., big enough to accomodate most of my electronics and good proportions if you want to place it onto a shelf). I considered few extra cm. in order to accomodate a thick frame all around the perimeter (the thickness should be a little more than the ice-pack one).
Then I cut 4 wooden slats for the frame, glued them onto the board, fixed the joints and imperfections with wood plaster, and treated all the surfaces with two layers of wood filler. Finally I polished with sandpaper and the box was ready to be varnished. As top surface I opted for a plate of thick glass (imho very cool with the blue ice-packs below it). It must be a little smaller than the aperture of the box, so that it will lay only on the ice-packs, without touching the frame. I think the few pictures attached are much clearer than my written text.
Please, don't ask me about my impressions: they are always so personal for tools like this one. Just try yourself: it's easy and cheap, and if you don't like the result you can keep the ice-packs in the freezer and use the box as a tray :-)
After the project had been completed I started searching the internet, because I couldn't believe that nobody had had the same idea. And in fact I found this link where the same principle has been exploited before in a more minimalistic way (useful if you want to perform some preliminary test).
Best regards,
Massimiliano - E-mail garre1968 (at) gmail.com
[Coolboard]
[Coolboard]
[Coolboard]
[Coolboard]

LC
Dear Massimiliano,
thanks for this extremely “cool” DIY design! And congratulations for the neat build and nice pics. Keep us updated on your future DIY ideas, you seem to have nice DIYing skills!
Lucio Cadeddu

Arcam A29 review
Hi Andy,
Please excuse me for disturbing you. I have read your review of the Arcam A19 amplifier on TNT-Audio and this amp seem very interesting. I'd like to know if you plan to review the biggr brother A29 (80 watt in class G). I'm willing to upgrade my old A32 (100 Watt 2002 model) with this new model A29 (80 watt in class G). I don't have any doubt that the new A29 will sound better then my old amplifier, but I don't know if in terms of tonal balance (bass, mid, treble) they are the same. In my system the Arcam 32 sounds good but a bit warm. If the new model sounds warmer than the previous series with less bass, probably the best choice would be to keep my old amplifier.
I don't have, for sure, the possibility of a audition.
Thank you!
Marco - E-mail: marcopanza (at) pro-software.it

AN
Hi Marco,
No current plans to review that model and if we did it would be with different loudspeakers, so very difficult to say what sort of difference a change of amplifier would make. I've heard the A29 it was pretty neutral but I haven't heard the A32.
In my experience amplifiers don't have much of a “sound” themselves unless you compare different technologies. If you want a cleaner, faster sound, then a digital amp might be better the Tripath based amps offer excellent value if your speakers are sensitive enough to deliver with a low output amp. But I'd look at your speakers first, and their positioning.
Try and avoid buying anything that you can't hear first or send back.
Hope that helps, good luck in your search.
Andy Norman

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