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May 2010 issue - page 2

Article Index
May 2010 issue
page 2
page 3
page 4
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SONY CENTRED

I particularly enjoyed January’s Olde Worlde feature on the Sony vintage amp and tuner combo, which has rekindled my interest in getting a vintage receiver for a non-serious bedroom system. I’m talking a silver fronted, wood panelled, yellow backlit beast, the kind that John Thaw would have stubbed a fag out on in an episode of The Sweeney!

 

Having looked into this further, I’ve realised how good some of these are and how much some manufacturers put into them which now make them a great way to spend the kind of money that would otherwise get you a breathless supermarket kitchen ‘mini system’. Most are laden with features including preamp outs, headphone sockets and decent phono stages. Some even have surround sound (in ‘quadraphonic’ form). So thanks again for a great feature that’s led me down this road. I feel a vintage Rotel, Technics or Marantz coming on - roll on the next audio jumble!

 

Secondly, I noted in Neville Roberts review of the Isokinetik turntable he was using a Denon DL103 with a Rega RB300 arm, which he described as ‘at home’. I have the same arm and have considered this combo myself, but was always advised Rega arms don’t have the right mass for the 103 range of cartridges. Did this work because of the ISOcartridge stabilisation upgrade? If so I’ll reconsider this in future.

Andrew Simpson

 

Hi Andrew - well, we at Hi-Fi World are just boys who can't say 'no', to hi-fi in all its weird and wonderful forms, that is! The Sony system was very sweet; not really serious hardcore hi-fi of course, but spot on for a second system or in your den. Right now, the sense is that it's as though portable audio or compact systems never existed before the iPod, but go to places such as audiojumbles and you soon realise there was a whole world of 'compact lifestyle' equipment around decades ago. Some of it, such as the Sonys, was built so well that it works well even now. That's not something, I'm afraid, you can say about much of today's 'iDockStation' type stuff. DP

 

A Rega RB300 with its 10gms effective mass will take a Denon DL103 quite happily. Arm/cartridge resonance lies around 10Hz on vertical modulation, which is spot on. As you may know we do not rate the Denon especially highly in absolute terms but it is popular and a snip at £100. Otherwise, get a Goldring 1012 or 1022GX I would suggest. NK

 

VALHALLA

Would you please give me some advice on upgrading my turntable? I have a LP12 Valhalla; Nirvana with a RB300 arm and an Ortofon 2M Black cartridge. My system is Quad 99 with 909 amplifier. The phono stage is Musical Fidelity X- LP2 and X- PSU. My 'speakers are Monitor Audio Gold Reference. Speaker cable is Chord Odyssey.

 

I am considering putting on a Project 9cc tonearm, as is fitted on the recently introduced Linn LP12 Majik. Alternatively, I could put on a second hand rewired RB300 by Incognito which I have seen advertised in your excellent magazine? Would it help to upgrade my phono amplifier?

I listen to mainly classical and big band and vocalists such as Frank Sinatra. Your expertise would be most welcome.

Howard Carter

 

naim_aro

 

Ideal for the Linn LP12 turntable, a Naim Aro unipivot arm.

 

Hi Howard - well, you've said you want to upgrade your turntable, but haven't specified a budget and then gone straight into tonearms. If I were you, assuming you've got a Sondek of over 15 or so years old, then get your deck Cirkus'd. This Linn mod package brings real improvements in clarity and dynamics, whilst retaining the deck's naturally sweet and musical sound. While you're at it, I'd be tempted to get my RB300 modded by Origin Live or Audio Origami. This should squeeze the best from the 2M Black, and you can then save up for a proper tonearm change; the Pro-ject is at best a 'side-grade' rather than an upgrade to your Rega! My ultimate arm for the LP12 would be Naim's ARO, but Linn's Ekos is superb. The former is a lover, the latter a fighter. You'd need to A-B these two when you're ready to buy. DP

 

HARD TIMES

The Naim HDX (£4,500) has had a good press but are there any other HD players worth considering at about £1,000 or less?

Nick Miller Jones

 

ripnas

 

A great solution at £875, says David, the RipNAS Ripserver digital store and music player.

 

The Naim is a superb, one-box, high end, hard disk music player which works very well indeed. Under this there are various one box models all the way down to the Brennan JB7 at around £399, but none that to my ears warrant being part of a serious hi-fi system. At this end of the market, the best way to do it is via networked separates. A Logitech Transporter is a high end network music player at around £1,000 and this will play out via any computer with uPnP software. Alternatively, Linn's Sneaky DS is a great start point on the network music ladder, and works very effectively at its circa £1,000 price. If you're not happy filling your computer(s) up with your tunes, then the Ripserver RipNAS is a great solution at £875; it's effectively a high end digital transport with its own hard disk drive built in. These two would be my choice, along with an iPod Touch to act as a fancy remote control for it! DP

 

SPEAK NO EVIL

You may remember that I have written a couple of times asking your thoughts about the plans I had concerning plinth, arm, cartridge, etc. on the Garrard 401 I got for free.

 

Due to the rather expensive misfortunes of failed diesel injectors in my car, all my hard earned spare cash had to be spent elsewhere other than an arm and cartridge for my deck, and I was left wondering what to do when I remembered an RB300 I had bought years ago for another project that never got off the ground.

 

Having built the plywood plinth, I dug the arm out and discovered that I would need to raise the height of the arm somehow, and buy a cartridge. After some research, I purchased an Origin Live sliding VTA adjuster (not only to get the arm to the right height, but also to allow an upgrade to one of the OL arms in time) and a Benz Micro MC20 E2 L cartridge (have you ever reviewed this cartridge? I think it’s a hidden gem).

I put everything together, started listening to records and oh bliss, oh joy! Right from the first sound I realised I’d got a combination that was really good. I’ve changed the weight on the arm to an IsoWeight, and now that everything has some playing time under its belt, the sound is very open, balanced and natural.

 

The result is I’m now listening to LP rather than CD as my main source. As a classical singer, I especially enjoy listening to choral music as it really has a feel and quality about it that CD doesn’t quite get.

 

Although happy with what I’ve got, it’s obvious that it could be bettered (the sound can get a little congested at times) and I wonder for the future which would be the better way to upgrade - to upgrade the cartridge first and then the arm, or upgrade the arm first and then the cartridge? I’d appreciate your thoughts.

 

Now that the Garrard is up and running, my foray into DIY hi-fi has caused a bug to bite. I’ve enjoyed making the plinth for the 401 and I’m now going to build a new rack for my system, after which I’m going to build myself a pair of speakers. Obviously there are the World Design and the Wilmslow Audio speaker kits available (and others, I expect, but I haven’t started looking seriously yet) but how can a buyer know what they are going to get in terms of ease of build, sound quality of finished product, etc?

 

As a magazine that caters for people who enjoy the more esoteric aspects of hi-fi, could there be interest in articles concerning the building of different speaker kits and then a group test of these speakers, taking into consideration cost, ease of build, quality of finish, sound and comparison to one of the Hi-Fi World favourite commercial speakers?

Phil Cowling

ls_test_equipment

 

Developing a loudspeaker demands an accurate measuring microphone, like the Bruel & Kjaer used at Hi-Fi World. More...

 

Er, yes Phil, but we have discussed this thorny topic before, after a reader enquired as to whether we could be seen to be independent whilst having an association with World Design. We could review kits, but not our own. And to be truthful, a lot of kit loudspeakers we have heard have been a little ropey, mainly because kit designers commonly have few technical facilities, where World Design and Hi-Fi World both have advanced loudspeaker test facilities. So we prefer to steer clear. There is certainly a need here, but I am not confident it will be fulfilled because it takes a lot of knowledge, test equipment, skill and labour to design, prototype, test and develop kit loudspeakers but there is little profit in it. NK



 
Comments (1)
Speaker matching with Lumley ST70
1Saturday, 02 July 2011 09:06
Mike Ford
The Output transformers on The Lumley ST70 have 4 ohm taps but these are not wired to the output terminals as standard. A competent technician should be able to alter the connections to 4 ohms.

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