May 2010 issue - page 5

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I have found Steven Green’s articles about the imposition of poor quality DAB radio on us very interesting and informative. I am amazed and concerned that the government, the BBC, and BBC Trust can be allowed to get away with dumping inferior DAB on us and shutting down FM transmissions. It seems that the government and the BBC care nothing about quality these days; quantity and getting their own way seem to be their only concerns, as shown by the reduction in quality of the BBC HD television transmissions on Freesat - thanks for that, Steven, I had heard nothing about it until I read your article.  How disgusting, a HD transmission is supposed to be high definition, but it seems that TV is now suffering the same fate as radio; quality is being sacrificed, in this case so that Freesat is not noticeably better than Freeview HD when that starts, and to hell with viewers and listeners. These people are public servants spending our tax revenues, for gods sake! How dare they do this?!  They must be extremely arrogant and egotistical.


The BBC Trust in particular needs to have it’s remit reconsidered, as it is obviously shirking it’s duty to protect the customer.  The Trust seems to be siding entirely with the BBC and the pro-DAB fraternity and ignoring the needs and wishes of the listener and viewer. I wrote to the Trust about DAB quality and received the same fob off as others have. They seem determined to look the other way. I can’t see that petitions will have any effect, the government will just ignore them. Number 10’s response to a petition to stop the implementation of DAB radio says it all; “they think they are right”!

What gets up my nose is that they say that “the 9 million people who have bought DAB radios must have their investment protected” – what about the hundreds of millions of FM radios that people have bought! It’s all right to scrap all those, is it, wasting resources and money.  Typical of politicians, “I know what’s best for you, and I’m right, so you’ll get what I decide to give you”.  It’s no wonder that so few people bother to vote for these self righteous, pompous oafs, who promise 'this and that' when they want our votes, but do whatever they like once they are in power.  And power is what it’s all about, for them.


It is disgusting that at a time when we are being told we will have to pay more taxes and suffer cuts in public spending in order to put right the situation caused by the banks, the government and the BBC are forcing people to scrap millions of serviceable FM radios and tuners (including components like Magnum Dynalab high end tuners costing thousands) in favour of an ill thought out digital (that magic word they seem to equate to ‘superior’) system that is already obsolete, and spending millions of pounds of public money implementing it.


Not very ‘green’ either is it? (sorry, Steven, no pun intended!).  And when FM is switched off the FM tuner in my car will fall silent – I have no intention of being forced to install an inferior DAB tuner accessory. Classic FM take note – when you stop transmitting on FM, I will stop listening.

If FM is to be replaced, I expect it to be replaced by a vastly superior system, not just in terms of available channels and facilities, but in sound quality too. But what can we do to stop this debacle?

Rod Theobald



As you say, if FM is to be replaced it should be with something as good or better. Televisions get better and so do still cameras and video cameras. But audio expectations were slaughtered by AV (Dolby Digital), and the internet, MP3 and itunes didn't raise expectations either. Perhaps we can prevent radio sliding downward too.


The BBC seem to have become fad driven, completely forgetting what lovely quality and adequate variety VHF/FM has to offer. In selecting DAB they became transfixed by the need for 'digital', even when digital wasn't better. I suspect adoption of one of the newer transmission systems within Europe, likely by Germany, may conclude their daft DAB escapade. NK




Lord Donoughue is as annoyed as Rod Theobald about VHF switch off. Like millions of others, his (Revox) tuner will fall silent for no good reason. He tells us he has tabled a question in the House of Lords about it and has further plans for action. So not everyone is happy about what the BBC are up to!



My current system of Rega Planar 3 / Arcam Solo Mini / Clearaudio Nano Phonostage / B&W 686 speakers provides me with hours of pleasure and entertainment. However, it is starting to attract some unwanted attention from my young children. Upon seeing a spinning disc on my Rega recently my youngest son squealed with delight, jumped with joy as he shouted “windmill, windmill” and then made a grab for the RB300. A timely intervention by yours truly averted disaster but set alarm bells ringing.


My system resides on a two tier Apollo hi-fi stand but this is open and in light of the aforementioned near miss, needs some form of protection. Ideally I would like some form of lockable unit in which I could keep and use my hi-fi. I had considered a wall mounted unit but this was vetoed by central heating pipes. Despite climbing sales of both turntables and vinyl hi-fi furniture manufacturers only seem to make units which have the turntable sitting proudly on top of rather than inside them.


A carpenter friend has said that he could build a free standing unit in which I could house the stand and hi-fi. I spoke to a local dealer about this and they said that if I went down this path there could be resonance issues when using my turntable which could apparently have disastrous consequences. I am not too sure about the difficulties presented by resonance: would these only occur if the turntable was used whilst being completely enclosed? The free standing unit with a removable lid looks like the most workable option, when in use the turntable would have nothing around it.


Are there any alternatives that I have missed, or are there any solutions that you can suggest?

Looking forward to hearing your views and advice.

yours sincerely

Richard Slater


Is it a windmill or Rega Planar 3? It depends on how old you are.


There are always "resonance issues" in any enclosure, as there are deadly germs on public transport, but we take the bus in any case and I suggest you don't take "resonance issues" scaremongering too seriously and build a cabinet in any case! When a heavy acrylic dust cover is lowered it potentially becomes a resonant chamber, but it also reduces exposure to sound generally. Any enclosure will act in the same way. I suspect a really heavy chamber may improve sound quality. So my suggestion is to go ahead with your planned enclosure. Mount the turntable as low as possible, to minimise rocking motion on a bouncy floor (if you have one, as I do).


And block the ports of your loudspeakers to prevent toys from being dropped in by tiny hands! NK



Thanks for printing my letter in your February issue. I am fussy about sound quality, as you quite rightly say in your response. However, you missed the point which I was making. Musical Fidelity seem incapable of making affordable equipment. That is, equipment which the average person can afford without taking out a sizable loan. Roksan, Marantz, Arcam, Naim and numerous other makers seem to be able to manage this OK, and still produce excellent sound quality, and receive top rating reviews.


And I was also questioning the policy of using expensive metals for purely show purposes. They make no difference to the sound quality and, to me, just seem to appeal to the well heeled. My view is that an amplifier can look as basic as possible, as long as it sounds good. The World Audio designs would win no awards for looks would they?


When I said that the Musical Fidelity AMS35i was basic, I meant that it lacked power output. It seems a lot of money to spend on something which is so lacking in watts, compared to the other amps on the market. So, Musical; Fidelity will produce these amps and sell very few of them. If they can afford to do that, then the amps are over priced so as to make a large profit for Musical Fidelity. I am surely not alone in my views, but knowing hi-fi fans, I bet that few others will express their views in case they appear heretical.


On a different point, I was going to invest in BBC HD until I heard recently that the BBC had reduced its bit rate level. What is the BBC playing at? It used to be the leader in quality and innovation. But these days it just appears to be a puppet to the government.


What can we do to change matters? We should be able to influence policy because we fools are the ones who pay for the services. I listen to local radio sometimes. On Radio WM is a presenter, Ed Doolan, to whom I often send items from your excellent magazine. These have to do with digital radio. However, he hasn't mentioned these items on his show, so he must be gagged!  The ‘experts’ come on and waffle on about better quality, and more choice for the listeners, and anyone who disagrees is fobbed off with the usual absurd replies.


And now we have the scandal of HD TV that isn't HD at all. Thank god for hi-fi. Or will they now start to down grade the quality of that to suit hidden agendas? Let ‘em try!

Cliff Millward.



Musical Fidelity AMS50 - a lot of money for few Watts.


Well, I hope my review of Musical Fidelity's AMS50, providing just 40 Watts for £8,900 (M.F. claim 50Watts) didn't upset you too much Cliff! I'm afraid that if Musical Fidelity choose to make a low powered amplifier that costs a lot, it is simply their right to do so and for the market to censure it - or not. People are prepared and able to spend such large sums on a decent sounding amplifier. Heavens, I once thought no one in their right mind (except me!) would spend in excess of £1k on a pickup cartridge but apparently they are selling like hot cakes these days. And I have to tell you that the AMS50 actually sounds very powerful, due to its enormous grip and subsonic grunt.


I suspect you make Ed Doolan choke on his coffee by sending him Steve Green's challenging views on DAB and the BBC's antics. However, I also suspect that whilst the BBC seems resolute in its public promotion of DAB, it has been rattled by the cacophony of complaint that this has drawn, and that every Hi-Fi World reader who has joined in as you have, has made a valuable contribution in possibly altering future policy.


Shameful though that BBC Radio is unwilling to air such complaint. The BBC isn't quite as transparent and squeaky clean as it tries to make out and whilst I love their production values, their ethics aren't so pleasant.


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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