July 2011 issue - Page 3

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I have just spent the last 70 minutes or so in the company of the gorgeous Diana Krall and a rather decent bottle of red wine (Merlot) listening to her double album “The Very Best of Diana Krall” on two 180 gms circular pieces of vinyl. My research was carried out on the following equipment: a Michell Gyro SE turntable in beautiful black and gold (purpose-built for me at the factory itself) with a Rega RB250 arm, Lutz silver-wired, and Ortofon Rondo Red moving coil cartridge; an elderly Musical Fidelity X-LP phono amp (the barrel-shaped cylindrical version); a Roksan Caspian Mk 1 pre-amp and two Roksan Caspian power amps bi-amping a pair of Living Voice Avatar speakers.

It all sounded rather wonderful, with Ms Krall’s voice and brilliant jazz piano out there right in front of me, and I drifted off into a sort-of magical dreamland

1) How would you suggest I could improve my system?

2) Is there a wine other than Merlot that would aid my concentration on the music? [Blue Nun, obviously  AG]

3) What the heck has Diana Krall’s husband, Elvis Costello, got that I haven’t?

If you could answer these questions I would be extremely grateful.

Roy Stockdill


Herts, UK


[1] an Icon Audio PS1.2 phono stage.

[2] I find a nice Chateauneuf-du-Pape slides down rather well...

[3] a proven record of writing pop songs of the highest quality. DP



As someone who has purchased every issue since its inception and also your predecessor, Hi-Fi Review, as well as The Flat Response, I think you can comfortably call me a fan!

In my earlier exposure to all things hi-fi I can recall many trips to the only two shops in London with prices I could afford. One was Richer Sounds in London Bridge when I could barely see over the high counter, and also Cavendish Sales in Whitechapel. I bought a cheap Tensai amp, some Solavox speakers, borrowed an old Garrard turntable with auto changer and I was away! The sound wasn’t brilliant but was certainly better than the transistor radio I was using previously.




Elvis Costello has talent Roy!


A paper round and a couple of years later and I had progressed, bit by bit, to a Mission Cyrus 1 amp, an Akai HX-3 tape deck (not the one I was wanted but as the GX model above was out of stock, and being desperate to spend some money, I settled on this one!), AR Legend turntable with Nagaoka MP11 Boron cartridge from Laskys and a pair of Monitor Audio R352 speakers. Thank god for 0% interest free credit deals, and a very understanding older sister! 


My ‘lightbulb’ moment came in 1986 when I visited KJ Leisuresound and they had around ten different Linn LP12s with various arms and cartridges on display. I listened to a few of them although I only had around 2 in my pocket! I was hooked. Alas, they didn’t offer 0% interest and I knew on my wages I’d have to forgo any food or drink for around 4 months if were to be able to afford them, so I looked elsewhere!  That was in 1986 and since then till now I’m still trying to reach the feeling I felt when I had that 1st audition. To this end, although I read your publication regularly, because of a shortage of funds, I know realistically that I cannot afford to purchase new equipment. To this end I find I am purchasing items from that era and, more importantly  more records! 


My System now is as follows; Linn LP12 with Ittok and Dynavector 10X5 and Original Live Advanced Dc motor, Naim 32.5 and 140, Ruark Talisman Mk1, Nakamichi CR7, Hitachi FT5500 Mk2, Revox B77 Mk2, Alesis Masterlink, Marantz CDR-630 (given to me for nothing!), Sony PCM-R300 DAT machine, Sennheiser HD580 and a Okki Nokki record cleaning machine. I also use a Sony TC-WE835S double tape deck for making copies; An excellent machine with an amazing feature list that I acquired for the princely sum of 25, practically brand new! 


I also have a few standby items I use when any equipment is being serviced. Rega Planar 3 with RB300 and Goldring 1042, Revox B710 and Nakamichi BX300, Mission Cyrus 2 and a Musical Fidelity tuner (the one to match the A1 amp).


To summarise, my system gives me many hours of enjoyment and sometimes not. I may not be typical of many of your readers but I feel that the most important thing is playing and enjoying the music, rather than upsetting yourself when sometimes the sound is not as good as you otherwise expect.  I still record only to tape whether DAT or Compact Cassette and reserve special ‘challenging’ recordings such 70’s dub to reel-to-reel primarily. The CD recorders are used to archive tapes only I still record only to tape whether DAT or Compact Cassette and reserve special ‘challenging’ recordings such 70’s dub to reel-to-reel primarily. The CD recorders are used to archive tapes only.

Ifield Jones



Hi Ifield. You have some fine hi-fi products there, some real classics. It struck me the other day, whilst updating our World Favourites listing on-line, that there are so many really good products around that have just become obsolete and can probably be picked up for a song one way or another, either at end of range knock down prices of the sort Richer Sounds specialise in, or of the same status but from e-bay. It looks like this is the way you do it and being able to resist the temptation of the latest is the best allows a lot of enjoyment to be had at very reasonable prices. NK




Hitachi FT-5500 MkII VHF/FM tuner owned by Ifield, a real classic with outstanding technical performance.


Fantastic! You have a great collection of kit there and I think your attitude is spot on. I think the only obvious weak point in your system is the Dynavector 10X5 which is a great little entry level MC but hardly taxes the Ittok. Having used (yes, you’ve guessed it!) an Audio Technica AT33EV moving coil in a tik-tok with brilliant results, I’d counsel splashing some cash on the latest EV version, which will suit your Naim amplification down to a tee! DP



As a recent visitor to the Hi-Fi Wigwam Show at Scalford Hall I was particularly taken with a system being displayed in Syndicate 12 Room “Valvebloke”. The gentleman in question had a Rega Planar 2, Ortofon 2M Black, Quad 99 CDP-2, Radford STA15, Dynaco ST-70, Audio Innovations 800, Rogers JR149s and IPL M3TLs. 


My point here is that the items that gave me the most pleasure were the Rogers JR149s and the Radford STA15, I just fell in love and have to say for me this was the highlight of my visit.  Now I realise that this is termed, “Olde World” equipment but its communicative sound and lovely balance made me wish for the system myself.


Can you recommend a modern equivalent to the Rogers? I currently have a pair of B&W DM602S3s driven by an Icon Audio Stereo 40i (one of the originals) which uses KT88s. I love classical music but listen to most genres. Cabling is Atlas Equator and something that surprised me when I inserted it into the system is a Tannoy ST50 Supertweeter which has firmed up the bass and opened out the treble.


My CD source is a Rega Planet (old style) with a modified Tom Beresford DAC and a Musical Fidelity X-10D Line Buffer. The black stuff is played on a much loved Technics SL-1210Mk2 and an Audio Technica AT12S cartridge - Shibata stylus. Interconnects are Klotz AC110 throughout. I am quite prepared to keep wishing for the Rogers but they are of course a rarity and their prices are now becoming expensive. Budget is up to £1,000. Less of course is preferable and second hand speakers are always worth a listen. I just wish I could find that Rogers sound, which ticks most of my boxes.


Nigel Masters




A MyAudioDesign MY1920 comes close to a Rogers JR149 says David.



One loudspeaker that really comes close to that sound, but is (if anything) better, is the new My Audio Design My1920. It has an LS3/5a-in-a-modern-setting sort of character; clean and dry and tidy and smooth, but there’s a good deal more depth and space and a slightly richer tonality too. You should try them with your Icon Audio Stereo 40, which I suspect will work very well with them. DP


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