July 2011 issue - Page 4

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I’ve just returned to the hi-fi hobby after many years away. I replaced an ageing Marantz CD63 and NAD amp with the Naim Uniti. I must admit, the Naim has me playing music every day now, when before it could sound flat and lifeless. The old cliche of records I’d not bothered about before are now sounding fresh and new rings true with me.  However, I think I need to change speakers to get the best out of it.


Currently, I’m using Quad 12Ls (old model, not the new ones) on solid stands. Due to the requirements of the room they are just 19cm from the wall and 5ft apart with my listening position being 6ft away. They are wired with Naim NACA 5. I’d also tried Chord Carnival Silverscreen previously but found it not as explicit as the NACA 5.ial due to their placing but nothing that ruins the enjoyment.  However, I do find them a little lifeless. Not in terms of treble sparkle but more in terms of projection into the room and rhythm. I’ve got upwards of £400 to spend on replacements but am loath to do so if I’m purely going sideways. I’d wait and go to £900 if it was a dramatic improvement.


Possibles that have come to mind (purely from reviews with Naim equipment) are Rega and Neat but then I’ve wondered if the new KEF range might be the ticket at a good price, which would give me more money to spend on music and maybe a NAS for the Uniti.  Listening tastes are diverse  rock, jazz, punk, occasional classical (well, very occasional!). I’m aware I’m asking the impossible to get the perfect speaker for my situation. But I’d appreciate any feedback you could give.  Many thanks - and keep up the good work.

Jon Myles




We will be reviewing the Eminent Technology LFT-16 loudspeaker next month, but a preview is on our website now...


I suspect you might be smitten by the Monitor Audio sound, which is fast, projective and on the beat. Try auditioning Bronze range loudspeakers, which are a real bargain. NK


Hmmm – tricky even at £900. For £400 then you’re talking the Usher S-520; this is an excellent small loudspeaker that’s definitely a little more musical than the Quad 12L but it’s hardly night and day. At £900 you’ve got a wider choice; I’d be tempted to investigate the Eminent Technology LFT-16b for just a few dollars more. We’re reviewing this next month and it has a wonderfully fresh and fluid sound; not everyone’s cup of tea style-wise, though! DP



I bought a Pioneer CT95 a few months back. Played a few tapes, and it sounds okay. Can you tell me the best tapes to use? Is this a good deck? And where can I get it serviced?

Mike Kelly



Best try phoning around your local specialist hi-fi dealers; I am sure at least one of them will know an engineer who they’ve used in the past who can do the job for you. The best tapes to use are the ones you can get! These days, TDK SAs are still easy to come by, and dirt cheap at around £1 a pop. DP

Hi Mike. The CT-95 is, to my knowledge, the last (and some say, the best) hi-end cassette deck ever produced by Pioneer. In this respect the answer to your second question is a definitive “yes” – it is a very good deck. And the presence of an auto calibration feature called “Super Auto BLE” makes the answer to your first question easier, as the CT-95 can align its electronics to get the most out of any decent quality cassette. Even plain TDK FE and TDK D Type I cassettes could sound surprisingly good when recorded on this Pioneer. However if you are serious about the sound quality and long life of your recorded tapes I would advise you to get some Type II cassettes as these have lower noise and also would preserve the quality of the sound for many years to come. I have cassettes recorded 20, 25 and even 30 years ago and many of these are still sound great!



Pioneer's CT95 had automatic record equalisation to get the very best from cassette, says Alex Nitikin of ANT Audio.


Brand new Type II TDK SA tapes are available for under a pound on the Internet and in Richer Sounds shops – that is probably a good starting point. Another source of good quality “new old stock” cassettes is the eBay – you may even find some top quality Type IV “Metal” tapes there though the prices for these cassettes are on the rise. Metal tapes are no longer manufactured and as a result command premium prices.


Type IV cassettes also vary in quality and may disappoint if they were not stored properly. For that reason I mostly use premium Type II cassettes - at 2-4 times the price of the TDK SA these NOS tapes provide the level of performance that would surprise many people who’d never listened to a properly made cassette recording. My favourites are SONY UX-S, UX-Pro, Maxell XL-IIS and TDK SA-X tapes.


Now to your last – and the most difficult question. Servicing a tape deck presents a challenge. The only exception is probably the Nakamichi cassette deck brand as there are still a couple of companies that can do a professional service on these. Owners of other makes are generally out of luck and have to either learn how to do it at home or search for a fellow tape enthusiast with the right tools and experience who would agree to do the job. This is somewhat unfortunate situation as cassette decks (like cars, really!) do require a reasonably regular service to perform properly and that service can only be done using the right tools and equipment. Just imagine that you own a car and there were no more service stations around! There are several Internet forums that can help a cassette deck owner in this respect and I would recommend ( for friendly advice and technical help.

Alex Nitikin,

ANT Audio.



I’m sorry to trouble you but I need your help! I want to buy a Sony Pro Walkman but obviously they are all secondhand. Do you know of a company that can service/refurbish them?

Many thanks

Malcolm Davey




Sony Pro Walkman – contact Sony about service.


There is no simple answer here. Whether or not your Pro Walkman is serviceable depends on which model you have. Ring Sony on 0844 846655 and plough through the customer service menu to find someone to talk to. Whether anyone outside Sony can service them may depend on the availability of parts. Best of luck anyway. I suspect you'll need it . AG 



Mr. Haden Boardman. I enjoyed your article on Tannoy dual concentric drivers. I own a pair of Golds in like-new condition and yes, I have rebuilt the crossover which may be tinned copper, but I have doubts about that. If they are aluminium, replacing them with good copper or silver might be the single best upgrade to these amazing drivers. Any light you can shine on this would be appreciated.

Bob Matz

New York



The original wiring is tinned copper rather than aluminium. For an upgrade I would suggest replacing this with PCOCC (Pure Copper made by Ohno Continuous Casting process), such as Oyaide 34/0.18 stranding or similar Furutech. Solid core (0.7mm), PTFE insulated high purity silver could be used for the HF, but will sound brighter.

Hope that helps

Dr Paul Mills,

Chief Designer,



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