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December 2011 Issue - page 6

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December 2011 Issue
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BLACK DISCS

I am a recent reader of your superb magazine, a convert from one of your rivals. Your open honest refreshing approach is a world away from the thin forced presentation of other magazines. Having read your vinyl section with great interest for the last couple of issues. I feel inspired to dip my toe in the waters of the shiny black discs once more. The last record player I had was an elderly Goodmans midi system from the 1980s. I read with a special interest your feature on combining old and new components. In particular the Beogram turntable, very stylish! I have seen a few on eBay and have been considering chancing my arm.

 

Any opinions on how it may stand up in my current set up, which comprises a Creek Evolution 2 amp, Exposure 2010s CD player and Mission 780 speakers. I am also wondering where I should look in mind to replace my loudspeakers? They have served me well for many years, but I do just feel that they might not be doing full justice to the Creek and Exposure. Any replacements would have to be similar sized and be happy close to a rear wall. Have considered Arcaydis DM1 which are online only, but can be returned with no quibble. Triangle speakers also intrigue me with their smart looks. You also seem to hold the Usher S520 in high regard. The MAD 1920’s look excellent but they are a tad pricey for me. Any suggestions would be greatly welcomed.  Keep up the good work.

Austin Rushworth

The B&O Beograms are superbly engineered decks and well worth a punt, providing you get a good, well preserved, untampered with example (this is a challenge in itself on eBay, alas)! They’re not ‘state of the art’ in sound but a good one will still sound very nice indeed, and give your Exposure CD player a very strong run for its money. As for speakers, the Usher S520s are absolutely superb compact standmounters and cracking value for money at around £350 - I’d recommend these for your Creek amp. DP

ON THE RECORD

Hi I am in the process of upgrading my turntable system to a Mitchell Orbe turntable, SME IV arm and Ortofon Cadenza cartridge which will be fed into my Musical Fidelity Nu Vista integrated amp and Kef Reference 205s (first generation) speakers. However, I am having a problem choosing a suitable phono preamp? Funds are limited at the moment and therefore, I was looking at the A.N.T Audio Kora 3T SE or LT (which are currently available with 35% discount) or the Icon Audio PS 1.2 being the current upper price limit both of which had good recent reviews?

 

My musical tastes are Prog, Rock, Blues, Folk and Male/Female acoustic fairly eclectic by not Classical. Can you please give some advice/help? Your recent review on the A.N.T indicated that it was not best suited to rock, though I do listen to other music types and would/does the LT version give significant audio improvements over the SE for double the price? I am a bit concerned with user adjustment of the bias for best sound and much prefer the designer to have already done that for you? Or would the Icon Audio PS 1.2 be the better bet (though not available with the same level of discount that the A.N.T is currently on, which is a factor for me) Are there any other phono stages you would recommend within the price limit?

Andy

 

 

icon-audio-ps-1

An Icon Audio PS1.2 will warm up the sound of your system, says David.

 

 

 

Okay – in your system with your SME tonearm, I’d be tempted to go for the  Icon Audio PS1.2. Not because it’s better than the ANT Audio Kora 3T Ltd. (it isn’t), but it will warm up your SME slightly, giving a nicely big, wide sound whereas the ANT will be more ‘matter of fact’. In absolute terms, in my view the ANT LTD is better than even the more expensive Icon Audio PS3, although again it’s less sumptuous, and so often it’s a case of getting a synergistic sonic match for best results. All of the aforementioned phono stages are excellent, by the way and anyone would be happy with them. You’re talking £3,000 before you start getting a really significant improvement, which is why we recommend them so often! DP


kora-3t-se-phonostage

Don’t let its sedentary looks put you off - ANT Audio’s Kora 3T LTD is a superb phono stage...

DISC DILEMMAS

A friend bought a Rega Planar 3 for me, for my birthday, but it’s cut to take a Rega or Linn arm. I’m wondering which to fit? I like the Linn Akito, but as I have never heard a Rega don’t know what it’s like and whether to fit a Linn or Rega RB250/300. Can I put moving coil cartridges on it and which cartridges would benefit the most - an Ortofon Rondo Red maybe. I have got a Linn K18 cartridge and am told that an Audio Technica AT120 stylus will fit on it; I know the K18 is old, so is it worth it? Another item on the turntable agenda is which phono stage – do I buy moving magnet only, or go for MM/MC as I hope to get a Linn LP12 eventually.

My current system is a Cyrus 8vs2/PSX-R amp, Monitor Audio BX2 speakers and a NAD C515 BEE CD player with Chord Crimson Plus interconnects and Chord Carnival Silverscreen which I have biwired.

When I got the Cyrus 8, I bought a NAD phono stage and to be honest the Cyrus just outclassed it, so I need a good one. Is the Creek OBH-18 any good for it? I did have a Linn Axis at the time the NAD phono stage was on there, and the sound was poor indeed. I’m using a Linn Intek at the moment, so as to save on buying a phono stage, but it sounds inferior to my new Cyrus. Budget would be around £300 but I’d like to see what you recommend first; it will be secondhand unless I can get a decent one at reasonable price new. The tonearm budget will be £200.

Lee Dodd

Hi Lee - I’d go for a Rega RB250 in your Linn, which you can get modified by Origin Live (‘Structural Modification’) for better sound at a later date. This will easily outperform a Linn Akito, in my review. Yes, you can put a moving coil on it - my choice would be Audio Technica’s ATF-3; this would far outperform your old Linn K9. I’d go for a MM/MC phono stage (obviously), my choice would be a second-hand Trichord Dino, on your budget. DP

NEW MUSIK

Dear Mr Price,

Well, that was a shock, opening my July issue and seeing my name there. As a treat I’m playing ‘From A To B’ as I type, and must say I prefer ‘Living By Numbers’, ‘Dead Fish’ and (I have the bonus tracks CD) ‘Missing Persons’. Not as powerful as the Landscape stuff (in terms of umph, if that’s a legitimate term), but still of high quality. I have all three New Musik albums (on CD) and feel that production quality, of the level achieved by Tony Mansfield, is rare these days - it’s all churn-it-out and count the cash; quality? “Excuse me? We’re releasing our songs on MP3, we don’t care about quality...”


I think that a golden age has passed. From the 50s to the mid-80s was a gradual increase in quality - although technology can certainly get in the way of a great recording. Some of the early Elvis records are magical, both in their simplicity and the beauty and purity of his voice. Then the money seemed to make itself known - it’s always been there, protesting at the (sometimes - Fleetwood Mac/’Tusk’ anyone?) excesses of the artists, balanced against the cost of recording studio time - and the amount of really creative musicians/artists started to decline. Maybe this was a result of computers moving in and removing all the hard work? Who would give artists such as Kraftwerk, Can, Klaus Schulze and even Jean Michel Jarre a recording contract these days, if they were just starting out? “Nah mate, too weird. Don’t you watch X Factor or BGT these days? Aren’t Jedward great? (SFX sound of cash registers)” I despair, I really do.


Anyway, rant over. Maybe I’m just getting old... Still wishing you and the mag all the best (and hope you sort your NS1000s and their wall problems soon).

John Malcolm


PS As your knowledge of Japan is large, how about an article on Yellow Magic Orchestra, especially Ryuichi Sakamoto (thanks Wikipedia for spelling)? As inventive as Kraftwerk surely?

 

Hi John - thanks for that. I think YMO (as the Japanese always called them; they do like acronyms!) were geniuses, with 1980s ‘BGM’ (‘Back Ground Music’) as their high watermark, artistically (and stunningly well recorded, too). I actually interviewed Haruomi Hosono (arguably the brains behind the trio, but that’s another argument for another day) in Tokyo in 1992 for another magazine, and found him an incredible character. He told me that Kraftwerk and YMO kept a very close eye on each other artistically, during the 1970s, although Hosono’s favourites were The Flying Lizards (remember them?) and Laurie Anderson. But I digress... not sure if I dare subject the readers of this magazine to two pages of trivia about a Japanese electropop combo, but I could bore for Britain on this subject. Is there anyone else out there who’d read it? Don’t all shout at once! DP



 

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