March 2012 Issue - page 3

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I purchased a transformer preamp from Music First Audio earlier this year and I would agree wholeheartedly with your oft-quoted comment that it is “so good I swear it is surrounded by magic”. My Linn Sondek sounded so good through it that I decided to invest in the moving coil pre-amplifier as well. This sounds absolutely brilliant through the moving magnet input of my Icon Audio PS3. Better than this, Jonathan Billington delivered it to me personally and helped me set it up: what service! I attach a picture of us: in addition to me and Jonathan you can also see my Quad electrostatics and my harpsichord!

Incidentally I was delighted to have won the competition for the Triangle Comete LE loudspeakers this month. I always send in my postcard and I couldn’t believe it when I saw my name on the winner’s line in the November issue. Thanks very much: I can’t wait to hear them! What a happy bunny....

Chris Corrigan





Chris Corrigan (left) and Jonathan Billington from Billington Transformers and Music First Audio. That's a fine setup Chris!




I recently found three significant upgrades to my record deck that cost next to nothing.

1)  Change pickup lateral alignment from Baerwald (nulls at 66mm and 121mm) to Stevenson (nulls at 60mm and 117mm). This makes negligible difference to the sound at the start and middle of record but towards the end of side the reduction in lateral tracking angle significantly improves the sound.

2) Adjust tracking force to optimise sound balance. Forget about vertical tracking angle (VTA) - its tracking force that affects the sound: with most cartridges increasing tracking weight dulls treble and increases bass and fine adjustment to get it just right is well worthwhile.

3) With these changes and other adjustments (loading, arm mass etc.) optimised, my deck (Walker CJ61/ Mayware Mk V arm/ Denon 103 with Expert Stylus Paratrace stylus) really started to sing but there was still a slight residual treble harshness at times.





The Tufnol subplatter of Alasdair Beal’s Walker turntable with pieces of 3M Magic Tape attached. OK, it doesn’t look so good, but it is clever.

The Walker turntable has a hard, non-resonant Tufnol platter resting on a sub-platter of the same material – could the interface between these be the source of the problem? Separating them with small strips of paper around the perimeter had a surprisingly large effect on the sound, getting rid of the harshness but giving an overdamped, subdued treble. Replacing paper with small pieces of 3M Magic Tape adhesive tape, gave much improved clarity and perfect sonic balance. Treble reproduction is now remarkably good.


It seems that the pieces of tape separate the two surfaces, preventing rattling and also introduce a little damping. These changes cost next to nothing but their combined effect is a major upgrade that has brought the sound much closer to reality. Those who own other record decks may also find it worthwhile to experiment with small pads of different materials inserted between main platter and subplatter.

Yours sincerely,

Alasdair Beal

Thanks for that Alasdair. There are hours of fun and fiddling in all this and I especially like your suggestion of separating platter from subplatter with Magic tape. NK

Comments (1)
Got a cj61
1Thursday, 19 July 2012 20:05
Paul brown
Just done the mods you advise. It does work on both alignment and the tape slightly shifts the balance. Super suggestion

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