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September 2012 Issue
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I pickup a slightly unwell Troughline 3 from eBay for £41.  It needed new electrolytics and one resistor that had changed from 47K to 75K on its own! The good news was aside from a very small tweak of the discriminator coil, it sounded stunning!

  I then built in a decoder using the National Semiconductors LM1870. No time for a valve one at this present!

  The decoder is in the position used I believe in the Stereo versions of this tuner. 

As for performance, it is quite astonishing! I am at least 40 miles from the Sutton Coldfield transmitter and  I have a simple 3 element Yagi in the roof. I have full signal on all the BBC stations, and no hiss whatsoever in stereo! All original valves and no re-alignment needed.

  Even more amazing is that I do not use the AFC. I turn it on in the morning, rarely re-tune and yet it never drifts at all over the day!

  And now that the BBC claim they are backing off on DAB, there is hope it seems!!

  What a fab tuner! I am so glad you mentioned them!! I enclose a picture to enhance your enjoyment. Note the green “stereo beacon” in the top right corner of tuning scale Thanks!!

Best regards,

Mark Manwaring-White

Ming Da Valve Audio UK

Great Malvern




Leak Troughline 3 tuner cost Mark Manwaring-White just £40. "What a fab tuner", he says. 


It looks fabulous Mark, I am envious that you can buy a Troughline 3 for £40. As you may know Tim de Paravicini once designed a valve stereo decoder for Hi-Fi World using valves in the sum (mono) channel and a chip to handle the difference channel. It sounded superb of course. If you ever have some spare time I am sure readers would love an updated version! Don't miss our Troughline feature in this issue of course. NK



Can someone explain to me what is the point of digital music streamers?

I now have a significant collection of digital music files (mostly WAV) garnered from a mixture of transferred cassette tapes, recorded radio broadcasts and a few transferred LPs and these sit on an external computer hard drive (backed up on another one!). I can listen to these in the room where my computer lives via a small DAC and headphone amplifier but am now considering the best way to make them available to the hi-fi system in the sitting room.

My first thought was to get a digital music streamer but I find that, with the exception of the most expensive (and boy, are they expensive!), these have no on-board file storage capability (despite the trivial cost of memory these days) and it is necessary to have a computer switched on whenever they are being used. So, why would I not buy a second hand or OEM refurbished lap-top for say, £250, put my music files on that and connect it directly to a DAC or (increasingly these days) digital input on a CD player. This would also give me access to internet radio.

Perhaps I am missing something, in which case I would be grateful if you could enlighten me.

Kind regards,

Edwin Smith




No need for Edwin Smith to use things that spin around and around.

You can play music from a memory key using a Cambridge Stream Magic 6.


Yep, you are missing the ability of most network players to play music from a memory stick. The Cambridge Audio Stream Magic 6 we reviewed in the August 2012 issue has an out-of-sight rear USB port for long term storage and a front port where you can more easily plug-n-play. You don’t need to have a computer running, nor do you need a home network. You play music out of Flash Memory.

The alternative is to get a computer that doesn’t ‘run’, like an all-SSD Mac. Or just don’t switch the computer off. I use silent Macs most of the time and do not switch them off, so my music library is always available on the network. But all the same I prefer to use ‘sneakernet’ to walk music into the lounge on a memory stick. This gives best sound quality, likely because my wired network is an aerial in a sea of my neighbour’s wi-fi transmitters! If you want to know what impact this has, see two fascinating letters on digital cables published in our June 2012 issue. If you don't have the issue, see Letters on our website at NK



Hi Noel. I very much enjoy your mag and was interested in your overview of Class A/single ended amps. 

I'm a big fan of Monarchy Audio. Mr C.C. Poon, proprietor and designer, offers several transistor Class A  options. The SM 70 configurable as stereo or monoblock ( run balanced) is a hands down best buy: sweet, transparent, punchy. I’ve owned three and wish I'd hung on to at least one of them. 

I currently use his higher rated SE 100 deluxe Mk2 monos to drive my NS1000 M plus Maximum Supertweeters loudspeaker set up.  I  keep the speaker cables as short as possible – 6 inches or less. The amps are driven by a passive Transformer Volume Control by Promitheus Audio – another jaw dropping best buy. 

This set up is giving me amazing performance at a fraction of the cost of it's many predecessors.

Andy Smith





The Monarchy Audio SM70 – a big Class A amplifier from California.

Just look at those cooling fins! It is "a hands down best buy: sweet,

transparent, punchy" says Andy Smith.



Thanks Andy. Those U.S. power amps look wonderful. They are available direct from the factory in California we note. 

Put a multimeter across the input terminals of your Yamahas to measure their DC resistance. Halve the value because their are paralleled and you have the minimum load impedance. If it is less than 3 Ohms you may well draw too much current, but Class As are durable, because they have to be. 


Comments (2)
right amp for speakers
2Thursday, 03 January 2013 22:35
richard johnston
hi guys,just wanted your advice on a suitable amp for my Bicor 200 spks which have lowther dx3 drive units. im loathe to go down the valve road as i live in rural ireland and know of no one to help should it break down- i have no experience of valves. i was wondering if a Sugden a21 would be a suitable partner for the lowthers. many thanks for a great mag. Richard.

Hi Richard. If you can, get a Sugden A21SE. It has a fabulously detailed yet deliciously pure sound that is a real education as solid-state goes. It is a Single-Ended design (with dynamic load) of low efficiency and power output, but it does not get burning hot and it is smoother and less glassy than the typical push-pull Class As. It's a great match for Lowthers' forthright sound. NK
Van Damme cable
1Wednesday, 21 November 2012 19:13
darren pickering
I completely agree with the comments on Van Damme cable: the 8mm version its amazing for £6 a metre. Bryston also recommend this cable for studio installs

It would be really good to see a review versus audiophile grade stuff!

Thanks Darren.
Yes, that is a good point, we must get some and give it to our cable experts.

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