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October 2012 Issue
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DITTON DELIGHT

I’d just like to say how much I enjoyed Haden Boardman’s article in August‘s issue, about the Celestion Ditton 15 loudspeaker. This took me right back to the late sixties. Having heard my Scout troop chaplain’s Grundig system of separates, when such things were just coming into vogue in 1957, I was bowled over by the sound and wanted a hi-fi system of my own. All I could afford was the inexpensive end of Philip’s ‘Audio Plan’ range, which I became fed up with after just a couple of months, although I had to persevere with it until I could afford something better. 

A kind local dealer commiserated, told me the Audio Plan wasn’t real hi-fi, and he introduced me to the system that must have sold in its thousands... An Armstrong 521 amplifier, GL75 turntable with Shure M75 cartridge... and a pair of original Ditton 15s. I was blown away by this system, and it stayed with me until I got into upgrade mode and worked upwards through a range of bigger Dittons, right up to the huge 66. None of them satisfied me like the 15s. Then I discovered Naim, in its infancy at the time, and 40 years later I own their top kit, which constantly thrills me to bits.

Interestingly though, when my wife and I bought a tiny seaside cottage a while back, built in the late 18th century, I decided to re-create the listening experiences of my youth in it. Carefully watching that well known auction site, I gathered exactly the same system I originally had, although it took me three goes to get an Armstrong in truly mint condition. It’s fascinating to listen to the system that got me into a lifetime’s love of hi-fi and good musical reproduction, and though a world away from what the Naim kit achieves, those ubiquitous Ditton 15s certainly didn’t earn their reputation for nothing. I wonder if any bits of Philip’s Audio Plan still exist out there....

Yours sincerely,

Mike Kent 

 

 

 

Celestion Ditton article by Haden Boardman took Mike Kent back to the 1960s.

 

DENSEN DELIBERATION

In Hi-Fi World February 2012 Tony Bolton reviews the Densen B-110+ integrated amplifier alongside the Audiolab 8200A. The B-110+ is several times referred to as being a Class D amplifier, and the conclusion mentions that it doesn’t quite sound like that, quote “Unlike a number of Class D amplifiers it was eminently ‘listenable’ and enjoyable, with little sign of digital ‘screech’ or hardness common with such amplifiers”.

  This is highly understandable as the B-110+ is indeed not a Class D amplifier :-) In fact, Densen doesn’t make amplifiers with Class D technology, which the owner Thomas Sillesen has also commented on a Danish hi-fi forum.

  How did you (Tony Bolton) get the impression that the B-110+ is Class D? I don’t think this has been discussed yet, in later issues, but I might of course have overlooked it – in that case I apologize for the inconvenience.

  Thanks for a great magazine, and please continue the focus on vinyl - it simply is more fun :-)

Best regards,

Kim Petersen

Denmark

 

 

Densen B110+ is not Class D says Kim Petersen Denmark. He's

right – it is a Class AB, but it measured like a D.

 

 

Yes, you are right Kim. We got the impression it was Class D because it measured like one – which is to say, not very well. And it stayed cool. Most Class Ds suffer violent changes of transfer function, modulating their distortion pattern severely and this is what the review sample B-110+ did on the test bench. 

The B-175 reviewed in this issue, by way of contrast, was completely stable in its distortion pattern. As they likely use the same Class AB output stage configuration it may be that our B-110+ was a bad sample as the differences bewteen them are peculiar. NK

 

LONG ARM

I am putting together my dream hi-fi system and so far I have purchased a brand new pair of B&W 802 Diamonds (still in their boxes) and an Amazon Referenz Turntable. I have decided on a Graham Phantom II Supreme B-44 tonearm but I am confused about arm lengths. What do you recommend for this turntable?

  At this stage I am thinking Sutherland Hubble or Carey PH302Mk2 phono stage. I was after an Ortofon A90 cartridge but I think they are impossible to find now so I am thinking Koetsu Onyx or Coralstone, Vitus Audio SCD-101 or Wadia 580sei.

Plinius Tautoro pre amp. either 2x Plinius Ref A Power Amps or I can get 2x ex Demo Cary FA500-1 Mono Blocs.

I haven’t heard the Cary mono blocs but I have heard the Plinus gear over several hours at my friends place. He has a Wadia 380Se playing through a Tautoro into a RefA into a pair of new Matin Logan Electrostatics. Simply stunning sound. Playing XRCDs through this system via that Wadia was amazing. I couldn’t believe a CD player was capable of producing that sort of quality. He also has an Amazon 2  with a Moerch tonearm and a Sutherland PHD phono stage. I don’t know what the cartridge is but it is a German MC.

  There is something else I have learnt through my friends system and that is what a difference there is between cables. Over the past 4-5 months we have played around with a lot of different brands and price brackets of interconnects. In both RCA and XLR. I must admit I was a disbeliever and sceptic in the beginning. But not any more: I was amazed at the differences between brands and sometimes between types within the same brands. We even did blindfold testing so we couldn’t cheat. 

For his system Nordost came out a clear winner every time. It has made me think twice about cables and I will be doing exhaustive testing with my system when I get it all together before I purchase any cables. The past few months have taught me a very valuable lesson. Your interconnects and speaker cables can make or break your system no matter whether it’s a budget hi-fi or a dream h-fi system. So be careful and try several before you buy for your system. They really do make that much of a difference.

Cheers,

John Williams 

Aukland

New Zealand

 

 

 

The Amazon Reference turntable will accept arms up to 12in long. Should

I use a 9in or 10in Graham Phantom II Supreme B-44 tonearm, asks John Williams?

 

Longer arms reduce tracking error and the distortion that arises from it.  However, they are usually less stiff than short arms. Sonically, I find long arms in general sound smooth and rich, whilst short arms sound fast and grippy. As the Phantom comes in 9in and 10in lengths I am unsure how different they will sound, as the length difference isn’t great and I have not heard them. Personally, I’d go for the 10in, because I swopped to a 12in SME long, long ago and prefer a long arm. They are also a bit weightier of course (i.e. higher effective mass at the headshell) and better suit MC cartridges, rather than compliant MMs. I hope that helps. NK



 

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