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December 2012 Issue
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NOISE NEWS

I refer you to my letter published earlier this year in Hi-Fi News re fitting an Origin Live motor to an LP12. There are photos.

I too had noise problems. I solved this by mounting the motor on the base plate (I use a Mission Isoplat - long before the Trampolin I called it the Underlin).  Total silence. 

I mentioned it to Origin Live who were very pleasant but not interested. It should be noted the extent the Scottish Firm have had to go to with isolating the motor in their costly (it seems to me) solution.  Effectively, I have an outboard motor inboard, within the plinth. It sounds fine to me but it needs someone with golden ears and time to compare the two solutions.  

I did not win a pair of speakers with my letter - maybe by describing a solution then this time I will. They would go to one of my children to get them rolling as a new generation in our hobby.  

Yours,  

Dr Guy Goundry

 

The Origin LIve DC motor conversion for a LInn LP12, as reviewed by

us from the manufacturer.

 

 

Hi Guy. I don’t read Hi-Fi News too often (won’t tell you why!) and as you did not send the letter to us we cannot print it. I don’t think ‘News would like Hi-Fi World reprinting their Letters, even if you do own Copyright. I will ask Paul Miller, Editor of News, at the next Show, when I am likely to see him, but don’t pin your hopes on getting those loudspeakers! NK

 

CABLE COMPLAINT

It’s very rare that I feel the need to complain about a review, but what a load of nonsense written by “PR” in the October edition.

"Normally, when you push music through a USB cable, the data, which arrives in blocks, includes narrow bits which represents the high frequency portions of the final music. Within current USB cables, these bits are largely lost because the cable isn’t fast enough to cope, the sampling continues but the narrow bits are largely ignored because they are seen as errors".

This has to qualify as the most inaccurate drivel I have ever read. The author implies that a cable that carries a digital signal is analogous to a cable carrying an analogue signal. What nonsense. It would have to be a truly bad (USB) cable that causes data to be discarded due to errors, so to suggest that this new improved cable works around data loss is once again grossly inaccurate.

I welcome any comment from your reviewer.

Regards,

Tony Rogers

 

Tellurium Q USB cable could not affect data loss, says Tony Rogers. 

 

Paul Rigby was quoting Tellurium Q and they declined to comment upon the mechanisms by which their cables achieve such results, as they are subject to a pending patent, they say. 

There are a few points to note here though. Whilst ‘narrow bits’ don’t represent the high frequency portions of the music, which is what I think you object to, digital cables can and do affect sound quality. Two excellent letters to us, published in our June 2012 issue, explained how. They are now published on our website at www.hi-fiworld.co.uk – go to Letters / June 2012 issue / p6 (Digital Cables). 

So the explanation appears a little awry, shall we say, but that does not necessarily damn the cables or what Paul Rigby heard. 

Also, (as I suspect you know) there is no such thing as a ‘digital’ cable; they are all analogue. And the analogue properties of a ‘digital’ cable, such as bandwidth and VSWR,  affect a digital signal, limiting data rate and producing jitter. USB cables use a simple twisted copper pair, as do ethernet cables, and the twisted RGB pairs in an HDMI cable are able to pass up to 10GB/sec, it is claimed. Look up  ‘twisted pair’ on Wikipedia and you may be surprised at just what you see. 

I think it is fair to speculate that a poor USB cable could suffer data loss; technically this is possible. “Narrow bits” exhibit a high rate of change of voltage with time (v/t) are are most affected by analogue bandwidth.

So all in all Tony, I believe this was plausible speculation. 

NK

 

LIBRARY

I have my entire music collection in Samsung’s Emodio library on my laptop in 128kbps MP3 file format which I use to download to my portable MP3 player. Is there such a unit as an MP3 type player that I would call a hi-fi separate that I can download my music via USB but is part of my hi-fi system. 

Regards, 

Brian (middle aged technophobe)

 

 

 

Is there an MP3 player that is a hi-fi separate, asks Brian. Try the bargain

Sansui WLD+201L we suggest.

 

 

Hi Brian. The Sansui WLD+201L we reviewed in the October 2012 issue does this (sort of) and costs just £350. I say “sort of” because it does not have internal memory, but plays from a USB memory stick. Unfortunately, it does not have a rear port like Cambridge Audio players, that can be used as hidden long term external memory, only a front port. But you can load your MP3s onto a USB key and play them on the Sansui. Better, at this low, low price it offers internet radio, VHF radio and an internal DAC. It is a bargain that may well appeal to you. 

Paying more, but not a King’s Ransom at £550, there is the Aune S1 Media Player. Again, this reads from a USB memory key but it offers very high quality, all the way up to 24/192. OK, this isn’t well aligned with your current interest, MP3, but if you ever feel a little more ambitious it will cope. Download a hi-res file to your computer from, say, HD Tracks, and it will play it. 

Your MP3 player will not of course; it will blow up instead. A solution to this is to play hi-res at home and down-convert to MP3 for your portable. NK

 

GOOD FOR GOLD

I have a bit of a issue. My system is as follows; Musical Fidelity A3cr pre and X-A200 power amps, Monitor Audio GR60’s. All of this is being fed by a Musical Fidelity X-ray v3 CD player. Cables are 4 metres of Chord Rumour 4 for each of the ‘speakers, and Van-den-Hul ‘The Bay’ C5 hybrid to the CD. The room is approximately 16’ x 13’ and is a wooden floorboard type in a house made in the 30’s. 

My soundstage is not very big and it’s missing something but I’m not 100% sure what? I think the weakest link is the CD player and have considered adding the Musical Fidelity Tri-vista DAC to open things up? Having been an avid reader of your mag for many years I would appreciate a bit of insight as to my options and possibly my next move on the upgrade we hi-fi nut-cases strive for?? 

Douglas Curl

 

The Rega DAC offers smooth sound with plenty of air and space. It is

a great budget CD upgrade.

 

Your X-ray CD player is getting long in the tooth and would benefit from a Rega DAC, reviewed in our September 2012 issue, which will bring more life and space to the sound. 

Those X-200 power amps are none too wonderful either and are likely helping toward a sense of dynamic flatness. A Creek Destiny 2 would be my choice here as it is a perfect match for your lovely Monitor Audio Gold Reference 60 loudspeakers: it has great dynamics, plenty of air and space and the right tonality to ease the GR20s a tad. I think you will be quite surprised at just how different and better your system will become. NK

 

78 MATE

Well, Terry and his mates at Loricraft have done a great job of servicing/rebuilding a Garrard 401. They have mounted it in one of their open plinths and we have added an SME M2 with a Goldring 2500 cartridge. Everything is good, into my second hand Cyrus amps feeding my biamped Castle Chesters. Sometimes I replace the Cyrus set up with my old A400 from the spare room. That’s not at all bad.

Some might think the sound a tad “bright” but at my age that is no bad thing. Gone are the days when I could easily hear the bats flying around. As a young teenager I could actually hear up to 28kHz (we called them cps) as tested in the physics lab at school.

My next step is to set things up to play 78 rpm records. I still have my father’s old wind up gramophone in the loft and somewhere a Lenco deck but it would be much easier to purchase a modern cartridge to mount in the spare headshell for the M2.

Budget? Well, as well as going to the Olympics on my birthday various people have donated generously and I can manage something like £150 at the moment. Maybe a bit more at a push.

What do you suggest?

David Mills

 

Hi David, although the Lenco will do a very good job in playing your 78s, the Garrard 401 will offer superior performance allied with the M2 arm. You don’t specify whether you wish to use MM or MC cartridges but there are quite a few choices in both designs.

The cheapest option is the Shure M78S at £59.99. This is a monophonic version of the current Shure cartridges, fitted with a suitably sized stylus. (www.shure.co.uk)

Ortofon have just introduced the 2M 78, retailing at £80, which uses a dedicated monophonic version of the well-liked 2M series, allied with a 65 micro-metre diameter spherical stylus. (www.henleydesigns.co.uk) A review will be coming soon.

Stanton also offer standard groove replay with the 500/ 505 series cartridges, and a range of styli sizes to cover everything from conventional laterally cut 78s, through to the vertically cut Edison and Pathe discs. Prices start from £34.95 and go up to £600 for the complete six stylus Archival Kit. (www.soundhifi.com).

These are all Moving Magnet models. Audio Technica offer the Moving Coil AT-MONO3/SP 78 cartridge at £219.00. This is another dedicated mono cartridge fitted with a 2.5 mil conical diamond stylus,  and offers excellent performance. (www.henleydesigns.co.uk). 

Benz Micro also offer a 78 mono option on most of their models, but these are made to order so will take a little while to arrive. Contact Select Audio (www.selectaudio.co.uk).

Most 78s will have 70 plus years of dirt, and residue from the steel needles used when they were new, in the grooves, so I would recommend cleaning them thoroughly first. I use a Disco Antistat cleaner, available on the internet from around £30. I use either L’Art du Son fluid, available from Loricraft (www.garrard501.com) or Russ Andrews Revive Record Cleaning Fluid (www.russandrews.co.uk). Both are safe to use with shellac. I also have a second Disco Antistat which I fill with distilled water to rinse the record after cleaning.

Played with a  suitable cartridge and cleaned, the dreaded hiss and crackle should be quite muted, and good condition 78s can offer surprisingly good sound quality when played through a modern system. 

I hope to be exploring various ways of getting the best sound from these venerable discs over the next few months so watch this space.TB

 

RAFAEL’S CHOICE

I enjoy all of Rafael’s reviews, but I’m not familiar with very much of the music he refers to. Could he give an outline of the pieces and recordings he uses? If he added what each was used for, that would be useful. Plus, it gives me more new music recommendations to listen to.

Would you dare give each reviewer a page or two for the same thing? Or just music they feel we should listen to! Not quite a library building series, but the music is the point of hi-fi. Otherwise it’s One Direction all the way.

Cheers, 

Doug McClure

 

I generally try to use music that is good at revealing the strengths and weaknesses of the specific equipment. A large orchestral piece can test equipment to its limits, demanding a wide and accurate soundstage, showing the various different groups of instruments spatially, tonally, and then musically. It will also show how the bass speaks relative to the rest of the orchestral sound. So often equipment is let down by its lack of ability to let all the instruments speak together. 

I normally state the piece of music, composer, and recording that I’m using, which you could Google if you are so-interested. Typically, I often use Solti’s CD recording of the ‘Tombeau de Couperin’ by Ravel as this exposes timing floors, general rhythmic swing, and on the best DACs and CD transports, a remarkable sense of stage depth, which can so easily be lost if there is a weak link lurching around! 

It is also great at exposing micro phrasing, i.e. the ability of the equipment to make the tiny changes of volume required to give a piece a sense of phrasing and therefore meaning. If this is lacking, the sense of the music becomes blocked and uninteresting.

I also like to listen to how the piano is reproduced, typically listening to the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto in Bb minor, Ashkenazy with Solti conducting, again on Decca, as the transients on a piano are so rapid, and the piano will not sound correct if these are not working. Pianos on vinyl can sometimes sound a bit muddy, it takes a really fine turntable to resolve its sound. 

Then there is the issue of speed stability on vinyl, a piano will show this up rapidly enough.

Above all, I look for the ability of the equipment to create the illusion that the players are in my listening room, so that I can suspend disbelief and can be transported by the music.

I tend to use music with large forces because it is so revealing. Listening to female vocals accompanied by a single other instrument may sound very good (when I go to hi-fi shows the bulk of what I hear falls into this category) but it may not differentiate between two very different systems. I also believe that the demands of capturing an acoustic recording, as opposed to tracks that have been overlayed and are spatially defined by panning controls, are far greater and are an excellent indicator of a system’s ability to generate accurate spatial relationships, based on precise timings.

Rafael Todes, 

Allegri String Quartet

 

Ashkenazy playing Tchaikovsky  on Decca is a good test for hi-fi, says

Rafael Todes.  



 

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