May 2012 Issue - page 3

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May 2012 Issue
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Thank you for publishing my last note - and in the ‘Letter of the Month’ slot too! Having bored for Britain on metadata I should mention that I’m not a total bit-head (careful how you read that). I too have a cherished vinyl collection – but imagine racking them all in identical, plain sleeves! That’s what missing metadata does.

Which is not to detract from DP’s point. Assuming they aren’t in plain wrappers you can survey thousands of albums at a glance. Subtle cues of location, colour, even the scruffiness of old friends’ covers lead you to what you want faster than any database search. They can even make new links – “Ah yes, haven’t played that one in a while ... why not?” That’s where the human brain leaves music software coughing in the dust.

One way to harness our capacity might be to present stored music as a stack of LPs / CDs viewed edge-on – spines rather than full covers. That visual metaphor would echo what we see looking at our physical music collections and make best use of limited screen space. The iTunes ‘cover flow’ view is a step in that direction but, for me, doesn’t quite hack it. So, do any hot-shot app developers out there want to give it a go?


Derek Nudd



I really enjoyed reading your article on the SL-5 turntable in the January 2012 edition. I owned one of these in the mid 1980s, together with the matching 315 components consisting of integrated amplifier, cassette deck and tuner using Heybrook HB1 speakers. It was a cracking system, very easy to live with and a really good sound. At the time of purchase I was looking for something compact as I had just moved into a small bachelor pad. I didn’t really audition anything else because although I had an extensive record collection I wasn’t particularly interested in hi-fi then.

I was fortunate then that I went to an electrical shop, sadly no longer in existence, and was served by someone who was a very keen audiophile and who guided me in my selection. One weekend after installing an FM aerial on the roof, I was in the bedroom pulling up the slack on the aerial cable and heard an almighty crash from downstairs. I ran down to see what was the cause, to find my tuner dangling from the ceiling on the end of the aerial cable and the remainder of the hi-fi in a heap on the floor! Remarkably, everything bar the SL-5 was unharmed. The turntable unfortunately had a broken lid and wrecked cartridge.

After taking it back to my friendly electrical shop and getting a repair done, funded by the house contents insurance, I had it up and running again after a few weeks with the added bonus of the then top of the range Technics P mount MC cartridge. This had a boron cantilever, I think it was an EPS 310 and the sound was better than ever and started me off on the hi-fi path.

I have been through many an upgrade since those days and am lucky enough to own a Xerxes 20/Artemiz/Kontrapunkt C as a front end but still remember the SL-5 with great fondness. Thank you for bringing back the memories.


Andy Aldridge



Technics SL5 brings back old memories for Andy Aldridge.



Thought I might pass on this tip/discovery I made today: it may be of interest to other readers!

I was recently given an old Rega Planar 2 by a very good friend of mine as a first foray into vinyl. Unfortunately, the deck had been quite neglected, a drive belt of knotted string, a goodly layer of dust and detritus, and was in desperate need of some timely tlc! Fortunately, I'm a bit of a strip-down, clean and re-assemble kind of guy, and got stuck right in!

The glass platter is now spotless, the plinth shiny black, the RB250 arm cleaned and modded with a Rega stainless steel stub and counterweight to replace the nasty plastic one, a new drive belt installed along with a nice clean and fresh felt mat – so far so good!

During all this cleaning and replacing of components, I discovered the arm lift was not working as intended. I removed the arm from the plinth and took the arm lift apart, cleaned the old gunk out and re-greased, only to discover there was now no damping at all!

After researching online, I realised the arm lift has a special damping grease when manufactured (rocal kilopoise) and a replacement/substitute was difficult and expensive to get hold of. What to do then...?

A quick shout through the house to the good lady wife “do we have any black treacle?” I asked, "yes” she said, “excellent!” I replied.

After a deft application of said black treacle and re-assembly, the arm lift is now working better than ever, and I got to lick my fingers after the job was complete!

A great little tasty tip and successful remedy!

Kindest regards,

Mike Ruxton




Black Treacle ... guess what this is used for in high fidelity? It

isn't to give a sweet sound or dark silences, but another more

functional benefit, thought up by Mike Ruxton.


Comments (1)
Cheap Audio Streamer
1Thursday, 21 February 2013 11:00
John Meerman
This is a response to the post of Andrew McBride about a cheap audio streamer suggestion. I use a Squeezebox Touch that has been upgraded by installing an App to provide a digital signal on its USB bus. Although it is limited to 96kHz 24 bit, it provides the best digital out option in combination with an Arcam rDAC that has an asynchronous USB input. I compared some 192Khz 24 bit files played over the spdif output with the same music files downsampled to 96kHz 24 bit over the USB bus. I preferred the latter. A good upgrade to the Arcam rDAC is a better power supply e.g. a linear BOTW power supply, or even better, a Teddy Pardo rDacPS. The combination Squeezebox + Arcam rDAC + rDacPS plays is a very high quality playback system, better than my Naim CDX2 player, and even outperforms at some aspects my Linn LP12 (Valhalla, Akito 2, AT OC9/MLII, Naim Stageline).
I have also upgraded the Squeszebox with a BOTW power supply, but as I use its USB output it did not change much in sound quality, but I do not want a noisy wall wart in my system.

Best regards,

John Meerman

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