Back in the late 80s, the black steel Sound Organisation table was considered the best support for an LP12. It had a cheap chipboard top, quite thin, laminated with a textured plastic. HiFi Review magazine (the successor to The Flat Response) sold an MDF top that they claimed was better. I bought one and, yes, it was better in some respects - I recall that dynamics were improved - but it also introduced some articifiality to the music. After a few weeks I put the original one back. The takeaways for me were (i) that I could hear a difference at all and (ii) that I didn't prefer the one the "experts" considered better. Anyway, you'll get as many opinions here as top plate choices. If you can be bothered, and if they're not too expensive, I'd encourage you to try them all, starting with whatever is closest to your current top plate. Unlike, say, tempered glass, there are all kinds of MDF (density, thickness, composition, etc.), and I suspect they'll sound different, so that may complicate things. For what it's worth, I'm using Mana shelf, in Phase 4 configuration, and am happy with it, though I'd be open to trying something simpler, if there was an easy way to have a meaningful audition.
When I replaced my Kandid last December, concern about running costs (and curiosity) prompted me to start using a spreadsheet with date, title, and time columns. Because I don't get many listening hours these days, it's not a big time burden to do it after each record, and it's gratifying to scan the list occasionally to see what I've been listening to. I also add each record to my Discogs collection before I put them back on the shelf (assuming the release is in Discogs - 5 - 10% of mine aren't).
I’m sure mains plugs (and sockets) have a bearing on SQ, but I’m afraid auditioning them would be a bridge too far for me. The mere thought of installing a plug (or socket), listening to the system, changing out the plug/socket, and then listening again, while trying to retain the aural memory of the previous audition, gives me an ulcer. I’m happy to draw the line there, and defer to others whose ears I trust. In this example, I'm happy to settle with Naim PowerLines (in which the supplied plug is a key component) and AV Options Hubbell Deep-Cryo sockets.
I’m neither “worried,” nor do I have “a bee in my bonnet” about it. To use your term, it’s a “marginal gain,” and I’m investing what I consider an appropriate amount of time and energy to address it. If I don’t find an appropriate solution, and soon, I’ll leave it alone and move on. In 30+ years of hi-fi ownership and upgrading, I’ve found a recurring pattern. The first is that, while all the usual box upgrades offer varying degrees of musical improvement, they very rarely match the expectation generated by reviews, whether those reviews are by professionals or fellow enthusiasts. The second is that paying attention to seemingly small installation details frequently pays dividends well beyond the time and money invested in them. I agree that this can become a rabbit hole but, in my experience, getting truly satisfying sound in a domestic environment is as much an accumulation of attention to detail as it is care in the purchase and matching of equipment. For me, this means at least keeping an open mind about tweaks that others might be dismissive of.
My T-Kable is from 2007, yet the plugs are a very tight fit. I still have the older arm cable in my box of parts, and the plugs on that look quite different, are lighter, and have several slits around the outer ring. Assuming I’m unable to ease the fit of my current plugs, my choice appears to be either to switch to a better fitting but slightly inferior sounding plug, or to just put up with it. Given that I only unplug them a couple of times a year, I’m inclined to go with the latter. Having said that, do you know of any other RCA plug that’s as good or better sounding than the solid Linn ones and that also has some degree of adjustability?
Thanks for that suggestion, much appreciated. I’m not near my system right now but, from memory, the RCAs on my T-Kable have a chunky metal cylinder without the cutaway you sometimes see, so it never occurred to me that there might be any way to adjust them. I’ll give that a shot when I reinstall my LP12 and report back.
I have a question for the devotees of Naim amplification. I’m using a SuperLine phono preamp with my LP12. The T-Kable is connected via phono plugs which I’m not thrilled about, partly because they’re very tight, which makes them difficult to unplug, even with the SuperLine’s transit screw fitted (without which the suspended baseplate might come loose), but also because Naim amps work optimally with 50 ohm BNCs for the phono connection. I asked my dealer about this and he said it would be difficult to do. The reason is that the Linn T-Kable is either RG59 or RG6, which is too big for a 50 ohm BNC. Naim’s long-discontinued Aro tonearm has an RG58 cable, which is fine. He commented that he’s seen many Linn tonearms fitted with a 75 ohm BNC, which is the wrong impedance. Has anyone here ever used a Linn T-Kable with 50 ohm BNC terminations? If so, what are the specs, the brand, and so on?
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