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March, 2009:

Budget Turntable Table not Lacking much

For reasons that will be more obvious at the Munich High End Show in May, I have been listening to rather a lot of vinyl recently.  It’s good to get back into the critical listening to turntables, arms and cartridges again after many years of really only listening to records for pleasure.

It’s also good to find that every change is audible just like CD or HD replay.

One of the listening tests was to try out the differing performance of the TT in design, on different supports, to get an idea of the variations in performance customers may get at home.

I had previously good results at home using an Ikea Lack table and so we risked the weather to visit the local Ikea.  The Lack tables were hugely expensive at 9.90 Euro so we bought two.

The point of the blog of course is the performance.  While I would never argue that the Lack delivered 100% of the dynamics of the specialist rack we were using, it wasn’t too shabby at all.  The good part is that, what it didn’t do well – mainly dynamic contrasts – it didn’t fail badly and horribly.

Overall the performance was reduced but in a very even handed way.

So I reckon the conclusion is that; if you are looking for something suitable for your turntable and you are just getting back into vinyl maybe after a few  years absence, you can do far worse than an Ikea Lack at £7.82 currently in the UK.  At that price it has got to be worth a punt.

HTC – more shooting, more feet

Soon after my previous bog about HTC another email arrived this time it was from Customer Care.

As a valued HTC customer you are invited to participate in our Customer Satisfaction Survey.

I enjoyed the fact that it was a quick survey with only a small number of questions.  What I found so stupid was the need for both the serial number and the IMEI number of the phone to be included.  Surely HTC don’t have so many complaints – maybe they do – that they can’t track a customer by name.

How many customers with problems won’t report negatively because they can’t be bothered to did out the info?  Seems a good way to keep the negative feedback down.

HTC Customer Service replies after six months

A couple of days ago I received the first reply from HTC Europe’s customer service department to a complaint I made six months ago.  To be exact I emailed them on the 14th September 2008 and received a reply on the 6th March 2009.

It wasn’t a good solution either; just sorry for the delay we had some technical problems and please phone the HTC Europe Technical Support.

The background is that I used to use a HTC TyTN II a pretty good Windows Mobile 6.1 smartphone, or it was a pretty good smartphone before the iPhone 3G, and had complained due to the paint chipping off the lower buttons.

After a brief conversation with Nadia, I was told that I could send my phone back to HTC for a fix but I would be charged.  On querying why, Nadia told me that TyTN II’s didn’t suffer from this type of fault so it must be how I looked after it.  I paraphrase as I can’t remember her exact words; she was very polite.

So after keeping me waiting for six months for the reply, the answer is, we would be delighted to bring your phone (pretty well looked after even if I say it myself) back up to scratch – sorry about the pun – but to expect a bill.

I’m not happy.  I’ve given up using the phone but it still irks me that it looks so battered.  On close inspection the plastics of the lower buttons is beautifully shiny so it’s not that surprising the paint is coming off.  Surely well primed plastics would be a bit rougher?

Anyway that’s another brand off my list.  Surely after a six month delay in replying someone somewhere should have had the gumption to say to the customer services staff to try o make up for the first mistake?  But no they add insult to injury and just assume it’s my fault.

And a suggestion for any HTC phone owner.  Be very careful how you handle and store the phone.  Seems even careful owners might get a tatty looking phone after a while.

If it doubt I’d suggest an iPhone.

Ideal for dinner parties: the Wadia 170iTransport?

I was very lucky a few days ago to listen to a Wadia 170iTansport.
I knew I was going to be able to listen to it for a few hours so I chose a few wav rips of CDs and imported them into iTunes.

I restored my second generation 8Gb Nano so I would have “uncontaminated” storage. It’s now loaded with all the wav rips.

I listened to the digital output of the Wadia connected to the Behringer SRC2496 via a Chord Signature Digital Cable.

Performance using the Behringer was absolutely ideal for dinner parties and background music. There was absolutely no chance of anyone being dstracted by any emotion from the music. The best results were with the Behringer upsampling to 24Bit 88.2k before doing it’s D to A conversion.
I was a bit concerned that the results I heard were so far from what I have read in some magazines’ reviews so I connected the same digital cable to the Naim HDX as a source and using the same rips all the passion and feeling of the music was restored.

Well, what does that mean?  I guess it says that the 170iTransport works in some systems and not in others.