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Leak TL which decoder?

Discussion in 'classic' started by Linnovice, Jan 26, 2021.

  1. ersel

    ersel Member

    While on the subject of valve tuners, any of you two ever heard (about) the Grundig RT-50?
  2. chartz

    chartz If it’s broke fix it!

    Yes that’s the one.
  3. G T Audio

    G T Audio Trade: Manufacturer and Distributor

    I thought this may be of interest. It was published in Hi-Fi World in September 1997.

    Note: this was a completely stripped and clean and fully rebuilt Troughline Stereo tuner with all new valve and properly realigned. Please don't expect this sort of performance from an old unrestored Troughline.




    PDF Links:
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2021
    Stuart Frazer likes this.
  4. chartz

    chartz If it’s broke fix it!

    Those caps are silly!

    I'm having mine re-aligned by a pro at the moment (he used to do that for a living). The decoder is also a simple chip affair from Philips.

    Perhaps it will not sound too bad? ;)

    I must say I listen to radio mostly from the Internet these days. However, I find compression takes a lot of stage depth away (I mainly listen to classical and acoustic jazz concerts).
  5. G T Audio

    G T Audio Trade: Manufacturer and Distributor

    Oh really! You would know about such things then would you? Back in 1997 they were the best sounding capacitors you could get and all of them were in the signal path which is one of the reasons the whole package sounded so good.
  6. chartz

    chartz If it’s broke fix it!

    Fair enough Graham. I was always disappointed in so-called audiophile caps, never really finding any sonic improvements.
    But I remember your articles quite well and have them all in my collection. They educated me back in the day! Do you still look like 1990 photos ? :rolleyes:
    G T Audio likes this.
  7. G T Audio

    G T Audio Trade: Manufacturer and Distributor

    Been though all of them and tried every capacitor and resistor over the years, so I know what is good and what isn't. I agree that some have got a lot of press but often the performance didn't meet the hype.
    chartz likes this.
  8. John_73

    John_73 pfm Member

    Have scanned in the pages and turned it into a PDF. Anybody know of a good site to host PDFs, or can it be done here?!
  9. Radfordman

    Radfordman pfm Member

    John_73 likes this.
  10. G T Audio

    G T Audio Trade: Manufacturer and Distributor

    You may also find this interesting. I have added PDF links to my last post so anyone can download it.

    Again from Hi-Fi World magazine in the May 1993 issue. This article was in response to a letter received from the "Californian Cathode Followers", an audio group from the west coast regarding high end Tuners. The letter was received and I was asked to respond to it by Noel Keywood and this was the result.



    PDF Links:
  11. Arkless Electronics

    Arkless Electronics Trade: Amp design and repairs.

    I fixed a Scott tuner many years ago which had a large LED display for the frequency and used punched cards as one of the methods of entering channel information! Weird! It was very good.
    G T Audio likes this.
  12. G T Audio

    G T Audio Trade: Manufacturer and Distributor

    Indeed. H.H. Scott made some wonderful sounding tuners. I preferred their more basic designs as they still sound very good but without a lot of the complexity of their top models like the 4310...
  13. Arkless Electronics

    Arkless Electronics Trade: Amp design and repairs.

    Some of the TOTR USA FM tuners were very good indeed but they were vastly more complicated and vastly more expensive than the crude Troughline.
    There is no actual point in a valve FM tuner beyond nostalgia of course... but in this thread where those asking the questions would not know what a mixer is... or an intermediate frequency amplifier... further discussion is as pointless as trying to discuss cars with people who don't know why four is the normal quantity of wheels and round the normal shape!
  14. ersel

    ersel Member

    I agree... (on the bolded part);

    even though none of those you (now repeatedly) mention sought, or shown any intention whatsoever to indulge themselves in the discussion on the subject - whether there is a point or not in a valve FM tuner.

    I owned three, and own two valve tuners now, and to me, there is sonically, and even reception-wise, a huge point with both of those valve tuners, over all other solid state tuners I have here, that includes the Kenwood KT-5020L I just sold off, NAD402, and even Rogers T100.

    Part of the explanation is given in the impressions and description given in the article I have cited in one of my earlier posts.

    P.S. I was in touch with the engineer at One Thing Audio a while ago, last year, who was in charge of the Leak repairs. He disagreed with some of your earlier statements at one other thread, regarding the Leak TL2, so you might want perhaps to take a discussion with him, since we might presume that he certainly falls into category of people who know what is the intermediate frequency amplifier is... or the round being a normal shape for a wheel, for that matter... with all due respect.
  15. Arkless Electronics

    Arkless Electronics Trade: Amp design and repairs.

    You are simply wrong.... as are the articles you cited and as is the One Thing guy... if you are correctly quoting him.

    All of the reasons why are technical... and this gets us back to where we started ie if I attempted to explain why it would be like explaining the differences between Windows and Apple operating systems to someone who's never seen a computer before.

    If having a decoder is your aim I'm confused as to why you haven't just bought the One Thing unit!? Or a TdP one when it comes up on epay.

    I have maybe a dozen TL's, have repaired loads of them, modded them (including building myself a "turbocharged" one with voltage regulators and matched Schottky diodes in the Foster-Seeley discriminator), done several conversions of TL 2 and 3 to take them to TL stereo spec so they work as well as possible with a decoder and have designed and built around 6 or so decoders for them and even an FM signal booster for them. I don't use them myself as any modern tuner (such as the Denon TU425RD playing in the background here or the Hitachi FT5500 MkI and MkII to my right) wipes the floor with them, as you would expect, and internet radio is better still.

    The TL was designed as a mono tuner and works well enough as one. They tried all sorts of bodges after stereo broadcasting came out to make them compatible but it was of limited success. Note the ECC88 used as RF amp in the TL Stereo model along with a few other mods, all of which are retrofittable, and in fact the factory converted many earlier ones to stereo spec (you can tell these 'cos the "on/off vol" control becomes an "on/off, mono, stereo" control but still says "on/off vol") The inbuilt decoder in these is awful though so a TL Stereo with the decoder removed and a socket fitted for multiplex is the best of all.... but still not up to the job really.

    The best valve tuners are the American McIntosh, H.H Scott and early Marantz units such as the legendary 10B. They are in a completely different league to the TL and fetch big money. Their performance has nothing to do with them being valved and everything to them being very well designed and engineered!
  16. ersel

    ersel Member

    I can easily counter you on several points. I see that it would not be of use, however... I do appreciate your expertise, but people who read some of your quotes, such as the engineer at One Thing Audio claims unequivocally that he disagrees with some of your statements in some older threads here, on the subject.

    Second of all, the article I have quoted has nothing to do whatsoever with the engineering point of view, but was written from the avid listener who pitted some tuners he had at his disposal, you can read it if you are interested (I doubt you are, since you seem to be well in your own predicament, but nevertheless... ) .

    There are number of writings regarding the Leak TL2 in conjuction with the TdP decoder, as well as One Thing Audio and Studio 12 decoder, rather telling ones. No need - if we consider ourselves to be grownups, to flat out deny what people wrote and experienced.

    Both One Thing Audio and TdP decoders are not easy to come by, they appear very seldom, and TdP tends to be pricey, for what it is. I hope that that explanation can satisfy your curiosity on whether I have not purchased them.

    I might take your advice and go for the Scott, with decent - great decoder, and tell you what I think.

    Remember, the Leak TL2, when refurbed, aligned and well taken care of, technically, with good decoder, has been acclaimed, and for a reason.
    I have made some recordings (digital, red book standard), so I can assure you that I have ran some comparisons some time ago.

    The difficult thing with Leak TL2 is finding the tech who will not ruin it and who can refurb it, as Graham Tricker and some others, when one is out of the UK. As well as finding the TdP decoder, or even One Thing Audio.

    It has also been said about Scott tuners (valve ones), in particular, that they need alignment more often than most other tuners, but I have no idea whether this is true, I have just read it from one former owner (not sure if he was the tech as well).
  17. Arkless Electronics

    Arkless Electronics Trade: Amp design and repairs.

    This will be my last post as I'm wasting my time. Yes I discount everything said by ALL the people who say TL's are wonderful. If the One Thing guy disagrees then he doesn't know what he's talking about. They are NOT acclaimed for a good reason. They are acclaimed because there are vast amounts of them around and various people tried to cash in on this back in the 90's as every hi fi dealer had about 10 of them as door stops and book ends... they saw you coming... they were worth about £5 -10 before THAT pack of bollox in hi fi world saying they were the worlds best tuner and then about £300 a month later! Now down to £40 - 80 ish last time I looked and loads more for cosmetically good ones. If anyone wants to buy one I have loads! No cosmetically good ones though and none of the Lonsdale-Hands styled TL2 ones.

    If anyone wants a TL repairing or a decoder building then I can do that for them but the decoder will be £500 simply because it will be a hand built unit and the labour will be something like 20 hours worth.... I really don't recommend it though cos a Leak Stereofetic will thrash a TL and is available for about £30 - 60. A Leak 2000 series tuner is really rather good but avoid the crap matching amplifier.

    For the ultimate in decoders check out the series of articles by JLH in 90's ETI mag.
  18. ersel

    ersel Member

    ... and you think that all of those people, engineers, techs, etc. do not take discussion with you because they know less than you? Or perhaps are less capable, and knowledgeable technically?

    Have you read any of the posts that Graham has put here during the last day or two?

    Funny you have mentioned two major OSs earlier on... I happen to have a great deal of experience with both, btw... this is only a side note, of sorts...
    The author of the article I have put in the link (earlier) had no interest whatsoever in promoting a 70 or more year old piece of technology, nor some others who wrote about it, none whatsoever, despite your rather naïve claims here.

    Nor did TdP (RIP) had any interest in developing decoder for Leak and some other valve tuners if he did not consider them being worthy of it.
    There are other engineers who can pinpoint why exactly Leak TL2 can sound good-great, but that is, visibly, beyond you, so no use in pointing that out either.
  19. Arkless Electronics

    Arkless Electronics Trade: Amp design and repairs.

    FWIW I knew Tim and the Alchemist "The Preamp" was a designed by Tim and myself when I was chief engineer with that company.

    You are a perfect example of why I despise a certain type of audiophile... You admit you don't know what an intermediate frequency amplifier is (like not knowing about pistons in an engine!) yet argue with a professional engineer who's designed FM tuners. 'Cos an article in hi fi world that everyone read or heard about 25 years ago went round Chinese whispers till "any fule kno that the Troughline's the worlds best tuner innit... stands to reason!" which is why you have one of course:rolleyes:

    Enjoy the hiss, the "spitchy" distorted sibilants from multipath distortion, the strange warbles in the background on many stations when in stereo with decoder running, the 1-2% distortion....
  20. ersel

    ersel Member

    I presume then this tirade of yours is perhaps some sort of your "hommage" to the late gent.... well done...

    Thanks for labeling... as well as knowing a lot about what I was doing for living, what kind of background and education I do have, etc...

    ... and now I am suppose to engage in the "debate" where I would be expected to state the things like:

    "I do not remember I actually ever did explicitly admit that I really do not know what an intermediate frequency amplifier, or the amplifier to begin with, is, for that matter... I might be getting senile, of course...

    being modest does not always have to mean being stupid... or uneducated, as you are evidently taking some other people to be... or at least labeling... I had to design the basic, but still functioning radio receiver circuit as a part of the one compulsory course within my formal education (CSE, if your are familiar with the abbreviation) many moons ago... it was compulsory lab within that course back then, as it still is now... (the course was the Electrical Circuits, part one); as well as tinkering with other things (bloody seriously as well) that you have mentioned in your comparisons, taken upon the course of smearing. Those other things (I had to endeavour) are probably not your course of profession, since you are more on the EE side, a certain part of the the EE"
    Tim himself has said some things that contradict some of your claims; about "audiophilia" (or what that is perceived to be) and some other things, for instance, how audio engineering correlates to human hearing", but you seem to not have bothered to either read it nor understand it. He also did design some hybrid decoders for some other valve tuners as well... as he did design the whole solid state T-110U"

    yeah, right... really "productive"debate, all of it...

    I beg to differ... most of the time I have seen only you arguing here... mostly with yourself, and shortly with some friend of yours...

    I did actually wait (or not bothered to answer any of that) for a good number of your posts to address any of that, (what you have written, which is btw. really of not much relevance to most other people. This being said on the basis of some rather hard evidences present by others, who's merits you can go on denying as much as you want).

    I have very little interest in "arguing" with either you, or anyone else, for that matter. I have just presented you with some straight facts, some of it incidentally given by the people in your very field of profession, that contradict some (far from all) of your claims... how you take that is another matter that should not be part of any "debate" with an ounce of common sense in it.

    Actually, 'cause many other experiences, opinions of other engineers (EE), etc.... if you have bothered to pick that up, and you obviously haven't...
    That article in the HiFi world was not my point of origin at all, FYI. Neither is the Leak TL2 my tuner of choice, despite me owning now only one remaining (sold the other, which was partially refurbed and upgraded). But I do consider it to be a good candidate, done properly and coupled with - say - TdP decoder, or even some other.

    I guess you refer to Leak TL2.. which, incidentally happens not to be my main tuner at all... I am using another all valve tuner daily, though.

    I did, however, used the Leak TL2, for digital recording.
    ... and none of those sonic traits you mention exist, recordings were made of unaltered Leak TL2, fed by the ordinary dipole - believe it or not, as documented by "yours truly", on the Yamaha CDR-HD1500s hard drive, off of the some live recorded venues, as well as other broadcasts... - yes, off of the bloody dipole, but in the area with good reception and quality uncompressed broadcasts.

    ...the thing is that - still, when the reception is great and the broadcast quality is uncompressed, in the area here... the Debussy recorded off the live venue at some concert hall can indeed sound great, even (or particularly) off of the Leak TL2, believe it or not...

    I really do not have time for this. I have to decide which tuner, or decoder (in the course of testing) to go with, I have some options on the table, and this is of little or no interest to anyone (even me), and rather irrelevant, in its entirety.

    It might happen that I erase the whole of this post. I just felt that I should remind ... of some things, if only for one - very elusive - moment.
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2021

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